Loading...
11-15-10 Town Council Packets(2)TT 0 S N 0 �/ Vf L[.AGE, COLO11AI)O Snowmass Village's Ice Age Discovery FAQ's Science behind Ziegler Reservoir Ice Age fossil ecosystem. What fossils have been found? The Ziegler Reservoir site preserves an entire Ice Age lake. So far crews have excavated the bones of: 0 2 Columbian mammoths 0 3 Ice Age bison 0 1 Jefferson ground sloth (this species has never been found before in Colorado) 0 5 American mastodon 0 1 small salamander 0 1 Ice Age deer Fossils at the site also include: • Beaver chewed -wood (we haven't found any bones, but we did find distinctly gnawed wood) • Small invertebrates including snails and insects • Many different types of plant fossils including fir and spruce cones, grasses, seeds, pollen, and wood How old are the fossils? Denver Museum of Nature & Science (DMNS) scientists received the results of the first radiocarbon tests on Thursday, November 11. Samples taken from a piece of wood found next to an American mastodon skull in the lowest layer of the dig site are "radiocarbon dead," meaning that there is so little radioactive carbon 14 left in the samples that it is no longer measurable. This is evidence that the lowest layers of the excavation site are more than 43,500 years old. Additional testing and analysis by the U.S. Geological Survey will provide specific ages for the layers above the bottom of the dig site. Geology indicates that the lake bed was formed about 120,000 years ago. That means the older fossils are between 43,000 and 120,000 years old, according to Dr. Kirk Johnson, museum vice president of research and collections and chief curator. Fossils found in higher levels at the site are younger but additional testing by DMNS will be required to pin down exact ages. Additional samples have been sent off and DMNS expects results in about two months. According to DMNS the great range in the age of the fossils adds considerably to the significance of the site. What is the significance of the find? _. The Ziegler Reservoir excavation site is one of the most important paleontological sites in Colorado. The site is unique because of its elevation (9,000 feet), the diversity of animals already discovered (seven different species), the quality of preservation (e.g. green plants, etc.), and the range of time preserved. "It is truly uncommon to get all parts of a fossil ecosystem preserved in one place," said Dr. lan Miller, the Museum's curator of paleontology and chair of the Earth Science Department. "Instead of having just a piece of the ecosystem to tell the story, you've got all aspects of it. It's one of the most exciting scientific discoveries I've ever worked on." What happens to the fossils after they come out of the ground? Once fossils are removed from the ground, they are immediately placed in a process chain designed to maximize their preservation. Due to the moisture content of the bones, which have lain in silt and peat for tens of thousands of years, the bones are very fragile and will disintegrate in tiny pieces if allowed to dry out too fast. Snowmass Village and the Snowmass Water & Sanitation District (SWSD) do not have the capability or facility to preserve the bones. DMNS has a preservation team that is assigned specifically to care for the bones found at Ziegler Reservoir and a special facility providing controlled atmospheric conditions. According to the Museum, it can take up to a year for the fossils to properly d ry. Some of the fossil bones require a plaster of Paris jacket to remove them from the ground and protect them during transportation to Denver. In the Museum fossil preparation lab, the jackets will be removed, the fossils will be cleaned and the slow drying process will continue. Are there sign of human activity? According to DMNS, the area surrounding Snowmass Village was covered by glaciers at the end