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03-13-00 Town Council Packet be,mVJ�91- acv-pl oSa -zrZs' SNOWMASS VILLAGE TOWN COUNCIL WORK SESSION 03-13-2000 4:00 —4:30 P.M. COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY WILDLIFE STUDY -- Dawn Keating/Eric Odell....................................... Page 1 4:30 — 5:00 ENTRYWAY SIGN DISCUSSION -- T. Michael Manchester ................. No Packet Information 5:00 - 6:00 REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY (RTA) DISCUSSION -- T. Michael Manchester ....................................... Page 26 NOTE: ALL ITEMS AND TIMES ARE TENTATIVE AND SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT FURTHER NOTICE. PLEASE CALL THE OFFICE OF THE TOWN CLERK AT 923-3777 ON THE DAY OF THE MEETING FOR ANY AGENDA CHANGES. TOWN COUNCIL COMMUNIQUE MEETING DATE: MARCH 13, 2000 PRESENTED BY: ERIC ODELL, CSU GRADUATE STUDENT DAWN KEATING, WILDLIFE SPECIALIST SUBJECT: 2-YEAR STUDY RESULTS ON WILDLIFE COMMUNITIES AND EXURBAN DEVELOPEMNT IN PITKIN COUNTY BACKGROUND: The results of a two-year study by Eric Odell, a graduate student in the Department of Fishery and Wildlife Biology at Colorado State University,'are attached for your review. Eric will be present on 3/13/00 to present the finding of his study entitled, Wildlife Communities and Exurban Development in Pitkin County. This study began in 1998. Pitkin County, the City of Aspen, Colorado State University and the Town of Snowmass jointly funded it. Each entity contributed $12,000. The total cost of the study was approximately $36,000. The Town's contribution came from the Wildlife Mitigation Fund that was created by the passage of Ordinance 9 —94 that approved the Snowmass Ski Area Master Plan. Eric's advisor throughout the study has been Dr. Richard Knight from CSU. Staff offered support and coordination when needed over the past two years. Eric presented preliminary finding last spring. Due to the rapid rate of housing development in Pitkin County, the study was undertaken to begin to determine what wildlife and plant communities are associated with differing house size, density and distance. According to Dr. Knight's original study proposal, "Because this information is not currently available, any individual can make any claim they desire, without danger of substantiation or refutation. People are more likely to agree to recommendations if they know these suggestions are based on fact rather than supposition. Accordingly, those involved in planning and governance would benefit from factual information on housing developments and wildlife and plant communities." CONCLUSION: The information in the study will assist staff in reviewing development applications' wildlife compatibility. One can use the five Discussion points on pages 8 — 9 of the study as an "environmental check-list", providing one more tool for the Town to use when protecting wildlife values in the community. A Final Report to: Pitkin County Town of Snowmass Village City of Aspen March, 2000 WILDLIFE COMMUNITIES AND EXURBAN DEVELOPMENT IN PITKIN COUNTY, COLORADO Eric A. Odell Department of Fishery and Wildlife Biology Colorado State University Fort Collins, Colorado 80523 Richard L. Knight Professor of Wildlife Biology Department of Fishery and Wildlife Biology Colorado State University Fort Collins, Colorado 80523 2 TABLE OF CONTENTS ProjectSummary............................................................................................................................. I Introduction..................................................................................................................................... 2 Objectives ....................................................................................................................................... 2 Methods........................................................................................................................................... 3 StudyLocation......................................................................................................................... 3 HouseDistance Effect.............................................................................................................. 3 HouseDensity Effect............................................................................................................... 4 HouseSize Ef fect..................................................................................................................... 4 BirdCounts.........................................................................................................................4 ShrubCover........................................................................................................................ 4 ScentStations......................................................................................................................4 PelletGroup Counts............................................................................................................ 5 StatisticalAnalysis.............................................................................................................. 5 Results............................................................................................................................................. 5 DistanceEffect......................................................................................................................... 5 BirdPoint Counts................................................................................................................ 5 VegetationTransects........................................................................................................... 6 Scent Station Track Counts................................................................................................. 6 PelletGroup Counts............................................................................................................ 6 DensityEffect.......................................................................................................................... 6 BirdPoint Counts................................................................................................................ 6 VegetationTransects........................................................................................................... 6 Scent Station Track Counts................................................................................................. 7 PelletGroup Counts............................................................................................................ 7 SizeEff ect................................................................................................................................ 7 Conclusions..................................................................................................................................... 7 HouseDistance Eff ect.............................................................................................................. 7 HouseDensity Effect............................................................................................................... 7 HouseSize Effect..................................................................................................................... 8 Discussion....................................................................................................................................... 8 ManagementImplications............................................................................................................... 9 Acknowl edgements....................................................................................................................... 10 LiteratureCited............................................................................................................................. 11 FigureCaptions............................................................................................................................. 14 BirdList........................................................................................................................................ 15 3. Wildlife Communities and Exurban Development Odell and Knight PROJECT SUMMARY Population growth in Pitkin County is occurring at unprecedented rates. There is concern as to how rural development is effecting the native biodiversity of the area, and this study was initiated to examine this issue. Songbirds, medium-sized mammals, and big game associated with exurban development (i.e., development beyond incorporated city limits) were surveyed between May and June in 1998 and again in 1999. Surveys were conducted at 30 m, 180 m, and 330 m away from homes into undeveloped land, and in developments of varying housing densities. Bird species were placed into one of two different groups; the first group included those birds that showed higher densities closer to developments and lower densities further away; the second group included those displaying the opposite trend. Species in the first group included: Black-billed Magpies (Pica pica), American Robin (Turdus migratorious), Brown- headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater), Brewer's Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus), House Wren (Troglodytes aedon), and Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides). Species in the second group included Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea), Black-capped Chickadee (Parus atricapillus), Black-headed Grosbeak (Pheucticus melanocephalus), Dusky Flycatcher (Empidonax oberholseri), Spotted Towhee (Piptlo ervthrophthalmus), and Orange-crowned Warbler(Vermivora celata). Native bird communities were altered up to 180 m away from the home, however these communities were not very different between high and low density development. Differences did exist, however, between communities in developed and undeveloped sites. Domesticated dogs (Canis familiaris) and house cats (Fells domesticus) were detected more frequently closer to homes than further away. Red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and coyotes (Canis latrans) were detected more frequently further away from houses. Similar results were found for these species in exurban development of varying densities, with dogs and cats detected more frequently in the high and low density developments and red foxes and coyotes detected more frequently in undeveloped parcels of land. Surveys were also conducted near homes of varying sizes (sq. ft.) to determine if there was any relationship between impact and size of home. No such relationship was detected. We also attempted to survey Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus) and Elk (Cervus elaphus), by using pellet group counts,but only did so with limited success, as the natural histories of these animals make them difficult to study when addressing the questions focused on in this project. We conclude that a zone of influence of 180 meters exists for rural residential development in the shrubland community type in Pitkin County, Colorado. Within this zone of influence songbird communities are altered, with generalist species existing in increased densities, and sensitive species existing in decreased densities. Additionally, domesticated dogs and cats displace the native medium-sized mammals such as the red fox and the coyote. Parallel trends were discovered for the house-density effect. No trend was identified relating house size and wildlife response. Results from this study indicate that clustering development on a parcel of land and leaving the remainder of the parcel in its undeveloped state may improve quantity and quality of wildlife habitat. However, areas that are undeveloped may not all be productive habitat. When development borders wild or undisturbed lands, a buffer of 180 m that envelops the development should be considered as impacted habitat as demonstrated by increased densities of generalist and decreased densities of sensitive species in this study. Wildlife Communities and Exurban Development Odell and Knight INTRODUCTION The American West is currently in the midst of an unprecedented period of growth (Knight 1998). According to United States Census figures, population in the Rocky Mountain States increased 14.5%between 1990 and 1995, a rate more than two-and-a-half times the national average (U.S. Census Bureau 1998). Within the Rocky Mountain States, a region also known as the "New West," Colorado boasts one of the fastest growth rates (Poole 1996). This rapid growth is occurring primarily in counties where the largest cities have populations below 50,000. Also, counties with federally designated wilderness areas show population increases six times the national average (Gersch 1996). Concerns about increasing growth in the New West focus not only on rates, but also on the patterns of this development and the ecological consequences on the region's natural heritage (Blair 1996; Buechner and Sauvajot 1996; Bolger et al. 1997; Boren et al. 1999). Exurban development is the term for development that occurs beyond the limits of incorporated towns and cities (Knight 1999). For example, from 1982 to 1992, over 1 million ha of pasturelands were converted to residential and industrial development, roads, and shopping centers (Flather et al. 2000). From 1992 to 1997, the average annual loss of farm and ranch land to rural housing developments in Colorado was nearly 110,000 ha(Colorado Department of Agriculture 1999). Two of the most conspicuous changes following the development of rural landscapes are the increase in densities of buildings and the extension of roads (Mitchell et al. In press). Increased development also results in increased: 1) dog and cat populations, 2) automobiles and vehicular traffic, 3) night lights, 4)non-native plants and other human-adapted species, and 5) human activities (Knight et al. 1995; Knight and Mitchell 1997; Marzluff 1997). Each of these changes has the potential to alter the native biological diversity of an area. While conservation biologists have begun to realize that this conversion of private, open lands to human-dominated