Save the elk, says new Eagle group | VailDaily.com
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Save the elk, says new Eagle group

Wendy Griffith/Special to the DailyElk gather in the meadow south of the Eagle Ice Rink. Residents have formed a group to try to protect wildlife in the area.
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EAGLE ” Set aside the clipboards and the door-to-door campaigning. The Eagle Valley Habitat for Wildlife citizens group is promoting their cause via cyberspace.

They want citizens concerned about the future of the elk herd that winters on Brush Creek to do some electronic lobbying to drum up support for land conservation measures that would keep the herd around.

Specifically, the group wants citizens to sign a letter to the Eagle Valley Land Trust, a nonprofit conservation group.

“We hope to get 500 signatures or more on our letter to the Eagle Valley Land Trust,” group member Debbie Comerford says.

That letter is posted at the group’s new Web site ” http://www.evhfw.org. Anyone who wishes to add his or her name to the document can do so electronically.

If the group is successful in attracting the land trust’s attention, members hope to partner up for land preservation agreements that will protect wildlife habibtat in the Brush Creek Valley.

Group members say they are looking at all possible tools ranging from outright land purchases to buying development rights to scaled back development that preserves wildlife corridors.

“The elk numbers this winter were unprecidented,” says member Rosie Shearwood, a longtime Brush Creek resident. “The development pressure on the animals has been enormous. It’s unimaginable to think what the future will hold with development as it has been planned.”

Founding members of Eagle Valley Habitat for Wildlife have found a wellspring of support for their cause. An initial organizational meeting attracted strong response. Citizen comments generated as part of the Eagle Area Community Plan update indicated widespread support for protecting wildlife.

That confirmation prompted the group to cast an eye toward the local organization charged with preserving open space.

“We are hoping the Eagle Valley Land Trust can provide some leadership,” says Comerford.

Highlights of the letter to the Eagle Valley Land Trust:

– The Brush Creek Valley is threatened like never before.

– Wildlife, feeling the pressure of development from all four corners, have found a safe winter haven on lower Brush Creek, and we, the members of Eagle Valley Habitat For Wildlife are seeking an answer to the question, “where will they go from here”?

– We want to leave the inheritance to our children and grandchildren, that at least somewhere in this valley, they can view it as it once was, and imagine how ranchers once worked it, made a living from it, and appreciated how it supported both them and their other neighbors, the wildlife.

– Beside the large number of elk, the wildlife that flourishes there include deer, coyote, bobcat, raccoon, fox, and in the areas further from town, bear and mountain lion are present. The entire area is very popular with eagles, hawks, owls, herons, and even a flock of vultures that appear every spring.

Vast numbers of small birds indigenous to open fields and stream sides abound. Brush Creek itself provides rich riparian habitat for countless species of plant life as well as providing renowned trout fishing opportunities.

– The existence of this unique area is being threatened as early as this year by proposed massive developments called The Haymeadow, and Upper and Lower Adam’s Rib Ranch. The citizens of the Eagle area are responding to this issue.

– From the process to update the Eagle Area Community Plan, there came a very strong thread, and it was overwhelmingly, people want to see this Brush Creek Valley preserved, protected, and undeveloped, and they want to protect their quality of life that is so enhanced by this open space.

The complete letter can be viewed at http://www.evhfw.org


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