Eagle residents rally for wildlife | VailDaily.com

Eagle residents rally for wildlife

EAGLE ” The large herd of elk that’s been wintering near Eagle Ranch has a new friend.

During the past couple of weeks, a number of local residents have formed a group called Eagle Valley Habitat for Wildlife. Their mission? To be the voice of elk, mule deer, coyotes and other animals that live in the Brush Creek Valley.

Its formation comes just in time. The town of Eagle is reviewing it’s growth policies with the update of the Eagle Area Community Plan under way. The wildlife group wants town officials to keep three things in mind while reviewing that plan:

– Protecting Brush Creek, the gateway to Sylvan Lake State Park and the White River National Forest lands that attract visitors and provide the community with tourism revenues.

– Encouraging developers and local governments to use land-use practices such as clustering, or grouping newly built homes close together, using conservation easements to preserve open space, use transferable developments rights, which allow land owners to sell their development rights to others, and other planning techniques, in order to protect habitat.

– Working with the Colorado Division of Wildlife on a plan that will allow wildlife to continue to thrive in the valleys.

Arlene Quenon, one of the founding members of the wildlife group, was busily passing out flyers at City Market to encourage residents to attend a meeting about the community plan earlier this week. Quenon stressed Eagle Valley Habitat for Wildlife is not an anti-development group, but rather a gathering of citizens who want to lobby for smart growth.

“We want to include best planning practices in any development,” she said.

As part of that vision, Quenon said the group is committed to the preservation of wildlife habitat, and especially the routes wildlife use to travel around the Brush Creek Valley during critical winter months.

Eagle Valley Habitat for Wildlife is in the beginning stages. “We welcome everyone’s participation and support,” Quenon said. “So many people, when you ask them if they care about preserving wildlife, say, ‘of course we do.'”

This story appeared first in the Eagle Valley Enterprise.

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