Sustainability, Open Space, and Healthy Water
Bozeman is defined by its spectacular natural beauty, healthy natural environment, and agricultural character. Bozemanites prize our natural environment, whether as hikers, skiers, hunters, fishers, trail runners, or simply as appreciators of the surrounding natural beauty. I'm a demonstrated conservationist, and would bring this value set to City Commission.
» Move Faster Toward 100% Carbon-Free Energy
» Focus Growth Inward, Reducing Sprawl
» Keep our rivers and streams clean
» Preserve our existing wetlands
» Create sustainable transportation options
Solstice sunset from Peets Hill, June 2017 (Mark Egge)
How we grow as a city directly affects our consumption of open lands, impacts on water quality and stream health, and cumulative greenhouse gas emissions. Smart city policies can help preserve and promote a healthy environment. To preserve and enhance our natural character as we grow, the city should:
Move Faster Towards 100% Clean, Renewable Energy
Missoula and Boise have both adopted goals of moving toward 100% renewable energy. Bozeman should take note, and similarly adopt a goal of meeting 100% of our energy needs from renewable sources. As a City Commissioner, I would work with my conservation-forward colleagues to introduce a resolution a goal and action plan for 100% carbon-free energy.
Image Source: Flickr
Establish a “Focus Inward” Growth Policy to Avoid Sprawl
A total of 20% of land within city limits is currently undeveloped or vacant (source). Targeting growth in these areas—before expanding on the city’s edges—will reduce land consumption and transportation-related emissions. Bozeman’s current levels of density are similar to Salt Lake City (2500 residents per acre). If we could gradually increase our density from Salt Lake City levels to Denver levels of density (4500 residents per acre), we could accommodate 100% of Bozeman’s projected growth for the next twenty years within existing city limits (rather than doubling our size westward).
"Mark Egge's attention to detail, understanding of best practices across the US, and his ability to think creatively would serve our City well, particularly as we tackle climate change and our growing housing and transportation needs."
~ Carson Taylor, Former Mayor of Bozeman
Image Source: City of Santa Cruz
Enhance Water Quality through Incentivizing Low Impact Development / Green Infrastructure
Bozeman’s gutters discharge directly into our streams and rivers. Design practices (see EPA definition, here) that keep stormwater on-site (such as permeable pavers or the small retention areas seen in the parking lot of the Cannery District) prevent sediment and pollutant laden water from entering our streams and waterways. Bozeman can—and should—use its statutory rule-making authority and stormwater fees to incentivize developers to build sites that reduce stormwater runoff into our streams and rivers.
Surface Bozeman Creek
Most diners at the Nova Cafe have no idea they’re sitting on top of Bozeman Creek! Recent improvements in Bogert Park (see this Chronicle article ) demonstrate how restoration can turn a hazard into an asset for both city residents and wildlife (according to FWP, fish tagged as far away as the Madison River have been observed laying eggs in the restored section of creek in Bogert Park).
Surfaced and Restored in Bogert
Bozeman Mayor Carson Taylor celebrates the completion of Bozeman Creek restoration through Bogert Park. Image Source: Nishkian
Still Buried Elsewhere
Bozeman creek cremains buried or in a concrete ditch through most of downtown. Pictured: Bozeman Creek between Main Street and Mendenhall. Source: Mark Egge
Plans to continue “resurfacing” Bozeman Creek through Downtown have been awaiting funding and priority for the better part of a decade. I would prioritize the continued implementation of the Bozeman Creek Enhancement Plan, bringing Bozeman Creek out of a concrete ditch and back into public view and enjoyment.
Graf Park Creekside View, September 2018 (Mark Egge)
Enhance Connections to Open Space
Through its next Parks, Recreation and Open Space (PROST) Plan, Bozeman will have a new opportunity to enhance the connectivity of our trail system, linking more residences to our parks, trails, and open space. As a trails user and advocate, I will ensure that connectivity (especially on the West side of town) is a top priority in the next PROST plan.
Preserve and Enhance Existing Wetlands
Wetlands are Bozeman's most productive ecosystem—the "coral reefs" of the Mountain West! The federal Clean Water Act requires offsetting “mitigation” when wetlands are disturbed or removed due to development. In Bozeman this often means wetlands are paved over here and “mitigation” projects are done someplace far away. This amounts to “shipping wetlands out” of Bozeman and Gallatin County. If elected, I would support Commissioner Terry Cunningham in introducing changes that would require wetlands impacted within city limits to be mitigated within the East Gallatin Watershed.