In 2020, the Environmental Committee was formed to provide a forum outside of regular public meetings to discuss and recommend actions to improve the environment within the District. The scope of the Committee covers all aspects of the environment within the District including tree planting, habitat restoration, management of invasive species, and environmental impacts of District construction and maintenance.
Ensure District construction and maintenance projects are completed with an eye toward enhancing wildlife habitat and beautifying the District
Facilitate habitat restoration by eradicating invasive species and re-establishing native wildflowers, grasses, and trees
Improve resident access of natural areas so everyone can enjoy the natural beauty of the district
Reduce pollution within the District
1. Tree Planting:
The Committee directed plantings of native trees along Waterton Road, Village Circle East, and Village Circle West. Tree species planted included pinyon pine, limber pine, rocky mountain juniper, gambel oak, Utah serviceberry, saskatoon serviceberry, New Mexico locust, and chokecherry.
2. Wildflower Planting:
With the help of 18 volunteers, the Committee planted 20 locations between Chatfield Farms West and East with locally collected wildflower seeds.
Special thanks to the volunteers!
Michele, Erin & Rich Olds
Marissa & Rylie Armstrong
Phil & Renee Montano
Taryn, Jayden & Clayton Nysse
Ephram & Adam Glass
Carrie, Ron, Devon & Lexi Hanson
3. Tree List:
For future plantings, the Committee created a list of native trees that the district will use for future plantings. Native trees are expected to be hardier than the non-native trees that developers have planted in the district, and they will improve wildlife value.
4. Plant List:
The Committee has developed a list of plant species that are locally native to our area based on preliminary surveys of undeveloped areas and nearby parks. Since there are hundreds of species native to the area, this list will be updated over time as new species are identified. This plant list will be used as a guide for future habitat restorations and for new landscaped areas.
1. Bat Boxes:
The District sprays Bti (a bacteria that parasitizes mosquito larvae) on District ponds to kill mosquitoes but many mosquitoes breed in our marshes and private backyards. The driver behind installing a bat box is to attract bats to our area to consume mosquitos. We’re currently constructing a bat box that will be installed at the southwest corner of the district’s soccer field by the marsh. If the bat box successfully attracts bats, we plan on installing more bat boxes around the district.
2. Native Plant Nursery:
In order to pursue habitat restoration and use native plants in landscaped areas, the District needs a source of native plants. There are no nurseries that commercially produce our locally native wildflowers. To achieve our goals, we’re in the planning stages of building our own native plant nursery. We’ve taken some initial steps of collecting wildflower seeds from the district and plan on gathering more seeds from nearby parks as starter material for the nursery. We’ve also met with the Roxborough Intermediate School administrators and we’re planning on siting the nursery at the school to allow them to incorporate it into their curriculum.
Having our own native plant nursery will have a multitude of benefits. Primarily, it will allow the District to produce a large number of plants at a very low cost which, in turn, will allow the District to plant a significant number of wildflowers each year. Since these will be native plants, they can be used in the district’s existing irrigated landscaping and in the district’s unirrigated open space. Having a plethora of plants will also allow the District to cheaply replace unusable irrigated turf areas (like the narrow spaces between the street and sidewalk) with drip-irrigated landscaping. Use of all the native plants in irrigated areas will additionally reduce the District’s water bills. Once the native plant nursery has a surplus of plants, the plan is to sell the surplus to residents at a low cost to further improve habitat outside of public spaces as well as reduce water usage.
The Committee is planning on developing three maps of the District to help guide future work:
1. A landscaping map will show what areas are designated turf, irrigated landscaping, and mowing cycles. The primary driver for this map is to ensure unirrigated areas are mowed with a timeframe that reduces invasive plants and increases native plants and wildlife value.
2. A habitat restoration map will show where we are planning on planting trees and other native plants, what species will be planted, and when. This map will help provide a tree planting guide in two areas in particular: the area north of the soccer field along Waterton Rd and around Crystal Lake.
3. A trail map will show both existing and planned footpaths, bike paths, and fire access roads. In particular, this map will help guide West Metro Fire in the event a fire occurs in the District’s open space and it will help identify future trails to access the Dakota Hogback and Roxborough State Park.
Facts About the District's Environment
The District was historically farmed and mined prior to being developed. In that time, much of the native species were eradicated and replaced with invasive species.
Being situated at the juncture of the plains and the foothills, as well as having Little Willow Creek, the District has a wide variety of habitats and has a diverse mix of species native to all those habitats.
Non-wetland, native plants naturally use less water and are drought tolerant, insect resistant, and adapted to our windy, arid climate.
Some of our local species are more drought tolerant and insect resistant than members of the same species growing in a different part of the country. Therefore, buying seeds or plants of “native species” from out of state can yield plants that are actually not adapted to our environment.
Most native wildflowers require cold stratification for their seeds to grow. This adaptation ensures the seeds will only sprout after spring rains. This adaptation can make it difficult for native wildflowers to be commercially grown.
Once sprouted, native wildflowers typically take 2-5 years to bloom under ideal conditions. In the wild, it can take even longer.