development will result in the simplification of our native biodiversity, the effects have been poorly studied in the rural West(Knight 1999). Thus far, researchers examining avian responses to development have focused on urban development areas and have neglected exurban development (e.g., Emlen 1974; Bessinger and Osboume 1982; Mills et al. 1989; Blair 1996; Bock et al. 1997; Bolger et al. 1997; Germaine et al. 1998). While Vogel's (1989) research on deer and Harrison's (1997; 1998) work on bobcats (Lynx r ufus) and gray foxes (Urocyon einereoargenteus) studied exurban development, the trend for research examining responses of birds and mammals to residential development has been to focus on areas within incorporated city limits (e.g., Beier 1995; Torres et al. 1996; Crooks and Soule 1999). OBE This study was initiated with three objectives. The first was to examine whether a `house- distance effect' exists. A house-distance effect is characterized by varied.responses by wildlife species to increasing proximity to homes. It is caused by biotic and abiotic effects associated with a house and its occupants. Songbird densities and the presence or absence of medium-sized mammals were used as indicators to determine how far the disturbance from a rural house extends outward from the physical structure. The second objective was to examine wildlife populations within exurban developments of varying housing densities. Wildlife species were sampled in areas of three housing densities Wildlife Communities and Exurban Development Odell and Knight (high, low, undeveloped) in order to compare wildlife densities and composition along a development-density gradient. The third objective was to determine if a house-size effect exists. Wildlife surveys were conducted near homes of varying sizes to determine what, if any, relationship exists between house size and wildlife community structure. METHODS STUDY LOCATION Fieldwork was conducted between in May and June of 1998 and 1999 in Pitkin County, Colorado. Pitkin County(39°13' N, 106°55' W) is located in western Colorado and encompasses 241,984 ha, with 42,408 ha being privately owned and the rest in public lands. All privately owned land used for this study lay between 2,250 in and 2,500 in in elevation. The city of Aspen (population 5,500) and the town of Snowmass Village(population 1,800) are the largest population centers in this county. The Hunter-Fryingpan, Collegiate Peaks, and Maroon Bells- Snowmass Wilderness Areas and the White River National Forest are located at least partially within this county. Fieldwork was conducted in a mountain shrubland community, dominated by Gambel's oak (Quercus gambehi), Saskatoon serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia), chokecherry (Prunus virginiana), and mountain sagebrush (Artemesia tridentaia vasavana). Homes and exurban housing developments were identified using a multi-step process. Initially, potential homesites and developments were located using the Pitkin County Assessor's Office Geographic Information Systems (GIS) database. A list of sites was compiled and then each area was ground-truthed, making certain that they fit several criteria: homes had to be located in mountain shrubland habitat, be a single family residence, and have no construction in progress. Ground-truthing eliminated some of the homesites from the initial list. Next, permission was solicited by contacting homeowners by visiting the house, telephone, fax, or mail. Approximately 50 homes were identified as being suitable, and a total of 40 homeowners granted permission to utilize their properties for this aspect of the study. The same criteria described above were used in selecting housing developments to address the house-density effect. Developments were driven and classified as either high or low density. When potential sites were located within developments of high density (1.04±0.67 houses/hectare), low density(0.095 ± 0.083 housesihectare), and undeveloped areas (at least 700 in from any development), permission was solicited from the property owners. Five high-density developments were identified and all five had study sites located in them. Seven low-density developments were identified, and study points were located in six of them. HOUSE-DISTANCE EFFECT To examine the house-distance effect, three sampling stations were established at increasing distances away from houses (30, 180, and 330 in away from the edge of the house) onto a parcel of land that was undeveloped. For the house-distance effect study, only homes located at the periphery of exurban developments were used. Each sampling station was the site for a 50 in fixed radius point count to sample songbirds, a line-intercept transect to quantify shrub cover, a scent station track plate to survey the presence of mammals, and a pellet group count plot to measure big game activity. Wildlife Communities and Exurban Development Odell and Knight - HOUSE-DENSITY EFFECT Surveys were conducted at points located within patches of the mountain shrubland community in the interior of the developments of varying densities. In the high-density developments, survey points were randomly selected patches of mountain shrubland habitat. Points were randomly located in the low-density and undeveloped areas. For the high- and low- density housing developments, points were located within 100 in of a house. Points were situated so that a 50 in radius would intersect as few roads, landscaped yards, and buildings as possible. Twenty sites within each of the density categories (high, low, and undeveloped) were utilized to examine the "house-density effect". There was no overlap in survey points used for the house-distance and density effect aspects of the study. Songbird communities were sampled using a 50 in fixed radius point count, line-intercept'transects were used to quantify shrub cover, scent-station track plates were used to determine the presence or absence of medium-sized mammals, and big game activity was sampled using pellet group counts. HOUSE-SIZE EFFECT Data from the surveys that were conducted at the 30 in site for the house-distance effect were utilized to determine the relationship between house size and wildlife community structure. BIRD COUNTS Bird counts were conducted from just before dawn until 3 hours after sunrise. A five- minute count period began at each point after a one-minute quiet period. Birds were identified by auditory and/or visual cues, and were recorded to species and distance to detection, which was estimated in 10 m wide increments up to 50 in from the point (Verner 1985). High-flying birds that did not land were not recorded. Birds that were originally detected outside of the 50 in radius boundary but that later flew inside were not recorded. Surveys were not conducted when it was raining or when wind would have interfered with audible detections. Between 1 and 3 visits to each site were made during the 1998 field season (depending on homeowner permission), and 2 visits to each site were made to each site during the 1999 field season. SHRUB COVER Shrub cover was quantified at every point where bird counts were conducted. At each point, three compass bearings were randomly chosen. For each of these bearings, an associated distance between 0 and 40 in was also randomly chosen. Along that bearing and at that distance, a 10 in transect was used to characterize vegetative shrub cover using line-intercept methods described by Canfield (1941). The shrub species and distance along the transect that was intersected by the shrub was recorded. SCENT STATIONS Mammal scent stations were established adjacent to the points where bird counts were taken (Roughton and Sweeny 1982; Conner et al. 1983; Andelt and Woolley 1996). A 1 in x 1 in metal plate was placed at each sampling station. A solution of 100% ethanol and unscented talcum powder(approx. 3.8 liters ethanol: 475 cc talcum powder) was sprayed on the plate, and the ethanol was allowed to evaporate, leaving a thin film of evenly spread talcum powder. A scent attractant disk (FAS scented predator survey disks, supplied by Pocatello Supply Depot, Pocatello, Idaho, 83201) was placed in the center of each plate and the plate was left in place for a period of 7 days (6 nights). Plates were revisited each afternoon, and presence of species was Wildlife Communities and Exurban Development Odell and Knight - verified by identifying tracks left on the plate. The plate was re-dusted and the scent attractant was replaced as necessary. If at any time during the tracking period an individual of a particular species was detected at that point, that species was declared present at that point. PELLET GROUP COUNTS Pellet group counts were used to determine relative abundance of big game (deer and elk). A 50.24 in (radius =4 m) circular plot at the center of each sampling station was used (Neff 1968; Overton 1971). The plot was searched and cleared of all pellet groups at the beginning of the field season. A return visit to each plot was made on a monthly basis to census newly deposited pellet groups. Number of pellet groups in each plot, and species depositing the groups was recorded. Pellet groups were removed from the plot after each census. STATISTICAL ANALYSES Bird count data for both the house-distance and house-density effects were analyzed using Program DISTANCE (Thomas et al. 1998). Program DISTANCE is a data analysis tool that provides reliable estimates of densities of species using distance sampling (Buckland et al. 1993). The same procedure was conducted for analysis for bird counts among the three density categories. Since data were collected independently for each of these aspects, analyses were run separately for the house-distance and house-density effects. One of the requirements of Program DISTANCE is that there are a sufficient number of detections of each species in order to fit the function to the data. For the house-distance effect aspect of the study, 12 species were abundant enough to utilize the capabilities of Program DISTANCE, and for the house-density effect, 14 species were detected enough to utilize this analysis method. Density estimates for each species at each sampling location (30 m, 180 m, 330 m)were then tested for statistical significance using a one-way analysis of variance by using the General Linear Models Procedure (GLM) of the Statistical Analysis System (SAS'$') (SAS Institute 1998). Songbird density estimates in the different housing density categories produced by Program DISTANCE were also analyzed using PROC GLM in SAS' (K. Burnham, pers. comm.). Shrub cover among the three sampling locations (A, B, C) and three housing density categories was analyzed using PROC GLM in SAS'' to test if the amount of shrub cover varied among the points. For each species of medium-sized mammal, Cochran's Q, a chi-square approximation, (Bishop et al. 1975)was used to test for the equality of detections among the three distances (A, B, Q. Follow-up paired comparisons of the distance categories were conducted using an exact p-value in a binomial test (Steel and Tome 1980). For each medium-sized mammal species, a chi-square test was used to compare detections among the three density categories. Follow-up paired chi-square tests were used to compare each pair of density categories. RESULTS DISTANCE EFFECT BIRD POINT COUNTS During two field seasons, 3,845 detections of 30 different bird species were made. Based on density estimates at increasing distances from residential development individual bird species were separated into two different categories, species that displayed an affinity to homes (higher densities closer to homes) and species that occurred in lower densities closer to homes. Six species had higher densities near homes (Fig 1). These species are termed human-adapted, or Wildlife Communities and Exurban Development Odell and Knight generalist species. Six species had significantly lower densities near homes (Fig 2), and these species are referred to as specialist, or sensitive, species. VEGETATION TRANSECTS Gambel's oak and Saskatoon serviceberry dominated shrub cover. There was an average of 72.1% (± 7.3%) shrub coverage in the study plots. Shrub cover did not differ among the three distance categories (Fig 3). SCENT STATION TRACK COUNTS Dogs (Canis familiaris), house cats (Fells domesticus), red fox (Vulpes vidpes), coyotes (Canis latrans), porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum), black bear(Ursus americanus), mountain lion (Fells concolor), and skunks (Mephitis mephitis) were detected at scent stations. Porcupine (2 detections at C), black bear (1 detection at B, 1 at C), mountain lion (1 detection at A, 1 at C), and skunks (2 detections at A) were not detected enough to warrant statistical analysis. Dogs detections were significantly higher at A than either B or C, and at B than C. House cat detections were significantly greater at A than at either B or C. Red fox detections were significantly greater at site C than either A or B. Coyotes were detected at points B and C only. Their detections were significantly higher at C than B (Fig 4). PELLET GROUP COUNTS Pellet group counts were unsuccessful at detecting big game in high enough numbers to conduct any analysis. This result is due in large part to the animal's natural histories. During the summer months, when the surveys were conducted, deer and elk are typically in the higher elevation summer grounds. They are rarely in lower elevation areas during this time of the year. Additionally, the surveys were conducted in areas of heavy shrub cover. Big game travel along well-defined trails in this vegetation structure, thus there were few areas of high density pellet group deposition. DENSITY EFFECT BIRD POINT COUNTS During two field seasons, 2,287 detections of 23 different bird species were made. Based on their densities in different density housing developments, individual bird species were again separated into two different categories, species that occurred in higher densities in developments of high housing density, and species that occurred in higher densities in undeveloped areas. Six species had significantly higher densities in developments of high housing density (Fig 5). Again, these species are referred to as human-adapted, or generalist species. Eight species had significantly reduced densities in high-density housing developments (Fig 6), and these are referred to as specialist, or sensitive species. VEGETATION TRANSECTS Gambel's oak and Saskatoon servicebeny dominated shrub cover. There was an average of 75.6% (± 10.5%) shrub coverage in the study plots. Shrub cover did not differ among the three density categories (Fig 7). 