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Colorado: Mountains to Plains Energy by Design

Report Published: January 10, 2013

colorado energy by design


Based on The Nature Conservancy’s Development by Design methodology, this report identifies priority biological, cultural, scenic, and recreational resource values within 60,000 acres in northeastern Colorado and recommends strategies to avoid, minimize, and offset the potential impacts of oil and gas development to these values.  It provides an example of collaborative energy planning between federal, state, and local governments, a mineral owner (Colorado State Land Board, SLB), and nonprofit organizations. The SLB established this project as a strategy to lease and develop its oil and gas holdings underlying three large, publicly-owned properties in northern Larimer County:  Red Mountain Open Space (owned by Larimer County), and Soapstone Prairie Natural Area and Meadow Springs Ranch (owned by the City of Fort Collins).  The SLB sought a process to design an oil and gas leasing package that would allow for reasonable energy development while achieving biological, cultural, scenic and recreational resource conservation goals of local governments.  Under contract with the SLB, The Nature Conservancy led this project working closely with the SLB, the City of Fort Collins (the City), Larimer County (the County), and with input from a Technical Team.  The report identifies a series of recommendations and products with the goal of achieving “no net loss” or “net zero impact” to the conservation values of the project area:
•    Surface occupancy areas for biological and cultural resources;
•    Timing limitations for biological resources;
•    Disturbance caps;
•    Reclamation standards;
•    Compensatory mitigation fees; and
•    Supplementary maps of cultural resource potential and scenic and recreational values.
These products, in combination with Best Management Practices drafted by the City of Fort Collins, will aid the SLB in its creation of an oil and gas leasing package.  They may also be used by operators and the City and County to develop Surface Use Agreements for oil and gas development. 


Citation: The Nature Conservancy.  2013.  Mountains to Plains Energy by Design. Report to the Colorado State Land Board pursuant to Contract #38818 / PO PCA C152179

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