Spring 2016 MPCD Newsletter                                                         View this email in your Web Browser

Spring 2016 News

Local Working Group Meeting, Forest Health & Noxious Weed Workshop, Tree Seedling & Perennial Sales,  Spring Seeding, 
Spring 2016 Seed Prices, Rock Dams for Erosion Control & Sage Grouse, Leadership Awareness with Horses Program,  Camp Rocky,  Conservation Conversations


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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.

Local Working Group Meeting:
April 19th @ 6pm

The most important thing in keeping conservation districts relevant to their citizens is locally led conservation. Regular input from those dealing with natural resource issues helps districts make their Long Range and Annual Plans more effective.
The Middle Park Conservation District intends to hold a Local Working Group Meeting on
April 19, 2016 at 6pm
NRCS/MPCD Office (106 S. 2nd Street, Kremmling)


The Local Working Group provides recommendations to NRCS on local natural resource priorities, helps draft local ranking questions, and recommends funding distributions for focus areas. The information provided will be used in development of the FY2017 financial assistance and easement programs.

Forest Insects & Diseases and Noxious Weeds Workshop
April 22nd

"Earth Day is an annual event, celebrated on April 22, on which day events worldwide are held to demonstrate support for environmental protection. It was first celebrated in 1970, and is celebrated in more than 192 countries each year."  (Wikipedia)

The Middle Park Conservation District, Colorado State Forest Service (Granby Office), and Grand County Division of Natural Resources intend to spend our Earth Day teaching YOU about Forest Insects & Diseases and Noxious Weeds. 

Forest Insects & Diseases/Noxious Weeds Workshop
April 22nd (Earth Day)
1pm - 4pm @ the Granby Library


For the Forest I&D portion of our workshop, we will discuss current Forest Insect and Disease activity in Grand County, basic diagnosis and treatment options, Best Management Practices for tree spraying. 

For the Noxious Weed portion of our workshop we will discuss noxious weeds and their look-a-likes, weed control options, reseeding, and sprayer calibration.

Please RSVP by April 20th to


Tree Seedlings and Perennials

Tree seedlings and perennials are still available but

If you wish to purchase tree seedlings or perennials this spring,
please contact Katlin at 970.531.0127 or

Trees/perennials will be delivered to Frisco and Granby on May 24th.

2015-2016 Tree Seedling Order Form

Spring Seeding:
Keys to Success

Establishing a stand of grass requires proper planning and attention to detail. Perennial grasses differ in establishment requirements compared to annual grain crops. Nine keys to successful grass seeding and establishment are presented in the following narrative. Adhering to these guidelines will greatly improve your chances of a successful grass stand. 
Key #1 – Kill the Weeds First
Weeds compete with seedlings for moisture, light, space, and nutrients.
At seeding time, there should be no actively growing weeds.
Key #2 – Use Adapted Species
Selecting species that are adapted for the conditions are you are planting in will make all the difference.  Soil, climate, elevation, and exposure all factor into species selection.  Adapted does not necessarily mean Native.  Native grasses are often very expense and in short supply.

Key #3 – Prepare a Good Seedbed
Correct firmness is when an adult footprint is only slightly visible on the prepared bed prior to the seeding operation.
Most species should be planted at a shallow depth of ¼ to ½ inch. Larger seeds can be planted up to 1 inch deep.
Seed to soil contact is imperative.  Seeds spread on top of vegetative residue will have much lower germination rates.
Key #4 – Seed at the Right Time
  In Grand and Summit Counties, we really only have cool-season grasses.  Cool-season grasses can be planted when temperatures are cooler and day lengths shorter.  Accordingly, the three main planning windows for grasses in Middle Park are:
Spring (late April-May right after snow melts off)
Late Summer (mid July-early August during the summer monsoons)
Late Fall (mid to end of October until first perennial snow)
Key #5 – Seed at the Proper Rate
On average, you should seed at a rate of 40 seeds per square foot.
When broadcast seeding by hand, the best way to determine your personal seeding rate is to cut out a 12”x12” piece of cardboard.  Spray paint it with black paint.  Then, toss some seed onto the cardboard square.  If you count more than 40 seeds on that square, you are seeding too thick.  If there are not 40 seeds on that square, you need to seed a little heavier.