of the last Ice Age. The high mountains and ice would have made the area a difficult place for humans to get to. Despite the fact that it is unlikely that evidence of humans will be found, DMNS is digging some of the upper fossils as if they were archeological sites. The Museum is following this procedure on the outside chance that human activity might be found. "The chances of Snowmass Man being in that reservoir are the some chances of you winning the Powerball— extremely low, "said Kirk Johnson, the vice president of research and collections at DMNS. "There is nothing to suggest that there is any human interaction here." Site logistics. How were the fossils found? The original discovery of a single juvenile Columbian mammoth was made by a bulldozer operator working on the expansion of Ziegler Reservoir on October 14. The worker unearthed approximately 20 percent of the animal, which were cleaned and put on display in the SWSD office in Snowmass Village. The Museum began the excavation of the site on Tuesday, November 2, after reaching a written agreement with the SWSD for the donation of the fossils. The excavation then went into full.swing with the arrival of Museum scientists and their team. How long will DMNS be digging? The Museum's excavation crew intends to work as quickly and efficiently as possible to remove fossils as weather permits. The Museum's agreement with SWSD runs through December 31. According to DMNS, tH excavation will probably end around November 16 "It's the freezing ground that's the issue, really," Johnson said. "There are plenty of things that are in the ground that you can't find unless you dig. We're losing our ability to dig." What will happen to the site over the winter? DMNS will create frost free barriers around the site to help protect the area. According to Kirk Johnson, the vice president of research and collections at DMNS, fossils left in the ground will be protected by the dirt and the deep snow over the winter. What will happen to the reservoir project? SWSD doesn't expect any delays in the reservoir project as a result of this find. The district is currently ahead of schedule and on budget with the construction of the dam and 2011 completion of the Ziegler Reservoir enlargement project. The district plans to submit construction plans to the State Engineer's Office this month and expects to start construction of the dam in the spring Is DMNS coming back? DMNS crews hope to return in May to continue digging and conducting scientific research on the site and will need to enter into a second agreement with SWSD to continue work in the spring. At the SWSD December 22nd board meeting, the board will discuss a second contract and the possibility of allowing further work by the DMNS while construction of the dam takes place. This winter, DMNS scientists will work with SWSD to map out a plan to tackle the site again in the spring. Can I visit or volunteer to help at the site? DMNS has a list of qualified museum volunteers who are specifically trained to help and assist DMNS crews. For more information on how you can become a volunteer go to http: / /www.dmns.org /ioin /volunteering. So there is minimal interference with the excavation and for safety purposes, DMNS and SWSD are controlling who can visit the site. Ownership of the land and the fossils. Who owns the land? The sale of the Ziegler family's 12 -acre lake (the excavation site) to SWSD in April 2007 came following six years of negotiations and compromises. The sale included the reservoir only and an easement to cross the property, but no land, according to Kit Hamby, director of SWSD. There is no public access afforded to the reservoir. The Ziegler Family put 125 acres of the property into a conservation easement with Aspen Valley Land Trust. Who owns the fossils and the reservoir? SWSD owns Ziegler Reservoir, but because the