Feds seek to tweak Endangered Species Act

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Lynx have protected under the Endangered Species Act for 15 years, but legal wrangling and bureaucratic inertia have prevented completion of a recovery plan for the mammals, Photo courtesy Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Modernization aimed at keeping regs in line with science, political pressure and court rulings

Staff Report

FRISCO — Federal biologists say they want to freshen up the Endangered Species Act to “reflect advances in conservation biology and genetics, as well as recent court decisions interpreting the Act’s provisions.”

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, many of the country’s endangered species regulations date back to the 1980s, and need an overhaul. According to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service director Dan Ashe, the changes will address states’ concerns and boost voluntary conservation efforts, and add transparency to the listing process.

The proposal to revamp parts of the law comes against a backdrop of blistering attacks by anti-environmental Republicans in Congress who see endangered species regulations as hurdles to the exploitation of natural resources and have tried to undercut the bedrock law by preventing funding for environmental protection, and even going as far as trying to prevent federal agencies from making science-based listing decisions. Continue reading

GOP once again attacking Endangered Species Act

Slew of bills aimed at undermining protection for plants and animals threatened with extinction

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A rare lynx kitten in Colorado protected by the Endangered Species Act. Photo courtesy Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Staff Report

FRISCO — GOP lawmakers in the U.S. Senate are apparently intent on undoing the Endangered Species Act without directly attacking the widely supported law that helps protect plants and animals from extinction.

This week, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is holding hearings on eight GOP bills, including one that would end federal protection for more than 800 endangered animals and plants around the country, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. Continue reading

Morning photo: What next for Antarctica?

Big changes ahead for the frozen continent


FRISCO —I often write about the environmental changes expected in Antarctica as the world heats up under its man-made blanket of heat-trapping greenhouse gases because those changes will have huge implications for the rest of the planet. It’s not just the melting ice and rising sea level. When — and to be clear, it’s when, not if — the big meltdown begins, it will affect ocean currents worldwide and weather patterns in both the northern and southern hemispheres. Hard to say at this point what the consequences will be for places like Australia and South America. Click this link to read about how the Antarctic affects global climate.

But Antarctica is so vast, so distant and so unimaginably different from the rest of the planet that it’s sometimes hard to get your head around it without seeing it for yourself. Enjoy the gallery and check our archive of Antarctica environment stories to learn more.

Morning photo: Mountain mix

Rocky Mountain eyecandy


FRISCO —A quick Saturday set from the vault featuring some Rocky Mountain wildlife, mountain panoramas and forests, including an exceedingly friendly and curious marmot that absolutely wanted to pose for the camera. The first three shots were all taken in Summit County along Ute Pass Road; the bristlecones and the marmot were photographed last summer along Mt. Evans road, just on the other side of the Continental Divide. For daily photography updates, follow our Instagram feed, and visit our online gallery for an amazing selection of prints and greeting cards.

Morning photo: Critters!

Spring wildlife in Colorado

FRISCO — A couple of days ago, after dropping my son off at the High School, I noticed what looked like a handful of fluffy white clumps at the Blue River inlet to Dillon Reservoir. As I got closer, I realized that the white clumps were actually pelicans, heads tucked beneath their wings to guard against the chilly morning after an overnight dusting of snow. Seeing these birds seems a bit incongruous, especially in wintry weather, but they are actually common visitors to Colorado.

Just this week, the Boulder Daily Camera reported that white pelicans helped eliminate a pesky population of non-native goldfish in a local lake. I was able to get close enough to snap a few decent images, and decided to post a few other random critter pics I’ve taken during the past few years — a reminder that wildlife is a cherished part of our natural heritage in Colorado and that we need to be mindful of how our plans for water and development affect animals.

For daily photography updates, follow our Instagram feed, and visit our online gallery for an amazing selection of prints and greeting cards.

Conservation groups outlines flaws in new oil and gas drilling plan for Colorado’s Piceance Basin

Formal protest says BLM violated planning regulations

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Thousands of new fossil fuel wells could take a toll on wildlife in northwest Colorado.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Conservation and wildlife advocacy groups are protesting a new federal plan that covers oil and gas drilling and fracking in the northwestern Corner of Colorado.

The recently published resource management plan amendment for Bureau of Land Management’s White River Field Office failed to meet legal requirements because it didn’t consider special areas of environmental concern, the groups wrote in their formal April 27 protest letter. Continue reading

Scientists say they’ve found ‘most polluted bird’

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A Cooper’s Hawk. Photo courtesy USFWS.

Cooper’s hawk in Vancouver area tainted with flame-retardant chemicals

Staff Report

FRISCO — Better living through chemistry may — or may not — be an apt motto for people. But it definitely doesn’t hold true for wild animals, who, to their detriment, ingest the toxic remnants of our industrialized society on a daily basis.

This trickle-down effect was recently illustrated once again as Canadian scientists announced that they found what they called  “the most polluted wild bird that has been found anywhere in the world.” Continue reading

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