9 Wildlife Communities and Exurban Development Odell and Knight SCENT STATION TRACK COUNTS Domesticated dogs, house cats, red fox, coyotes, and porcupine were detected using the scent stations. Porcupines were detected only twice and both detections occurred in the undeveloped areas. Dogs were detected significantly more often at scent station plates placed in the high-density and low-density locations than the undeveloped locations. Detection of dogs was not significantly different between high- and low-density locations. House cats were detected significantly more at sampling locations located in the high-density sites than at either of the low-density or undeveloped sites. There was not a significant difference in the amount of cat visits between the low-density and undeveloped sites. Red foxes were detected more often at undeveloped sites than at either high-density or low-density sites. Red fox detections were not significantly different between high and low-density sites. Coyotes were detected significantly more at the undeveloped sites than at either of the high- or low-density sites. There was no statistical difference between high- and low-density site visitation for coyotes (Fig. 8). PELLET GROUP COUNTS The same problems relating to pellet group counts encountered in the house-distance effect were encountered in this aspect of the study. Again, as deer and elk are typically in the high country at this time of the year, their presence was pretty much undetected using this methodology. Thus, no patterns were identified. SIZE EFFECT Generally, there was no pattern of any wildlife response to house size. The number of bird species slightly decreases with increasing house size, but the relationship is not strong enough to make any general statements (Fig 9). Again, pellet group count data could not be properly collected because of the same reasons explained above. CONCLUSIONS HOUSE-DISTANCE EFFECT Results from this study suggest that a house-distance effect exists in the mountain shrubland habitat of Pitkin County, Colorado, and that it extends up to 180 in away from the homes on the periphery of exurban developments. Songbird species were divided into two general groups, human-adapted species that occur in higher densities close to homes, and sensitive species that exist in reduced densities close to homes. Previous work has demonstrated that there are strong habitat associations between avian densities and vegetation structure (Rottenberry and Weins 1980; Mills et al. 1991; Knick and Rotenberry 1995). Shrub cover was not significantly different among the three sampling distances, indicating that habitat availability did not explain the differences. Medium-sized mammal composition also differed among the three distance categories, with dogs and cats replacing coyotes and red foxes closer to houses. HOUSE-DENSITY EFFECT Generally, human-adapted songbird species are present in the same densities in the interior of high-density housing developments as in low-density housing developments. A few of the sensitive species, such as Green-tailed Towhee, Dusky Flycatcher, and Plumbeous Vireo, were present in higher densities in the low-density housing developments than in the high- 10 Wildlife Communities and Exurban Development Odell and Knight density housing developments. All of the sensitive species occurred in higher densities in the undeveloped areas than in the high-density housing developments. Shrub cover was shown to not differ among the three development density categories, indicating that this habitat characteristic was consistent, and not an explanatory factor. Medium-sized mammal community composition was also modified across the varying density of development with domesticated dogs and cats replacing the red fox and coyote in developed areas compared to the undeveloped areas. HOUSE-SIZE EFFECT No general patterns relating house size and wildlife response were discovered in this study. There are several reasons that this may be the case, and to demonstrate the possibilities, a simple, hypothetical scenario is described. A large house that is occupied only 2 weeks out of the year by a retired couple may have much less of an ecological impact as a smaller house that is occupied year-round by a younger couple with children and pets. Thus, it is not necessarily the house size that determines the impact; rather, it is more likely the lifestyle of the occupants of the house. DISCUSSION While some patterns of songbird densities in relation to exurban development have been clearly demonstrated in this study, it cannot be inferred that ecological success will follow (VanHome 1983). As an example, birds may migrate from source habitats into unproductive sink habitats where populations may maintain high densities,but low productivity(Pulliam 1988; Pulliam and Danielson 1991). However, patterns of bird responses provide a framework for future studies to investigate breeding ecology and productivity (Berry and Bock 1998). Several mechanisms may explain these observed wildlife responses to exurban development. First, rural dog and cat populations may result in increased predation on wildlife ranging from small mammals to songbirds up to medium-size mammals (Jones and Coman 1981; Liberg 1984; Triggs et al. 1984; Churcher and Lawton 1987). A study near Santa Fe, New Mexico found that gray fox populations were reduced near rural housing developments when compared with undeveloped rural landscapes (Harrison 1997). The presence of dogs near houses was considered a primary reason for the reduced fox numbers. In rural Wisconsin, 86% of the farm residents and 52% of the non-farm rural residents had cats (Coleman and Temple 1993). The mean number of cats per home was 8.1 and 4.5 for farm and non-farm rural residents, respectively, and only 12 %of the farmers and 22%of the non-farmers neutered their cats. Because cats and dogs are fed by humans, their distribution and number in rural habitats are regulated less by the carrying capacity of the land and environmental resistance than by the customs and needs of humans. George (1974) determined that in a year on a rural farm, three cats ate 483 small to medium-sized vertebrates. Churcher and Lawton (1987) found that over the course of a breeding season, 1/3 of the House Sparrows (Passer domesticus) in a village were preyed upon by cats. Collectively,these subsidized predators (Soule et al. 1988) may reduce native wildlife populations. Dog and cat predation may also decrease potential prey populations for native predators, such as hawks and medium-sized carnivores (George 1974; Soule et al. 1988; Goszczynski et al. 1993; Crooks and Sou18 1999). Second, roads accessing exurban developments are usually dirt or gravel, may be constructed across steep slopes with inadequate grading, and are traveled daily. The marked Wildlife Communities and Exurban Development Odell and Knight - increase in total kilometers of roads following subdivision results in increased soil erosion, habitat fragmentation, and wildlife mortality (see Schonewald-Cox and Buechner 1992). Roads serve as barriers to wildlife dispersal and at the same time act as conduits for the dispersal of weeds and invasive plants (Baker and Knight 2000). Some wildlife species appear particularly sensitive to an increase in the density of roads. These species may include those that do not do well in edge habitat, are sensitive to humans, are unwilling to cross roads, or seek roads for heat or food (and therefore run the risk of being killed) (see Yahner 1988). Third, housing and commercial developments result in an increasing number of outdoor lights. Although not adequately studied, it appears that lights at night may alter the movement of certain wildlife species. Beier(1995) noted that mountain lions avoided night lights when moving through the Santa Ana Mountains of California. Headlights from automobiles and outdoor lights may collectively cause areas with housing and commercial developments to be less suitable for dispersing wildlife. Fourth, people in housing and commercial developments often landscape their homes and businesses with nonnative plants (Rosenberg et al. 1987). Replacing native vegetation with exotic varieties may affect wildlife in subtle ways. Mills et al. (1989) found that eucalyptus (Eucalptus spp.), a plant commonly used as landscaping material in the southwestern region of the United States, supported lower insect populations. The implications of using these species as replacement for native vegetation could result in increased vegetation volume when compared to the highly disturbed construction site, yet decreased amount of available food resources (for birds, for example) when compared to undisturbed sites. Fifth, developments typically result in more people. Because human impacts are one of the principle ways that wildlife are disturbed, increases in human density and activity may alter the composition of wildlife communities (see Knight and Gutzwiller 1995; Buechner and Sauvajot 1996; Knight and Clark 1998). Not all wildlife species demonstrate equal sensitivity to human presence. Some species tend to avoid humans while others are attracted to them (Friesen et al. 1995; Blair 1996; Bowers and Breland 1996). For example, Engels and Sexton (1994) recorded decreases of Golden-cheeked Warblers (Dendroica chrysoparia) and increases of Blue Jay (Cyanocitta crisata) numbers with increasing housing development. Collectively, these trends and consequences suggest that the composition of native wildlife and plant communities will be altered in the vicinity of exurban housing developments (Knight et al. 1995; Buechner and Sauvajot 1996; Knight and Mitchell 1997; Knight and Clark 1998). Increasing exurban development contributes to the conversion of natural wildlife communities. For example, in this study, there were marked increases in the numbers of human adapted species such as the American Robin and Black-billed Magpie, and a decrease in the sensitive species, such as the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and Dusky Flycatcher near rural homes. MANAGEMENT IMPLICATIONS There are several land management practices that rural property owners can follow or implement to potentially decrease impacts of rural residential development. Spaying or neutering cats will help reduce population increases of these subsidized predators. Domesticated dogs can be kenneled so that they are not running free and disturbing wildlife. Limiting the amount of miles driven daily on rural roads and being alert will minimize road-killed wildlife. Enforcement of slower speeds and the implementation of speed deterrents such as speed bumps in active wildlife crossings may also minimize road-kill. Replanting with native vegetation will Ja Wildlife Communities and Exurban Development Odell and Knight minimize water usage, and will promote native wildlife communities. While not proven, reducing the amount of outdoor lighting on at night may allow wildlife to move more freely across the landscape. Land-use planners can also effectively contribute to preservation of wildlife habitat. As opposed to dispersed development, clustered development implies concentrating development on a small portion of the entire parcel of land, leaving the remaining, undeveloped portion in its natural state. Placing a conservation easement on the undeveloped portion will ensure that this land remains in this state in perpetuity. The result will be higher densities of development with less area of the landscape disturbed. Concentrating the disturbance into one area will limit fragmentation and perforation due to roads and homes, leaving the remainder of the landscape in a condition more suitable for native wildlife(Theobald et al. 1997). For example, if developments on a 100 ha parcel of land were limited to 20 ha and the remaining 80 ha were left as native, undisturbed vegetation, wildlife communities would likely retain their natural biodiversity. This study has demonstrated that each house has an associated zone of influence that surrounds the structure. By clustering development, zones of influence from neighboring homes will overlap, thus minimizing the amount of native habitat that is impacted by exurban development. However, areas that are undeveloped may not all be productive habitat. When development borders wild or undisturbed lands, a buffer of 180 m that envelops the development should be considered as impacted habitat as demonstrated by increased densities of generalist and decreased densities of sensitive species in this study. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I thank J. Lowsky, D. Keating, C. Houben, and M. Villa who provided logistical support throughout this study. K. Burnham, B. Noon, and P. Chapman provided statistical consultation for this project. S. Garwood provided GIS data. M. Flenniken, D. Odell, B. Noon and B. Woodmansee provided helpful comments on previous drafts of this manuscript. I thank the private landowners who granted permission to use their property for this study. This study was supported by grants from Pitkin County, The Town of Snowmass Village and the City of Aspen. Wildlife Communities and Exurban Development Odell and Knieht LITERATURE. CITED Andelt, W. F., and T. P. Woollev. 1996. 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Mesopredator release and avifaunal extinctions in a fragmented system. Nature 400:563-566. 14 Wildlife Communities and Exurban Development Odell and Knight Emlen, J. T. 1974. An urban bird community in Tucson, Arizona: derivation, structure, regulation. Condor 76:184-197. Engels, T. M., and C. W. Sexton. 