Wildlife commissioners field all sorts of questions in Glenwood | PostIndependent.com
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Wildlife commissioners field all sorts of questions in Glenwood

Phillip YatesPost Independent StaffGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS Colorado Wildlife Commission members answered dozens of questions on subjects ranging from proposed gas drilling in the Garfield Creek State Wildlife Area to the impacts of housing development on wildlife in the area during a public meeting Tuesday night.A small group of residents, Division of Wildlife officials and others met at the Glenwood Springs Community Center to ask questions of wildlife commissioners Roy McAnally and Tom Burke.Much of the meeting centered around gas drilling impacts on wildlife in Colorado, especially proposed drilling in the Garfield Creek State Wildlife area near New Castle.The agency cannot prevent drilling on the property because it does not own the mineral rights below the surface of the 13,500-acre state wildlife area. We did not anticipate that, said Ron Velarde, the northwest region manager for the DOW. In all of the circumstances, we had no idea (drilling) was going to occur. What we are doing is working with the company on a daily basis to minimize their impacts on the Garfield Creek State Wildlife area.Burke said oil and gas development is a reality in northwest Colorado and it is the mission of the wildlife commissioners and the DOW to protect the states wildlife. He said House Bill 1298, which directs the COGCC to draft new oil and gas rules to institute best management practices to protect area wildlife, is one way the state can help protect the areas resources.In response to a question on how antelope are faring this year, Velarde said the DOW is monitoring deer, elk and antelope on a regular basis in northwest Colorado. These animals havent seen a real winter since 1998, he said.Velarde said area deer have been doing well over this winter and elk also are doing well, except in certain areas. However, Velarde said that the state is expected to lose some antelope this winter.Another person in the audience asked about DOWs efforts to help wildlife in the wake of several development projects on the drawing board in the Roaring Fork Valley. The participant posed the question after seeing several animal carcasses along Highway 82.We do everything we can to make sure that we are doing our responsibility, but there is more than one agency involved that we dont have control over, said McAnally, pointing to the need for the Colorado Department of Transportations help in keeping wildlife off area roads.During the meeting, Burke also said House Bill 1137, a bill that would limit the DOWs ability to purchase property, has been postponed indefinitely in the state legislature.Contact Phillip Yates: 384-9117pyates@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO


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