The San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council has stayed busy this year with a variety of conservation projects! All of our campaigns recognize the importance of maintaining intact, healthy wilderness so that future human and non-human species can thrive! Check out the many ways SLVEC has worked to protect YOUR public lands this 2021. You can also watch a video summarizing the contents below.
1) The Rio Grande
Central to the San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council’s mission is to protect and restore the biological diversity, ecosystems, and natural resources in the Upper Rio Grande. In line with these values, SLVEC is currently working to inform policies that grant long-term protection to the Rio Grande Corridor in Colorado’s Conejos and Costilla Counties. Collecting critical baseline inventory data, developing informative maps, publishing reports, and communicating the ecological and cultural value of this region to the public are all strategies that SLVEC is employing to support recommendations for the region as a National Conservation Area. If our efforts are successful, 8,000 years of human history will be protected as well as the critical habitats, native plants, endangered species and wildlife that this unique area supports.
Read our blog on this campaign.
2) Wildlife Corridors
In company with numerous environmental groups across the nation, SLVEC has pledged to support and develop policies that work towards a goal of protecting 30% of U.S. lands and water by the year 2030: #30x30Movement. Supporting efforts that ensure that wildlife corridors are available to resident and migratory species is one way that we honor this pledge. We recently sent out an action alert, of which many of our members responded to, asking for public comments to be submitted in favor of a new county resolution to support migration corridors and wildlife habitat in Saguache County. SLVEC was thrilled to receive overwhelming support from many of our members who feel this movement would help us to mitigate the impacts of climate change, improve road safety, and protect wildlife. SLVEC will continue to advocate on the state and federal level until we feel adequate policy has been adopted in this area.
3) Wilderness Designation
SLVEC has submitted almost two dozen recommendations for wilderness/special use areas/ research designations in the Southern Rockies. Unfortunately, the forest service dismissed many of these recommendations. SLVEC is disappointed with the final Rio Grande National Forest’s fifteen-year revision plan Record of Decision (ROD) as we believe it fails to adequately protect critical habitats and species, specifically within the San Juan Mountains. This includes, but is not limited to, the critically endangered Uncompahgre fritillary butterfly and threatened Canadian lynx. SLVEC recently filed a lawsuit alongside the Wilderness Society, San Juan Citizens Alliance, Wild Earth Guardians, and the Western Environmental Law Center, against the Rio Grande National Forest’s New Land Management Plan. View the official press release here.
4) Wolf Creek Pass
Home to rare fen wetlands, the threatened Canadian lynx, intact wilderness, and valuable natural resources, SLVEC has fought to protect the Wolf Creek Pass area from development for decades. Environmental groups are outraged by the longstanding proposal to put a massive “village” in the middle of pristine wilderness, #nopillage. SLVEC and allies at Friends of Wolf Creek have rallied to keep this project at a stand still for nearly 30 years. We now await the latest court ruling that will reveal whether or not the developers have been granted access to US Forest Service lands so that the project can move forward. Read the most recent update on this lawsuit and get a more in depth background on this campaign here.