Posted on August 12, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Years of advocacy and legal action end with some measure of protection for endangered Colorado wildflowers
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has designated critical habitat for the Parachute beardtongue (Penstemon debilis). Photo courtesy USFWS.
Editor’s note: The original version of this story included factual errors, confusing legal actions surrounding the Graham’s penstemon with the listing process for the Parachute beardtongue and DeBeque phacelia. The Graham’s penstemon is still under review by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The original version is posted below the corrected version.
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — After a long journey through the maze of the Endangered Species Act review process, two rare Colorado oil-patch plants have some habitat to call their own — or at least to share with energy companies willing to adjust their drilling plans to help protect the Parachute beardtongue and DeBeque phacelia.
In late July, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designated 15,510 acres of critical habitat for the beardtongue, a member of the penstemon family, in Garfield County, Colorado. The beardtongue grows mainly on public lands, with only about 4,200 of the plants known to exist. According to the USFWS, it’s threatened by development, oil shale mine reclamation, road maintenance, and natural events such as fire and drought. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, endangered species, energy, Environment, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: Bureau of Land management, Colorado, endangered species, endangered species act, Environment, oil drilling gas drilling, rare plants, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Utah Native Plant Society | Leave a Comment »
Posted on July 13, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
The rare Graham's penstemon grows primarily in the oil and gas patches of western Colorado and Utah. PHOTO COURTESY SUSAN MEYER.
Court blitzes earlier decision on Graham’s penstemon and orders feds to once again consider listing — based on the best available science
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — A rare wildflower that grows only in parts of western Colorado and Utah may yet get protection under the Endangered Species Act.
Last month, a federal district court judge ruled that federal land managers acted arbitrarily and capriciously when they denied protection for the plant.
The judge ordered the U.S. Department of Interior to reconsider that decision, review the plant’s status and make a decision on a listing. In the ruling, the court also found the Fish and Wildlife Service failed to consider the best available science showing the threat posed by oil and gas development, livestock grazing, and off-road vehicles.
The federal decision to remove the plant from consideration for protection was tainted by politics, according to an investigation by the The Union of Concerned Scientists. A series of emails obtained by the watchdog group showed that the BLM used a misleading analysis of oil and gas well locations and misrepresented the likelihood of future oil shale development to downplay threats to the plant. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, BLM, Colorado, endangered species, energy, Environment, gas drilling, oil drilling, plants and flowers, public lands, Summit County Colorado, Summit County news | Tagged: biodiversity, Bureau of Land management, Center for Biological Diversity, Earthjustice, endangered species, endangered species act, Environment, Graham's Penstemon, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, Summit County News, United States Department of the Interior, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Utah, Utah Native Plant Society | Leave a Comment »