1994. Negative correlation of Blue Jays and Golden-Cheeked Warblers near an urbanizing area. Conservation Biology 8:286-290. Flather, C. H., S. J. Brady, and M. S. Knowles. 2000. An analysis of wildlife resource trends in the United States: A technical document supporting the 1999 USDA Forest Service assessment. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station. Friesen, L. E., P. F. Eagles, and R. J. Mackay. 1995. Effects of residential development on forest-dwelling neotropical migrant songbirds. Conservation Biology 9:1408-1414. George, W. G. 1974. Domestic cats as predators and factors in winter shortages of raptor prey. Wilson Bulletin 86:384-396. Germaine, S. S., S. S. Rosenstock, R. E. Schweinsburg, and W. S. Richardson. 1998. Relationships among breeding birds, habitat, and residential development in greater Tucson, Arizona. Ecological Applications 8:680-691. Gersch, J. 1996. Subdivide and conquer. Amicus 18:14-20. Goszczynski, J., P. Jablonski, G. Lesinski, and J. Romanowski. 1993. Variation in diet of tawny owl Strix aluco L. along an urbanization gradient. Acta Ornithologica 27:113-123. Harrison, R. L. 1997. A comparison of gray fox ecology between residential and undeveloped rural landscapes. Journal of Wildlife Management 61:112-122. Harrison, R. L. 1998. Bobcats in residential areas: distribution and homeowner attitudes. Southwestern Naturalist 43:469-475. Jones, E., and B. J. Coman. 1981. Ecology of the feral cat Felis talus (L.), in southeastern Australia: I. Diet. Australian Wildlife Research 8:537-547. Knick, S. T., and J. T. Rotenberry. 1995. Landscape characteristics of fragmented shrubsteppe habitats and breeding passerine birds. Conservation Biology 9:1059-1071. Knight, R. L. 1998. A field report from the new American West. In Wallace Stegner and the continental vision, edited by C. Meine. Covelo, California: Island Press. Knight, R. L. 1999. Private lands: The neglected geography. Conservation Biology 13:223-224. Knight, R. L., and T. W. Clark. 1998. Public-private land boundaries: Defining obstacles, finding solutions. In Stewardship across boundaries, edited by R. L. Knight and P. Landres. Covelo, California: Island Press. Knight, R. L., and K. G. Gutzwiller, eds. 1995. Wildlife and recreation: coexistence through research and management. Covelo, California: Island Press. Knight, R. L., and J. Mitchell. 1997. Subdividing the west. In Principles of Conservation Biology, edited by G. K. Meffe and C. R. Carroll. Sunderland, Mass: Sinauer Associates, Inc. Knight, R. L., G. N. Wallace, and W. E. Riebsame. 1995. Ranching the view: Subdivisions versus agriculture. Conservation Biology 9:459-461. Liberg, O. 1984. Food habits and prey impact by feral and house-based domestic cats in a rural area in southern Sweden. Journal of Mammalogy 65:424-432. Marzluff, J. 1997. Effects of urbanization and recreation on songbirds: USDA Forest Service. Mills, G. S., J. B. Dunning, Jr., and J. M. Bates. 1989. Effects of urbanization on breeding bird community structure in southwestern desert habitats. Condor 91:416-428. Mills, G. S., J. B. Dunning, and J. M. Bates. 1991. The relationship between breeding bird density and vegetation volume. Wilson Bulletin 103:468-479. V5 Wildlife Communities and Exurban Development Odell and Knight Mitchell, J. E., R. L. Knight, and R. J. Camp. In press. Landscape attributes of subdivided ranches. Rangelands. Neff, D. J. 1968. The pellet-group count technique for big game trend, census, and distribution: A review. Journal of Wildlife Management 32:597-614. Overton, W. S. 1971. Estimating the numbers of animals in wildlife populations. In Wildlife Management Techniques, edited by R. H. Giles, Jr. Washington, D.C.: The Wildlife Society. Poole, W. 1996. Corralling the boom. Land and People:9-14. Pulliam, H. R. 1988. Sources, sinks and population regulation. American Naturalist 132:652-661. Pulliam, H. R., and B. J. Danielson. 1991. Sources, sinks and habitat selection: a landscape perspective on population dynamics. American Naturalist 137:S50-S66. Rosenberg, K. V., S. B. Terrill, and G. H. Rosenberg. 1987. Value of suburban habitats to desert riparian birds. Wilson Bulletin 99:642-654. Rottenbetry, J. T., and J. A. Weins. 1980. Habitat structure, patchiness, and avian communities in North American steppe vegetation: a multivariate analysis. Ecology 61:1228-1250. Roughton, R. D., and M. W. Sweeny. 1982. Refinements in scent-station methodology for assessing trends in carnivore populations. Journal of Wildlife Management 46:217-229. SAS Institute. 1998. SAS user's guide. Version 6 . SAS Institute Inc., Cary, North Carolina. Schonewald-Cox, C., and M. Buechner. 1992. Park protection and public roads. In Conservation Biology, edited by P. L. Fielder and S. K. Jain. New York, N Y: Chapman and Hall. Soul6, M. E., D. T. Bolger, A. C. Alberts, J. Wright, M. Sorice, and S. Hill. 1988. Reconstructed dynamics of rapid extinctions of chaparral-requiring birds in urban habitat islands. Conservation Biology 2:75-92. Steel, R. G. D., and J. H. Torrie. 1980. Principles and procedures ofstatistics: A biometrical approach. New York: McGraw-Hill. Theobald, D. M., J. R. Miller, and N. T. Hobbs. 1997. Estimating the cumulative effects of development on wildlife habitat. Landscape and Urban Planning 39:25-36. Thomas, L., J. L. Laake, J. F. Derry, S. T. Buckland, D. L. Borchers, D. R. Anderson, K. P. Burnham, S. Strindberg, S. L. Hedley, M. L. Burt, F. Marques, J. H. Pollard, and R. M. Fewster. 1998. Distance 3.5. Research Unit for Wildlife Population Assessment, St. Andrews, UK. Torres, S. G., T. M. Mansfield, J. E. Foley, T. Lupo, and A. Brinkhaus. 1996. Mountain lion and human activity in California: testing speculations. Wildlife Society Bulletin 24:451-460. Triggs, B., H. Brunner, and J. M. Cullen. 1984. The food of fox, dog and cat in Croajingalong National Park, south-eastern Victoria. Australian Wildlife Research 11:491-499. United States Census Bureau. 1998. Projections of the total population of states. Population Paper Listing#47, Population projections for states, by age, sex, race, and hispanic origin: 1995 to 2025. VanHome, B. 1983. Density as a misleading indicator of habitat quality. Journal of Wildlife Management 47:893-901. Verner, J. 1985. Assessment of counting techniques. In Current Ornithology, edited by F. Johnson. New York: Plenum Press. Vogel, W. O. 1989. Response of deer to density and distribution of housing in Montana. Wildlife Society Bulletin 17:406-413. Yahner, R. H. 1988. Changes in wildlife communities near edges. Conservation Biology 2:333- 339. Wildlife Communities and Exurban Development Odell and Knight FIGURE CAPTIONS Figure 1. Density and 90% Cl of species at sampling points at increasing distances away from homes into natural areas. Density estimates with the same letter are not statistically significant at alpha= 0.10. Figure 2. Density and 90% CI of species at sampling points at increasing distances away from homes into natural areas. Density estimates with the same letter are not statistically significant at alpha= 0.10. Figure 3. Mean ± SE of shrub cover at sampling locations where bird counts were conducted. Figure 4. Percentage of houses that had detections of each medium-sized mammal species at each distance category. Figure j. Density and 90% CI of species at sampling points within developments of varying density. Density estimates with the same letter are not statistically significant at alpha = 0.10. Figure 66. Density and 90% CI of species at sampling points within developments of varying density. Density estimates with the same letter are not statistically significant at alpha =0.10. Figure 7. Mean± SE of shrub cover at locations where bird counts were conducted. Figure g. Percentage of sites that had detections of each medium-sized mammal species at each housing density category. Figure 9. Linear regression of avian species richness versus house size. 11 Wildlife Communities and Exurban Development Odell and Knight - PITKIN COUNTY FIELD STUDY 1998-2000 BIRD LIST Towhees and Sparrows Swallows Brewer's Sparrow Tree Swallow Chipping Sparrow Violet-green Swallow Vesper Sparrow White-crowned Sparrow Finches Green-tailed Towhee Cassin's Finch Spotted Towhee Pine Siskin Solitaires and Thrushes Vireos Mountain Bluebird Plumbeous Vireo Townsend's Solitaire Warbling Vireo Swainson's Thrush Hermit Thrush Grosbeaks and Buntings American Robin Black-headed Grosbeak Lazuli Bunting Warblers MacGillivray's Warbler Titmice Orange-crowned Warbler Black-capped Chickadee Virginia's Warbler Mountain Chickadee Yellow Warbler Yellow-rumped Warbler Hawks Cooper's Hawk Blackbirds Northern Hamer Brown-headed Cowbird Brewer's Blackbird Starlings Red-winged Blackbird European Starling Jays and Magpies Tanagers Black-billed Magpie Western Tanager Scrub Jay Stellar's Jay Nuthatches White-breasted Nuthatch Woodpeckers Downy Woodpecker Wrens Hairy Woodpecker House Wren Northern Flicker Gnatcatchers Flycatchers Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Cordillerian Flycatcher Dusky Flycatcher Hummingbirds Western Wood-pewee Broad-tailed Hummingbird Grouse Doves Blue Grouse Mourning Dove American Robin Black-billed Magpie 15 T 15 T 15 }a 15 1 a 0 11 �b � b o 11 I b c 30 m 180 m 330 m 30 m 180 m 330 m CO Brown-headed Cowbird Brewer's Blackbird 6.0 0.5 4.5 0.4 1 3.0 a T ab 0.2 a j ab �+ 1.5 2 b Q1 1 T b 0.0 - 0 L 30m 180 m 330 m 30 m 180 m 330 m I✓ Q� House Wren Mountain Bluebird 10 6 8 6 4 . T 4 a j a T z 2 1 0 b Tb 0 I b 30 m 180 m 330 m 30 m 180 m 330 m Distance from house Fig 1 1 Black-capped Chickadee Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 3 15 T 2 b 10 + c 1 TT I ab 5 i b 1 0 2a i 0 Ia i 30 m 180 m 330 m 30M 180 m 330 m L Black-headed Grosbeak Dusky Flycatcher 8 10 L— 8 T T 8 1b 4 } b } b 8 b 1 1 11 4 11 2 a 2 a 4-0 0 0 .r 30 m 180 m 330 m 30M 180 m 330 m I_ Orange-crowned Warbler Spotted Towhee 5 8 4 8 3 2 b b 4 � b � b 1 T a 2 � a 0 i 0 30 m 180 m 330 m 30m 180 m 330 m Distance from house Fig 2 610 85 0 80 -- U 75 - 2 70 - ---- C/) 65 OR 60 30 m 180 m 330 m Distance from house Fig 3 0.6 M 0.5 - _ 6 Dog — 0.4 d 0.3 - -■- - Cat Ar a 0.2 _� �� Fox 0.1 • Coyote 0 - m °- 30 m 180 m 330 m Distance from house Fig 4 al American Robin Black-billed Magpie 20 15 - 15 T 10 T 10 la Ia a 11 Ia 5 5 1 0 b 0 b Figh Low Undeveloped Figh Low Undeveloped LBrown-headed Cowbird European Starling 10 5 . L g 4 4 j a Tab 2 2 1 a j 1i � a o . b 0 Figh Low Undeveloped Figh Low Undeveloped C House Wren Mountain Bluebird 15 2 10 T 1.5 T f a 1 yTa a 5 a 0.5 j 0 �b 0 b Figh Low Undeveloped Figh Low Undeveloped Development density Fig 5 Black-capped Chickadee Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 1.5 15 1 b 10 T T 111 b 0.5 I a 5 o � o Filth Low Undeveloped High Low Undeveloped Black-headed Grosbeak Dusky Flycatcher 6 10 {{ L a � b a 1c 2 Ia U) � a 1 2 a � b -0 0 0 Figh Low Undeveloped High Low Undeveloped .� Green-tailed Towhee Orange-crowned Warbler 20 6 15 6 T 15 f b b 2 . I o a o a a !! High Low Undeveloped Figh Low Undeveloped Plumbeous Vireo Virginia's Warbler q 5 3 4 2 I � 3 L z a 1 a b p o a lab High Low Undeveloped Hgh Low Undeveloped Development density Fig 6 a3 90 85 - - -- ---. - -- ----- - - 80 -- - 0 75 - -- -- 2 70 y 65 - - -- I 60 - -- 55 High Low Undeveloped Development density Fig 7 N 0.8 -- c 0.6 -- tM :g 0.2 - g 0 _ - • - -■- - Cat —A Fox a Coyotel J� Development density Fig 8 a� 15 - Y = -0.0006x + 12.263 ' R2 = 0.154 o as ( « E cn 5 Z 0 0 5000 10000 15000 House Size (Sq . Ft.) Fig 9 7/7/G Page 1 of 3- Decision Brief #4 and Worksheet G, What will the RTA do? Listed below are items mentioned to date as services or functions that might be provided, given additional regional transit funding and the formation of some kind of umbrella organization. At the March 9 meeting, Policy Committee members will be asked which of these functions they think is an important outcome of the effort to create a RTA. Please note that the organization responsible for delivery of these functions is not mentioned in this list Functions and services could be cified in the RTA Intergovernmental Agreement, but be a ivered by an enti other than the RTA — t ere ore t is ist refers to "the RTA effort" rather than suggesting that the RTA should be the sole rove er o t ese services. a wi nee to ist specs is au orities grante to the RTA and this list o approve unctions would form that part of the document. At a later meeting Policy Committee members will decide exactly which functions would be handled by the RTA, and which would be handled by other entities. Please also kee in he s ecific sco e or levels of these functions and timing of delivery is entirely endent on which financing mechanisms are selected. What the RTA will do will depend both on policy committee members .sews on the items included in this list, and policy con.mittee members' views on the RT-\'s relationship with RFTA and RFRHA. RTA IGA Objectives - DRAFT 1. Raise and allocate new sources of funds: The RTA effort will result in an organization that allows the region to tap new local, state, and federal revenue sources and allot s funding to various services or service providers throughout the region. vv-'J� o'r\ YJ 2. Provide enhanced trunk servi e: The RTA effort will resulin improved trunkline service on Highway 82 and extend trunkline servicekko 1-70. This trunk service might leave the main highways and circulate through towns or neighborhoods on a limited basis. While the specific means for delivering this trunk service (i.e. whether the RTA would be the service provider, or contract with a service provider) has not been specified at this point, the RTA effort must result in tangible trunk service improvements. 