Winter 2015 MPCD Newsletter                                                   View this email in your Web Browser

Winter 2015 News

Annual Dinner & Stockgrowers Meeting, Ranching for Sage Grouse Workshop, Certified Burners Class, Water Law in a Nutshell Workshop,Tree Sales, Lake Granby Levels, Prepping for Weed Season, Manual Snow Courses, Nutritional Considerations for Horses, Annual Plan of Work & Budget, Land Planning & Adaptive Management

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Contact the  Middle Park Conservation District at anytime by calling the office at 970.724.3456 or Katlin's cell at 970.531.0127.

Annual Stockgrowers Meeting on Feb 6th

The Middle Park Stockgrowers will hold their Annual Meeting on
Friday, February 6, 2015 @ 2pm
Grand County Extension Hall at the Fairgrounds in Kremmling, CO

Call Katlin at 970.531.0127 with questions
Annual Dinner Set for February 7th

The Middle Park Conservation District and Middle Park Stockgrowers invite you to join us for our
2015 Stockgrower/MPCD Annual Dinner
February 7, 2015
Latigo Ranch near Kremmling

Dinner will feature a Prime Rib or Salmon entree with side salad, potato, and dessert.  
Click here for a Reservation Form

Please RSVP by February 1st
Call Katlin at 970.531.0127 to Reserve


Ranching for Sage Grouse Workshop
February 9th & 11th

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is hosting a Ranching for Sage Grouse Workshop to provide you with the technical information you need to foster productive Greater sage-grouse habitat on your land.

Topics Include:
  •  Sage-Grouse Biology and Habitat Needs
  •  Grazing Management
  •  Predator Management
  •  Habitat Management
  •  Funding & Cost-Share Opportunities
Workshops will be held on
February 9th in Steamboat Springs (9:30-5:30)
February 11th in Craig (9:30-5:30)
RSVP by February 5th to
Lunch Will Be Served

See the links below for more information.

Ranching for Sage Grouse Flyer & Agenda
Certified Burner Class
To Be Held in Granby from Feb 27th-Mar 1st

The Grand Fire Chiefs are hosting a 3-day Certified Burner Class at the end of February.  This 20-24 hour course is designed to enable attendees to receive basic introductory training in the planning, design and implementation of low complexity “pile” burn projects.

Topics include...
  • Fundamental review of Basic Wildland Fire Behavior, including considerations for Weather and Topography
  • Project & Pile Design
  • Smoke Management
  • Legal Liability
  • Development of site-specific Burn Plans
  • Risk Management & Project Complexity
Upon completion of this course, private entities can initiate a task book certification process through the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control (DFPC) as a Certified Burner Level B Trainee.  Once certified, private individuals may receive LIMITED LIABILITY PROTECTION from the State of Colorado in the event unforeseen and undesirable events occur on a burn project.
Class Details
February 27 (5:30-10pm)
February 28 (8am-5pm)
March 1 (8am-5pm)
Cost: FREE!!!
Location: Granby Fire Station
RSVP:, 720.556.4247

Certified Burner Class Flyer

'Water Law in a Nutshell' Workshop Set for April 10th in Summit

The Middle Park Conservation District (MPCD) is planning to host another water law seminar on ‘Water Law in a Nutshell’.  The presenter is Aaron Clay, Attorney of Law and former Water Referee for the Colorado Water Court, Division 4.

The seminar is an all day event from 8am to 5pm and includes discussions on appropriation, perfection, use, abandonment and enforcement of various types of water rights and ditch rights.  Further discussion may also include special rules for groundwater, public rights in appropriated water, and federal/interstate compacts.
When:  April 10, 2015 (8am-5pm)
Where: Summit County Commons in Frisco, CO
Cost: $50, includes lunch
RSVP by March 27, 2015

Twenty individuals are needed to make this seminar a success, so please fill out the Reservation Form below and return by March 27th.  Call Katlin with the Middle Park Conservation District at 970-531-0127 or with questions. 

Water Law Summit Reservation Form

Tree Seedlings Still For Sale

      The Middle Park Conservation District is still offering tree seedlings for sale to landowners wishing to conserve their properties.  Seedlings are grown at the Colorado State Forest Service Nursery in Fort Collins and can be purchased in bulk for really low prices.   Seedlings come in packages of 1, 10, 25, 30, or 50 trees and range in size from 5 inches to 14 inches tall.  You can choose from over 60 different options!

