Commissioners hear update on BlueTriton conservation easement

Chaffee County Commissioners received a brief update on the BlueTriton Brands conservation easement at their Tuesday, Nov. 15, board meeting in Buena Vista.

Completing the conservation easement by Dec. 31 is a requirement of the Chaffee County 1041 permit that allows BlueTriton to use local groundwater for its Arrowhead brand bottled spring water.

BlueTriton Western Region Natural Resource Manager Larry Lawrence said a final draft of the conservation easement for 120 acres has been submitted to the County and to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, which will hold the easement.

The property in question, near Nathrop, is where BlueTriton sources groundwater for its Arrowhead brand bottled spring water.

County Attorney Daniel Tom told the commissioners he believes there are “no major holdups right now with the language between any of the parties.”

Caitlin Quander, legal counsel for BlueTriton, said, “The intent is that the conservation easement provides for the conservation of that property for a very very long time for this community, and that it’s drafted in a way to account for the existing operations of BlueTriton but to not allow for really anything outside of that beyond conservation.”

Colorado Parks and Wildlife Area Wildlife Manager Sean Shepherd told the commissioners, “We’re very very close with this process.” He said the main concern “is that the conservation easement, as it was proposed a couple weeks ago, would be subordinate to the 1041 permit.”

Since the 10-year 1041 permit could be altered if and when it is renewed, the conservation easement “being subordinated” to the 1041 permit “really removed the value of a conservation easement to Colorado Parks and Wildlife,” Shepherd said, adding, “I feel that those issues have been resolved.”

Quander confirmed that the “subordination” issue has been resolved and the language “that the County and Colorado Parks and Wildlife and BlueTriton have agreed upon … reads that the 1041 permit and the conservation easement need to be consistent with one another.”

Shepherd said that the easement basically just needs signatures to be finalized.

Joe Stone