New lynx assessment could affect forest management and recreation planning; ski ares excluded from conservation zone
Mapping a lynx conservation strategy in Summit County. Courtesy U.S. Forest Service.
A Colorado Parks and Wildlife map shows habitat use by 118 lynx, with yellow representing low use, orange showing moderate use and blue showing high use.
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — U.S. Forest Service biologists have identified a lynx conservation zone in southern Summit County where they hope to preserve and enhance as much lynx habitat as possible. The mapping was done after an assessment concluded that cumulative effects in the area may be “approaching or exceeding impact thresholds.”
Lynx tracking by Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologists shows that Summit County is a critical area for lynx dispersing north from core habitat areas in the eastern San Juans. That trend could increase, as spruce beetles have devastated large swaths of favored lynx habitat in the southwestern part of the state.
Additionally, Summit County has several resident lynx. Denning females with kittens have been documented, so protecting movement areas and improving habitat could ensure the persistence of those lynx, as required by the Endangered Species Act.
“Summit County is right in the middle of it all … it’s pretty compelling. We have a lot of data to work with and it was time to pull it together, given Peak 6, and knowing all the other projects that were coming up,” said Dillon District Forest Service biologist Ashley Nettles. Continue reading
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