3. Make new local feeder service available: The RTA effort will result in the option of feeder services in those communities that request this service, either through providing funding to a jurisdiction, providing direct transit services, or contracting with a service provider. Some communities may find it more desirable to continue their own local services. (Timing of this item is particularly dependent on subsequent financing discussions.) a 6 Page 2 of 3 4. Conduct ongoing transit planning: The RTA effort will result in an organization that will be responsible for ongoing planning for transit service improvements, additions, or changes, such as the. Transit Development Plans RFTA is required to do. (JI y t(o Conduct regional long term transportation planning and set policy: - The RTA effort will result in a consolidation of the region's long term transportation planning and regional transportation policy making activities. Most �O of the region's current long term planning and policy making has been conducted through the ongoing Corridor Investment Study, conducted under RFRHA's direction. 6. DeXh(e p and implement transportation demand management programs: RTA effort will result in an entity responsible for developing, funding, and t managing programs that encourage the use of alternative forms of transportation and discourage the use of single occupancy vehicles. The scope of this effort �J( could range from simple information and marketing programs, to l q ? employer/employee alternative commute programs. vI ,Jl 9 7. Develop and implement mitigation programs: 1,� The RTA effort will result in a means to address some of the causes of transportation problems. Some of these mitigation programs might include heipm-- to fund and develop affordable housing and ork with local governments on appropriate mitigation mechanisms for new development. Continue management of publicly owned railroad corridor: The RTA effort will address which entity will be responsible for property management of the publicly owned railroad right-of-way (weed control, access and crossings management, and so forth) and protection of its conservation values. Seven local governments own the right-of-way and will continue to be responsible for it unless it is sold. I� 1Pyl 9. Develop and manage a regional trail: The RTA effort will determine which organization will be responsible for developing and managing a regional trail on the publicly owned railroad right-of- way. The RTA revenue could also be a funding source for other regional trails. 10. Provide a funding source for other transportation improvement needs: The RTA effort will determine local options for financing highway improvement 1. needs such as the Glenwood Springs bypass and the Entrance to Aspen, or other transportation improvement needs, such as air travel, and help fund those improvements. ai Page 3 of 3 Worksheet Which of the services/functions listed do you think should be authorized by the IGA? At the March 9 meeting Policy Committee members will be asked to quickly place green dots by functions which they support authorizing and red dots by functions which they do not support authorizing. If more than 2/3 of members support a function, then it will be included at this time. If more than 2/3 of members do not support a function, then it will not be included. Mixed results will require discussion to clarify members' thoughts in search of a 2/3 agreement. This exercise is an attempt to streamline the process and relies on Policy Committee members having a chance to think about their responses beforehand. The Policy Committee will need to determine at a later time the best means for delivering these functions/services, either by the RTA alone, or through a combination of organizations. For now, we just need to know which services or functions you want included in the IGA, both to address the Problem/ Opportunity statement and for the RTA effort to succeed. Please Circle one 1. Raise and allocate new sources of funds % green red 2. Provide enhanced trunk service • green red 3. Make new local feeder service available 0 green red 4. Conduct ongoing transit planning . green red 5. Conduct regional long term transportation planning and set policy green . red 6. Develop and implement transportation demand management programs green .red 7. Develop and implement mitigation programs green .red 8. Continue management of publicly owned railroad corridor green •red 9. Develop and manage a regional trail green •red 10. Provide a funding source for other transportation improvement needs green .red 11. Other? Page 1 of 4 Decision Brief #5 What is the relationship between the RTA, RFTA, and RFRHA? Here are the options that were listed in the original decisionmaking framework with some changes and additions. Additional options may exist depending on the inclusion or assignment of every function listed in Brief#4. These options are offered for discussion purposes, as a starting point. Option 1: RTA serves as a new structure that allows the region to apply and receive new sources of funding and allocates funding to various service providers throughout the region. RTA would ensure that desired transit services are provided by contracting with service providers. RFTA and RFRHA remain separate organizations with essentiallv the same functions as today. Option 1a: Option ! plus the RTA takes on RFTA and RFRHA's planning and policy functions. RFTA would remain as a service provider, with a much smaller board. RFRHA would remain as a property management entity, with a much less involved board of directors. Option 2: RTA + RFRHA — Option 1 a plus immediate absorption of RFRHA and rail corridor, trails. RFTA remains a separate organization, simply providing transit service. Option 3: RFTA becomes the RTA. RFRHA remains a separate organization, but RTA would take on policy and planning functions. Rather than building a new organization from scratch, the RTA would build on existing RFTA organization and be simply a next stage of development for RFTA. RFRHA would remain as property management entity for corridor. Trails could also be shifted to RTA. (Whether it is possible to take an existing organization and turn it into the RTA is not known at this time — staff will be checking on this issue.) Option 4: 7 Same as Option 3, but rather than turning RFTA into the RTA, the new RTA immediately absorbs RFTA. Option 5: All three entities become one, either immediately or phased over a specified time period. The RTA either starts from scratch and RFTA merges into it, or RFTA becomes the RTA. Page 2 of 4 Evaluation Criteria The following criteria are offered as a means for evaluating options: Formation complexity How simple or complex is it to create the organizational arrangements described? How long would the IGA be? Responsiveness to local concern: How likely will the organization be to meet local needs and respond to local issues? Efficient use of resources / Cost effectiveness How efficiently are resources used? Would the region get the most bang for the buck with this option Political ' ;)LIbhc acceptability How likely ',vould voters be to accept this? Ability address Problem and Opportunity How is this option likely to result in an organization that can address problems and take advantage of opportunities? Please see the attached chart for a beginning discussion of how each option performs on these evaluation criteria. Two areas that are particularly subjective have been left blank for policy committee members to fill in. Page _ . 4 Table 1 Evaluation of Organizational/Functional Options-Relationship between R I A, RI [A, and RFRHA I valuation Criteria Organizational/Functional -- Options Formation complexity Responsiveness to Cost effectiveness! Political Acceptability Problem and iLocal Concerns resource efficiency Opportunity Option 1 —RTA is funding Relatively simple to Can be structured to Adds another agency; (this column left blank (this column left structure; RFTA and RFRHA form respond to(oncern. m(luires some for policy committee blank for policy remain separate and largely duplication of staff/ to fill in) committee to fill in) unchanged. physical support Option 1a—RTA takes on Relatively simple to Can be strut turgid w )nsolidates regional transportation planning and form respond tocomenr. ii.insportation i policy functions. RFTA and I nning and policy- RFRHA remain separate. Option 2: 1a + RTA Some degree of Can be structured a, I t onsolidates immediately absorbs complexity-transfer respond to concern, ditunistration of RFRHA. RFTA remains of property obligations ,u tivities; still requires separate as service provider. and liabilities ,W me duplication of ki/L)h sY ical support Option 3: RFTA becomes If possible to take an Some communities v. kes full use of I the RTA, rather than starting existing organization may have concerns existing resources/ from scratch. Takes on and transform it into with RFTA retaining doesn't try to reinvent planning and policy RTA, (leaving close ties with Pitkin lv wheel function. RFRHA separate pensions where they County, i.e. for as property management are, etc.)perhaps less employee pensions entity. (Trails could be complex than and financial service.. added or stay with RFRHA). consolidation. But could be structured to addreo-, concerns iI Page, . 4 Functional and Evaluation Criteria Organizational Options _. Formation complexity Responsiveness to Cost effectiveness/ Political Acceptability Problem and Local Concerns resource efficiency Opportunity Option 4:Same as above, Highly complex Can be structured to I'rocess of (this column left blank (this column left blank but instead of RFTA undertaking; see be responsive to lo(. I I onsolidation will for policy committee for policy committee becoming the RTA,the new memo from Dan concerns r,msume resources to fill in) to fill in) RTA absorbs RFTA. Blankenship Option 5:All three entities If RFTA and RFRHA Can be structured to ( onsolidation of become one,either phased must merge into a respond to local entities, once over a specified time period new organization, concerns. (umpleted, would or immediately. highly complex. See 1\10[d duplication i memo from Dan n• ly stages a efforts. Blankenship. ii I .,i ly stagee s may rnuume a great deal ui esources if huge j , g.inizational shifts I ,n r required (See nmmu from Dan � Glanl:enshi�_ I Other options? I l DRAFT (Z.rG7 MEMORANDUM DATE: March 7, 2000 TO: Rural Transportation Authority Policy Committee FROM: Dan Blankenship, General Manager SUBJECT: RTAIRFTA Consolidation Issues INTRODUCTION: This memorandum is in response to discussions that will soon be taking place regarding whether or not the Rural Transportation Authority (RTA) should replace or assimilate RFTA. Determining the purpose of the RTA and the organizational structure are among the most important RTA issues elected leaders will need to resolve. The background that follows is being provided to assist with this discussion. RFTA has been in existence for approximately 17 years. During the peak winter season, RFTA has approximately 220 employees and operates approximately 75 transit vehicles. RFTA has a 513.3 million annual budget and transports approximately 3.7 million passenger per year. RFTA provides a complex array of transit services throughout the region and plays a vital role in facilitating commerce and reducing automobile congestion, particularly in the upper Roaring Fork Valley. RFTA's main deficiency is that it does not have enough revenue to sustain existing levels of regional service over the long term. As members of the RTA Policy Committee work to develop a new framework for the administration of regional transit services, several suggested guiding principles are offered: 1. RFTA Is one of the RTA effort's biggest assets: RFTA has earned public trust and support over the years because it delivers high-quality transit services, at a reasonable price, on a reliable basis. The provision of public transit services is a challenging endeavor that involves the effort, dedication, coordination, and responsibility of a large number of people on a daily basis. In most respects, the RFTA model is one that works. A fundamental goal of the new RTA organizational structure, therefore, should be to improve, rather than diminish, the delivery of vital transit services. RFTA needs more resources, not necessarily an entirely new way of doing business. Care should be taken to expand the financial base for regional transit services without destroying the RFTA foundation. Ak 33 2. RFTA employees are deserving of consideration: RFTA's success through the years, in large part, is due to its many experienced, dedicated and professional employees. The average tenure of a year-round RFTA employee is 9 years. Because employee morale plays a major role in the quality of service provided, stress on the workforce caused by reorganization should be avoided if at all possible. It would be helpful_ throughout the process if policy-makers could assure RFTA employees that eir wages, berietits, an wo mg conditions would not be diminished Dy no e 3. RFTA does not necessarily need to be dissolved in order for the RTA to be efficient and effective: The development of an entirely new organization that assimilates RFTA could involve a significant amount of stress, retooling, start-up time, duplication, disorganization and expense that could detract from the ongoing effort to deliver reliable transit services. Reinvention of the wheel should be avoided if at all possible. The RTA does not necessarily need to directly provide service in order to be effective. Contract for service arrangements can be extremely efficient. 4. Simplicity often works best: There is a lot to be said for keeping things simple. RFTA could never have started out where it is today but, rather, has grown in manageable increments over time. The RTA could also benefit from this approach. Issues: At first blush, merging RFTA with the RTA might seem like a great idea because the notion of consolidation just naturally sounds good. However, consolidation may be an extremely complicated process that could be at variance with the guiding principles outlined above. What follows are several reasons why the RTA, perhaps, should not assimilate RFTA but, rather, concentrate on becoming as streamlined an organization as possible: 1. Wage and fringe benefit package: RFTA employees are considered employees of Pitkin County and participate in Pitkin County's employee benefit program. Their benefits include a health, dental, and vision care plan, paid sick leave, paid vacation and holidays, Iffe insurance, long-term disability insurance, a deferred compensation plan, and an employee retirement plan. RFTA employees are understandably concerned about how their wages and other benefits could potentially be impacted if the RTA assimilates RFTA. If it appears that a merger of RFTA with the RTA will diminish employee wages, benefits, or working conditions in any significant way, it is possible that the employees may pursue a collective bargaining agreement to address their concerns. 