Agate Ranches Complex Conservation Easements

The Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust, working in partnership with The Trust for Public Land, The Nature Conservancy, and lottery funded Great Outdoors Colorado Trust Fund, has succeeded in permanently protecting approximately 9,000 acres of ranchlands near Agate, Colorado.  ERO assisted the partnership by completing much of the due diligence for the conservation easements including: Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessments, Mineral Remoteness Reports, and Baseline Inventories.

Carbondale to Crested Butte Trail Study

For decades, trail advocates have envisioned a regional trail connection between Carbondale and Crested Butte.  ERO is working with Pitkin County Open Space and Trails to evaluate environmental resources, impacts, and mitigation measures to determine a preferred trail alignment through the Crystal Valley segments. ERO completed detailed field evaluations of wildlife habitat, rare and sensitive vegetation communities, and overall landscape disturbance patterns to evaluate the potential impacts of proposed trail alignments. Once a preferred alignment is determined, ERO will work with the White River National Forest to complete an Environmental Assessment of the project.

Colorado Springs Open Space Management Plan Updates

In 2016, ERO completed open space management plan updates for four properties in Colorado Springs:  Stratton, University Park, Big Bluestem, and Sinton Pond.  ERO analyzed existing documentation and performed detailed field reviews to document existing site conditions and management issues and concerns.  Key issues of concern included: noxious weeds, unsustainable social trails, off leash dog access, trail management, forest health management, and prairie dog management.  Based on an iterative public process, each plan included specific recommendations to address management issues and improve stewardship.

Golden Gate Canyon State Park Stewardship Plans

Colorado Parks and Wildlife contracted ERO to prepare the cultural resources chapters for the Castlewood Canyon and Golden Gate Canyon stewardship plans.  These plans provide a historical context for each park, a summary of previously documented cultural resources, an evaluation of the potential for additional cultural resources, and management recommendations for the interpretation and preservation of significant cultural resources.  

Lafayette Open Space and Trails Planning

Coal Creek Open Space
ERO developed an Open Space and Trails Master Plan for Lafayette in 2005, providing a dynamic tool that identifies and prioritizes open space conservation and trail recommendations. The plan provides specific guidance on habitat conservation, natural resource management, recreation and trail administration, and community relations. After six years of successful implementation, ERO is again providing updated recommendations as part of a larger parks, recreation, open space, and trails planning process.

Telluride Valley Floor Environmental Study/Management Plan

Telluride Trail Plan
ERO inventoried natural resources on the Valley Floor Open Space; identified issues and opportunities related to habitat conservation, wildlife management, and public use; and developed a management plan for the property.  Our recommendations were implemented in a follow-up trail master plan for the property.

Cold Spring Ranch Baseline Inventory

Original homestead dating to the late 1800s
Operating since the 1870s, the Cold Spring Ranch is a gateway to the pristine Upper East River Valley near Crested Butte.  In 2012, ERO completed a baseline inventory to document existing conditions and conservation values of the property on behalf of The Trust for Public Land.  This inventory helped establish a conservation easement on 190 acres of Cold Spring Ranch, which permanently protects the land from development.

San Luis Valley Regional Habitat Conservation Plan

Diversion structure on the Rio Grande
In 2012, ERO completed a regional Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) for Colorado’s San Luis Valley.  The HCP provides a framework for conservation of riparian habitat that supports the endangered southwestern willow flycatcher while also providing regulatory coverage to landowners and local governments as they conduct historic and routine agricultural and land management practices.  This complex multi-stakeholder process involved collaboration with six counties, four principal municipalities, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and several nonprofit partners.

Snake River Corridor Management and Ownership Transfer Plan

Parcel evaluation along the Snake River
ERO worked with multiple government and nonprofit stakeholders in Jackson Hole, Wyoming to develop a plan for management and transfer of 24 Bureau of Land Management properties along the Snake River.  ERO provided management and ownership recommendations for a variety of parcels with values ranging from remote wildlife habitat to key river recreation sites.

Staunton State Park Master Plan and Implementation

Old sawmill site at Staunton
ERO was the natural resource and trails design lead for the planning and development of Colorado’s newest state park. During the implementation phase, ERO provided trail design and construction oversight to develop a high-quality trail system that provides breathtaking visitor experiences while protecting sensitive habitats.