It would be difficult not to notice the construction boom in and around Mt. Crested Butte. A seemingly unavoidable consequence of this growth and the related construction activity is the disruption of established soils, slopes, and native plants. Excavation of established soils, slopes, and plants leads to many issues such as erosion, redirection of existing watercourses, and the invasion of noxious weeds that take advantage of these specific conditions to establish a strong-hold, if given the chance.
While, clearly, the best construction management practices include disturbing only the smallest possible envelope of soil, this is not often the case. In an effort to reduce the impact on the local natural environment as much as possible, the Town of Mt. Crested Butte is dedicated to implementing and enforcing local ordinances which will require a site-specific Disturbed Land Management Plan (implemented during construction) and Land Restoration and Revegetation Plan as a condition of obtaining a building permit for new construction within town limits.
Because awareness and education is integral to any management plan, the Town is assuming a leading role in researching solutions and disseminating reliable information to all interested parties. A large data bank of information on weed management and “green” construction and/landscaping methods is available. As part of our education effort, we have included a large number of links to selected reliable resources on these pages. Also, we have made available to the public many publications on noxious weed infestation, management, and eradication methods. This printed materials is available at no cost in the Town Hall lobby located at 911 Gothic Road.
Other short-term goals include:
The Gunnison Basin Weed Commission has prepared and published a Reclaiming Land Disturbances pamphlet that is available at the Mt. Crested Butte Town Hall offices.
- Future coordinated workshops and consultations for contractors, developers, and the local public.
- Preparing an “approved” local seed mix list.
- Taking steps to ensure that indigenous seeds are readily available to contractors and property owners.
- Disseminating information on the use of hazardous herbicides in our unique pristine “top of the river” environment.
- Devote town resources in order to establish and maintain detailed web-based information on noxious weeds within Mt. Crested Butte; identifying the problems and offering solutions.
- Implement a plan and devote town staff resources to eradicating noxious weeds from town-owned lands and public right-of-ways.
The following are tips on revegetation taken from the pamphlet:
- Salvage topsoil to be used later for revegetation.
- Plant seeds with a drill on slopes of 33% or less. Broadcast seed on small, steep or otherwise inaccessible areas. Raking following broadcasting helps to ensure better establishment.
- When using straw or hay for mulch ensure it is certified noxious weed free.
- Plant a temporary crop of appropriate annual grass to stabilize soils until newly seeded plants become established
- Control weeds to prevent invasion into the newly seeded areas.
The Center for Invasive Plants Management recommends the following practices for weed prevention:
Prior to any construction disturbance:
- Identify and map all noxious and invasive weed populations present in the project area.
- Treat or contain any weed populations that may be impacted or disturbed by construction activity.
- Flag all weed populations to be avoided.
- Provide training to construction workers and equipment operators on the identification of weeds to be avoided.
- Certify that all construction material sources used for supplies of sand, gravel, rock and mulch are weed-free prior to obtaining or transporting any material from them.
- Obtain and use only certified weed-free straw or use fiber roll logs for sediment containment.
- Wash and inspect all vehicles for weed seeds and plant parts prior to bringing them onto the job site.
- Install stormwater Best Management Practices to prevent erosion of the job site and the potential transport of weedy material onto or off the job site.
- Minimize ground disturbance and vegetation removal as much as possible and practical.
- Wash, or, using an air compressor, blow clean all vehicles (including tires and undercarriage) that may have entered weed-infested areas prior to entering uninfested areas of the job site.
- Restrict vehicles or other traffic that may transport weed seeds or plant material from entering the job site unless they are first washed and inspected.
- Revegetate or otherwise prevent the establishment of weeds in all areas of the job site through a program on monitoring and post-construction weed treatment for the life of the project.
- Revegetate using soil components and mulches obtained from non-weed infested sources.
- Utilize seed and other plant material that has been checked and certified as noxious weed-free and that has a weed content of 0.05% or less.
- Revegetate using plant materials that have a high likelihood of survival.
- Maintain all planted material and native vegetation located on the project site for the life of the project.
- Monitor all seeded sites for weed infestation. Treat all weeds adjacent to newly seeded areas prior to planting and treat planted areas for weeds in the first growing season.