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Colorado State University Extension—Routt County provides services and information to the citizens of Routt County with our main goal to provide you with a better quality of life. We can help you in many areas including agriculture, gardening, wildlife conflicts, weed and pest situations, water issues, youth development, nutrition, food safety, health matters, and family finances. Below are some of the top issues new rural homebuyers and builders ask us. Remember, if we don’t have the answer at our fingertips, we can tell you who will. Contact us here.

water sample bottles

Water testing is available through the CSU Extension Office

  1. Don’t Drink That Water!—While not commonly known, during the last couple of decades over 90% of Routt County’s tested well water has failed at least one EPA standard for chemical and mineral drinking water quality. Routt County office of CSU Extension test well water for chemical and mineral quality and the Routt County Environmental Health Department tests water for bacteria.  The common failures are high sodium or high Total Dissolved Solids. Water systems are available to correct these problems, but it’s rare that rural well water is of high quality, at least according to the standards set by the EPA. Get your new or old well tested.
  2. Snow Management—When considering driveway placement and house placement, don’t forget to plan for snow plowing, snow storage, and drifting snow. North-south driveways tend to drift in more than east-west ones. Considerations include creating a living windbreak of trees, shortening the driveway as much as possible from the county road, and orienting it east-west rather than north-south, if possible. The Extension Office has publications available in print and online for designing and planting a living snow fence.
  3. Energy Conservation—Planning a landscape for maximum energy conservation basically means maximizing heating and cooling efficiency by controlling sunlight into the house and protecting it from wind in the winter. For more information check out “Landscaping for Energy Conservation” by visiting http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/garden/07225.html or stop by the office and pick up a copy.

    Flower Bed

    A beautiful garden in South Routt County

  4. How Does Your Garden Grow?—Routt County has unique growing considerations and you should select plants that will grow in our environment. You can get this information from our Master Gardeners, by visiting our office and requesting publications, or visit the CSU Extension web site at www.ext.colostate.edu  and look for Facts Sheets on trees and shrubs for mountain communities, flowers, and more.
  5. Fire Danger—In addition to energy conservation you also need to plan a landscape (natural or man made) to maximize the protection of your home from wild land fire. Call the local Colorado State Forest Service  at (970) 879-0475 to arrange for on-site visit or to obtain their publication on protecting your home from wild land fire.   Also see the “Wildfire” section presented on this site.
  6. Look at the Cute Bears—Whether you live in rural Routt County or in the city, you’re going to come into contact with wildlife. Seeing big game and other wildlife in your yard adds enjoyment to your living, but also detracts from it (like having a skunk living in your garage). Always know the law regarding wildlife and controlling problems with them. The Colorado Division of Wildlife and the Extension Office have many resources on wildlife such as preventing bear visits and getting rid of skunk odors. We also publish several Fact Sheets that will help you to decide how to plant your landscape so as to avoid wildlife problems. Visit the CSU web site at http://www.cmg.colostate.edu/pubs/Wildlife.html for more information.
  7. What a Pretty Flower—Invasive plants, i.e. weeds, are a problem in Routt County. It’s the law for you to control the spread of named noxious weeds on your property, and new construction often creates bare ground for noxious weeds to get established. The Extension Office and Routt County Weed Control identify plants for people and makes recommendations for control using herbicides and non-chemical control.

    Calf in meadow

    This calf loves his new home; will you?

  8. The Cows Have Come Home—Colorado is still an Open Range state. This means that domestic livestock may roam onto your property if you haven’t fenced them out. Nothing will make you more upset than the neighbor’s cow inadvertently eating your flowers!  To understand fence law read the section “Colorado Fence and Trespass Law” on this site.
  9. Tax Time—What is Agricultural tax status? Rural properties that are used for agricultural purposes are taxed at their productive rate and not the market rate, thus, their taxes are usually lower. This is especially true on rural vacant lots.  To know more about Ag land tax status see the page on “Agriculture Production and Tax Classification” or visit the Routt County Assessor’s office.