Climate Action Plan board to start work groups this summer
After kicking off in January, the Routt County Climate Action Plan Collaborative Board is interviewing a management entity to help move the group’s multi-jurisdictional, cooperative work forward.
“We spent the last several months laying the groundwork and setting up the collaborative for this work to be successful for the long term,” said Routt County Commissioner Beth Melton, who was named the board chair at the group’s April meeting.
Melton said the collaborative spent concerted time on organizational tasks such as bylaws to set up the group for future success, and six citizen work groups are expected to form this summer.
The board includes several citizens and representatives from municipalities that adopted the Climate Action Plan last year, including Steamboat, Routt County, Hayden, Oak Creek and Yampa.
The board’s 2022 budget amounts to $61,500, including $30,000 each from Routt County and Steamboat, and $1,500 from Hayden, said Winnie DelliQuadri, the special projects and intergovernmental services manager for Steamboat Springs.
Once a consultant is hired, which could happen as soon as the beginning of June, one next step would be to set up sector work groups of citizen volunteers in six key areas identified in the countywide Climate Action Plan.
The plan is available online at Routtclimateaction.com. It focuses on the energy, transportation, land-use, waste, economy and accountability sectors.
Melton said the overarching goal is to coordinate countywide efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and identify gaps where different entities will need to work together to close them.
The commissioner emphasized that leaders in Routt County and Steamboat are already involved in climate action projects.
She highlighted county government actions — such as the regional transportation authority feasibility study with Craig, adding electric vehicle charging stations, incorporating climate action concepts into the county’s master plan and conducting energy audits on county buildings — as some of the opportunities to promote renewable energy installations and raise efficiency.
Melton said energy and transportation are two key sectors where the countywide work could have the greatest effect reducing emissions. She added that based on the collaborative board’s monthly meetings, it’s clear the group “is not interested in feel-good efforts.”
“We want to do things that are going to make the most impact on greenhouse gas emissions,” Melton said.
According to the county’s webpage, RouttClimateAction.com/ClimateChallenge, the top threats locally include increased temperatures, reduced snowpack, heightened wildfire risks, increased drought, more variability in precipitation patterns, and flooding.
The next meeting of the board will be at 10:30 a.m. May 27 at Centennial Hall in Steamboat.
Steamboat City Council Member Gail Garey was selected as the board’s vice chair. Other collaborative board members include Ryan Banks from Hayden Town Council, retired community member Geoff Blakeslee, Michael Geanious from Yampa Town Council, Steve Johnson from Yampa Valley Electric Association, Sarah Jones from Steamboat Resort, Nikki Knoebel from Oak Creek Town Council and Tim Wohlgenant of the Yampa Valley Community Foundation.
To reach Suzie Romig, call 970-871-4205 or email sromig@SteamboatPilot.com.
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Steamboat Springs-based nonprofit Yampa Valley Sustainability Council will kick off the summer with an environmentally friendly commuter contest called CARbon-Free Challenge on Wednesday, June 1, that will continue through June 30.