Explorations of a Re-Natural Bird Sanctuary
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In 2010 I was invited to make new work for an exhibition at the Univeristy of Colorado Museum of Natural History. Knowing I wanted to work with human impacts on Boulder County birds, I began to seek out people and places that would be particularly relevant to my interests. On my first visit I was taken to the Xcel Energy Valmont Power Station which has a large reservoir system and property that is listed as an Audubon Society Important Bird Area.

Although the power station is an active industrial site, a remarkably large and diverse bird community can be found in and around the man-made reservoirs, mostly in the winter months. This is due in great part to the artificially warmed water from the coal-fired generator at the power plant. Another significant factor is the restriction of human access to this area. The site is a fantastic example of what I call a re-natural environment with a relatively undisturbed, diverse community of plants and animals.

Things are about to change at the Valmont site. The coal-fired generator which is primarily responsible for the unnaturally warm water is going to be shut down by 2017. Though the plant is likely to still function using natural gas, we can't know exactly how this change will affect the animal and plant communities now living at Valmont.

SRNE | briandcollier.net