Local panel to discuss erosion control tonight

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— Who is responsible for erosion and sediment control contractors, designers, permitting agencies, project owners, someone else? Are local water resources remaining healthy?

These are just a couple of several important questions that will be addressed at tonight's panel discussion on erosion control, sponsored by the Routt County Department of Environmental Health, the City of Steamboat Springs, and the International Erosion Control Association.

"The meeting is actually the third in a series. 'Keep the Dirt to Yourself' and 'Dirt and Water' were meetings last year and the year before that. What prompted this year's 'Clean the Air, Clean the Water' was the concern that this year's early construction and runoff season seemed to be a little bit dirtier than normal," said Nadine Harrach of Routt County Department of Environmental Health.

The panel discussion has been designed to answer a dozen or so questions related to the state of erosion control in the area, such as who is responsible for it, how it can be controlled, and who pays for it.

"Our greatest problem seems to be that people just don't know the rules. If people hear experts from other communities and this one talk about the best way to prevent erosion, and what, specifically, the laws are, we're hoping that local people will start following suit," Harrach said. "We're devoted to the proposition that if people know the right way to do it, they will. We're devoted to public education for people who are involved in the construction business."

Several key stakeholders will make up the panel tonight. Ben Northcutt, director of the International Erosion Control Association, will be the panel moderator.

Nathan Moore and Mike Zopf will represent the Colorado Department of Health and Routt County Department of Environmental Health. Fred Duckels and Brent Romick will represent local contractors and developers; Tom Logue will represent the Colorado Contractors' Association. Sandy Fiebing, Robert Furman, Mark Marchus and Jim Weber will speak on behalf of local government.

The public is encouraged to attend the event, free of charge.

"I like the public to be informed because they are our eyes and ears in town, but the panel discussion is really directed at construction site members," Harrach said.

Participants are also encouraged to formulate questions for the panel.

Free pizza and an ice cream reception are added incentives to encourage participants to attend tonight. Pizza will be served at 5:30 p.m. at Howelsen Lodge. The meeting will be held from 6-8 p.m., followed by ice cream. An RSVP is required. Call Nadine Harrach at 879-0185 or e-mail Nharrach@co.routt.co.us. Questions for the panel should be submitted at the same time.

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