Thursday, January 22, 2004
Pat Davey, who implemented many federal conservation efforts in Routt County during the past two decades, is moving to the Front Range to take a bigger job with the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Davey has been named the plant material specialist for the state. In his new role, he will help match specially adapted native species of plants used in conservation efforts to climate zones and soil types in Colorado. He begins his new job at the end of the month. His current position as district conservationist in the Steamboat Springs field office has been advertised but is not yet filled.
"He was great to work with, and he did his job really well," said rancher Mike Hogue, who worked closely with Davey for 15 years as a member of the soil conservation board.
Davey, who moved to Steamboat from an NRCS job in Meeker 19 years ago, said he is looking forward to specializing in native plants and working with field offices across the state.
"My job is to let it be known to the field office what new plants are available, and in the other direction, tell three different plant centers what is needed."
Plant centers in Meeker, eastern Colorado and Los Lunas, N.M., work to develop native plants for a variety of conditions, Davey said. The qualities being sought might range from palatability for wildlife, to drought tolerance and ability to grow in specific soils.
An example, he said, is Maybell bitterbrush, which has thrived in the area around Maybell where range fires have burned. A variety of that plant has proven very attractive to deer and elk.
Davey also will enjoy a certain level of autonomy in his new post.
The Denver office has gone without a plant specialist for five years, and Davey will have the authority to shape his new role.
During his tenure in Steamboat, Davey worked on implementation of the Conservation Reserve, Environmental Quality Incentive programs and the Wildlife Habitat Improvement program, among others.
Conservation Reserve, begun in the early 1980s, has put about 18,000 acres of highly erodible cropland in Routt County into permanent vegetative cover and recently was adapted to include rehabilitation and enhancement of riparian areas, said Vance Fulton of the NRCS.
Hogue said the program has been very popular among farmers and ranchers. They receive compensation for taking erosion-prone lands out of production.
"Pat has been the driving force behind many new materials and innovative conservation practices that are now being utilized in Routt County," Fulton said. "The current level of acceptance and popularity of these programs in Routt County has been greatly aided because of Pat's extra effort and influence."
Davey and his wife, Kim, are moving to Golden where they will be closer to their adult children, Brian and Sarah.
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