Tree seedlings will be available for purchase through the Middle Park Conservation District until May 1st.  However, some species have already sold out, so it is better to ORDER SOONER RATHER THAN LATER.
  Seedlings will be delivered in mid-May to both Grand and Summit Counties.

Click here to see the SOLD OUT list.  

Click here to download the 2015 Order Form

Lake Granby Levels

I don’t know if any of you, like me, noticed earlier this winter how high Lake Granby’s level seemed and how long it took to freeze over.  This observation triggered me to contact Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District (NCWCD) to see what was up.  This is what I found out…
According to an article in the December Issue of WaterNews, Northern Water’s stores are the highest they’ve ever been, at 200,000 acre-feet above normal.  This is 20% higher than the previous all-time high in 1997.  Due to above average precipitation fall last year, water users on the east slope did not call for as much water as they would in a typical year.  In fact, the article states that Colorado-Big Thompson deliveries were the second lowest of all-time, at just over 120,000 acre-feet.   Thus, reservoirs on the east slope did not get drawn down or replenished with water from Lake Granby as much as they normally would.  Consequently, Lake Granby stayed full for much of the summer and even spilled three different times.  Apparently, it is unusual for Granby to spill even twice in the same year, nonetheless three times.  Finally, the official freeze date on Lake Granby this year was December 31, 2014, compared to December 20th in an average year.   
Looking towards summer 2015, I was told by Brian Werner of Northern Water that there is a ‘strong likelihood’ of a spill on Lake Granby this coming summer.  Brian said that peak runoff usually occurs in mid-June, but if we get a decent snowpack and a spill seems inevitable, Northern Water will do smaller preemptive releases in April, May, and June to reduce the potential impacts of downstream flooding caused by a spill. 
For more information on the Northern Water Conservancy District or the WaterNews article described above, click the links below.

WaterNews Article
Northern Water Fact Sheet
Northern Water Statistics

Prepping for Next Year's Weed Season

Though weeds may be out-of-sight, out-of-mind right now.  It is important to start prepping for next year's weed season this winter and early spring.  

Think about what weeds you had problems with last year, where they were at, and what chemicals or weed control options worked and didn't work.  Consider getting your chemical and other weed control supplies (such as tanks and sprayers) now when they may be available at a discounted rate.  If you don't have the means or time to control the weeds yourself, consider contacting a commercial weed sprayer in your area now to get on their books for the coming year.  Lists of commercial weed sprayers are below, as well as contact information for the Grand and Summit Weed Departments.  

Commercial Applicators in Grand County

Commercial Applicators in Summit County

Grand County Weed Department: 970.887.0745

Summit County Weed Department: 970.668.4218

Also check out the weed page of our website for great info and weed control.  Click Here

Manual Snow Course Surveys to Start This Week

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will begin its Manual Snow Course Surveys this week.  Manual Snow Courses are read the last week of every month from January through April, dating back to the 1930s.

They are performed by using a snow probe to measure the depth, density, and water content of snow along various line transects in watersheds throughout the Western US. 

The manual courses complement the newer automated SNOTEL sites that report real-time snow and precpitation figures.  Within 13 western states (including Alaska), there are 1,185 manual snow courses and 858 SNOTEL sites.  In Middle Park alone, there are 5 manual courses and 14 SNOTEL Sites. 

To read the latest snow course report, check the MPCD Website late next week or check out the report in the local newspaper next week or the following week.  You can look at the current SNOTEL data anytime by clicking the link below.

