Over 65 individuals have collectively invested 1400 hours of their time to help our region implement the Routt County Climate Action Plan (CAP) by identifying actionable projects and initiatives that best drive actions across Energy, Waste, Transportation, Land Use and Economy sectors. At last week’s CAP Board meeting, the Board reviewed and approved for public comment 45 prioritized recommendations.

This month, we focus on the nine-month process that led up to identifying and prioritizing these important recommendations:

  1. Fall 2022 - CAP Working Groups identified current initiatives that relate to the CAP and any gaps/under supported initiatives.
  2. Winter 2023 - Working Groups compiled draft lists of high impact (carbon reduction) recommendations and brought lists before the CAP Board March 24 for initial review.
  3. Spring 2023 - Working Groups applied Board-approved criteria to evaluate recommendations. Prioritized recommendations were peer-reviewed by CAP Working Group members at April 27 meeting. Revised recommendations were brought to the Board May 26 for review before public comment.
  4. Summer 2023 - Collaborative public open house to be held June 21 for public comment and input. Recommendations finalized at the end of June and released in July after CAP Board final review and in time for FY2024 budget discussions.
Go Deeper - CAP Recommendation Process

CAP Collaborative Public Open House - June 21, 2023

CAP recommendations and implementation plan will be shared publicly at the CAP Collaborative Public Open House June 21, 5:30-7:30 p.m. at CMC's Allbright Auditorium. Please join us and meet the Collaborative Board and Working Groups, learn about the recommendations and get engaged as we move into the implementation phase of the Climate Action Plan.

JOIN US: Collaborative Open House

The CAP website now features climate-related events throughout Routt County. Find upcoming events in the dropdown menu under the 'Get Involved' page. Let us know about upcoming events by emailing [email protected]. Here are just a couple featured events. We hope to see you there!

Yampa Basin Rendezvous - June 1-2, 2023

Sharing knowledge regarding climate variability in the Yampa River Basin

Increased drought occurrence and severity, rising snowlines and warming temperatures pose serious risks to the alpine and riverine ecosystems of the Yampa River Basin. How are we, as a community, managing snows and flows amidst historic long-term drought to ensure our water resilience? This question will be at the forefront, June 1-2, at the 2023 Yampa Basin Rendezvous. This two-day event (taking place at Steamboat's Colorado Mountain College) will provide an overview of the record weather and water extremes that continue to define our present and future in the Yampa River Basin, and whether current water and riparian land management practices will lead to the resilient future we desire. The event is free to the public, but registration is required.

Register To Attend YBR

Join the Yampa Valley Climate Crew! - June 15-17, 2023

Replanting our forests at the Muddy Slide fire

Come kickoff the 2023 Yampa Valley Climate Crew season by planting pine seedlings at the Muddy Slide Fire burn scar! Larger and more intense wildfires resulting from a changing climate have limited our forests’ ability to regenerate naturally. It’s crucial that, in the absence of this regeneration, we help restore our forests through reforestation efforts. Climate Crew volunteers will join the US Forest Service to replant five acres at the site of the 2021 Muddy Slide Fire. The Climate Crew needs 15 volunteers per day (8 a.m. - 4 p.m.). With your help, we will create more resilient forests that will continue to sequester carbon and provide healthy watersheds. 

Learn More and Sign Up

Each month we will be highlighting a climate win/news item and action you can take across the CAP's five sectors. Celebrating our successes and steps taken will help us move the CAP forward together as a community. If you have a climate win or action you would like to share, please email [email protected].

Climate Win

Geothermal energy, "the heat beneath our feet", will play a key role in Yampa Valley as we transition from a fossil fuel-based economy to a clean-energy economy. On May 17, industry experts and energy enthusiasts gathered at the Yampa Valley Geothermal Workshop to delve into the immense potential of geothermal energy and its economic viability. The event was moderated by former Colorado Gov. and clean energy champion Bill Ritter, now director of the Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University, and co-hosted by the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council and Colorado Energy Office.

The workshop explored the technical aspects, project feasibility, and financial considerations of geothermal power generation. The event featured engaging discussions on project paybacks and the long-term financial benefits for the community, including the Yampa Valley Community Foundation and Brown Ranch Development. Workshop experts agreed geothermal will be a key part of reaching the last 10% to 20% of zero carbon emission goals in Colorado.

