Here's the Latest
Current Events, News and Opportunities
SLVEC Director Christine Canaly, CCCW Director Andrea Guajardo share Letter to the Editor
In response to a letter criticising the SLVEC/ CCCW official complaint to the San Francisco Creek Drilling Proposal
Click Here to go to the letter
Forest Service Delays Decision on the Village at Wolf Creek (4-2-14)
SLVEC, CCCW File Official Complaint Against BLM for Oil Drilling Decision on San Francisco Creek (3-5-14)
Check here for the Press Release
Check here to read the full complaint filed in court
Bureau of Land Management Releases Environmental Assessment on San Francisco Creek Drill and Frack- Gives OK to Proceed (1-7-14)
A Special Offer from Cumbres Nordic Adventures
Founding SLVEC director Mary Ann DeBoer has graciously donated a free night at their remote yurt near Cumbres Pass in the southern San Juan Mountains. For your minimum donation of $150 to SLVEC you can enjoy this winter adventure. Please e-mail us or call 719-589-1518 to place your donation and reserve your stay. Go to the website for availablity and details.
Pauline Washburn Acknowledged for Vigilant Citizen Award
San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council is a 501C3 non-profit corporation, which was incorporated in 1998 by a group of citizens concerned about impacts to public lands around the San Luis Valley in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico.
We believe in the power of education, stewardship, community involvement and public advocacy. Our mission is to protect and restore the biological diversity, ecosystems, and natural resources of the Upper Rio Grande region, balancing ecological values and human needs.
We have organized several different working groups, including the Friends of Wolf Creek, LEAP-HIGH Water Quality, the Solar Working Group, and others, which include over 100 volunteers. SLVEC has over 400 members, who give what they can in money, time, or expertise. Because of their dedication and support, we have enjoyed many successes in helping to protect this beautiful area. We are very grateful to all of them.
If you would like to get involved, please fill out a membership form, and mail it to:
San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council, PO Box 223, Alamosa, Colorado, 81101
Over a Decade of Dedication to Public Lands
San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council
Over a Decade of Dedication to Public Lands Integrity
- In 1998, SLVEC submitted a Citizen's Management Alternative (CMA). Approximately one-half of the 1.86 million acres of Rio Grande National Forest (RGNF) is now prescribed as either Back Country or Designated Wilderness.
- 1999, SLVEC organized, advocated and testified before Congress for the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve Act of 2000 preserving the 100,000 acre former Baca Ranch, moving this pristine landscape into Public Land. The ranch is now part of the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, Baca National Wildlife Refuge, and a Baca Mountain Tract addition to National Forest.
- 2001-2004, SLVEC was appointed to the Great Sand Dunes NPS Management Plan Advisory Council by Interior Secretary Gayle Norton, pushing for recommendation of 50,000 acres of wilderness designation. Acquiring the mineral rights beneath the National Park will move this Wilderness recommendation forward.
- 2001-2003, SLVEC, in cooperation with Southern Rockies Conservation Alliance (SRCA) inventoried one-half million areas of Roadless Areas within Rio Grande National Forest (RGNF), using ground truthing forms for documentation and GIS/GPS points imbedded in photographs. Thousands of photos were taken linked to GPS.
- 2004-2005, SLVEC performs a BLM Rapid Assessment Inventory on ½ million acres of BLM roads for the SLV BLM Travel Management Plan and submitted a Citizens Management Alternative. A 51% road closure was recommended by BLM.
- 2005, SLVEC and Colorado Wild filed a lawsuit challenging the Rio Grande County Commissioners' decision on accepting the "Village at Wolf Creek" plat design, a proposed development of 2,122 units near the continental divide. District Judge Kuenhold agreed with the claim because there was no year round access to the land.
- 2006, SLVEC testified before Congress and the Rio Grande Natural Area Act was passed, designating 33 miles of Rio Grande Corridor, from the southern boundary of the Alamosa Wildlife Refuge to the New Mexico State line, extending protection for one-quarter mile from either bank of the river, under BLM jurisdiction.
