President - Alan Kosloff     Secretary - Ellie Caulkins    Treasurer - Patrick Gramm    Executive Director  -  Jim Lamont

Directors:  Judith Berkowitz  -  Dolph Bridgewater  -  Richard Conn  -  Gail Ellis  -  Ron Langley

Eugene Mercy  -  Bill Morton  -  Trygve Myhren  -  Gretta Parks  -  Emeritus: Bob Galvin


To:        VVHA Membership and Interested Parties

From:    Jim Lamont

Date:     August 21, 2006

RE:       Environmental Issues Ė Pine Beetle Infestation, Gore Creek Clean-up and I70 Noise Berms


Pine Beetle Infestation:  The attached report summarizes the Associationís most recent efforts to bring about constructive action concerning the Pine Beetle infestation.  We are informed that the Town of Vail may take action on the Associationís recommendation to used biomass heat and electric generators using beetle-killed timber as fuel.   The Town has given no recent updates regarding its intended plan.  The Association is working with academic interests to formulate long-term strategies and instructional changes to mitigate both the physical and aesthetic impacts of the beetle kill blight. 


The removal of beetle kill tree and infected aspen groves in areas surrounding the Town of Vail is moving forward.  Subsequent to the United States Forest Service (USFS) rejection of an appeal filed by a few Minturn and Avon residents.  The purpose of the removal is to reduce the wildfire threat to buildings adjacent to the national forest.  Some environmental interests are seeking to prohibit the removal of beetle kill.  See linked VVHA status report and news articles.  

Gore Creek Clean-up and I70 Noise Mitigation:  The Association assisted the Bald Mountain Road neighborhood association in expediting governmental decisions to proceed with the next phase of the I-70 noise barrier.  All necessary approvals have been received.  Neighborhood property owners are expected to pay for their share of the project.

The noise berm is being constructed from road sand that has migrated from Interstate 70 into a tributary of Gore Creek.  An experimental project to dredge and pump the road sand out of the creek was unsuccessful.  Other methods are now being investigated.   It is possible the dispose of the sand that has not migrated into the creek by covering it with top soil and artificially restored.

Infiltration traps have been installed, greatly reducing the source of the pollution.  The Colorado Department of Highways (CDOT) has yet to make a significant commitment to remove the road sand that has already polluted the creek.  The sand continues to reduce the aquatic life necessary to maintain a quality fishery.

The Association has recommended more aggressive intervention by the Town of Vail.  The Town, if it cannot put sufficient pressure upon CDOT to properly fund and pursue the decade long clean-up, then the Association has recommended using Real Estate Transfer Tax (RETT) funds to accomplish the clean-up.

Using RETT to maintain open space appears to be a bona fide use of the fund.  Other interests are urging the Association to not pursue the use of RETT, as they have other intended uses for it.   They view the solution as the responsibility of CDOT, not the Town of Vail.  It is noted that the Town is jointly funding, in conjunction with the US Forest Service, the pine beetle removal on national forest land.