Please see below for Durango-area sustainability updates, events, and ways to take action. Feel free to pass this newsletter along to others who might be interested and please encourage folks to sign up hereto receive these monthly updates on sustainability activities in our area.
2022 LA PLATA COUNTY COMMISSIONER CANDIDATES
We asked the three La Plata County Commissioner candidates to respond to some questions on local sustainability issues. Check out the answers on our website or here.
(note that Brad Blake did not respond to our multiple requests)
OCTOBER GREEN DRINKS
Grand Canyon Trust Grand Canyon Trust is a nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to making sure the region’s natural wonders, communities, and cultures thrive. Founded in 1985, their mission is to safeguard the wonders of the Grand Canyon and the Colorado Plateau, while supporting the rights of its Native peoples.
They envision and work toward a Grand Canyon and Colorado Plateau where:
Wildness, the diversity of native plants and animals, clean air, and flowing rivers abound.
Sovereign tribal nations thrive.
A livable climate endures.
People passionately work to protect the region they love for future generations.
They have a staff of more than 30 (including four in Durango) that works on issues ranging from cultural landscape protection to forest restoration, to uranium mining and milling reclamation to environmental justice action. They stand behind Native Nations across the plateau by supporting tribal life ways, uplifting Indigenous knowledge, and collaborating on shared conservation goals. They have a membership of more than 3,000 and an active volunteer base of more than 400 strong. Together, they work tirelessly to protect the Colorado Plateau’s remarkable landscapes.
La Plata Open Space Conservancy is Durango’s local land trust, whose mission is to permanently protect open lands that have significant agricultural, wildlife habitat, open space, recreational and/or historical or archaeological resources, for the benefit of the community and the general public. LPOSC works with private and public landowners alike, most often through a legal mechanism known as a conservation easement, to permanently conserve irreplaceable lands and waters throughout 6 Southwest Colorado counties. Over its 30 years of operations, LPOSC’s work has resulted in conservation of nearly 26,000 acres of land and 49 miles of river, including 1,700 acres of public open space.
San Juan Citizens Alliance San Juan Citizens Alliance advocates for clean air, pure water, and healthy lands and wildlife – the foundations of resilient communities, ecosystems, and economies in the San Juan Basin. They watchdog, advocate, and respond to both local and national decisions that threaten the integrity and wellbeing of this spectacular corner of the world. Some of their largest campaigns include efforts toward restoring the quality of the Animas River, transitioning to local clean energy, protecting the health and wildness of our public lands, and restoring wolves in Colorado.
City of Durango
The Colorado Association of Transit Agencies (CASTA) has announced the recipients of its 2022 Annual Awards and Durango Transit Director Sarah Hill recognized as Transit Champion of the Year! CASTA is the statewide trade association representing approximately 60 transit systems throughout the state, as well as local governments, planning organizations, and the bus industry. The CASTA Awards Program recognized the contributions of individuals and agencies in Colorado with outstanding programs or projects, or who have made notable contributions to transit.
Durango Transitwelcomed a new Main Avenue trolley into service thanks to a competitive grant awarded by the Federal Transportation Administration and the Colorado Department of Transportation which allows Durango Transit to replace aging fleet and maintain its high level of safe service and reliability. Replacing transit fleet is critical to keeping maintenance costs low and avoiding potential service delays. Transit ridership relies on the service to be on-time and safe.
The Colorado Department of Transportation also awarded Durango Transit with a 2022 Multimodal Transportation and Mitigation Options Fund grant of $80,000 to fund the development of a Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Transition Plan for Transit Fleet. This project will develop a long-term fleet management plan to guide the conversion from gasoline-powered buses into ZEVs, reducing emissions of air pollutants and GHG that contribute to adverse environmental impacts. The plan will be completed in early 2023. For route maps and other information, visit DurangoTransit.com.
HomesFund, in partnership with the City of Durango, has increased the amount of mortgage assistance available under the City of Durango Mortgage Assistance Program from $25,000/household to $50,000/household.
The City of Durango Mortgage Assistance Program is available to workforce homebuyers with incomes below 125% of the area median income who are purchasing a home in the limits of the City of Durango.
This change is prompted by the increasing gap between workforce wages and home prices in Southwest Colorado. Home prices are particularly high in Durango, where median home prices have increased from $386,260 in 2017 to $531,250 in 2021—a 37.5% increase. Additional mortgage assistance is needed to overcome the affordability gap. Find out more here.
