Silt burns today

March 17, 2015

controlled burn, Silt

Silt flaming cattail logoFun Facts:

  • According to an email from town staff dated 3/13/15:  “The Town would like to burn the cattails in order to reduce the size of the wetlands, clean out the drainage ditches, and reduce the mosquito population. The burn will not kill the cattails and will also help the remaining wetlands by adding nutrients to the soil and clearing the under thatch.”
  • According to the Army Corps of Engineers, controlled cattail burns do not control the spread of cattails — or mosquitoes — and burning does not reduce the size of wetlands.
  • According to the Army Corps of Engineers, jurisdictional wetlands, such as Silt wetlands, maybe mowed or burned. Jurisdictional wetlands cannot be drained, excavated, or filled in.
  • Silt has a mosquito control program already in place. There has never been a case of West Nile virus reported in Silt, or Garfield County.
  • The Silt wetlands serve as nesting grounds for blackbirds, ducks, and other birds; plus habitat for muskrats, beavers, and other wildlife.
  • Cattails absorb groundwater contaminants thus preventing toxins from leaching into the Colorado River.
  • The 5-acre parcel where the cattail wetlands are located is owned by the Town of Silt. That means the citizens of Silt own the wetlands. Not the town staff. Not the mayor.
  • There has been no public notice or public hearing to address citizens’ concerns and questions regarding the controlled cattail burn.
  • The SiltBOTs approved the controlled cattail burn by consensus. No vote was taken on the matter.
  • For decades, prior to the arrival of Kum & Go, that site was the location of a gas station and mechanics shop, and the wetlands had become a dumping ground for used oil and gasoline and old tires.
  • Chief Burris said, “We had removed a few tires that we found down there …”
  • The soil and groundwater have not been tested for toxic chemicals.
  • Cattails burn quickly and produce a lot of heat combined with thick, black columns of smoke. A sudden shift in wind direction creates fire tornadoes.
  • There is the potential risk that toxic chemicals will be released with the smoke. Any old tires still buried could ignite and burn.

From the Styx will return when the air clears with an exclusive from our friends at Earthworks.

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3 Comments on “Silt burns today”

  1. maryinline Says:

    I was at the Hotchkiss National Fish Hatchery today, and have photos that show high alkaline water flowing into a cattail stand. In just a 15 foot distance the alkaline water turned clear. Cattails are a wonderful plant!

  2. maryinline Says:

    Any photos from the burn? I didn’t read anything about it in the paper.

  3. Peggy Tibbetts Says:

    None that I know of. We left town.

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