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Laws Sponsored By Western Slope Legislators Go Into Effect

black bear
U.S. Forest Service

Three laws sponsored by Western Slope legislators go into effect this week. 

The first one creates a grant program to help communities fight invasive plants that threaten riparian areas in Colorado. 

It targets phreatophytes, plants such as Russian olive and tamarisk.

Rep. Don Coram, R-Montrose, sponsored the measure that sets aside $2 million to fund phreatophyte control projects.

"If you travel the Colorado River [and] the Dolores River for example, it’s a thicket in many areas that you can’t even walk through, but it’s also a water quality issue because the tree sucks up the water and it drops salt so nothing else really [can] grow," Coram said at the bill's signing ceremony in May.

That second law deals with the state’s black bear population.  

It calls for Colorado Parks and Wildlife Colorado to study the management of the animals. 

Rep. Yeulin Willett, R-Grand Junction, sponsored the measure.

He said the purpose of it is to find ways to reduce bear-human conflicts and deal with the over-population of the large mammals in certain areas.

"We really need so see what areas in the state there are too many bears and how to deal with them," he told KVNF in June.

The third law, sponsored by Rep. Millie Hamner, D-Dillon, provides grants to community colleges to create mobile learning labs.

The state program is model after a similar initiative at Pueblo Community College. The idea is to have a mobile classroom set up in a company’s parking lot to provide onsite workforce training to employees.

Laura joined KVNF in 2014. She was the news director for two years and now works as a freelance reporter covering Colorado's Western Slope. Laura is an award-winning journalist with work recognized by the Society of Professional Journalists, Colorado Broadcasters Association, and RTDNA. In 2015, she was a fellow for the Institute for Justice & Journalism. Her fellowship project, a three-part series on the Karen refugee community in Delta, Colorado, received a regional Edward R. Murrow Award.
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