2. The Employee Retirement Program: In the mid-eighties, Pitkin County withdrew from Social Security and opted for its own retirement plan. At that time, the gross wages of RFTA employees were reduced by approximately 7% so that Pitkin County could contribute both the employee and employer shares to the retirement program. Currently, an amount equal to approximately 14% of the employee's gross income is contributed by RFTA through Pitkin County to pay for retirement, long- term disability insurance, and Medicare benefits. The possibility that merging RFTA into the RTA could force employees to withdraw from the Pitkin County retirement program and reenter the Social Security system is a major concern for RFTA employees. In the current retirement plan, employees can direct their own investments. Generally, their return on investment is substantially higher than it would be in the Social Security system. The RTA would not have the capability of opting out of Social Security. 3 RFTA's existinq relationship with Pitkin County is mutually beneficial: Severing ties with Pitkin County could have a negative financial impact not only on the RTA, but Pitkin County as well. Pitkin County provides the following services to RFTA at a prorated fee: a. Accounting: RFTA pays a prorated share of accounting costs based on its percentage of total Pitkin County finance department transactions. If RFTA merged into the RTA, the RTA would most likely have to develop its own accounting department at a higher cost than RFTA pays for equivalent accounting services currently provided by Pitkin County. Additionally, Pitkin County might need to reduce its accounting staff. Time involved in recruitment of f ter. accounting personnel and establishing accounting procedures and accounts payable and receivable could be significant. S b. Audits: RFTA is included in Pitkin County's annual audit. This is more cost-effective than having to perform a single-agency audit for the RTA. c. Financial Advice/Debt Issuance: For a small fee, Pitkin County handles the details associated with issuing and reissuing debt for RFTA. Someone on the RTA staff would need to be familiar with issuing debt. d. Investment Management& Cash Flow Assistance: Pitkin County handles the investment of RFTA reserves and ensures that RFTA has sufficient working capital to pay its bills by using Pitkin County funds to cover RFTA's cash flow when necessary. e. Compliance with State Budget Law: Pitkin County's Budget Director ensures that RFTA complies with applicable State and local budget laws. The RTA would most likely need someone to serve in the capacity of Budget Officer to ensure that it complies with local and State budget laws. f. roll: The Pitkin County Personnel Department processes RFTA's payrolls. g. Employee Benefits Administration: Pitkin County handles the procurement of employee benefit programs and assists RFTA with benefits administration. Health insurance is purchased through the Colorado Counties, Inc. heath insurance pool and is likely to be more cost effective than it would be if purchased directly by the RTA. h. Risk Management: RFTA pays a prorated share of Pitkin County's Risk Management costs. The RTA would need either to recruit a Risk Manager or contract for this service. i. Pitkin County and RFTA self-insure for workers compensation insurance: RFTA and Pitkin County tiave saved hundreds of thousands of dollars by collectively self-insuring for Workers :± Compensation insurance. The RTA would either need to purchase Workers Compensation insurance independently or create its own a- self-insurance program. Self-insuring would involve setting aside ,r:•, some significant amount of revenue for a self-insurance (SIR) loss ,r '^ retention fund. Currently, Pitkin County and RFTA each contribute $250,000 to the SIR for a total of$500,000 that can be used to cover catastrophic losses for either RFTA or Pitkin County. Either way, the RTA's options for Workers Compensation insurance are likely to be more expensive than RFTA's current arrangement. j. Pitkin County and RFTA pool together to purchase general Ilability insurance: Prior to pooling with Pitkin County, RFTA's general liability insurance costs were approximately $300,000 per year..After pooling, RFTA's costs were nearly cut in half. If the RTA purchases insurance on its own, it is likely that the cost will be higher than the cost of the current pooling arrangement. k. The majority of RFTA's assets are in Pitkin County's name. Deeding RFTA/Pitkin County's assets to the RTA, as well as transferring the designation of grantee status for Federal grant assets from Pitkin County to the RTA could be an involved and time-consuming process. 4. Those who have the Greatest reliance on transit services should retain control over their vital transit Interests: Nearly 67% of all service miles provided by RFTA are associated with regional transit services. Nonetheless, the greatest beneficiaries of all services provided by RFTA are the City of Aspen, Pitkin County, and Town of Snowmass Village. City of Aspen fixed routes, the East End Dial-A-Ride service, the Galena Street Shuttle, the Senior Van, ADA Comparable service, Aspen Skiing Company skier shuttles, the Maroon Bells Bus Tour, and the Aspen/Snowmass Direct services, clearly confer the majority of their benefits upon up valley jurisdictions. And, of the total regional or commuter transit service passenger trips made on RFTA, 68% have Aspen as either their origin or their destination. RFTA surveys indicate that approximately 85% of all trips made on its regional transit services are for employment purposes. Aspen requires a substantial commuter workforce to help fuel its economic engine. Cleary, the City of Aspen is the primary beneficiary of services provided by RFTA. RFTA services are vital to the City of Aspen for the following reasons: a. High levels of traffic can adversely affect Aspen's air-quality: so as w: many vehicle trips as possible must be diverted to transit. s b. Aspen is plagued with automobile congestion; so as many vehicle fir . trips as possible must be diverted to transit. 4t. c. Aspen has a limited number of parking spaces; so as many vehicle trips as possible must be diverted to transit. d Aspen's bed base is greater than the capacity of Aspen Mountain,Y so convenient public transportation to other ski areas is essential to facilitate commerce, reduce automobile congestion and the need for parking. e. Aspen needs more employees than it can house, so reliable, affordable employee transportation is required to facilitate commerce, reduce automobile congestion and the need for parking. f. Considerable numbers of tourists vacation in Snowmass, but want -to ski, shop and dine in Aspen, so convenient and affordable transit service is needed to facilitate commerce, automobile congestion >;` and the need for parking g. The ability of Aspen and Snowmass to market themselves as resorts with public transit services available makes them both more attractive destinations to a larger number of potential vacationers. 5. Service Allocation/Priority Issues: Because transit services are of critical importance to the City of Aspen and, to a lesser degree, the Town -� of Snowmass Village and Pitkin County, any potential RTA organizational structure must preserve, if not enhance, the ability of these communities to obtain the transit services they need. The question naturally arises as to how the organizational structure of the RTA can be designed in such a way as tb balance the significant transit needs of-up valley communities as well as those of the region as a whole? Given the existing organizational structure and orientation of RFTA services, some of the issues that may potentially cause future disputes between RTA members should be outlined before attempting to answer this question: a Approximately 75% of all existing RFTA services are oriented towards Aspen and the upper valley communities. It may not be realistic to assume that a RTA Board of Directors consisting of 3 up valley representatives and 4 or more down valley representatives, will provide a workable framework for addressing the upper valley's considerable transit needs. The City of Aspen is frequently frustrated in its attempts now to expand service&within its jurisdiction due to RF,TA personnel shortages. This situation may worsen wit a RTA organization that controls all of the assets and most of the resources, but has a� " Board more heavily weighted with mid-valley,lower valley and, potentially, 1-70 representatives Should the ,regpresentative Silt have a role in determining City of Aspen_transd service leyels_� Arid vehicle technologies? Conversely, should the representative _` from the City of Aspen have a say in what.takes place within New Castle's boundaries? T b. The cost of delivering transit services to upper valley communities will be higher than the cost of delivering services to communities in the lower Roaring Fork Valley and 1-70 corridor. The lack of affordable employee housing in the upper valley creates the need for employees to commute long distances over dangerous _ ,�ooaaiiways. Higher wages are needed to compensate for long (commutes. Competition for employees in an area of major commercial activity, but insufficient affordable housing, contributes N,to,rapidly escalating wage and fringe benefit.packages. The need ak hire 40 seasonal drivers each winter, in a_-ght labor market, to tin Aspen Skiing Company (ASC) skier shuttle shifts contributes to the need for RFTA to pay higher wages than might other be the case. Dynamics such as these may potentially create disputes among RTA members. For example, what if the rest of the region feels it is 38 required to pay higher wages and benefits than necessary for regional transit services, because the RTA is responsible for addressing the transit needs of Aspen and the upper valley? And, what happens if the upper valley communities find the RTA unresponsive to their needs because control over their transit services has shifted to the lower valley and, potentially, the 1-70 corridor communities? Would the involvement of the RTA representative from Rifle help or hinder Aspen Skiing Company skier shuttle contract negotiations? Would it be in the best interest ... of the 1-70 communities for the RTA to enter into a contract with Aspen Skiing Company, if it has the potential for raising the region's cost of transit services or exacerbating the shortage of labor? Some communities in the 1-70 corridor and, potentially, some in the Highway 82 corridor do not necessarily perceive there is a great need for public transit; much less a need to support transit services with their tax dollars. Given this dynamic, is it in the best interest of upper valley communities to transfer control of their vital transit services to communities that are less reliant upon, and committed to, transit than they are? c. The task of crafting an Intergovernmental Agreement that dissolves RFTA and creates an entirely new organization, while protecting the vital transit interests of the upper valley communities will be daunting. The number of complex issues that will be encountered goes far beyond those listed here. Issues that are not foreseen in the IGA initially may eventually lead to conflicts that will threaten " the viability of the RTA. 5. Does the RTA really need to assimilate RFTA and become a service operator?: Some of the issues outlined above may outweigh the benefits of consolidating RFTA and the RTA. The appeal of potential regional R, efficiencies that could be derived from consolidation may pale when M compared with the inability of a monolithic organization to respond to the specific needs of any of its members. •., :,;;}<,I The operation of transit services is a complicated, labor-intensive affair. Should the RTA encumber itself with the mundane matters of personnel, maintenance, and operations? Perhaps, the RTA should raise its sights by developing regional transportation policy, planning and developing �b,::._ ` faro regional transit services, allocating resources where most needed, and accomplishing its service objectives by contracting for services. Over time, the RTA may construct and acquire assets, but it doesn't really need many in the beginning. If, at some point in the future, the RTA wanted to implement rail service, it is not likely that it would operate the 39 ; service directly. Instead, it is more likely that the RTA would enter into a design, build, operate contract with a major national transportation firm, such as Adtranz. Why, then, should anyone feel compelled to have the RTA directly operate bus services, when it could more easily contract for service with RFTA or some other private operator? Following is a list of concerns that might cause some to want the RTA to control all of the regions transit assets and resources. Responses to these concerns are also provided: a. Having more than one transit organization is inefficient: If having more than one organization dealing with transit is inefficient, so is having several city and county governments in the valley, a variety of law enforcement agencies, fire districts, utility companies, school districts, hospitals, road and bridge departments, and etc. Local governments duplicate the services of other jurisdictions for a wide variety of reasons, but primary among these is having services that are responsive to local needs. Additionally, local governments routinely contract for services rather than provide them in-house because it is more cost-effective and involves fewer headaches and liabilities. For an example of why consolidation isn't always best, consider they 1 following hypothetical situation. Let's say that RFTA was given the responsibility of providing transit service for the Town of Snowma -Village (TOSV). In terms of the cost of delivering the service it "Might"be more efficient for RFTA to provide this service. Howev during peak winter season it is more likely that RFTA would be unable to provide the service because of the need to recruit ands , train 20 more seasonal drivers on top of the 40 already neecled. >` ^� With RFTA in charge, the service might also be Jess responsive to TOSV's needs. That may be why TOSV does not want the RTA to operate its local service and why consolidation of RFTA and TOSV services does not necessary work better for all concerned. Because of peak season recruitment issues, even RFTA must consider contracting services out; not necessarily to be more -'efficient but, rather, to be capable of providing services at all. ' The provision of Ride Glenwood Springs (RGS) service by RFTA is a contract for service. The City of Glenwood Springs contracts :et , with RFTA to operate the RGS on a year-round basis. During the spring, summer, and fall, RFTA can accommodate the RGS service quite comfortably. However, because of the peak winter season 'labor shortage, RFTA must contract with an individual who does all the driver recruitment and completely manages the RGS service during the winter. The RGS service, in effect, is operated as a 4b .Gf3:-:__ .,`i_:'?it_'_J ---- .:w.t 4 :yw��:c`�' .t =v,.y.c. ,. t `�"' •t1�-:.tt�, .