April 2, 2014 Association Meeting

NewsThe Elk Creek Highlands/Meadows Property Owners Association will meet at 7 PM, Wednesday, April 2nd in the Association Building at 86 Elk Creek Drive, Bailey.

Regular monthly reports will be given along with continued plans for spring and summer activities.

All members are encouraged to attend. Residents, including renters, planning to place membership can do so by sending dues to ECHPOA, 86 Elk Creek Drive, Bailey, CO 80421 or do so at this meeting.

For additional information call Ken Perdew at 303-838-7768.


Bring the Beavers Back

Beavers are the largest rodent in North America.  beaverAdult beavers average between 3 to 4 feet in length, and weigh between 35 to 70 pounds.  Males are slightly larger than females.  Because of their size, the only know predators of the beaver are wolves, coyotes, bear, bobcats, and mountain lions.  Beavers spend most of their time in the water and have several adaptations for aquatic life such as clear membranes that completely cover their small eyes underwater, valve-like ear and nostril openings, webbed rear feet, a flat tail, and fur that is water repellent and provides excellent, lightweight insulation.

Beavers live in a family colony that consists of a mated pair of adults, one to several yearlings, and juveniles.  The average size of a colony in Colorado is 5 individuals, but can range from 4 to 8.  The typical lifespan of a beaver is between 8 and 10 years.  Females normally do not reproduce until they are 3 years old, have a single litter each year, and the average litter in Colorado is 2 to 5 kits.  Mating is monogamous and the adult female is the dominant family member and the leader of the colony.  Courtship and mating occurs January to early March, and the gestation period is about 15 weeks.  With the birth of a new litter in the late spring, the 2 year old beavers will leave their colony and seek their own territories.  They move an average of 4 miles away from home, but not more than 10 miles.

Beavers are born engineers and create their homes using natural materials such as tree limbs, mud, sticks, and grass to construct lodges for shelter and dams to impound water.  Beavers need their ponds to be deep enough to hold water year-round and not freeze solid during the winter, usually a minimum of about 3 feet.  This construction, especially the dam building, will cause changes to the area they inhabit.  These changes increase wetlands, provide the benefits of naturally slowing down and storing flood waters, removing pollutants, increasing nutrients, increasing plant growth, and creates a habitat that attracts a wide variety of waterfowl, insects, fish, and amphibians, especially compared to the unchanged sections of the same creek.  Beaver ponds trap sediment and reduce cloudiness, providing clearer water downstream, which is important for native trout.

Beavers feed on plants with non-woody stems, and the bark, buds, leaves, and branches of young aspen, cottonwood, and willow.  Most food is taken within 330 feet of the beaver pond, although they have been known to remove trees from 1,640 feet away.  Active colony locations are most recognized in the fall, when beavers are cutting trees for their winter food cache.  Tree branches are cut and gathered in the fall and submerged in the middle of the pond.  The beavers live off this food supply until spring when the pond ice is thawed.

The benefits of increased wetland habitat caused by beavers, especially in dry Colorado, must be balanced against the destruction of trees near home sites.  Individual trees can be protected with an enclosure of a heavy wire mesh around the bottom of the tree, with the bottom anchored to the ground so that beavers can not squeeze underneath.  Commercial deer repellents have also been used successfully to protect trees from beavers.  Providing a limited supply of cut limbs from aspen, cottonwood, and willow, will also help prevent beavers from cutting down existing trees.

With the amount of rain we received last fall, about 16 inches in 6 days according to Dave Lutter’s rain gauge, and the amount of water that rushed down Elk Creek, the wetland area below the ECHPOA pond was flooded, the beaver dam was breached and the beaver pond was emptied.  With the loss of our resident beaver, this habit that once attracted moose, heron, ducks, geese and a great fishing pond, will not be rebuilt.  I for one would like to bring the beavers back!

To learn more about Beavers, go to the Colorado State Parks Stewardship Prescription: http://cpw.state.co.us/Documents/CNAP/BeaverManagementPrescription.pdf.

Oxygen Levels in the Pond Are Better Than Expected!

rainbow trout     By Paul Ellis

Joyce and Vic Deming measured oxygen levels at the fish pond on Sunday, March 9th. The measurements included many items, but temperature (Temp, C) and dissolved oxygen (DO) in the pond water are probably some of the more important ones. The deep layer of snow covering the pond had Joyce and Vic wondering if there was enough light getting to the plants below the ice to keep the pond water oxygenated. If not, hopefully Church Fork Creek was letting in enough oxygenated water to supply the pond. She and Vic decided to measure the water to find out. The dissolved oxygen (DO) in the pond ranged from a low of 6.89 to a high of 10.6 milligrams per liter (≈ parts per million by weight). Optimal oxygen levels for rainbow trout are not well documented, but appear to be at or above 7 mg/L at temperatures less than 150 C. The lowest reading at the pond was 6.89 mg/L. This is good news for the rainbow trout because all the readings were near or in the optimum range. However, I have read that brook trout are more sensitive to low oxygen levels. We will see how they were affected when the ice melts.

Joyce and Vic’s Measurements

Pond Statistics

I hope to have a short discussion of the measurements at the next Association meeting.