district is a political subdivision of the state, the fossils found at Ziegler Reservoir are under the jurisdiction of the State of Colorado. Pursuant to Colorado _ Statute 24 -80 -401 (1) The state of Colorado reserves to itself title to all historical, prehistorical, and archaeological resources in all lands, rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and other areas owned by the state or any county, city and county, city, town, district, or other political subdivision of the state. Upon discovery, SWSD immediately contacted DMNS, one of two State - approved repositories for these fossils. The State defers to the local political subdivision in such matters and so SWSD donated the fossils to the Museum for preservation, storage, science and education. As part of a cost - sharing and education agreement, the Museum will provide SWSD with a cast of one of the animals that is recovered during the excavation. Also, at the SWSD's request, DMNS will provide the District with additional casts of other animals and the SWSD will be responsible for those costs. Exhibition of the discovery. What will be presented in Snowmass Village? The Museum has offered to lend their paleontology expertise to Town of Snowmass Village in developing a business plan to guide efforts to maximize this opportunity. A display, to be determined, will likely be part of the plan. The goal will be to communicate the science behind the fossil ecosystem preserved in Ziegler Reservoir. The Museum has agreed to prepare a cast of one of the unearthed animals. If construction of a full mount of the cast is warranted, town officials will work with DMNS to figure out that process. What will be presented at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science? DMNS will be focusing on the preservation of the fossils and the science behind the fossil ecosystem preserved in Ziegler Reservoir in the near future. Visit www.dmns.org for any updates on the Ziegler Reservoir fossils. What is Snowmass Village doing to market this extraordinary find? Snowmass Tourism has been taking advantage of the Museum's comprehensive communications by sharing 'Snowmass Mammoth' Facebook posts with its own 5,000+ 'friends/ retweeting their tweets, distributing the daily Field Reports and getting the word out to tourism industry media. A short -term marketing plan to generate interest among winter guests is near completion and initiatives will be prioritized and executed throughout ski season. Plans to leverage the find in summer are also underway. The more comprehensive marketing plan will stem from the business plan being developed with support from Museum experts. It will focus on leveraging this `uniquely Snowmass' asset and the long term and sustainable economic potential for the Village. "I think we all have to appreciate that this will have an economic impact on Snowmass Village and on the Museum," said George Sparks, President and CEO of DMNS. "l think Snowmass Village and the Museum recognize that our entities are changed forever. We will never be the same. And cur job now is to take advantage of that and manage it well while moving forward." How can I follow what is being discovered at the Ziegler Reservoir excavation site and learn more about what it all means? Go to the DMNS website and follow the Daily Field Report which includes video updates: _ www.dmns.org. Updates are also posted on Facebook by the Denver Museum of Science & Nature (Snowmass Mammoth) and by Snowmass Tourism (Ski Snowmass). W W V Cn G O Z (A P.