�_" '•*�"'.: separate division of RFTA. The employees are considered RFTA employees, but are paid slightly less than employees working for the Aspen division. RFTA performs vehicle maintenance, but the ownership of the vehicles, and the provision of fuel and marketing services are the responsibility of the City of Glenwood Springs. This arrangement proves to be less expensive for the City of Glenwood Springs than it would be if RFTA provided the service in the normal fashion. However, it may not be less expensive than it would be if Glenwood Springs provided the service itself, because of the employee cost differential between the upper and lower valley. By all appearances the RGS service is a 100% locally owned and operated transit system. Yet, the advantage of the contractual arrangement for Glenwood Springs is that it can avoid all of the hassles entailed in operating the service itself. It can also walk away from the service at anytime without laying people off or leaving a lot of empty facilities behind. Contract for service arrangements can be very clean, easy to implement, and efficient for the RTA as well. `r b. If Pitkin County retains control of RFTA and all of the assets, the upper valley communities could have fbo much power over. the RTA: This potential concern of mid and IQQw aparing Fork. • r'" pIley and 1-70 communities must be aon rase with tt%e tegitima ' ... concern that upper valley communities might not have enough control over their vital transit needs within the RTA framework. , }jowever, many of the up valley/down valley fears and,concems I possibly be minimized ifthe purpose of the RTA is limited to making regional transportation policies, performing-regional ' transportation planning, allocating resources throughout the region, and contracting for service. The RTA could also become the region's grantee for Federal Transit Administration capital grants. Equipment purchased by the RTA could be leased to RFTA, local ' r communities, and/or private operators who would operate and giaintain it. Rather than assume responsibility for all existing and future transit .service in the region, the RTA should potentially;take over where RFTA currently leaves off. A baseline for existing revenues ,i.':, :ded'icated to regional trunkline services could be established. 'These revenues, which would largely be derived from existing Pitkin County sales taxes, would perpetually be used to fund regional trunkline services. New revenue generated by RTA taxes should first be used to supplement existing revenues needed to maintain regional trunkline services at existing levels. Second, RTA funding should be used to augment local and Federal funding used for RFTA's capital replacement. Third, RTA funds should be used to improve regional trunkline services, including the implementation of new services in the 1-70 corridor. And, lastly, some predetermined percentage of RTA revenue should be returned to each RTA member for local transit service improvements. The RTA and local jurisdictions would have the option of contracting with RFTA and/or other private Transit management firms for any new local or regional services above those now in existence. With this approach, existing service§'p or Med to the City of Aspen, upper valley communities, and`throughout the region would be held harmless. New local services would be provided at the discretion of each community and the RTA would implement all new regional services by means of contracts for service. Nothing would preclude the RTA frcm developing or supporting 'local services to a greater extent than required in specific local K :. communities, if the members agreed that such services or capital improvements would coQttnbute to be overall 00 6f the region. Also, nothing would reclude unsdictions from�- tt other reven * 4. sources for their own local transit service irrr�rovem ants V pi .jLnless consolidation ccurs voters won't understa dhow - 719,J11Aworks: Given the scenario outlined in '5, Vabove;the IGAr wired to establish the RTA would be relatrvely;st ag}itforvvard: ould.be a fairly simple mater to establish the�aselme fSr existin Pitkin County, Eagle County,and other revenue used to support 'existing regional trunkline services. The amount of additional RTA revenue required to maintain existing service levels could also be established and agreed upon. At the outset it should also be d ss umed that RFTA would continue 16 provide*existing services in i r tie upper valley and throughout the:r'egwn From there, the parties R Wanly to determine what additional services they would want, .�' w ` ie RTA to provide and"how much RTA revenue`should 6e returned` .to local communities. Detailed operating plans could be developed, operating and capital cost projections could be refined,and' `t , pntracts for services could be put out to bid.' Theplan would be easy to explain to voters because regional transit service'levels ` would essentially start from where they are today and improve over 1 Conversely, consider the complexity of the IGA dissolving RFTA, transferring RFTAIPitkin County assets to the RTA, and protecting the vital transportation interests of the upper valley communities. What answer would policy-makers give to upper valley citizens and business owners who wanted to know how vital skier shuttle services might be affected by creation of the RTA? These interested parties might justifiably wonder why 1-70 corridor communities could someday make decisions on this the matter. :4y Undoubtedly, there are many.other issues and details about how ro transit services and resources would be allocated in a `' 'Consolidated" RTA that would be complicated, if not impossible, to explain. Keeping the functions of the RTA relatively basic will _ r simplify the task of explaining the measure'to voters. 6 i d. What about all of the different transit-related Board meetings, i.e., RFRHA RFTA RTA. and EOTC? Shouldn't we cut down on them?: The RFRHA organizational structure is similar to that of- the proposed RTA. It is possible that agreements currently governing the administration of RFRHA could be incorporated into " a the RTA without much difficulty or visible change in the way ~ .business is conducted. However, there ma be reasons why -� RFRHA or some of its functions should not a incorporated into th The pros and cons of this sh issue out�De thoroughly ' discussed prior to making a decision Qnee the RTA is created and charged with regional transits - R�eversight, the RFTA Board of Directors oould'tie scafed back to . tic lude only ne representative from Pitkin Ooun r the Ci of v . �. . : : tY� ty % en and, potentially, one member of the To ofSnowmass _111a e. The RFTA Board members could also represenl'their communities on the RTA Board of Directors, so that good :t•+' : communication between RFTA and the RTA would exist. The ?_ . A annual operating and capital budgets would continue to be + miffed to the City of Aspen and Pitkin County for approval. e RTA would have its own budget and it would allocate w.w.._ -w.r- .... y.. resources or enter into service contracts as agreed upon by the RTA Board of Directors RTA administrative staffing could be kept A Ah a minimum or, perhaps, be loaned by RFTA or RFRHA The EOTC would likely continue to exist in order to administer Pitkin County half-cent mass transit tax funding and address ` trans ; portation issues that are considered to be the responsibility of • ~" the upper valley rather than the region as a whole. I. 43 _ Naturally, a plethora of different transit acronyms could complicate explaining the RTA measure to voters. However, the public is very savvy in terms of understanding what acronyms mean and how the organizations they represent differ from each other in terms of scope or purpose. For example, FBI, CIA, DEA, EPA, FAA, CDOT, and INS, convey fairly rapidly what each organization does. The reality is that without these acronyms it would be more difficult to `understand what these organizations do. Mgnce, RFTA would be equated with being_a regional public bus service operator, RFRHA would be in charge of managing the rail 4 oo`mdor, the EOTC would administer'the Pitkin County half-cent pass transit tax, and the RTA would be responsible for regional transit planning, development, implemenTifl6n via contracting, and q-?`funding. This is not rocket science and the public is highly capable of sorting out the differences between organizations, as well as the reasons for the differences. SC ' h :,:Recommendation: ,•t3*�: onso on sounds good yet it also hasman potential drawbacks. It ism tecoiti e at' therefore, that regional cooperafhorr_4anage ai " trans ortaUon . �' ,:� ` ryes " roa&'ed incrementally. A streamt n sgS�n�nz , �, to la oGcy', planni�, funding, rail corridor r n and serer ufNe the most mana�eableand eKjed�le__iil a olthe r i t YA w6i s well for its memaers, more reesponsi yes and f} ns a s be awed at alaer date. Hovv"ever 'c `li §e yifal tra�nsi Day t cerup ec�'d would be wise to peeA s proven very capab� ity while the new RTA is deve o g sown successful Alf, gyy t*'� a° .3'�-.a�s+•ji _ p`f� : ,�'�Y'Ncs-.-".�-.rfi.,�'s'.�.;.. .r _, 'M F�q��h AM�-�.AS -. '�� J 7p..G'\{5'a ri>�" \•r "� Sn 'Nr ,.�vJr ..j.:.. ga 3" a psi.i Y :4 >:.. �.L 'a 3- i Tk," n ,5. �'s sr.�._- .. ar..: ,y� ,"'..• pYi•. - MYj" 3 - 'a�,TwgfRC� it A Transportation Proposal for Pitkin County and the RTA x Based on years of work on every transportation ro osal effort under the sun; in-town P P transit, paid parking, Basalt to Buttermilk EIS, The Entrance to Aspen EIS, the MET bus �V proposal, the Rio Grande purchase, the Corridor Investment Study, the half penny ballot, the formation of RFRHA, the RFTA board, and now the RTA effort... I would like to put forward a concept for your consideration that would pull together many of these various efforts and turn them into a concrete Mass Transit improvement program that will benefit the valley as a whole and that can be achieved through two straight forward Ballot Questions this November. The first question, which we are all currently working on, is the formation vote for the Roaring Fork Valley Regional Transportation District(the RTA). This has been a valley goal for years, and is a critical step forward in regional planning and problem solving. I feel that by adding a second question we can vastly increase the odds of the RTA passing. The second question, which could be asked in tandem with the RTA vote would be a Pitkin County Bonding question to issue bonds based on the Half Penny Transit Tax for a variety of immediate transit improvements to RFTA and throughout the corridor. There certainly are a number of issues and details that need'to be worked out to refine this idea, so I wanted to get it out to all involved in order to see if you feel it has enough merit to direct our staffs to begin the work of refining a question for November. Please give it your full consideration. This idea is certainly built upon a lot of work that others have done before, I simply believe that NOW is the time to move from planning into action. Conceptually I think we have an opportunity to take a giant leap forward in the development and implementation of Mass Transit Solutions for the valley. Please bear in mind that this is a working draft and all comments are welcome. Pagel I would propose that we put a half penny bonding question forward this November to fund the following items in the form of a 10 or 12 year bond. These numbers are very rough and are intended only to give general outline to the idea. ♦ A 3 year operating reserve be created for RFTA from the existing fund balances in the Half Penny Savings account, based on the current service levels and known operating shortfall. This would assure RFTA's solvency while The RTA district works out the details of a valley wide O & M funding vote $2,100,000 ♦ Purchase of up to 25 new buses to take care of RFTA's capital needs of today For discussions sake say 10 articulated buses (approx. 4 million dollars) and 15 coaches (approx. 