Key #6 – Cover Your Seeds
Seeds are lost when wind and water wash them away, or birds and small mammals eat them.
You can cover your seeds by raking or dragging over your seeds with soil.  Mulch is also a good cover. Sawdust, straw, and peat moss are good options for mulch. If you are interseeding into existing grass, mulch may not be necessary.  When you look down at your mulched and seeded area, you should see about 50% mulch and 50% seed covered soil. If you apply it properly, you won’t have to remove the mulch later; it’ll just break down and disappear.
Key #7 – Water, Water, Water
Seeds and seedlings need adequate moisture to germinate and grow.  Even if you are buying a drought-tolerant seed mix, your little seeds need ample water. 
Make sure to water lightly and frequentlyIf you drench them too much, you risk washing them away.
Key #8 – To Fertilize or Not to Fertilize?
To fertilize or not to fertilize, that is the question.  The answer is, “IT DEPENDS”.   If you are seeding into an area that you know is weed free and does not have any weed seeds in it, then you are probably okay to fertilize at the same time as seeding.

 If, however, you are unsure that it is a weed free area, then you may want to wait to fertilize.  Fertilizer is non-specific, meaning that it will boost the growth of anything that it penetrates, including weeds.  Because weeds are genetically predisposed to rapid growth and establishment, fertilizer may give them an even bigger boost.   
Key #9 – Wait to Graze
If you are planning to graze the location you are seeding, it would be best to Wait one entire growing season prior to grazing any animals on the seeded site.   

Read the In-Depth Version of 9 Keys to Successful Seeding

2016 Seed Mixes & Prices

The Middle Park Conservation District has once again began to stock up our seed inventory in preparation for the spring seeding window.  Our stocked mixes include:
Dryland Pasture Mix, Irrigated Meadow Mix, Forest Mix, Short Mix, Dura Turf, Ladak Alfalfa, Forager Alfalfa, Purple Top Turnips, and Mountain Wildflower Mix. 

We've also added a new "Wildlife Mix" that includes:
Turnips, Ladak Alfalfa, Mammoth Red and Alsike Clover, and Sanfoin. 
It's a desirable mix for big game and livestock forage. 

April Snow Report
Snowpack Jumps Back Above Normal

     The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Kremmling Field Office snow surveyors Mark Volt and Vance Fulton took the April 1 snow survey measurements during the last days of March. Snowpack for Middle Park and the upper Colorado River Basin stands at 116 % of average.  We were only at 78% last April 1st.
     Thanks to a snowy March, the snowpack in the mountains above Middle Park now ranges from 95% to 141% of the 30-year average. Snow density is averaging 29%, which means that for a foot of snow there are 3.5 inches of water. At this point in time irrigators, towns, river runners and other water users can expect near normal river levels this summer. From this point on, spring runoff will be highly dependent on melting conditions (i.e., temperature and wind), as well as spring snow accumulation and/or rainfall.
    Reported average readings for the major river basins in Colorado are as follows:  Colorado River Basin 104%; Gunnison River Basin, 93%; South Platte River Basin,107%; Yampa and White River Basins,104%; Arkansas River Basin, 85%; Upper Rio Grande Basin, 88%; San Miguel, Dolores, Animas, and San Juan River Basins 81%; and  Laramie and North Platte River Basins, 110%.
     Most of the snow courses around Middle Park have been read since the 1940s.  Snow course readings are taken at the end of each month, beginning in January and continuing through April.  March is historically the snowiest month, and the April 1 readings are the most critical for predicting runoff and summer water supplies, as most of our high country snowpack peaks around that time.  Manual snow courses will be read for the final time this year at the end of April.
    For further information, including real-time snow and precipitation data for SNOTEL (automated Snow Telemetry) sites, visit

Rock Dams for Erosion Control & Sage Grouse

(Article by Brooke Vasquez, Wildlife Biologist, Gunnison Conservation District, 970-642-4416)

"The Gunnison Basin is dominated by sagebrush. Within the sagebrush habitat, there are narrow strips of riparian and wet meadow habitats. These areas are important because they provide habitat to a variety of wildlife species. One species in particular is the Gunnison Sage-grouse, a species currently listed as Threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Due to past land uses, riparian habitats have been altered and degraded which negatively affects habitat quality and quantity. Without active restoration, loss of riparian and wet meadow habitats  will adversely impact a variety of species that depend on them.  In 2015, the Gunnison Conservation District partnered with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, The Nature Conservancy, Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, Habitat Partnership Program, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, U.S. Forest Service, and a private landowner to implement a large riparian habitat restoration project across both U.S. Forest Service land and privately owned land.

