2015 Forestry Legislation in Colorado
The state of Colorado values healthy, resilient forest landscapes and is willing to invest state funds in the stewardship of these resources.
|HB15-1006||Invasive Phreatophyte Grant Program||This bill establishes a 5-year grant program in the Noxious Weed Management Fund for the management of invasive phreatophytes, which are deep-rooted plants that consume water from the water table or the layer of soil just above the water table. The Department of Agriculture administers the grant program under it authority to manage noxious weeds. To qualify for a grant, an applicant must propose a project for the management of invasive phreatophytes that utilizes best management practices. Grant amount could be as much as $5 million annually.|
|HB15-1008||Ag Land Classification When the Land is Destroyed||This bill established that a person commits trespass if he or she is not a peace officer or other agent of a state or local government acting in his or her official capacity and he or she knowingly and intentionally uses an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to observe, record, transmit, or capture images of another person when the other person has a reasonable expectation of privacy.
It also establishes that a person commits harassment if he or she is not a peace officer or other agent of a state or local government agency acting in his or her official capacity and, with intent to harass, annoy, alarm another person, he or she uses a UAV to track a persons’ movements in or about a public place without the person’s authorization.
The bill amends existing law concerning the retention of passive surveillance records by government agencies to contemplate the retention of records that are obtained through the use of UAV’s.
|HB15-1129||Colorado Disaster Prediction and Support System||This bill requires the Division of Fire Prevention and Control to partner with an organization, by entering into a contract to establish, support, customize, and maintain a Colorado wildland fire prediction and decision support system. The bill also requires the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to partner with an organization, by entering into a contract, to establish, support, customize, and maintain a Colorado flood prediction and decision support system.
The bill also specifies that the organization must be a nonprofit Colorado-based research organization focused on research, education, and advanced technology development for atmospheric and related earth sciences.
This bill also requires each division to assist in the coordination of users across the state to further refine the systems to best meet all Colorado users’ unique requirements. The bill allows each division to seek and accept gifts, grants, or donation to assist in the development of the Colorado flood prediction and decision support system and the Colorado wildland fire prediction and support system.
|HJR15-1006||Water Projects Revolving Fund Eligibility Lists||This resolution adopts additions, modifications, and deletions to the Drinking Water Project Eligibility List and to the Water Pollution Project Eligibility List.|
|SB15-008||Promote Water Conservation in Land Use Planning||This bill directs the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB), in consultation with the Division of Planning in the Department of Local Affairs (COLA) to:
• Develop and provide free training programs, on a recurring basis, for local government water use, water demand, and land use planners regarding best management practices for water demand management and water conservation; and
• Make recommendations regarding how to better integrate water demand management and conservation planning into land use planning, including, as appropriate, legislative, regulatory, and guidance or policy recommendations.
The CWCB and the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority, in determining whether to render financial assistance to a local government water supply entity, must consider whether the entity’s planners, if it has any, have taken the training and are actively applying it in their planning decisions.
|SB15-022||Wildfire Risk Reduction Program||This bill reauthorizes the Wildfire Risk Reduction Program for another two-year period beginning July 1, 2015. Other changes include:
• References to hazardous fuels have broadened from “forest” to “wild land vegetation”;
• Methods of manipulation or removal of fuel have been specified (“mechanical, manual, and pile burning fire treatments”);
• Encourages grant applicants to utilize
|SB15-046||Renewable Energy Standard Adjustment for REA’s and Distributed Generation||This bill allows these utilities to count each kilowatt-hour of electricity obtained through retail distributed generation (DG) as 3 kilowatt-hours for purposes of meeting the 2020 standard. In addition, the bill allows cooperative electric associations (CEA’s) to use purchases from community solar gardens to meet the retail DG component of the renewable energy standard.|
|SB15-055||Return of Water from Tail Ditch||This bill permits a person to use a tail ditch to return variable amounts of water to a stream. The state engineer shall not require the delivery of a minimum amount of water to the stream, except as required by a court decree.|
|SJR-004||Request Federal Wildland Fire Suppression Support||This resolution asks the federal government to:
• Create a separate fire suppression line item in the federal budget; and
• Purchase and deploy additional aerial firefighting equipment to assist in fighting wildfires across the country