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The Costilla County Commissioners’ Office in a private/public partnership with the Costilla County Economic Development Council (EDC), has built a small-scale, vertically integrated, biodiesel production facility in Mesita, Colorado. The project was first conceptualized in 2001 by Costilla County District #3 Commissioner Joseph Gallegos. Ground breaking and construction began in 2004.
The facility purchases locally grown oilseed crops (canola and sunflower) and processes the crops for clean burning, renewable biodiesel fuel. The by-product of oilseed crushing is a seed cake comprised of the remaining material once the oil has been extracted, which is used as a high protein livestock feed.
Ben Doon, Administrator
Ben Doon has twelve years experience working for non-profit organizations as a project planner, field worker, research director and organization director. He received a BA in English from Geneseo State College, New York in 1993 and an M.A. from the English Department at University of Colorado – Boulder in 1998. In August 2003, Ben completed a three-day course at Iowa State University entitled Business Management for Biodiesel Producers. Ben has also worked for the Costilla County Commissioners’ Office since 2002 managing grants and performing administrative tasks.
Dan Quintana, Chemist
Dan Quintana was born and raised in San Luis. He has twenty-two years experience as a chemist, chemical engineer, process engineer and engineering manager in the private sector working for companies such as IBM and StorageTek. He received a B.S. in Chemistry from Adams State College in Alamosa, Colorado. In March 2004, Dan completed a five-day course at Iowa State University on Biodiesel Technology and Analytical Methods.
Premium high protein expeller pressed canola feed meal cake for livestock is available at the biodiesel facility in Mesita. Please call (719) 672-0320 for more information.
This project was awarded to Asphalt Constructors, Inc out of Alamosa, Colorado. Work began in May of 2007 and completed the same month.
Costilla County was awarded a $150,300 grant from the State Historical Fund for design and restoration of the San Luis Bridge located ½ mile SW of the Town of San Luis. The bridge will be restored for pedestrian and bike use only. Martin/Martin Engineering out of Lakewood, Colorado was hired to perform the design work and oversee the project. The projected timeline for the project is as follows:
Costilla County was awarded a Design Grant for $33,000 with the County Matching Funds of $11,000. This provides the financing for the design and assessment for the restoration of the Rattlesnake Trestle Bridge located SW of Smith Reservoir near CR 12.
This historical bridge was partly funded by grant monies from the State Historical Fund. This project was a joint venture with Conejos County. Costilla County managed the entire project from start to finish. The bridge is nearing completion and plans are to officially open the bridge May 26, 2006.
Costilla County Bridges were rated overall in the 80th percentile in the 2010-2011 Inspection, which according to Stantec Consulting was above average for the state.
The county will be repairing/replacing approach and bridge rails as the funds become available.
Costilla County Bridge Map
The bridge was damaged when a vehicle swerved and ran into the South bridge railing. Martin & Martin Engineering did a damage assessment on the bridge. The vehicle owner’s insurance company settled for $50,000. The county then hired Davis Engineering to provide the drawings and specifications for repairs. The project was bid out and Alcon Construction, the low bidder, was awarded the bid. The repairs were completed in 2011 and the project was closed.
The bridge was inspected by Stantec Consulting for CDOT. The bridge required some engineering to complete the repairs noted in the Inspection Summary. Davis Engineering was hired to provide the drawing and specification for repairs in 2011. Work on this bridge will commence once the engineering is completed and if needed, the project is to be bid out.
Costilla County Districts
The Costilla County Board of Commissioners adopted the Costilla County Noxious Weed Management Plan in 2015 for all unincorporated lands within the county. Despite the introduction of the plan in 2006 there have been limited coordinated efforts within the county to eradicate and manage noxious weeds until the past few years. Within the last two years Costilla County has made a concentrated effort to launch a sustainable weed management program by licensing a staff member to be a Certified Operator for pesticide application and purchasing equipment necessary to carry-out such activities.
Lucas Casias obtained his Pesticide Applicator License through the Colorado Department of Agriculture in May of 2012 and Lucas has been designated as the County’s Noxious Weed Coordinator
Certain noxious weeds constitute a real threat to the economic and environmental values of the land within Costilla County. Biodiversity, ecosystem stability and farmland productivity are threatened by noxious weeds. Noxious weeds alter soil properties, the composition of plant communities and change the structure of animal communities. Noxious weeds negatively impact livestock forage, crop production and reduce crop yields. This is critical because the county's oldest and strongest industry is agriculture. Because of the abilities of these weeds to spread rapidly by a variety of means and the proclivity in seed production, an explosion in their population is quite possible without attention.
Weed Control Map
Black henbane (Hyoscyamus niger) is a Mediterranean native that was introduced as an ornamental and medicinal plant in the 17th century. It spreads by seeds and is found in a variety or environmental conditions. Black henbane is narcotic and poisonous to humans. Livestock avoid it unless other forage is not available. Two alkaloids in black henbane tissues (hyoscyamine and scopolamine) are useful sedative/anti-spasmodic drugs when used under controlled conditions.