Bat-Palooza and Forest Projects
Bat-Palooza Returns to Fish Hatchery
It’s time to jump into your favorite bat-mobile, round up the bat-gang and head out to Bat-Palooza, Year Two!
That’s right, back by popular demand the San Isabel National Forest Leadville Ranger District, in partnership with the USFWS Leadville National Fish Hatchery, is hosting a family-friendly educational night to learn more about bats and their ecosystems!
The event will be held Thursday, Aug. 1 starting at 6 p.m. out at the fish hatchery. It’s a fun and educational night out with the bats as forest service employees share their knowledge on the importance of bats in the community.
Learning booths are part of the fun and include a place where kids and families can create their own bats out of pinecones. At 7 p.m., there will be a bat education talk, and then be sure to stick around for the big event at 8 p.m. as the bats emerge from their roost above the historic fish hatchery building and the counting begins!
So grab your blanket or lawn chair, come and learn about the ecology of local bats, the threats to their habitats and why bat populations are monitored. The Second Annual Bat-Palooza will take place Thursday, Aug. 1 on the south side of the main hatchery building at the USFWS Leadville National Fish Hatchery (2844 Highway 300, Leadville, CO 80461). For questions about the event, please call Jeni Windorski at the Leadville Ranger District (719) 486-7421.
What’s Happening in the Woods in Leadville Today
On Tuesday, July 23 the Colorado Springs Utilities, the USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Region, and Colorado State Forest Service announced their plans to invest $15 million, over a five-year period, in forest and watershed restoration projects.
As many in Lake County already understand, Colorado Springs Utilities has a large mountain water system with many reservoirs and other infrastructure located on USDA Forest Service Land and in Leadville’s backyard that includes the Arkansas River Headwaters. Tuesday’s announcement also named other critical watersheds where the “forest restoration and wildfire fuels reduction projects” will take place, including Monument and Fountain Creeks, Homestake Reservoir on the Eagle River, and the Blue River.
These projects will occur on more than 11,000 acres in Colorado Springs Utilities’ critical watersheds located on the White River and Pike-San Isabel National Forests. According to the utilities company, the projects will reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires and post-fire sedimentation and erosion upstream of Colorado Springs Utilities’ reservoirs and other water delivery infrastructure.
“We understand the obligation to the nearly 480,000 customers within the Colorado Springs Utilities area and the importance of healthy watersheds,” stated Regional Forester, Brian Ferebee. “Thus, we place heavy emphasis on partnerships like these, which allow us to keep clean water flowing to our local communities while maintaining resilient and productive forest lands.”
Under the 2019-2023 program, Colorado Springs Utilities will invest $7.5 million in forest and watershed health projects within critical watersheds. This funding will be matched dollar for dollar by the USDA Forest Service and the Colorado State Forest Service for a total value of approximately $15 million. Management activities associated with these projects will include forest thinning, prescribed fire, invasive species management, road and trail improvements, and stream improvements.
So what does that mean for Lake County? What kind of “forest thinning” can be expected? Will it be similar to the “mitigation” work out at Turquoise Lake? And what exactly does “road and trail improvements” mean? At this point, most of the project details are unclear, no map of impacted areas was provided and when asked at yesterday’s Lake County Emergency Service Council meeting, none of the three forest service reps in attendance could provide any answers either.
Better be keeping an eye on the woods! And stay tuned to Leadville Today, as details are sure to trickle in slowly over a long period of time.