|The Mountain-Prairie Region|
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228
Pete Plage (CO) 303-236-4750
Mary Jennings (WY) 307-772-2374 x32
Diane Katzenberger (303) 236-7917 ext 408
Special Rule Announced for
Prebles Meadow Jumping Mouse
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today issued a special rule defining the conditions under which take of threatened Prebles meadow jumping mouse resulting from rodent control, agricultural operations, landscape maintenance and other activities may occur without violating the Endangered Species Act.
The rule will take effect immediately and remain in effect for 36 months. During that period, the Service will continue to work with state and local governments, landowners and others to foster conservation of the Prebles, a species found only in Colorado and Wyoming.
At the end of the 36 months, the Service will review and evaluate all relevant information to determine if extension of the rule may be warranted.
The Endangered Species Act prohibits "take" of a listed species, which is defined as killing, harming, harassing, trapping or wounding. However, Section 4(d) of the Act allows the Service to prepare a special rule that defines the conditions under which unintentional take of a threatened species would be exempted.
The special rule will temporarily exempt the following activities from the general take provisions provided they are conducted in accordance with the requirements specified in the special rule:
Rodent control within 10 feet of or inside of any structure. Since the Prebles is not generally found in structures such as barns, houses, or other buildings, Prebles mortality associated with trapping near these structures would be insignificant
Ongoing agricultural activities provided there is no increase of impacts or further encroachment upon Prebles habitat. Situations where Prebles populations coexist with ongoing agriculture may provide valuable insight into habitat conditions and specific types of grazing and farming practices that are compatible with the species.
Maintenance and replacement of existing landscaping and related structures and improvements. Some landscaping activities, such as lawn mowing and gardening associated with residential or commercial development, golf courses, and parks may disrupt Prebles habitat in certain areas. However, because minimal take is associated with these activities, they are not expected to adversely affect Prebles conservation and recovery efforts.
Existing uses of water associated with the exercise of perfected water rights. Augmentation plans, replacement plans, and exchanges of water that have been recognized by decree or certificate of appropriation will be exempt from take prohibitions. Continued uses of water will generally maintain conditions under which Prebles currently exist. Many existing water use activities appear to be compatible with maintenance of Prebles populations. In some locations, Prebles exist only because of human manipulation of water flows. The relationship of water use and maintenance of Prebles habitat is complex and will be examined during the special rule time period. Take associated with new water development is not exempted, however.
For several years, the Service has been working with the states of Colorado and Wyoming and private landowners to develop Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs), formal agreements that permit take of individual endangered or threatened species incidental to otherwise lawful activities, when the effects of the taking are mitigated and minimized by agreed-upon conservation measures. The special rule will not alter these efforts; they will continue during the duration of the special rule.
"Our goal is to work in partnership with the citizens of Colorado and Wyoming to come up with long-term conservation plans that will meet the needs of both the species and landowners," said Ralph Morgenweck, the Services regional director for the Mountain/Prairie Region. "To succeed, we will need the support of landowners who own or control much of the land needed to conserve the mouse."
Except for the exemptions outlined in the special rule, or under a HCP permit from the Service, it will be illegal for any person to kill, harm, or otherwise take any Prebles meadow jumping mouse.
The Prebles meadow jumping mouse, a subspecies of the meadow jumping mouse, is 8 to 9 inches in length with a tail that accounts for 60 percent of its measurement. It has coarse fur with a dark back, paler sides tending toward yellowish brown and a white belly. Its hind feet are long and adapted for jumping small distances. The range of the species corresponds largely to the rapidly developing Front Range Urban Corridor running from Colorado Springs, Colorado, to Cheyenne, Wyoming. The decline of the species is indicative of the decline of riparian habitat throughout the Front Range. The Service listed the species as threatened in May, 1998.
The Service published the special rule in todays Federal Register.
For more information about the Prebles meadow jumping mouse and this special rule, please visit the Services web site at http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/preble
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 94-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System which encompasses more than 535 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 70 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.
For more information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, visit our home page at http://www.fws.gov
Email Us: MountainPrairie@fws.gov
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