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Montezuma Land Conservancy

  • Plans for a biochar facility at the former Ironwood mill site got a thumbs-up Thursday night from the Montezuma County Planning and Zoning Commission. In other news, a local man whose actions sparked concern early this month when he twice approached children in Cortez and offered them money has been cleared of any wrongdoing.
  • On Tuesday morning, Navajo sheep herders and Montezuma Land Conservancy will come together at a farm in Lewis to celebrate a threatened breed of sheep and its place in Diné culture. The Navajo-Churro sheep breed became endangered in the 1930s due to livestock reduction policies implemented by the U.S. government. Montezuma Land Conservancy offered for Navajo herders from Teec Nos Pos, Arizona to have their Churro sheep graze at a farm north of Cortez in exchange for education for the public on weaving and wool. Roy Kady is a member of the Navajo Nation and a weaver who’s contributing to the revitalization of the breed, which began in the 70s. He and his apprentice herders – most of them younger Navajo citizens living on the reservation, many in Teec Nos Pos – will be holding fiber and weaving demonstrations at Fozzie’s Farm. And last week, residents of Montezuma County attended a meeting in the Dolores Public Library on the need for more veterinarians for the area, including those who respond to after-hours emergencies.
  • On Friday, Montezuma Land Conservancy will screen a documentary film on Native American food sovereignty and the harvest season at KSJD’s Sunflower Theatre in Cortez, followed by a panel discussion. The film – called "Gather" – will also be shown in Towaoc, on the Ute Mountain Ute reservation. Regina Lopez-Whiteskunk is a former Ute Mountain Ute tribal council member and the cross-cultural programs manager for MLC. She’s helping organize the screening, and will speak on the panel afterwards. She says the traditional harvest season for the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe begins in springtime, in connection with the spring Bear Dance celebration. Tribal members will sometimes first harvest juniper trees to build the lodge for the Bear Dance, and later in the season, different berries, cedar trees and sage.
  • Montezuma Land Conservancy, or MLC, announced the conservation of two new parcels of land in Montezuma County on Monday, including one bordering Mesa Verde National Park. The other parcel is located near the Boggy Draw trail system. MLC is a nonprofit trust that works to protect land in southwest Colorado for its wildlife habitat, agricultural potential or public trails. Travis Custer, executive director of MLC, says that the addition of the conserved private land near Mesa Verde to an already existing public lands corridor in the area means more habitat protection for mule deer and certain species of birds listed on the state’s threatened and endangered list. And Colorado state lawmakers from both sides of the aisle and their caucuses have more time to respond to alleged violations of open meeting laws.
  • Last Wednesday, Montezuma Land Conservancy, or MLC, was awarded a grant to help protect a 3,000 acre ranch in Dolores County. The grant from the nonprofit Great Outdoors Colorado will help with the costs associated with conserving land like the Ivins Ranch, which is located near Groundhog Reservoir. The conserved land would directly border public lands like the Lone Cone State Wildlife Area and the McKenna Peak Wilderness Study Area. According to James Reimann, the conservation director for MLC, the newly protected area could help provide wildlife like elk and lynx with a corridor to safely travel across.
  • A coalition of organizations in southwest Colorado is holding a year-long study that will seek to remove barriers to land access in the region. The three organizations are La Plata Open Space Conservancy, Montezuma Land Conservancy, and the Old Fort of Fort Lewis College. And the state budget for next year was introduced Monday. It totals 38.5 billion dollars.
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