Wildlife Commissioner meetings go live | PostIndependent.com

Wildlife Commissioner meetings go live

Phillip Yates
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” The Colorado Wildlife Commissioners meet all across the state.

They represent one of the few state agencies that takes its leaders on the road for meetings and workshops, where the commissioners can make decisions that affect the state.

And now Colorado residents can listen in to the commissioners’ meeting from the comfort of their own home. Earlier this month, the Colorado Wildlife Commissioners, who oversee the Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW), had their first meeting broadcast in audio over the Internet.

Randy Hampton, a spokesman for the DOW, said the state legislature has been web-casting its proceedings for years. But its harder for the Colorado Wildlife Commission to do the same thing, because the body has its meetings around the state.

“If the meetings were always held at our offices in Denver, we probably would have been on the Internet years ago,” Hampton said. “The challenge is that those meetings move around and sometimes you end up with an issue at a meeting in Lamar that may affect people in Craig.”

The ability for people to now listen into those meetings, even if they are occurring at a town far away from their homes, “is a big advantage,” Hampton said.

At the inaugural web-casting, they agreed to a surface-use agreement with Orion Energy Partners that will allow the company to begin drilling operations in Garfield Creek State Wildlife Area this summer. The commissioners voted to support the agreement because the DOW does not own the surface minerals below the wildlife refuge’s surface. The agreement was also the only way for the DOW to have Orion follow agency requests to minimize wildlife disturbances in the area.

The next meeting will take place on July 10 in Durango and streaming audio will be made available then as well, according to the DOW.

Dorothea Farris, a member of the Colorado Wildlife Commission and a Pitkin County commissioner, said the other commissioners were thinking about the impact of their words during the last meeting because it was broadcast on the Internet.

“For many of them, I think it was the first time they were recorded and talking into a (microphone) knowing many people could be listening,” Farris said. “But everyone seemed to like it.”

Despite the initial hesitation from some commissioners, Farris said the web-casting of commission meetings will be a benefit for people interested in what they do.

“If we can make it easier for people to participate, that’s good,” she said.

Contact Phillip Yates: 384-9117


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