Published 9/12/23 in the Longmont Leader and Longmont Times Call
On Sunday, September 4th, Stand will be holding its second Save Our Swallows event at Roger’s Grove (see events calendar for details). While the Bank Swallows at Roger’s Grove have finished nesting and are no longer in the vicinity, we’ll still meet to show anyone who’s interested where their nesting site is as well as other resident and migratory birds (warblers are moving through now!).
We’ll be presenting YOUR Save Our Swallows postcards at the City Council meeting on Tuesday, September 6th. Please consider attending at least the Public Invited to Be Heard portion of the meeting and wearing green to show your support for the Bank Swallows and the City’s efforts to restore their habitat at Roger’s Grove. Meeting details are also in the events calendar on this site.
Thank you again for your work to protect our swallows!
At Tuesday, August 10th’s Longmont City Council meeting, Stand and our fellow Bank Swallow supporters won a major victory in the effort to protect the birds nesting at Roger’s Grove.
Members of Stand met with City Manager Harold Dominguez last week to discuss the City’s flood mitigation project and how to best protect the nesting habitat of the rare Bank Swallows that return to Roger’s Grove every spring. We appreciated the transparency with which he explained the challenges inherent in preserving the current nesting bank and were heartened to hear that the City is committed to providing alternative Bank Swallow habitat close by, also within Roger’s Grove.
At Tuesday night’s council meeting, Dominguez went on record to repeat that commitment. The City also committed to researching other municipalities’ Bank Swallow habitat replication efforts and, prior to RSVP construction within the area, conducting experiments to determine what works so that the restored habitat will have the best chance of attracting the nesting birds.
We’re still some ways off from flood mitigation work at Roger’s Grove, but with these commitments, we are feeling hopeful for the future of our Bank Swallows. Rest assured, we will continue to monitor the situation and advocate for the swallows every step of the way, including holding the City to its promises.
Stay tuned for updates!
On Tuesday, July 26th at 7pm, Longmont City Council will be voting on whether to approve a resolution to submit a ballot question to be voted on on election day (November 8, 2022). If Council approves the resolution, voters would be asked to approve issuing up to $20 million of storm drainage revenue bonds to finance the completion of the Resilient St Vrain flood mitigation Project (RSVP). On Tuesday night, City Council can either approve the proposed ballot language, modify the language and approve, or neither approve the language nor put the language on the ballot.
Stand is asking that City Council amend the proposed ballot language to include the following language (in red) ensuring that the City will not use our Storm Drainage fees to destroy Bank Swallow habitat at Roger’s Grove during flood mitigation work:
Without imposing new taxes or increasing existing taxes, and while preserving the established Bank Swallow habitat at Roger’s Grove, shall the City of Longmont be authorized to borrow up to $20,000,000 for the purpose of financing storm drainage system improvements, including but not limited to improvements to the St. Vrain Creek drainageway from Sunset Street to Hover Street to protect downstream areas from future flooding; and shall the borrowing be evidenced by bonds, loan agreements, or other financial obligations payable solely from the City’s storm drainage enterprise revenues and be issued at one time or in multiple series at a price above, below or equal to the principal amount of such borrowing and with such terms and conditions, including provisions for redemption prior to maturity with or without payment of premium, as the City may determine?
Please consider showing your support for Bank Swallows at the Council meeting by wearing green and signing up to speak during public invited to be heard.
If you are unable to attend the meeting or are unable/unwilling to speak, please consider sending an email to Council urging them to consider adding language protecting the Bank Swallow colony at Roger’s Grove in the ballot measure.
You may contact City Council using the following link: City Council and Mayor Contact Form
Some potential talking points for an email to Council are below:
- Any plans the City might consider to use storm drainage fee bond $$ to mitigate future flooding along the St. Vrain Creek must be designed so our bank swallow habitat will not be destroyed.
- I do not want my tax dollars nor fees used by the City to wipe out the Bank Swallow habitat at Rogers Grove.
- Please include language in the flood mitigation plans in the area of Rogers Grove that will ensure protection of the nesting habitat of Bank Swallows.
- Our St. Vrain greenway, particularly near Rogers Grove, is a very special natural environment including the presence of nesting Bank Swallows who migrate many thousands of miles every spring/summer to have babies. Please use your authority as our council and representatives to ensure protection of this precious and rare habitat for this species, which is listed as “a species of special concern” in Longmont’s Wildlife Management Plan.
- I understand the favored option for Longmont’s flood mitigation project in Roger’s Grove will almost certainly wipe out the rare nesting Bank Swallow habitat, which currently hosts 30-50 nesting pairs of the smallest of our North American swallows. These special, threatened birds travel every April from Central and S. America and the Eastern Caribbean to nest and have babies. I don’t believe I can support a ballot measure allowing my storm drainage fee increase to be used to ruin this habitat.
- Please use your position as our elected city officials to direct City staff involved with flood mitigation plans to come up with a plan to protect our special, rare, and sensitive Bank Swallow colony habitat by Roger’s Grove. I will continue to monitor this development and will vote on the proposed ballot measure accordingly.
Stand With Our St. Vrain Creek, a citizen action group based in Longmont and dedicated to protecting our riparian areas from damaging development, is hosting 2 Save Our Swallows events at Roger’s Grove Nature Area in Longmont on Sunday, July 24th from 9am to 11am and Sunday, September 4th from 9am to 11am.
Join us at the picnic pavilion next to the bathrooms to learn more about Bank Swallows, specifically those nesting at Roger’s Grove, the only nesting colony on Longmont-protected land. We’ll also have spotting scopes available for anyone who’d like to make the short walk to view the birds before they migrate south for the winter.
Bank Swallows have very specific nesting habitat requirements. Mainly due to loss of that habitat as a result of erosion and flood control projects, they are a rare and declining species nation-wide. There are only a handful of known colonies within Boulder County and the City of Longmont lists them as a species of concern in its Wildlife Management Plan.
Stand is concerned about the future of the Roger’s Grove colony because preliminary plans for the portion of Longmont’s Resilient St. Vrain flood mitigation project (RSVP) in the vicinity of Roger’s Grove call for construction of a split flow channel through the swallows’ nesting bank. Thankfully, these plans have not yet been finalized and funding for that stretch of the St. Vrain has not yet been secured, meaning there’s still time for these plans to be changed.
To show community support for protecting the Bank Swallows, we will also have postcards available at the pavilion for people to sign asking the City to to bypass the swallows’ nesting area. Stand will be presenting all of the postcards we receive to City Council within the next couple of months.
If you’d like to sign a postcard, but are unable to attend either event, contact Shari Malloy at email@example.com