WESTERN SLOPE NATIVE SEED … For many years the Public Land Partnership, centered in Montrose and under the leadership of Delta’s Dr. Mary Chapman, provided a table of trust forum for public land stakeholders of all sizes and shapes in four of the counties surrounding the Uncompahgre Plateau. Alliances were formed, and projects spun off from this innovative forest collaborative. Those projects included our own Burn Canyon Monitoring Committee and what has now become the Uncompahgre Partnership (UP) … One of UP’s most successful projects was its Native Seed effort. For years it has coordinated native seed collection and production for use in regeneration seed mixes on public lands – not only in Colorado but in multiple Western states. Thanks to a recent grant, UP is hiring a Native Seed coordinator. Last month they held a two-day Native Seed Summit in Grand Junction at the Doubletree Inn, pulling together land agency managers, seed producers, botanists, enviros and a lone county government representative to try and see what this new coordinator could be doing to help forest restoration efforts in the Four Corners region using native seed in place of introduced forbs and grasses … Locally collected native plants are usually best adapted to local regeneration projects, but the seed is often difficult to collect, harder to grow and rarely available in sufficient quantities to treat large landscapes, particularly after a forest fire. Jim Garner of Colorado Parks & Wildlife had great news, as reported in the Watch earlier this year – his state agency is building a native seed warehouse, where rare seeds will be able to be stored and research can be done on unique seed strains and cultivars … My interest was piqued because one of the primary recovery efforts for the Gunnison Sage Grouse is restoring critical areas to the kinds of sagebrush flats – with an understory of succulent native forbs and grasses – that the bird depends on for habitat. I’m hoping to see if San Miguel County can provide support to private landowners in our boundaries by paying them to do this kind of native plant recovery – a win for the bird, the private landowners and the community if we can increase critical habitat and, hopefully, increase the bird’s numbers in our county. The Native Seed folks had lists of native seed known to provide the best habitat for the Gunnison Sage Grouse. I’m hoping the county will be able to ease the burden to private landowners with money to help in habitat restoration.
LOIS HAYNA … Speaking of Phenomenal Women as we did last week in Telluride, this grand dame of Colorado Springs poets is still observing nature and creating lyrics at 100 years of age. You can find a video of her 100th birthday party this past January on YouTube. An amazing woman, I met her through Poetry West – the largest community of poets and writers in the Pikes Peak Region. … Regis University maintains an archival collection of Hayna’s papers. As the site explains, It begins with poetry from her college days, and … essays and short stories she wrote in the 1970 – 1980s. Of significance is a very comprehensive collection of her poems from the 1970s to the present. Also among her writing are drafts for an unpublished book on herbs, entitled “The Casual Herbist,” as well as her notes on herbs and a bibliography … Her poetry books include Never Trust a Crow (1990), Keeping Still (2008), and her latest The Praying Mantis (2012) – published when Lois was 99 years old! … A mutual friend, Liz Lewis, has written a lovely tribute to her, appearing this week as the Talking Gourd.
SEE FLURP … is the way we pronounce the acronym mouthful, CFLRP – the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Project … San Miguel County’s Burn Canyon Monitoring Project received funding in 2011 from a 10-year, $8.5 million grant CFLRP got from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture to do forest restoration projects on and around the Uncompahgre Plateau. Their funding came from the National Forest Foundation in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service (Gateway’s own John Hendricks is the NFF’s chairman of the board) … As a member of CFLRP’s Executive Board for Monitoring, I accepted a 2012 Forest Chief’s Award last week in Montrose on behalf of the county government partners (San Miguel, Mesa, Delta and Montrose counties) in this cross-jurisdictional partnership group … For more information on this nationally recognized collaborative, visit
SMERG… Wes Perrin, John Lifton and I worked together on the San Miguel Energy Research Group that tried to find an alternative to the Tri-County line from Nucla to Telluride. While we were unsuccessful, Wes has gone on to an impressive career moving San Miguel Power Association into a sound alternative energies future. He deserves a big thank you from this entire region of Southwestern Colorado. Truly one of our alternative energy pioneers in Colorado.
VAWA … Okay, time for me to eat crow … My friend Kevin Kell pointed out that most of his fellow Republicans in the Colorado delegation, including Scott Tipton (our Third District U.S. Representative), Mike Coffman and Cory Gardner, voted FOR reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act in the House. Only Tea Party Lamborn voted against the act … I admit to being prematurely dismissive of Tipton’s willingness to entertain this piece of progressive legislation … So, let me apologize, and hope that U.S. Rep. Tipton and his staff continue to find common ground with Democrats (and Greens) on issues, as citizens of his district so earnestly hope for.
THE TALKING GOURD
Dirt, Sky and Things Between
- for Lois Hayna at 100
A birder must watch her foot’s
solid placement between roots, prickly pear.
It’s slow progress through poplars,
willows so leaf laden each twig
holds silver/green birds
in a pre-Audubon hallucination.
Real warblers escape the lens,
magpies klatsch in ponderosa tops
and heat distilled sandalwood scent rises
above the ant-chewed underworlds.
She stumbles on a cedar branch, loses
her footing, her binoculars, language:
place and birds, coyote slipping into shadow,
no words for this desperate joy.
- Liz Lewis