Evidence Point to a Mountain Lion

On February 26th I posted an article about a Mountain Lion 2“big” mountain lion being spotted by the pond on Elk Creek Drive.  During that same week my neighbor, just up the hill and northeast of the pond, found a deer that had been killed on her property.  The next morning around 1:00 am, she heard coyotes fighting and feeding on the carcass.  By the next day the carcass had been dragged away.  All evidence point to a mountain lion.

Mountain lions do not hibernate, are most active at night, hunt for deer and small mammals, and can roam more than 20 miles to find food or mates.  When a deer is killed, part of the meat is eaten and the rest is covered up with dirt or leaves until the lion returns to eat more.  Lions will remain in the area until all the meat is eaten or spoiled which could take up to a week during the colder months.

In order to keep your pets safe, you should avoid leaving them out alone especially during the hours between sunset and sunrise.  If you do see a mountain lion, stay calm, stand upright and try to appear larger by raising your arms and holding your jacket open wide, talk loudly and back away slowly.  Do not approach a mountain lion, do not turn your back, and do not run.

To learn more, go to the Animal Facts page under the Photo Gallery menu option above.

Need More Stuff or Have Stuff to Sell?

Yellow "For Sale" SignYou may use the Bulletin Board pages on this site to post items you want to sell, items you are looking to purchase, services needed, information about your business, yard sale announcements, and more.  Your ads will be posted for a period of one month or until notification is received from ad originator, which ever comes first.

Please send your ads or business cards to CUNColorado@aol.com to be posted on The Bulletin Board.

An Increased Need for Volunteer Participation!

There was a discussion during the March 5th Elk Creek Highlands / Meadows Property Owners Association (ECHPOA) meeting on an volunteersincreased need for volunteer participation.  We are interested in creating 3 new committees: Membership Development, Building Maintenance, and Bulletin Board Maintenance.  We also need a volunteer to set out and take back down the monthly meeting announcement signs.  If you, or if you know of any neighbor that might be interest in helping us make this a better community, please contact any Board Member (Contact Us) or respond to this blog article by clicking on the Comments section below and let us know what you are interested in and how you would like to help!  The following summaries of each committee can be used, but are not limited to, a good starting point for those who choose to volunteer.  Thank you in advance for your participation, it is very much appreciated!  Many thanks to Joyce and Vic Deming who have already volunteered for the Bulletin Board Maintenance Committee!!

Membership Development Committee:

The role of the membership committee is to develop and implement an action plan for membership development. To be effective, an association needs members. Your association’s ability to serve the community is directly related to the size and strength of its membership base.  The responsibilities of the association membership committee are summarized below:

  • Develop committee goals to achieve association membership goals for the coming year.
  • Educate and train association members about the importance of recruitment and retention of members.
  • Develop a membership action plan to improve member satisfaction that involves surveying members and initiating changes in response to their feedback to ensure that the association remains relevant to its members.

Building Maintenance Committee:

The role of the Building Maintenance Committee is to develop and implement an action plan for Association Building repairs and improvements.  Determine what the needs are, level of importance, research on costs and how to achieve them.  Some of the current repair suggestions include wood trim on counter and wall edging, deck resurfacing, roof shingle repair, solar energy installation, sliding glass door single pane replacement, and carpet replacement.  This would also include a caretaker for cleaning, replacing furnace filters, adding septic tank treatment every 3 months, and recruiting volunteer help as needed.

Bulletin Board Maintenance Committee:

The role of the Bulletin Board Maintenance Committee is to develop and implement an action plan for the 5 bulletin boards; 4 banks of mailboxes and 1 outside the Association Building, repairs and improvements.  This would also include a caretaker for the removal of old messages, cleaning area around, some painting and repairing of the boards.

National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day

ServiceDayLogoTMThe National Fire Protection Association, NFPA, is launching its first National Wildfire Community Preparedness day on Saturday, May 3, 2014.  Their goal is to help raise wildfire awareness and bring communities together to work on projects that can help protect their homes from wildfire risks.  The NFPA has teamed up with State Farm to provide monetary awards of $500 to 20 individual projects for this event.  Unfortunately, I only recently heard about this contest and now the deadline to enter is only 3 days away, March 19th!  However, as they are calling this their “first” event, maybe the residents of ECHPOA could discuss participation for next year!  Meanwhile, the NFPA website has listed some wonderful suggestions that we should all consider doing before wildfire season begins this year!  I have listed a few of their ideas below.  With all the moisture we have received this year, the grasses will soon begin to appear and grow quickly.  As the warmer weather starts, these grasses can quickly dry out and create a good source of kindling for fire!  To read more about the National Wildfire Community Preparedness day go to https://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/for-consumers/outdoors/wildland-fires/national-wildfire-community-preparedness-day.

Project ideas:

  • Rake and remove pine needles and dry leaves within a minimum of 5 feet, recommended 30 feet, of a home’s foundation.
  • Sweep and rake under porches, decks, sheds and play structures.
  • Stack wood no closer than 30 feet from home.
  • Mow grasses to a height of four inches or less.
  • Remove low-hanging tree branches up to a height of 4 feet, recommended 6 feet, from the ground.
  • Dispose of downed tree limbs and broken branches.
  • Remove flammable items stored under decks and porches to a storage shed or garage.
  • Join neighbors and pool resources for a chipper service and remove slash.