Telluride Institute & Telski: Talk By Wetlands Expert, Library, 7/20

Dr. David Cooper, Colorado wetlands expert, featured at talk at Telluride Library 7/20, 7 p.m. Telski’s Jeff Proteau and the Telluride Institute’s Dan Collins will give brief introductions; local wetlands expert Chris Hazen will engage Cooper in a one-on-one discussion after Cooper’s formal presentation. That will be followed by a public Q & A session.

The Telluride Institute’s newly formed Fen Advisory Project, Sheep Mountain Alliance, and the San Miguel Watershed Coalition have teamed up with the Telluride Ski & Golf Company and Telluride’s Wilkinson Public Library to offer a free presentation from Colorado State University’s Dr. David Cooper, who did the original work protecting the Prospect Basin fens during the Ski Area Expansion almost 20 years ago.

Cooper has worked on wetland issues in the Telluride area for nearly 30 years, including providing technical guidance for the restoration projects on the golf course and in the ski area.

A fen is one of the main types of wetland; other forms include grassy marshes, forested swamps, and peaty bogs.

Specifically fens are peatlands, usually fed by mineral-rich groundwater. There are many types of fens, each characterized by distinct hydrologic and chemical regimes and vegetation. In Colorado, most fens are dominated by sedges and brown mosses.

In the San Juan Mountains, fens play an important part in the health and resilience of forested landscapes, but also occur in the alpine zone.

Cooper and his graduate students have been working on a longitudinal study of the fens in the Telluride ski area’s Prospect Basin. He will talk about his world-wide wetlands work, the history of Prospect Basin project, what has been learned so far, and what is expected to be learned in the future.


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