Historically, the Carpenter Natural Area and, especially, the drainage have been overgrazed and abused. This resulted in extensive flooding. Attempts to control that flooding included dams, diversion dikes, revegetation and controlled grazing.
Even years later, we can see where the dams and dikes have been broken and flooding continued. The revegetation and elimination of grazing, however, have been successful. Today, the drainage is a peaceful area that attracts abundant wildlife and human visitors alike. The vegetation is flourishing, including a striking wetlands.
Even ILC’s abuse of its property will not affect the landscape of Carpenter. It will, however, affect the ambience of the area for both wildlife and human visitors. ILC has already altered that portion of the wetlands that extends onto its property. The heavy rains this summer and the resulting devastation should serve as a indication of what historical flooding was like.
It should be noted that ILC altered these wetlands by ignoring the permitting process. What will it do with an industrial designation or a conditional-use permit? This is a question Cortez City Council members need to be asking themselves on Tuesday, Sept. 26, at the 7:30 p.m. Council meeting, when it will vote.