Commissioners meet with monument staff

Issues common to Moffat County, Dinosaur National Monument discussed

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Moffat County Commission-ers Tom Gray and Darrel Steele met with Dinosaur National Monument Superintendent Mary Risser and monument staff on Thursday and Friday to discuss issues common to the county and the monument.

"We talked about the roads in the monument," Steele said. "They have been graveling the roads to the Utah state line by Harper's Corner."

Another topic of discussion was the problem with the tamarisk weeds that are abundant near the rivers in the monument.

An effort has been made this year to physically remove the weeds from the campground areas in the monument. A beetle that attacks tamarisk has also been released in Echo Park, and the staff hopes to see results from the beetle by next summer.

Commissioners discussed the cooperative fire agreements between the county and the monument, and reviewed procedures after the Greystone fire in Moffat County earlier this summer. Steele said there is a mutual understanding between the monument and the county to discuss which fires should be actively fought, and which should be allowed to burn.

Dinosaur National Monu-ment fire crews help the county battle fires outside of monument boundaries in remote regions of the county, and the county helps with fires in the monument when needed. The county is the source of motor graders that can be used to fight fires, Steele said.

The group also discussed air drops of fire retardant in relation to the rivers in the monument. Steele said concerns were expressed about the retardant and its effect on fish in the rivers. Efforts will be made to prevent chemicals from entering the river, he said.

During the meetings, the groups also discussed endangered fish and programs to stimulate the recovery efforts in the Yampa and Green rivers.

Elk populations and grazing permits in the monument were topics of concern to Moffat County ranchers, which the commissioners communicated to the Dinosaur superintendent and staff.

It was a good meeting, Steele said, and he said Risser was interested in making the meetings between the Moffat County commissioners and the Dinosaur staff a yearly event.

Dan Olsen can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 207, or dolsen@craigdailypress.com.

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