A very significant step in determining what can (and cannot) be preserved was taken this morning. Twelve people gathered at the El Paso Water Utilities to begin discussing a "preservation plan". PSB/EPWU Attorney Lupe Cuellar chaired the meeting. Besides myself, there were representatives from city planning and parks departments, the building and development community, a conservation educator, a wildlife expert, a licensed architect experienced in urban planning, two representatives from the city's resiliency and sustainability office, a land conservation expert along with two attorneys (including Ms. Cuellar) from EPWU.
As the land in question is managed by the PSB, it is appropriate that the conversation begin there and a preservation plan originate there. The group will work with two foundational principles in mind: there is land that can and should be preserved and there is land that can and should be developed.
There was some initial discussion about criteria for preserving the land such as ecosystem services. The conservation educator, the wildlife expert and the land conservation expert mentioned ways to quantify those services. The architect hit a homerun when she said that we identify ecologies that we should preserve.
The group will continue to meet monthly.
I'm excited. Stay tuned. - Jim Tolbert
P.S. You can still sign the petition online.
Please visit www.celebmtns.org for information about 2015 Celebration of Our Mountains events.