MPCD Website for Manual Snow Course Report
SNOTEL Site Data

Resource: NRCS Snotel Brochure <>

Nutritional Considerations for Horses

In past MPCD Newsletters, I have spoken about nutritional requirements and considerations of beef cattle.  Today, I am focusing on horses.
Horses, unlike cattle, are ‘hindgut fermenters’.  The majority of their microbial fermentation occurs in the large intestine, after food has already passed through the highly acidic simple stomach.  The advantage of this type of digestion is that the horse gets first dibs on easily digestible nutrients before the microbes get to them.  Thus, the brain gets a more consistent flow of glucose with less energy spent getting it.  The digestion/retention time in horses is also quicker than that of cows or other ruminants.  Conversely, disadvantages are that horses are less efficient at extracting nutrients from poorer quality feed because there is no rumination (re-chewing of cud).  Microbial protein is also not available to horses because it is passed right through via defecation.  Accordingly, horses typically eat more than cows do, chew more thoroughly before swallowing, and graze for longer periods of time throughout the day and night. 
With regard to nutrient requirements, horses, like all animals, require the six basic nutrients: Water, Carbohydrates, Protein, Fat, Vitamins, and Minerals.  
The National Research Council has a really neat online database that you can use to figure out your horse’s nutritional needs. 
Click here to access instructions to the NRC database.  For quicker reference, I have also included some links below to general dietary requirements of horses.  This will not be as accurate as the NRC table discussed above but will give you good generalizations. 
It is also important to note that Water is essential to keep the animal hydrated and prevent an intestinal impaction or colic.  Horses typically require one-half gallon per pound of feed fed (or 10-12 gallons per day).  More water may be required for work animals, animals in extreme temperatures, or animals fed very poor quality or dry feed.  Also try to make sure the water is not freezing cold because the horse will not drink as much if it is too cold. 

The University of Minnesota also has a good article on feeding horses in the winter. 
You can read it by clicking here.  In short, "For every degree below 18°F the horse requires an additional 1% energy in their diet. Many people believe that feeding more concentrates (because they are energy dense), will help keep the horse warmer. However, there isn't as much heat produced as a byproduct of digestion, absorption and utilization of grains as there is from the microbial fermentation of forages. Consequently increasing the amount of forage in the diet will help meet the increasing energy needs and will result in an increase in microbial fermentation which will help keep the horse warm. For example, if a 1000 lb horse needed 16 lbs of good-quality hay each day when the temperature was 18° F, its requirement could be expected to increase by approximately 2 - 2.5 lbs to 18 -18.5 lbs if the temperature dropped to 0° F. The increased dietary energy requirement would be even greater if the horse didn't have access to shelter."

Links to Quick Reference Guides
Feed Management & Intake (scroll down part way to see Expected % Feed Intake)
Nutrient Recommendations (scroll down to last page to see tables)
Crude Protein Requirement Table

Websites referenced in the writing of this article...

2015 MPCD Annual Plan of Work

The Board of Supervisors for the Middle Park Conservation District have finalized their 2015 Annual Plan of Work.  This plan describes what the Board hopes to accomplish throughout the year.  The plan is broken down into six different Resource Concerns that the Board feels best represent the conservation issues facing landowners and citizens in Middle Park.  They include...
  1. Range, Hay, and Pasture Management
  2. Noxious Weeds
  3. Forest Health & Management
  4. Water Conservation
  5. Wildlife
  6. Small Acreage Management
To read see our 2015 Annual Plan of Work, our 2015 Budget, our our 2014 Completed Annual Plan of Work click the links below.

2015 Annual Plan of Work
2015 Budget
2014 Completed Annual Plan of Work
Help us develop future Annual Plans of Work by giving us your input on Resource Concerns in Middle Park. CLICK HERE!

Land Planning & Adaptive Management

Unless we practice conservation, those who come after us will have to pay the price of misery, degradation, and failure for the progress and prosperity of our day.  ~Gifford Pinchot
This quote from Gifford Pinchot (better known as the Father of Conservation) perfectly captures the essence of conservation and the need to establish good land stewards today.  This all starts with conservation-minded Land Planning.  Whether you have a lot of land or just a little land, you can take steps to conserve your property for generations to come.
There are Nine Basic Steps of Planning that the Natural Resources Conservation Service uses to establish and maintain Conservation Plans.  Though the process may seem simple in theory, it is really important to actually work your way through it and check back in regularly to make sure you’re still on target.