- C r aJ L tCQ G i O rl O N Lf1 O z 4— O H m m a� m m Q. D CIA N -� +1 C O 06 a� C In i _ o V U O CO L 3 L o `~ " C a�i ''= ca -C L O C Ca +-+ (n a) -a :E O Q- to +' +*' In 4- iii z M O LJ L O u 3 Q) OCYJ C L Y (p 0 V! O Q N } L (D E� N N -p bA 0 C Co C N Q) m U > O > i 4s N O •++ 4- H 0) Q LL 3 E Q 4J Q) m O N co 4• I — v N + p cr a) 4-J E CC D N m E O� n • — O N U N Q Q CC N 0 L Q N O N 4- _ � C) O v f0 vl N 3 0 C O O rn O E N O �0 "O 0 N O En OL � aJ a 4- OL C O Q) 4O+ Y U CL Z. V) .I•.I C a-+ U bD E &- 3 C s. .. Q) -0 (0 O i O N— fS5 O a) L C— O N N O� o 3 0 3 ca L t c o W 3 N a) 3 N O N C aJ 30 .aA 4- Q O N N a- .L O Z � -a N C 06 CIA + Y + Q) -0 O .N O N a) O v _ a) Q) cn — C a) 41 tIA tiA O > N O c+a = 3 bD 2 0 'a a) a) � Q� t a�� Q 30 E Q) E 0 •E E d Q O v i O z Q N — C m O U to i— J to O I— a) cr x w co d C U — -O N O w n GJ E O ,, -' a- W O W W a U m v v� c wo GJ 'w X U .N. � to cn tn- W +, N 0) W Vf Vf ++ 'a O > CIA m C C = a) Q V) N 0 3 ii C o a, b. Q� N 0) z W N > 4� > f0 N -O O U M C h N x 0 O i M c) L QJ W 1-- Q) > Q 4. CUJ C LA N O C C N O V Y O Q) C "Q L m Y N > -a v 06 W E 0 z m CIA Q -Fa O >� 4- N N O C Q 3 o Q) N N -� 4 ' a 0 t/7 -j 0 U N N LL Ui L cn Q Q) > O v) a-1 N M ItT Ln t0 N 00 G1 e-1 ri > o O r� Lov L > a) °)-° 3 ca U o U a) U N 4) Q) > a) ++ O ++ N a) N > 41 O 4- U 01 +2 a) vi Ln N 3 L Q Ln � 'bA -0 M v O U N i) O in u +� cn " Y N L N > t o Zn O O O U °' ° 3 0 ° o c v a c f6 C 3 a C3 i a) W O O+ O c CL r O "a m e d0 O > m y Ln +, U c c N vi O a a) N N N a) CO .N '� ate-+ a) can E N •- vi N 'O 4- bn w �- p "+ O O '� v (E N M U 3 Q a1 c M to C > bn E O s= N OU C7 0 i t Q Q o bn U -a 0) N a1 °O U Cr- � O c0 c0 p 06 c ON U a) z- Q ++ O N L `0 'U N L N �, `+' U � E � N Q O O � c f0 � U � fC +1 E a) vi cn a) > Q N c vi v C +U� to U i Q p N p �; ° Q E 0 }' o E� ° > N z `n o =. ate-+ i U Y •- N U O v a, o„ c _o o '3 Y L > � N c Ln a) {.r E L N a) to U ° L N N to a) aj c c (� ° O L E c= > a) CL o U m c c >• � m 0 C6 rLa 0 GJi ° =� CL ° o N c O h cn O v- -a c o_ a Q N o! Q U N w a N> U (1) I- lei e z r> 3 v eu oe-, v n tip tin tn LnN O N = L 0 c N N L a) N c �° > a) � o +, f0 (6 L N O N a, p v c �� v Q 0) = M -a E a) v m N ° N a) -a E a) c > > 4� =3 a — 3 L7 c c :N dA (U y L a••' y_ Y O U a) N c _0 O N E i 4-1 p0 L G ap ° m m c6 T > U a) O N M Ill tD N 00 dl O e-I N ci ai ri a-I �-I e-I a-i e-i N N N N N =5 5... L :t CC aJ 00 Q O O Y 'a E C C L �+ y of a) M , (0 N Q N � zl 1 C O 4- M O a) Ln t]A t �- a U `� L t tB O U (C6 Q � � m � � a) � 41 u 4-1 C (6 C C O V) �c Q Q Q ,' p> m > > Q) L .L Q C p C .` N ai W x i O C Q Q Q E U p> a) C O +' dA s �' p f°- a) o °u 'rw 3 O O co v 'a M 4O C -0 O N U N 'a L O Q O O E .� O Q a) a) > a) NQ m `� 3 M o .� � M a) c 0 3 E o c bD M u E m t m `Y' u Q '' a 3 3 o N o o .._ �; L� o o vC > a) v— N cn a) t CD E a) Q) co n3 C z co �`. 'a +-+ _ 0 — p +' > L a) � M Vn C 'n G N p Q m = N 4A > C m t o C O Q E' Q- '' Q = = Q M O 'U U U C > C _C a+ C (1) N qA a) Q a) N L L 7 Q U a) C cn + Q m a) p a) v C s Lo u C Q o a) Q Q U > N O L Q) +1 ci � r t U i--� N : o N N v U V) "pp er 0 pp O p 0-0 'p v 0 Q U Q N Q Q O ZQ 4E t m a) : �n O a � R a J J U N w z I— a r• r• � a) N C O 4 C C bl) •M ai i C i L L- =3 > a) •f•+ v v VI c Q � Q > E L � QJ O 4.. a) O U 'U m O i cn C L 41 N G N C V) a1 N a) E L- fB •� tn C � Q E •� tin > F `^ L 3 o CL Y `1 C '- U m a) N N N M M N cc N +.' = a) Q' N ) m p v co 3 3 v o u c E o ° 7 Ya _ c n c n Q a C LIP) a c n .Q t]A fC P�' c 0 a O a� E 0 U 0 %va> S- � 1 U � U 0_ E c o� W m rn ° o ,, AA V I ram N 00 a 0 O L C u wV W E a o lim E © o Z c N C1 cv o Y O LLJ N ~ cv m O L C) O ui cz C cn �— _ W O ' y G m Q 4-1 U ' y Q L }� CD L? -O = E - Z C= 5% 0 n „ � H Z C/) v N L V a G� y cm CQ a) Q y � W O R � W Z cn LO CL � 1 U � U 0_ E F z W o � o a W a O O a w o a � a D C7 9 c o� X a� m rn ° o ,, AA V I ram N 00 a 0 O C u . E a o lim E © o Z c N C1 cv o Y F z W o � o a W a O O a w o a � a D C7 9 c J m o co E �_ -,. �: �ry _ ,': W O (1) Mo ^Lm W O V O Ar // W E m 3 a� U. El i O rV�� � Y_I w tw Q w V m E 3 O c CA O Q O d Z C J z 4a=j ,, 0 O 0 CL a Al L i.. i DVS.... •E ru x 0 cri V) ro 0 V w w Lq Z� u � A( w r p -00001 L n T3 G Y i O 3 0 A t W E-+ Q. s • a h Z 1 IN F JW 9! ? 