'Pilot': Conference recap

Action You Can Take

Your participation matters in shaping the decisions of your electric cooperative. Exercise your voice by voting for the dedicated individuals who will serve on the Board of Directors at Yampa Valley Electric Association (YVEA). The Board is responsible for establishing policies, setting the direction for the association, and has a crucial role in ensuring effective governance. The election process for director districts involves a combination of mail ballots and in-person voting during the Annual Meeting, providing opportunities for both remote and attending members to contribute to the cooperative's leadership selection. 

The 2023 Annual Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 27th, 2023, and will be held at the Steamboat Springs Headquarters, situated at 2211 Elk River Road, Steamboat Springs, CO 80487

Learn About the Candidates

Climate News

Yampa Valley Sustainability Council highlighted SWE or Snow Water Equivalent in the May installment of their Getting To Know climate series. Soil Moisture, Water, and Snow Program Manager Madison Muxworthy and Kent Vertrees of Steamboat Powdercats headed out in the backcountry of Buffalo Pass in late April to discuss the importance of knowing the water content in snow and how measuring SWE helps us manage water distribution and management.

This is particularly important in the Western US where we are facing warmer and dryer conditions. Even after a record winter like the 2022-2023 season, trends of climate change are long-term. According to a 2020 Washington Post study, Routt and Moffat Counties are among a "hot spot" of warming, tracking over two times the national average temperature increases over the last century. 

Action You Can Take

Join the Yampascaping movement!

Yampascaping brings the floral communities we find on our trails and along our rivers to the land around our homes and businesses, which in turn conserves water, stabilizes soil, reduces weeds and provides food for birds and pollinators. Learn more about the why and how of Yampascaping and purchase climate-appropriate plants at these upcoming plant sales.

Yampa River Botanic Park First Annual Spring Plant Benefit

Friday, June 2, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., and Saturday, June 3, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., 

Yampa River Botanic Park, Steamboat Springs 


Mica Gardenscapes Plant Sale

Saturday, June 10 

10 a.m. - 3 p.m. 

110 Main street, Oak Creek

Learn More About Yampascaping

Using a rain barrel is a fun and impactful water conservation strategy for our warmer and drier Yampa Valley climate. It reduces demand for treated water, saves money on bills, and allows storing water for landscaping during dry periods. In collaboration with the City of Steamboat Springs and Mount Werner Water and Sanitation District, the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council is pleased to announce another rain barrel group buy opportunity exclusively for city residents this year. Sign up using the link below to be notified when the next rain barrel group buy becomes available. 

Rain Barrel Sign Up

Climate Win

On Sunday, May 8, the City of Steamboat Springs and its partners organized electric vehicle test drives to promote the city's Electric Vehicle (EV) Readiness Plan.  

According to the Electric Vehicle Readiness Plan, Routt County experienced a 34% increase in combined carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles between 2005 and 2021. Gasoline-powered vehicles accounted for 66% of transportation-related emissions in the county and 82% in the city. The city's program focuses on infrastructure, accessibility, and permitting to address these issues to create a more sustainable transportation system. 

The EV Ride and Drive event raised awareness and encouraged residents to consider transitioning to electric vehicles, which aligns with the CAP goal of increasing EV adoption to 20% of registered vehicles by 2030 and 95% of registered vehicles by 2050. Participants had the opportunity to test drive various electric car models and learn about the benefits of EVs, such as reduced emissions and lower operating costs.

'Pilot': Read More About the EV Ride & Drive

Action You Can Take

Transportation remains one of the largest sectors of emissions across Routt County and greater Colorado. Not only do the emissions contribute significantly to climate change but transportation pollutants can also have adverse impacts on human health, such as asthma, reduced lung capacity, and respiratory illness.

Every year, YVSC holds the CARbon-Free Challenge (formerly known as the Commuter Challenge) to encourage the use of alternative forms of transportation, like biking, walking, or even roller blading, in order to reduce emissions. Participants log their miles travelled using alternative forms of transportation as solo riders, families, or adult teams for the chance to win prizes provided by local businesses. Last year's competitors collectively avoided 4.1 tons of CO2 emissions over just one month!

