County commissioners approved an agreement with the Bureau of Reclamation for 25-year use of a small plot of land at Fruitgrowers Reservoir for a parking area.
Engineering department staff said the agreement is similar to ones the county has with the BLM for various segments of road right-of-way across portions of public land.
The parking area is part of an agreement with bird watchers, naturalists and conservation groups for the county to develop its proposed North Road gravel pit.
Haul traffic from the pit will eventually traverse North Road along a stretch where bird watchers park and exit their vehicles to view waterfowl.
The county agreed to build the parking area as a safety measure for birders to use.
According to a draft environmental assessment of the parking lot project published by the Bureau, “Reclamation does not anticipate any additional impacts to migratory birds and other local wildlife as a result of the proposed parking area. Reclamation also consulted with the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife and it has been determined that the project will have few or no impacts on most wildlife.
“The Black Canyon Audubon Society will provide signage and possibly an interpretive display in the parking area for the purpose of educating the bird watchers and other visitors on local wildlife, including information on the nesting and migratory habits of local birds.
“Delta County is to construct, operate and maintain the combined parking and viewing area.”
The parking area will accommodate up to 20 vehicles and would take up less than three-quarters of an acre, according to BuRec.
A site plan for the area has been submitted. “The parking area would be enclosed by a split-rail wood fence and include a gate opening for foot access to the reservoir area,” states the agency.
The county engineering department has not arrived at an estimated cost of construction of the parking area.