2 ° 2 _ w ® C � z F �V� 0 0 a 0 J 0 u z r m 0 t 1 "EM IL 0 a � #10 ert L i O O Mo V i •N (L) 0 O t) V Q � V M O V I > E E w m � o E. O Q 0 Z C J 7. �W a C C j m O a � 5 Wo u •E x 0 J rY�► JJ'I U9 OA 3 m z 0 A z ` 4 r W E� Y J W z Z ❑ 2 a � = w U R m w w Z > h r^ F a V1 0 Q 0 0 U Z 0 AD VOW* j� C ` b 0 = C _ z — � Q sN;, , .. !-1 m w _ DLIINq ,,r, a w= i O rY�► JJ'I U9 OA 3 m z 0 A z ` 4 r W E� Y J W z Z ❑ 2 a � = w U R m w w Z > h r^ F a V1 0 Q 0 0 U Z 0 AD VOW* j� C ` b So , - leL 4 6eeto Dear Mayor Boineau and Council Members, // ` 1SIle The Snowmass Village Part -time Residents Advisory Board offers to Town Council, staff, our community, and its partners, the resources, expertise, and elbow - grease of the part -time community as we discover what lies in Snowmass's future, based on what we've discovered lies in its past. Snowmass stands at the threshold of discoveries that, as one member of our community said, "could change our understanding of the world." The sooner we begin to discuss what this means for our community, the opportunities and issues, and the roles of our community, its strategic partners, and other stakeholders, the better and sooner we will be able to serve our community and others. Now is the time for Snowmass to be proactive, strategic, and forward thinking. Time is of the essence. Current and future opportunities are being defined right now. Strategic consideration of what is happening, or not happening, now will define future opportunities, and will prevent missed opportunities. Defining partnerships, and the roles of the partners, now will create more strategic, holistic, and positive results. Fundraising -- from private donors and foundations, as well as through grants -- takes time, and will be impacted by both the reality of and the perception of what the town and its partners are doing, or not doing, now. Creation of a Science & Natural History Advisory Board has been already proposed, is supported by our board, and continues to receive community support. An antecedent to such a town advisory board, such as a Task Force, can be created immediately and charged with doing research and groundwork, and making recommendations to Council about how to set up an advisory board and what stakeholders should be represented on such a board. A Task Force could also begin the fundraising and grant- writing processes for spring excavation funding support and a transitional and permanent science education center, as well as make recommendations to Council on the early steps and partnerships that will be necessary to create a transitional and permanent science education center. Although a permanent science education center on the archeological discoveries will take time, a transitional center can be in place much more quickly, and can also help determine how best to create a permanent center that will be the most beneficial to the community and others. Such a transitional center could offer science camps, professional conferences, and transitional exhibits - and could include a complete or early -phase of the observatory that has been proposed for Snowmass. A day and night science educational center, both transitional and permanent, will bring children, young adults, families, and professionals to Snowmass very soon. The Part -time Residents Advisory Board has recently identified a 501(c)(3) and is optimistic that it can be used immediately, and until another non - profit can be set up with the mission of developing and sustaining a permanent center. The Part -time Residents Advisory Board offers its fundraising, grant- writing, business, non - profit management, marketing, communication, science, science education, and other resources and expertise to you. We look forward to working with Council, staff, our community, and its partners. Sincerely, SV Part -time Residents Advisory Board �: �d� v �� ` �`� U� ! �— �� f � �.. V