- 2006, Judge Marcia Krieger agreed with an adjacent landowner and SLVEC lawsuit challenge of the Rio Ox-bow Land Exchange claiming that it was not in the public interest. This decision protected some of the few remaining public access points in the Upper Rio Grande. The case has also brought precedence regarding public/private land trades in Colorado to require an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
- 2006-2012, Colorado Wild and SLVEC challenged the Forest Service EIS decision granting access to "Village at Wolf Creek". In 2008 Supreme Court Justice Kane agreed with these claims, including the Forest Service narrowing the scope of the EIS. Another "Village at Wolf Creek" land exchange is now being proposed and analyzed.
- 2005-2012, Water Quality Awareness Project, recipient of EPA Environmental Justice Community Problem-Solving and (CPS) received EPA CARE 1 Grant. Fewer than ten grants were awarded throughout the USA. SLVEC was recipient of the EPA Environmental Stewardship Award (2007) for organizing free household well testing in small communities throughout the SLV. Over 800 household wells have received this free well testing. SLVEC conducted Environmental Health Risk assessments within 13 communities of the SLV. The CARE Project set priorities based on community input and determined next steps for impacting environmental health issues. We also sent out 500 free radon test kits for people to test for this harmful gas within homes and buildings.
- 2006-2010, Challenge of Oil and Gas development within the SLV Baca National Wildlife Refuge, SLVEC spearheaded a legal challenge of Oil and Gas Drilling on the Baca National Wildlife Refuge because the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Process was being avoided. This case has recently settled with US Fish and Wildlife Service. Lexam Explorations, Inc. is now a willing sellerof it¡¦s mineral rights and the opportunity to acquire and retire these rights is underway, which would permanently protect the area.
- 2007 - San Luis Hills and Flat Top Mesa, -Parcels Withdrawn
- 2008 - Leasing on Rio Grande National Forest and BLM lands-144,000 acres deferred
- 2011-14 - San Francisco Creek, near Del Norte, CO -Application to Drill (APD) filed with Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) for 5,000 ft exploratory O & G Well by Hughes Oil. BLM releases EA in January 2014 giving OK for drilling to proceed under specific guidelines. SLVEC to respond to this EA by February 2014.
- 2007-2014, The Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area (NHA), signed into law by President Obama in March 2009, establishes cultural, historical, and natural resource preservation and protection for the southern three counties within the San Luis Valley. The Great Sand Dunes Park and Preserve lands are included within the NHA. SLVEC has served for 6 years on the Board which has now finalyzed a Management Plan.
- 2012 included the development of a San Luis Valley Renewable Energy Master Plan to infuse support of community based siting of solar installations.
- 2008-2014, SLVEC works with the public and monitors activity on BLM Solar Energy Zones (SEZ's) on 22,000 acres of land within the San Luis Valley.
Recent Public Involvement
- With Conejos County Clean Water taking the lead, SLVEC reached a settlement agreement regarding the Department of Energy (DOE) proposal for a low level Transwaste facility in Antonito. This transwaste transfer point has been withdrawn. The material was to originate from Los Alamos, NM. A site specific (NEPA) public process will have to be conducted if DOE decides to reopen this proposal.
- Organized another round of public comments challenging the Air Force Low Altitude Tactical Navigation (LATN) Flyovers, bringing together organizations and sharing information from Colorado and New Mexico constituencies. The proposed project spans 62,000 sq. miles and impacts 38 counties in some of Colorado's most remote Backcountry.
- Hosted Three Public Education forums with Transmission Line Coalition (TLC) surrounding the proposed Transmission line over La Veta Pass, including bringing the utilities (Tri-State and Xcel) together for public discussion. SLVEC supported public scrutiny of this proposal has resulted in the "postponement" of this project. In 2012, Xcel pulled its participation in the line making its liklihood of further pursuit doubtful.
- Co-sponsored a Solar Workshop with other groups at SLV Rural Electric Coop in Monte Vista, CO to bring small businesses and communities together to discuss a community scale solar siting process.