Eco-briefs | City offers events on water and weeds

Myrtle spurge
Photo courtesy of Boulder OSMP

The City of Boulder is holding two events on May 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the East Boulder Community Center, 5660 Sioux Drive, to cover some summer concerns: water restrictions and a noxious weed eradication program.

Although snowfall in April means the city will not call for water restrictions this summer, the city’s Water Conservation Program will continue to stress water efficiency and will charge higher rates for water use considered to be over budget.

The Water Conservation Fair on May 18 will feature a free screening of Robert Redford’s Watershed, a sale of low-water plants and vegetables, and drought-friendly turf and tree planting demonstrations.

At the same time, the city will host “Purge Your Spurge,” an event to encourage residents to remove noxious weeds from their property and exchange them for free native plants.

The myrtle spurge is commonly used as a decoration, but is a “List A” noxious weed that has been mandated by the state to be eliminated by Colorado private property owners.

Myrtle spurge can negatively affect biodiversity, displace wildlife, increase soil erosion and increase the risk and frequency of wildfires, if allowed to spread, according to the city.

“Early detection and eradication of these particular species can prevent them from becoming a major problem in Colorado,” Rella Abernathy, integrated pest management coordinator, said in a press release. “Most of these plants are ‘escaped’ ornamental plants and many residents may not realize that they present a threat to the natural lands surrounding Boulder and are illegal to grow here.”


While drilling in Delta County remains relatively limited, an area activist group, Citizens for a Healthy Community, has announced plans for an air quality sampling project that will establish a baseline for toxic chemicals associated with oil and gas drilling before companies follow up on proposed developments.

Instead of a stationary air quality sampling location, local residents will carry backpacks with air-sampling devices inside them for 24-hour periods to measure human exposure to chemicals in the air.

“It’s what we can’t see or smell — chemicals in the air that come from drilling — that could be harming the health of local families,” Jim Ramey, director of Citizens for a Healthy Community, said in a press release. “We expect our air sampling project will serve as a model for other communities across the country who are fighting to protect their health and environment from runaway drilling and fracking.”

Only a few wells per year are drilled in the Delta County region currently, but hundreds more have been proposed. The air quality project is expected to establish a baseline record before oil and gas development increases.