In this riparian area, the plant species composition was shifting from moist soil plant species to less desirable dry soil species. Soil moisture retention was being reduced through water channelization and gully development.  In order to reduce habitat degradation and loss, the Gunnison Conservation District worked with Bill Zeedyk, Zeedyk Ecological Consulting, to restore the system’s hydrology by building rock structures designed by Bill Zeedyk to accomplish grade stabilization and repair the altered and degraded habitat. By repairing the gully, the system’s hydrology will be restored thus increasing the soil's ability to hold water longer, decreasing plant stress, increasing plant production and vigor, and building in more resistance to soil erosion."

Though this project took place in the Gunnison area, its applications also fit Middle Park.  It can restore wetland habitats, reduce erosion, increase productivity, and improve water quality and quantity.  Take a look at the fantastic YouTube Video belows discussing the applications of Rock Dams. 

YouTube Video on Rock Dams

Leadership Awareness with Horses
Submitted by John Longhill, MPCD Board Member

      Leadership Awareness with Horses offered at Blue River Horse Sanctuary in the Lower Blue River Valley, help children learn the importance of self-leadership and responsibility while working with rescued horses. At BRHS horses are our partners in developing life skills.
When children interact with our horses, the horses respond to how the kids are being (either a victim or a leader) and they react accordingly. If a child acts like a victim, the horse will take charge and it can be very scary for the child. If a child acts like a leader, the horse feels safe and will look to the child for safety and security. When this occurs an amazing bond is formed, which in turn builds confidence in the child.
Leadership begins at the personal level - with oneself, and once a child is directing their life in positive ways, then they will natural attract others who want to share in that experience. This is the basis for true leadership skills.
Most of the kids in our Leadership Program come from difficult situations.   Fortunately, in just one day with our horses and learning the skills of self-awareness and leadership - they are transformed and empowered. They leave a different person because they have been given the gift of knowing that they and only they are the masters of their life. It is an amazing thing to watch and it is an incredible gift to these children!


Blue River Horse Sanctuary Inc.
PO Box 25749, Silverthorne, Colorado 80497

Phone: 970-389-8496

Camp Rocky:
Natural Resource Camp for 14-19 yr olds

Divide, CO
July 10-16, 2016

Camp Rocky is a week long, residential camp for 14 through 19 year olds who enjoy the outdoors and are interested in natural resources.  The camp is located just outside Divide, Colorado. Camp Rocky’s professional staff helps participants learn about their environment through hands-on experiences.  The students work in teams, making new friends from across Colorado. Each year, new and returning students choose one of four resource fields for their area of focus.  Then, at the end of the week, groups of students develop and present their group natural resource action plans.  Additional activities include volleyball games, hiking, a campfire, group challenges, talent show and a dance!  The four resource fields students can choose from include:

Forest Management
Rangeland Science

Soil and Water Conservation

Fish & Wildlife Management

The cost of the camp is $350; however, partial scholarships may be available by contacting Katlin with the Middle Park Conservation District at 970-531-0127 or  While at Camp Rocky, you will bunk in a cabin with about eight other students and eat great food supplied by the camp.

Camp Rocky Brochure & Contact Info
Space is limited to the first 60 applicants
Conservation Conversations

‘Conservation conversations’ is a new series in the Grand Gazette brought to you by the Middle Park Conservation District.   The intent is to explore a variety of conservation-related topics that get people thinking and talking about the natural world we live in.

Articles are published monthly, and so far, we have written articles on History of Conservation, March Celebrations, and Resource Management Yellow Pages

Conservation Conversation Articles

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 © 2016 Middle Park Conservation District, All rights reserved.

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