Step One: Identify the Problem 
 Sometimes people get in a groove of doing things the same way they’ve always been done and turning on their blinders to everything else.  This initial step is meant to just step back and look at the big picture.  Is there anything going awry, or anything that could be going better or your land, with your herd, or in your life in general?  Example could be: poor irrigation management with an inability to manage water flow, overgrazing or undergrazing in certain areas, low weaning weight, poor body condition score, too much beetle kill on your property or a newly-cleared forest, too many noxious weeds, inability to breakeven financially at the end of the year, etc…  Whatever your problem is, write it down and move onto the next step. 
Step Two: Determine the Objective 
Now that you have determined your problem, determine what your goals and objectives are.  What would you like to see your land look like?  Where do your want your water to go or to be checked up at?  Where would you rather have your animals graze or their weight and body condition score to be at?  What do you want the forest on your property to look like?  What is a tolerable level of weeds?  What is your breakeven point?
Step Three: Inventory the Resources
This is where you actually get out there and see what you’ve got on your property.  How much water are you actually putting down your ditch?  How much water is coming out at the end?  What is the actual forage quantity in “overgrazed” and “undergrazed” areas?  What are your actual weaning weights and body condition scores?  How many dead trees are there and how much regeneration is there in your forest?  How big is your weed problem?  What are your actual incomes and expenses?
Step Four: Analyze the Resource Data
Now that you have collected your data, look at and try to figure out what’s really going on.  Do you have a leaky ditch problem or just a damning problem?  Are your animals tending to overgraze the areas nearest their water source or maybe their mineral source?  Are your body condition scores and weights what you thought they were or better/worse? Were your animals better during a certain time of the year than they were at a different time of the year?  Does you feed meet your animals’ nutritional requirements?  How does your regeneration compare to what is expected or desired? Were your incomes and expenses average this year or exceedingly high/low?  If you did sample plots (i.e. sampled ¼ ac or 15% of the herd, etc…), how does that extrapolate across a larger area or the entire herd)?
Step Five: Formulate the Alternative Solutions
Now that you’ve figured out the problem, what you desire, and what you have, let’s figure out how you can get there.  Think of all the possible solutions to your problem, not thinking of practicality yet…just ALL the possibilities.  Is it pipes or PAM for the better water management?  Is it fencing or moving water/mineral sources for better grazing management?  Is it providing supplements or better forage for your cattle?  Is it logging your dead trees or planting seedlings or thinning your saplings?  Is it spraying herbicides or hand pulling weeds?  Is it decreasing unnecessary expenses and increasing your income or just choosing different expenses that may be for efficient for your budget in the long run?
Step Six: Evaluate the Alternative Solutions      
Now that you have all the possibilities, let’s look at practicality.  Maybe you may not have the funds to do all the different possibilities, but maybe there are grants that you can get to help you with the cost.  Do you have the time to spend doing some of the options, or can you hire someone else to do it for you?  Look at all the pros and cons.  Some of them might surprise you.

Step Seven: Determine the Course of Action
Now is the time to decide what you’re going to do.  Decide on your plan and a timeline to go along with it.  Sometimes plans take months or even years to complete, but write the timeline down so that you can refer back to it.  This timeline will act as a good self-motivator if you realize you’re behind schedule or a little pat on the back for sticking with the program.   

 Step Eight: Implement the Plan
 You’ve decided on a plan, so now you’ve got to do it.  Some plans are more of a marathon than they are a sprint, so don’t get on yourself it is taking a long time implement and see the results. 
Step Nine: Evaluate the Results of the Plan
Once you’ve implemented your plan, look at the results.  Did you accomplish what you set put to do?  Are there things you could have done differently?  Is there more to be done?  Did you identify a new problem in the process?
Step nine can actually go along with step eight if you have a long implementation plan.  This is called Adaptive Management.  As you’re going along and see that things aren’t working out like you’d hoped, stop, reassess, and adjust your plan accordingly.  This is different than Trial & Error because you are Leaning by Doing and using your past experiences and knowledge to decide how to progress.  Your continual monitoring allows for quicker more educated adjustments to your plan.  With Adaptive Management, your plan may not necessarily have a distinct ‘END’.  It may be more of a circle that’s pretty bumpy at the beginning with lots of hiccups and adjustments but the circle should become smoother over time.  It is a marathon, not a sprint. 
If you need assistance starting the Land Planning process, consider contacting
Mark Volt, NRCS District Conservationist, at 970.724.3456 or Ron Cousineau, CSFS District Forester, at 970.887.3121.  Both men are very knowledgable and can help you put your thoughts on paper and get your plan in action. 
The content of this newsletter is for Educational Purposes ONLY.  We have attempted to site opinions, beliefs and viewpoints from various sources and professionals.  These opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Middle Park Conservation District or its Board of Supervisors/Employees.  It is always recommended that you seek independent advice before implementing new management practices.
Copyright © 2015 Middle Park Conservation District, All rights reserved.

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