The City of Durango, the Durango Fire Protection District, and the Durango Police Department have launched a new website to provide the public with up-to-date information regarding the ongoing River City Hall Project, including the first public meeting on Nov. 10, from 5:30 p.m. to 7p.m. at the Power House Science Center .
City Council will be making a decision regarding the Energy Performance Contract at their November 1st meeting starting at 5:30pm - City of Durango staff will be presenting to City Council on the Energy Performance Contract (EPC). The EPC is a project that involves a large package of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects for City buildings. Following the presentation, Council will vote on whether or not the City should proceed with the EPC.
Public Commentcan be shared at a meeting with a scheduled Public Participation agenda item. If the meeting does not have Public Participation scheduled, comments can be submitted via email to: PublicComment@DurangoGov.org. Comments must be submitted no later than noon on the Monday preceding the meeting.
Update to Chapter 90, Oil and Gas Regulations - La Plata County Staff has been working on a rewrite of the Oil and Gas Regulations (Chapter 90) in the Land Use Code. They are seeking public input on the draft. Click here to see the draft. Please provide comments via their comment portal (here). Anyone interested in keeping up on the oil and gas regulations process, can sign up for this newsletter.
We're calling for strong rules that protect our community. These include: increasing the setbacks of wells from 500 feet to 2,000 feet, setting air quality protections, and putting stronger financial assurances in place.
Here is the schedule for upcoming County Commission Meetings. All meetings are held at 10 a.m. in the County Administration Building, 1101 E. 2nd Ave. Meetings are accessible via Zoom using the links or phone numbers below. Join the meeting at https://zoom.us/j/819094582
Omicron-specific COVID-19 booster shots are in La Plata and Archuleta counties! The vaccine is formulated to provide maximum protection against the omicron variant, the predominant strain of COVID-19 circulating in the United States. Anyone aged 12 years and older who has completed a primary series of COVID-19 vaccines should receive an omicron booster. To be eligible, you must have finished your primary vaccination series and be at least two months out from your last dose of any COVID-19 vaccine. If you’ve recently had COVID-19, you should consider waiting three months after testing negative before getting your updated booster.
Durango 9R Board of Education meetings are generally held on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month starting at 5:30 (but will be on November 29th this month!) and are always open to the public. The 2nd Tuesday of the month is usually a work session while the 4th Tuesday is the official public meeting where actions are taken and there is always an opportunity for public input. If you wish to participate, you much fill out this form 24 hours in advance.
Visit Durango is now recruiting for 2 Board Seats! Please share with your networks and outreach with candidates you think would be a good fit. Applications are due by Oct 31st.
Agritourism & Heritage - This seat is open now. The term will begin Jan 1, 2023. Agritourism involves any agriculturally based operation or activity which serves visitors. Heritage involves businesses or organizations that are related to the history and historic culture of the region. The seat can be filled by someone who is in agritourism and/or heritage. Apply here
Arts & Culture - This seat will be open when the new term begins on Jan 1, 2023. Thank you to Denise Leslie, who has filled this seat on the Board and is coming to the end of her term. Arts & culture can include attractions/products, businesses, and organizations that encompasses arts, architecture, historical and cultural heritage, music, or creative industries. Apply here
Get out the Environmental Vote for Colorado Congressional District 3! October 25 and 26, 6-7:30pm MT
Citizens' Climate Lobby and the Environmental Voter Project (EVP) have a new partnership designed to build the political will to pass and defend climate legislation. CCL's help is needed to persuade environmentalists in Colorado's 3rd Congressional District who are infrequent voters to cast their ballots in the upcoming midterm election.
Join them for a in a high-impact phone-banking event (via Zoom) on Tuesday, October 25 and Wednesday, October 26 from 6-7:30pm MT. You can participate in either or both events. After a brief training, they'll call Colorado District 3 environmental voters on EVP's "low-propensity" voter list. They are seeking at least 30 volunteers for this special CCL-EVP-Green Allies Colorado District 3 event. Please volunteer by sending your name, email address and which dates you will participate to Kate Daniel, email@example.com.
2022 GREEN DRINKS SCHEDULE
Here are the dates to save for Durango Green Drinks in 2022! We'll start up again on the last Thursday of the month from 5-7PM outside at 11th Street Station in March.
Know an organization that might be interested in hosting a Green Drinks in 2023? Please have them reach out to DurangoGreenDrinks@gmail.com!
Looking for some good news? Sign up for Durango's Darcy Hitchcock's blog here.
The Sustainability Alliance of Southwest Colorado (SASCO) networks with local organizations, businesses, governments, and individuals to create a more just society which prioritizes environmental stewardship, social equity, and a thriving local economy.