Larimer County’s Climate Smart initiative needs community feedback


Collegian | Skyler Pradhan

Fort Collins City Hall is located at 300 Laporte Avenue Nov. 8, 2020.

Isabel Brown, News Reporter

Editor’s Note: Read the Spanish version of this article here.

As the effects of climate change become more and more apparent, Larimer County has formed the Climate Smart Larimer County initiative to help mitigate effects.


The CSLC initiative serves to lessen the impacts of climate change on the communities in Larimer County, according to the CSLC website.

“We are hearing some great feedback from the community around the development of educational programs, incentive programs, policy and rule changes and construction-related projects,” said Heidi Pruess, the Climate Smart and sustainability program manager for Larimer County.

According to its website, the CSLC will follow a three-phase plan: framework, which has been completed; community outreach, which aims to listen to and understand the community’s hopes for the project; and plan development, wherein the CSLC team will establish partnerships and use feedback to create “actionable implementation steps” to address climate change locally.

John Kefalas, Larimer County commissioner for District 1, said phase one of this initiative began in 2019 and was completed in 2021. He also said they used the help of county staff across six different planning areas and community partners, and they are now looking for community feedback on the framework that was developed in phase one.

Phase two has included many forms of community outreach, including workshops. Kefalas said the larger workshops, which polled results from the community on approaches to climate issues, have all been completed. The workshops addressed four topics, which were Our Homes and Economy, Nature and Land, How we Move and Our Well-being, and results from the workshops are available online at the CSLC website.

Pruess said phase two will be completed in May 2022, but citizens will continue to be able to get involved through requesting a small workshop or by answering a questionnaire found on the website under the “Get Involved” tab.

Phase three will begin in May 2022, in which there will be a development of plans for how to approach mitigating the effects of climate change, according to the website. We can expect the first implementation plan to be finalized at the end of 2023, according to Pruess.

“We have all been impacted by extreme weather events and disaster emergencies, such as the 2020 Cameron Peak and East Troublesome wildfires,” Kefalas said. “We are experiencing higher temperatures, megadroughts and air pollution that impact our livelihoods, quality of life and public health.”

Larimer County has been vulnerable to many natural hazards, most of which were severe weather events like flooding and wildfires, that worsen as damage to the climate progresses. The CSLC website says these natural disasters are detrimental to the environment, economy and human health.

This is why a climate action plan was a top priority to Kefalas when he was elected in 2018.


Kefalas emphasized that, to make a difference, “We need to focus on our shared values of clean air, water and land.”

Kefalas said Colorado State University students can get involved in the CSLC initiative through completing a questionnaire open until March 8, completing a comment form, signing up for the newsletter or requesting a small workshop.

Reach Isabel Brown at or on Twitter @isabelbrown02.