4.275 million dollars) or whatever mix RFTA deems most appropriate $8,275,000 ♦ Initial capitol to begin a RFTA housing program to retain drivers and to stabilize operating cost $3,000,000 ♦ The construction of quality transit stops at our major hubs,the ABC,the Brush Creek intercept lot,Basalt and upgrading Ruby Park. These centers must be designed to be mode neutral, able to greatly improve the transit experience of today but able to accommodate rail in the future should the valley reach a point of being able to afford and also choosing that mode of transit $5,000,000 ♦ An allocation toward the construction of the Snowmass Village Transit Mall, or transit improvements at the new base village, as determined and supported by the Snowmass Town Council and the residents of Snowmass. This could be part of the bond, or a dedicated allocation from the half penny savings to be drawn down when Snowmass's planning efforts are complete $7,000,000 Total expenditure $25,375,000 in some combination of bonds and pay as you go I would suggest that the actual bonding for all these improvements be contingent not only on Pitkin County Voter approvals but also on the successful passage and ratification of the valley-wide RTA; assuring that Pitkin County residents will not bear the brunt of financing future transit operations on their own. Paget 46 Page3 The advantages of this type of program as I see them... 1) If both measures are approved, the Pitco bond could probably be leveraged for federal funds to be able to construct additional transit center improvements in Glenwood, Carbondale, El Jebel and other locations, as well as additional buses. We would have an opportunity to convert some of our existing Federal Authorization, utilizing those funds now instead of losing them by default through inaction or indecision 2) It will give us the means to mitigate what will be the incredibly disruptive impacts of the multi-year Snowmass Canyon construction project 3) It allows the formation of the RTA without the burden of$25,000,000 of capital that is needed today, assuring that future funding ballot questions within the RTA boundaries will norsink under the weight of.today's massive capitol needs 4) The Pitco Bond offers an extremely strong incentive for the valley to vote Yes on the RTA; $25 million dollars worth of immediate improvements and the possibility to capture many more millions of Federal dollars as well. A successful RTA formation vote is the most important and indeed critical element to ever making any improvements to transit in the valley, let alone maintaining the RFTA service that we have today. A successful RTA vote will do the following: A) assure the adequacy of RFTA funding for today's services, and in the future allow for the expansion of services as determined by the RTA board and the voters B) show the state the commitment of the valley to resolve our highway and transit issues and help us convince the state to build the last leg of Highway 82 into Aspen . As we all know we need this to be funded to build either a dedicated bus way or light rail, and to make the states current investment in highway improvements from Glenwood to Buttermilk actually work C) Demonstrate to the feds and our federal representatives the significant progress That they want to see in order for the valley to receive the funds that have already been set aside for this valley, and to get our valley's projects into the the next version of TEA-21 D) allows for true regional planning of our valley's future transit systems' improvements that equitable includes all of the valley's residents 5) The passage of both of these questions would create real transit improvements that are valuable today and upgradable in the future should the community within the y1 RTA choose to do so. We could work to negotiate a"hold harmless" agreement with the Feds to insure that improvements we make from the bond that are not used for local match at this time for the down-valley transit centers could be counted as local match for future improvements 6) Both of these questions are "no new tax" questions. The Pitco vote would be against existing revenue, and while the RTA will clearly ask for a dedicated tax source in the future, RFTA will have been provided with the full operating funding that it needs to continue today's service levels at today's rates over the next three years. This gives the valley the time it will need to works through the benefits/revenues equation and agree to a funding question within the RTA, while enjoying many millions of dollars worth of transit improvements in the meanwhile. This creates a very clear Win/Win atmosphere to unite the voters of the valley. 7) The Pitkin County vote would not and is not intended to cover all the potential improvements to RFTA and the corridor that are described in the CIS "best Bus" scenario. There will clearly be other capital items that will have to be and should be financed by the RTA in the future. This potential bonding question is designed to address some of the known needs of today, while allowing the RTA after it is formed to make studied decisions of how much and quickly it should"ramp up" I see the Pitco Bond as a ten or twelve year note which would use the half penny for capital today, and preserve it for capital uses in the future...making upgrades of the system possible, and assuring that the valley as a whole contributes to the cost of operating the mass transit. Using the halfpenny to cover the existing operating shortfall of RFTA would preclude any new significant capital improvements to our system now and would surely be only stopgap in nature, eventually eaten up by operating expenses. As we work out the details of a final bond package it will be important to retain some of the annual cash flow for other needs of the short-term future. For example,the actual construction of the dedicated busway from Buttermilk to Aspen, aside from the construction of the mass transit 'platform' and highway improvements of the bridges and cut and cover tunnel, is something that CDOT has been somewhat ambiguous about whether or not they see that as part of their budget. It should be noted that this plan is certain to arouse fears from all sides of the highway/transit/rail debates. Rail critics may fear that building transit facilities that count as local match with the feds could pave the way to upgrade RFTA to rail in the future, and therefor argue that we shouldn't improve RFTA"that much". Rail supporters may fear that once much of the half penny is spent to dramatically improve the bus system, the public may choose not to upgrade to rail later- finding that better bus service is sufficient for some time to come, and fight this proposal with the "All or nothing" approach. I feel that it is time to set all the fears aside and work to give the public significant and lasting improvements today that create transit oriented patterns of growth and that build the foundation for tomorrow's leaders to continue to improve/upgrade/increase transit service in the future as needs dictate and resources allow. I think this proposal represents a community compromise, sort of"a soft path" for transit improvements that could accomplish many common goals for people on all sides of the debate. It will require that both sides of the issue to give up trying to control what the community can or can't do years from now. I think the public is tired of inaction and debate and demands that we do the best that we can with the means at hand, taking care of the needs of the day while planning for and creating opportunities for the future. This plan is formulated on acknowledging the many obstacles and challenges that confront any mode of transit improvement for the valley, and tries to weave a path through them to real improvements today. The realities that this plan takes into consideration are as follows: A) The Buttermilk to Aspen portion of Highway 82 is currently not funded by the state, and without the state's commitment we do not have our local match for a rail project in hand. This is unfortunate in many ways, and unfair, but it is the simple truth. Even with a successful rail-bonding vote tomorrow, we can not go to the Feds and say that CDOT has committed to putting up the money for their share of the entrance improvements. We would however be able to hit federal local match requirements for a smaller slice of federal money bypassing a half penny vote as outlined in this memo which would not be dependant on CDOT for a contribution. B) The changes in the corridor that were the results of the CIS work has driven the cost of a valley wide system up dramatically. The valley would now need to come up with over$20 million new dollars to increase our local match in order to try to get the Federal allocation to the project increased C) With the passage of the RTD rail vote on I-25 in Denver, we are realistically no longer the top rail project is the state. There was a time when we were the first in the gate, and ready to go,and had all the stars lined up, but the community backed away. The Roaring Fork Valley rail project is for all intents and purposes in direct competition with the front range for limited federal dollars D) The valley must see the successful formation of a RTA just to maintain the RFTA services of today let alone to ever realize any significant improvements to our L4q valley's transit system. A RTA is the only mechanism by which the feds will ever put significant money into this valley for either the Best Bus improvements or Rail. � b f Decisions to date (as of March 9 2000): As of February 3, 2000 1. Glenwood Springs, Carbondale, Basalt, Aspen, Snowmass Village, Pitkin County and Eagle County have signed resolutions of intent to participate in RTA discussions with the goal of forming an Intergovernmental Agreement(IGA) and placing a RTA formation question on the ballot in November 2000. 2. Each participating jurisdiction has appointed two people to officially represent their jurisdiction. 3. Each participating jurisdiction has appointed a key staff contact. 4. Participating jurisdictions have agreed that there will be a vote in November 2000 on at least the formation of the RTA, contingent on the completion of the IGA. 5. The RTA steering committee (the predecessor to the RTA Policy Committee) has agreed that there will be a public involvement component to the RTA IGA effort, including a citizen advisory committee, survey, meetings and interviews with community members. Decisions made at February 10,2000 RTA Policy Committee Meeting: 6. RTA Policy Committee decision making: The RTA Policy Committee will work to make decisions by consensus. If consensus cannot be reached, a vote on motions will be taken. A 2/3rds majority of five jurisdictions will be required to pass a motion. Each jurisdiction will have one vote. 7. Ratification of RTA Policy Committee decisions: Policy Committee representatives will take decisions back to their respective boards and councils and ask for approval on an ongoing basis. A written record of decisions made at each Policy Committee meeting will be provided to policy committee members and each jurisdiction's staff contact person shortly after each meeting. In addition to ongoing updates after each Policy Committee meeting, boards will set aside the time they deem necessary to discuss and officially ratify a`lump of decisions" rather than waiting to ratify all IGA decisions at the end of the process. 8. Approval of proposed IGA timeline: Policy Committee members agreed to the proposed timeline, including meetings on the 2"d and 4'h Thursday of each month at least through April, with the possibility of two more meetings in May, and completion of IGA decisions by June 1. Concern was expressed regarding the limited amount of Policy Committee meeting time. It was decided that if necessary additional meetings might be scheduled and/or meeting duration would be extended. 9. Problem and Opportunity Statement: Approved,with the addition of minor editorial changes. (Final version attached.) 10. RTA Decision Making Framework, including RTA Options: Accepted as a sound method for determining the essential elements of the IGA, with a number of wording changes and options deleted or added. With these changes the Policy Committee accepted as complete the range of options presented. The final version of the Decision Making Framework is attached. Decisions made at February 24, 2000 RTA Policy Committee Meeting: 11. Jurisdictional boundaries for the RTA: The City of Glenwood Springs, the Town of Carbondale,the Town of Basalt, the Town of Snowmass Village, the City of Aspen, all of Pitkin County, and RE-1 School District in Eagle County. The portion of Garfield County that lies within the Roaring Fork River watershed would also be included, contingent on Garfield County signing a resolution of intent to participate in RTA discussions. 12. RTA board composition: One elected official from each participating jurisdiction, appointed by that jurisdiction. Each jurisdiction will also appoint an elected official as an alternate board member who would be allowed to vote only when the primary representative is unable to attend. The RTA will also have a Citizen Advisory Council, the specifics of which will be established by the RTA board. 13. Board voting requirements: All matters will require a 2/3rds majority of the quorum. Decisions made at March 9 2000 RTA Policy Committee Meeting 14. The Policy Committee reaffirmed the earlier decision about jurisdictional boundaries as listed above in#11,with two conditions: 1) although jurisdictional boundaries would be limited to the Roaring Fork Valley,the RTA is committed to providing service to the communities in the Colorado River Valley. 2) the IGA will make it as easy as possible for additional areas to join once the RTA is initially formed. 15. The RTA will be authorized to provide the following functions/services: Raise and allocate new sources of funds; provide enhanced trunk service; make new local service available; conduct ongoing transit planning; conduct regional long term planning and set policy. 16. The RTA will not be responsible for the following functions: Develop and implement transportation demand management programs; develop and implement mitigation programs; and provide a funding source for other transportation needs. 17. The Policy Committee will wait until the relationship between the RTA,RFTA, and RFRHA is discussed to determine whether the RTA will manage the publicly owned railroad corridor and develop and manage a regional trail. Definition of Terms: Trunkline transit service: includes service on Highway 82, Brush Creek, and along the I- 70 corridor.