Register for the Challenge and commit to using alternative transportation (walk, bike, longboard, etc.) at least once per week from June 1-30.

Register for the Challenge

Climate Win

The Routt County Climate Action Plan (CAP) identifies emissions reduction targets for the waste sector of 46% diverted by 2030 and 85% by 2050. The City and County took a big step toward reaching that goal by supporting a major finding out of the recently released Recycling Drop Site Feasibility study that recommends a county-wide Recycling Center. The recommendation is also in direct alignment with a forthcoming CAP Waste Working Group Recommendation.

Routt County Commissioners and Steamboat Springs City Council moved to support the continued exploration of a county-wide, multi-material recycle drop site facility.

Read More

Climate News

This past March, the Boulder County Composting authority changed its composting guidelines. Effective April 1, it is recommended that commercial composters only accept food and yard waste, and refuse all paper and plastic products, including those labeled compostable.

The reason for Boulder County’s change in compost guidelines is because polyfluorinated substances (PFAS) were found to be used in paper and plastic products, and remained present in the compost product. PFAS is used as a coating on disposable products that make them resistant to water and heat. When ingested directly and in large amounts, PFAS can cause certain types of cancer and affect your hormones, liver and thyroid functions.

Looking at the bigger picture, this shift in composting guidelines is a good thing, since it simplifies the composting process and results in a better, cleaner product.

'Pilot' Letter: Read More

Action You Can Take

Food waste is a major issue, with an estimated one-third of all food produced for human consumption being lost or wasted each year globally. This not only wastes valuable resources such as water and land, but also generates carbon emissions and contributes to climate change. As a climate solution, composting turns food waste into nutrient-rich compost instead of sending it to landfills where it releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Composting is a tangible way for each of us to reduce waste, conserve water, and improve soil health.

If you are a beginning or experienced backyard gardener with outdoor storage space, you have a lot of composting options, whether hot or cold composting in bins, piles or pits, or even vermicomposting. 

If you are a windowsill or patio gardener with limited outdoor storage space, see if you can pitch into a community garden compost pile or sign up for a composting service. In Routt County, we have two residential and commercial composting services locally through Cowgirl Compost CO and Twin Enviro Services. If you are looking to buy compost to use in your garden, Cowgirl Compost sells what they produce.

Be sure to check with local providers regarding the specifics of what materials they accept. By participating in a local composting program, we can all do our part to create a more sustainable future for the Yampa Valley and beyond.

Composting 101

Climate Win

The Taxation Division of the Colorado Department of Revenue has introduced an innovative online platform to educate residents about tax advantages associated with environmentally friendly purchases. This comprehensive online resource offers valuable information and Department of Revenue forms pertaining to incentives for heat pump systems, heat pump water heaters, residential energy storage systems, and decarbonizing building materials. The new platform allows individuals to access the necessary information and resources to leverage tax benefits while making climate-friendly choices. This initiative aims to promote sustainable practices and encourage the adoption of energy-efficient technologies in Colorado.

The incentives include:

  1. An income tax credit for the purchase and installation of commercial and residential heat pump systems and heat pump water heaters
  2. A state sales and use tax exemption for commercial and residential heat pump systems and heat pump water heaters
  3. An income tax credit for the purchase and installation of residential energy storage systems
  4. A state sales and use tax exemption for residential energy storage systems
  5. A state sales and use tax exemption for eligible decarbonizing building materials (effective July 1, 2024)

Learn More

Action You Can Take

Support YVSC and your local climate-inspired artist on July 9!

YVSC’s first ever signature fundraiser, Insight: Art for Climate Action, is just over a month away, and the time to get tickets is now! Join YVSC for a grand evening complete with delicious appetizers, beverages, and live music at the beautiful La Joya Dulce Ranch and a live auction featuring original art by local artists. 

Over the past months, nearly 30 artists have been creating pieces to connect us to what climate action means - preview some submissions here!

Art is a powerful way to educate and connect, don't miss this exciting opportunity to join YVSC's first Insight event. All artists will receive 25% of the sale of pieces and the remaining proceeds will support YVSC's climate action work.

Get Your Tickets

We’d love your help getting the word out about the CAP Collaborative. Please share this newsletter with your friends and encourage them to sign up to stay informed. Continue the conversation on Facebook and Instagram, and email us at [email protected].



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