Posted on June 30, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
New lynx conservation studies posted for public comment
New federal documents spell out how a critical habitat designation for lynx could affect activities on federally managed lands.
Lynx kitten in Colorado. Photo courtesy Tanya Shenk/Colorado Division of Wildlife.
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO —Designating 41,000 square miles of critical habitat for lynx in the northern Rocky Mountains won’t have a huge economic impact, federal biologists said last week as they took another step toward finalizing conservation measures for the threatened wild cat. Most costs associated with lynx conservation will be on the administrative side, as the critical habitat designation would result in the need for more coordination among federal agencies. Visit this Federal Register page to view all the documents and comment.
Two draft studies examining the effects of the proposed critical habitat designation in Maine, Minnesota, Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Wyoming were posted July 21 in the Federal Register for public comment. The latest version of the long-contested proposal includes revised critical habitat maps “based on where the best science indicates the habitat could support lynx populations over time,” but includes only areas where lynx populations already exist” — with the exception of Colorado. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: Colorado, critical habitat, endangered species, lynx, wildlife | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 5, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Colorado’s lynx restoration program has yielded valuable research that may help scientists in other countries with similar efforts. Photo courtesy Colorado Division of Wildlife.
Biologists eye predator restoration to try and rebalance ecosystems
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Biologists in the UK say they might be able to use some of the lynx science compiled in Colorado and other areas as they plan for a possible reintroduction of Eurasian lynx in Cairngorn National Park.
In a draft report focusing on ecosystem restoration, scientists identified lynx as one of the species that help restore ecological balance in a system that doesn’t have any predators. Without them, deer have been running rampant and degrading forested areas.
Lynx disappeared from the British Isles about 1,000 years ago, partially because most of their habitat was destroyed, but reforestation in the past few centuries means there are now areas where the wild cats could find breeding and foraging habitat. The wild cats have already been reintroduced in Germany, Switzerland, Poland, Slovakia and France. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment | Tagged: Cairngorn national park, ecosystems, Eurasian lynx, lynx, North Yorkshire, Scotland, UK, wildlife biology | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 21, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Decision will trigger new reviews of forest plans and projects in northern Rockies
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — The U.S. Forest Service has once again been called out for failing to live up to its legal obligations to protect endangered species, this time by a federal judge in Montana, who ruled last week that the agency violated the Endangered Species Act when it failed to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on a regional forest plan amendment.
Dana L. Christensen, chief judge for the U.S. District Court for the State of Montana, ordered the Forest Service to re-initiate consultation, but did not block any specific projects on the affected forests, saying that plaintiffs couldn’t show any “irreparable harm.” Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, public lands, Uncategorized, US Forest Service | Tagged: biodiversity, endangered species, endangered species act, lynx, U.S. Forest Service, United States Fish & Wildlife Service, wildlife conservation | 1 Comment »
Posted on April 1, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Lynx kittens will have the run of Peak 6 as it becomes Colorado’s biggest wildlife sanctuary.
Wolverine reintroduction part of the plan for new nature preserve
By Snob Beerwhine
SUMMIT COUNTY — In a surprise move, Colorado’s biggest ski company announced April 1 that it will not pursue the Peak 6 ski area expansion after all. Instead, Breckenridge ski area and the town will expand the Cucumber Gulch preserve into a full-fledged wildlife sanctuary encompassing part of the Tenmile Range from the valley bottom up to the ridgeline.
With sponsorship of the ski area, the new preserve will be called EpicWildlife, set aside for lynx, elk, moose and boreal toads. Partnering with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Breckenridge also plans to reintroduce wolverines to the area, where they will find great habitat in the alpine cirques and couloirs along the crest. Continue reading
Filed under: April Fools | Tagged: April Fools, Breckenridge, lynx, Peak6, wildlife | 4 Comments »
Posted on March 30, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
A transplanted Canada lynx watches a Colorado Division of Wildlife biologist. Photo courtesy Tanya Shenk/ Colorado Division of Wildlife.
Federal approval missed a key step in addressing requirements of Endangered Species Act
Click here to read all Summit Voice Peak 6 stories
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Federal biologists have acknowledged that they left out a key step in their approval of the proposed Peak 6 ski area expansion at Breckenridge, a project that would degrade a patch of lynx habitat in the Tenmile Range.
“We reviewed the … biological opinion, and we agree that our incidental take statement lacks a meaningful mechanism to reinitiate consultation if the project exceeds the anticipated incidental take,” U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Western Colorado Supervisor Patricia Gelatt wrote in a March 6 letter responding to a formal legal notice from Rocky Mountain Wild and the Blue River Group of the Sierra Club.
Gelatt said her agency plans to meet with the Forest Service and modify its biological opinion to address the deficiencies before the Notice of Intent expires on April 19, but she didn’t explain how agency biologists missed including the required regulatory mechanisms after discussing the expansion with the Forest Service for several years. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Breckenridge Peak 6 expansion, Breckenridge Ski Resort, Colorado, endangered species, Environment, ski industry, Ski Resorts, Summit County Colorado, Summit County news, Vail Resorts | Tagged: Breckenridge, Breckenridge Peak 6 expansion, Breckenridge Ski Area, endangered species, Forest Service, lynx, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Vail Resorts | 3 Comments »
Posted on March 6, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Drop-off box for GPS units at Loveland Pass.
Research to help conservation and recreation planning efforts
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — A multi-year Forest Service study aimed at better understanding how lynx react to human recreational activities was expanded to new areas in Colorado this year, including Loveland Pass, Leadville and Telluride.
Previous efforts have focused on the Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area, where scientists captured lynx and fitted them with collars to transmit GPS data. At the same time, the Forest Service researchers asked skiers and snowmobilers to take GPS transmitters along on their excursions.
A thorough analysis of the data will help land managers make science-based decisions about how to allocate resources as they balance the demand for recreation with a mandate to protect habitat for rare animals like lynx, protected under the Endangered Species Act. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Colorado, Colorado Division of Wildlife, endangered species, Environment, Summit County Colorado | Tagged: Colorado, endangered species, Loveland Pass, lynx, U.S. Forest Service, Vail Pass | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 24, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Opinion: Obstructing conservation runs counter the interest of most skiers
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — The upcoming listing of North American wolverines as an endangered or threatened species has huge implications for Colorado, and also gives the Colorado ski industry a chance to work off some of the bad karma it earned for opposing the reintroduction of lynx to the mountains of our state.
Wolverines are largest member of the weasel family and need rugged alpine terrain covered with deep snow to reproduce. Sometime soon, within the next few weeks, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will announce its listing decision, with the best available science suggesting that global warming is likely to reduce habitat for denning and breeding to the point that it will threaten the existence of the species.
That’s were Colorado comes in. With more high-elevation terrain than any other state in the Rockies, and plenty of steep, remote brush- and rock-strewn avalanche paths, our mountains could be a climate refuge for the animals, according to conservation biologists working on recovery plans for the rare critter. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Colorado, endangered species, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: Colorado, Colorado Ski Country USA, endangered species act, Environment, lynx, ski industry, White River National Forest, wildlife, Wolverine | Leave a comment »