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An independent voice needed

Dear Editor:What is happening with our environmental land trust managers?Concerning the proposed project along the Roaring Fork, “Stillwater,” according to what I have read in the papers, ACES and Aspen Valley Land Trust both have a self interest that should require the county to hire an independent specialist.An independent specialist could then assess whether the stream modification will result in a net ecological benefit or would result in harm with the proposed alterations to the Roaring Fork River, which today remains in its natural state.Natural rivers, such as this portion of the Roaring Fork, are plastic. The erosion of banks is typical of a river in its natural state. Natural rivers are dynamic and constantly changing. They are supposed to meander around and they will erode banks. Once you stabilize a river, you degrade it. It does not get its natural flow with constraints. Once you constrain it on one bank, it will erode on another one.It is ironic to hear ACES and AVLT advocate stabilizing their stream banks and removal of a sand bar to prevent their land from being undercut. These two environmental associations should be holding their land in its natural state so that the stream can meander. They, however, want to create a stabilizing effect on the river, which is an unnatural process.Why not stabilize the banks with natural vegetation such as planting willow bushes?Should environmental organizations contribute to permanent bank reinforcements that constrain the stream’s natural need to meander? There seems to be a pattern of instances where these land trust managers act more like politicians or bureaucrats than independent land stewards.It is therefore important for the county to have an independent stream specialists, who has no special interest in this project, to make a professional decision on this planned course of action.Junee KirkAspen


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