Eco-briefs | City to hand out free reuseable bags ahead of fee

A map of the proposed Colorado wilderness expansion
Boulder Weekly Staff | Boulder Weekly


In the days preceding the July 1 effective date for the 10-cent bag fee the Boulder City Council approved in November, the city will be distributing free bags at grocery stores throughout the city.

The city of Boulder acquired about 40,000 bags to give away, and has been distributing bags throughout the month of June at grocery stores around the city. Jamie Harkins, Boulder’s business sustainability specialist, says the city has given away bags faster than expected, but anticipates purchasing more for when students return in the fall.

Reusable bags have also been given to local organizations that will provide them to lower income households.

Upcoming bag giveaways will be held Saturday, June 29, Sunday, June 30 and Monday, July 1 at all Boulder Safeway and King Soopers locations, and July 3 at Bands on the Bricks, on the 1200 block of Pearl Street.

For more information regarding the fee, visit

— Patrick Fort


The United States’ floodplain area could grow by about 45 percent by the year 2100, according to a new Federal Emergency Management Agency study. Normal population growth increases the amount of artificial areas, like parking lots and roads, that don’t absorb water like soil does, as well as the amount of water waste. About 30 percent of increases in floodplain areas are estimated to be a result of normal population growth. The other 70 percent is estimated to be a result of climate change.

The increased floodplain area is also estimated to lead to more flood insurance policies and payouts, according to FEMA, which maintains and updates maps for the National Flood Insurance Program.

The report estimates that the total number of insurance policies will increase by around 80 percent by 2100.

The average loss cost per policy is also estimated to increase by about 50 percent by 2100.

— Ainslee Mac Naughton


The Colorado Wilderness Act of 2013, introduced by Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Denver) on June 24, proposes wilderness protections for 750,000 acres across the state in 31 wilderness areas and two potential wilderness areas.

The act is slated as a response to increasing demands on the natural resources provided by those lands, such as oil and gas, and DeGette’s announcement of the act says 13.6 percent of Bureau of Land Management lands are leased for oil and gas activities, and 2.6 percent are protected as wilderness.

“These special lands not only provide clean air, clean water and critical wildlife habitat, they help drive tourism as our state’s number one economic engine,” DeGette said in a press release. “It is critically important we protect these remaining wild areas so that future generations have access to the same benefits we enjoy today.”

The landscapes targeted have been mid-elevation lands (wilderness designation often goes to higher elevation lands) and lower-lying canyons, many of which are underrepresented in the National Wilderness Preservation System, according to DeGette.

The proposed wilderness areas are in the high deserts in Fremont and Chaffee counties, as well as Mesa, Garfield, Hinsdale and Montrose counties, among others.

“The 2013 Conservation in the West Poll by Colorado College found very strong support for premier public lands as being an essential part of the state’s economy and necessary to attract high-quality jobs and employers; three-fourths or more of Republicans, Independents and Democrats alike surveyed register such support, showing land protection is not a partisan issue,” said Prof. Walter Hecox, the Colorado College State of the Rockies Project faculty director, according to a press release.

Additional information, including a map of the areas and a form to submit public comment, can be found at

— Elizabeth Miller