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CoNPS Denver Chapter Meeting

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Summit Lake Park & State Highway 5 Mt. Evans Fen Determination and Wetland Delineation
March 26, 2013, 6:30 pm refreshments, 7pm program begins
Location: 1556 Emerson St., Denver
Presenters: Francesca Tordonato and Mo Ewing

Summit Lake Park on Mount Evans, designated as a National Natural History Landmark, is one of the “Crown Jewels” of Colorado. Elevation, soils, slope, moisture and aspect create beautiful collections of plants all struggling to survive the harsh conditions of the high alpine.

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) proposed improvements to State Highway (SH) 5 (Mount Evans Road), in Clear Creek County between mile markers 8.0 and 10 adjacent to Summit Lake Park. The repairs were proposed to address and correct unsafe conditions (hummocky, damaged and undulating roadway surface) resulting from frost heave. Summit Lake (located near mile marker 9.0) is located at the base of a high alpine granite cirque (glacially eroded basin) and was formally designated a National Natural Landmark in 1965 by the Secretary of Interior after being nominated by Dr. William A. Weber. The National Natural Landmark designation was based on many of the physical and ecological features that are unique to Summit Lake, which includes a variety of extremely rare arctic-alpine plants, which are found here and within the Arctic Circle. A wetland delineation and fen investigation was performed in the summer of 2011 to provide information to CDOT and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regarding wetlands within the study area that could be impacted by the proposed project. Additional field and laboratory investigation was performed to categorize wetland types (i.e., meadow, wet meadow or fen) within the study area. Francesca’s talk will feature an overview of the fen determination and wetland delineation conducted for the project. In addition, the talk will feature an update on some of the rare plant mapping and additional studies that have occurred since the fen determination in 2011. The talk will also feature some useful information about wetland policy and wetland/fen ecology!

Francesca Tordonato is an environmental project manager and biologist for the Colorado Dept. of Transportation- Region 1. She is a Colorado native and long-time CONPS member.

Mo Ewing is a retired conservation biologist who has studied everything from noxious weeds in the White Mountains of New Hampshire to rare and endangered plants on the shale barrens of northwestern Colorado. He currently volunteers at the Research Department at the Denver Botanic Gardens, serves as Conservation Chair of the Colorado Native Plant Society, and is a Rare Plant Monitoring Steward for the Colorado Natural Areas Program.

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