Eagle Valley Land Trust has 2021 plans in Vail | VailDaily.com

Eagle Valley Land Trust has 2021 plans in Vail

Conservation group wants to work to replace erosion dams on the Buffehr Creek easement and recruit volunteers

The Eagle Valley Land Trust holds a number of conservation easements around the county, including a few in Vail.

Vail’s open space efforts have received help from the Eagle Valley Land Trust. That local nonprofit oversees conservation easements throughout the county, including a handful in Vail.

The land trust currently oversees conservation easements — essentially contracts that prohibit future development on a property — on Ptarmigan, Buffehr and Meadow creeks, as well as the East Vail waterfall. Those easements total 23 acres and 2.5 miles of trails.

During a Dec. 15 presentation to the Vail Town Council, Nancy Glass, the land trust’s stewardship manager, went over some of the group’s ideas for 2021.

In her review, Glass told councilmembers the town is doing a “wonderful job” managing its open lands. She showed councilmembers a photo of a makeshift bike ramp in the Meadow Creek area that was taken down soon after its discovery.

Glass said the land trust’s mission is to protect land for both scenic and wildlife values. Wildlife isn’t just big animals, Glass added, but includes wildflowers and the animals that pollenate them. Scenic protection also includes preserving waterfalls, aspen stands and other features.

For 2021, Glass said the land trust wants to work to replace erosion dams on the Buffehr Creek easement. The group also hopes to recruit volunteers for projects — with a staff of just six, volunteer help is essential — and is reaching out to the Vail Valley Mountain Trails Alliance. The trust also is asking for technical support for projects.

Glass said the land trust is also working with the businesses and the Land and Rivers Fund. Participating businesses add 1% to customers’ bills, with the proceeds going toward protection and programs.

Glass said once the local program hits $100,000 in annual net revenue, a program will be set up for project grants.

Councilmember Kim Langmaid said the land trust has a “strong role” to play in preservation, scientific monitoring of wildlife, education and more.

What’s a conservation easement?

A conservation easement is essentially a permanent contract held by a third party that prohibits future development, no matter who owns a piece of property. Easements can provide tax benefits or cash to property owners.

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