Office of External Affairs
Mountain-Prairie Region

NEWS RELEASE

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Mountain-Prairie Region
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228

For Release on:  March 26, 2012

Contacts: 
Susan Linner 303-236-4774; susan_linner@fws.gov

Leith Edgar 303-236-4588; leith_edgar@fws.gov

 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Availability of Draft Economic Analysis and Draft Environmental Assessment for Proposed Critical Habitat for Pagosa skyrocket, Parachute beardtongue, and DeBeque phacelia

Service also reopens comment period for critical habitat proposal and draft documents

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today released a draft analysis of the potential economic impacts of a proposal for the critical habitat designation for three Federally listed Colorado plants.

A draft assessment of the environmental effects of the proposed critical habitat for Pagosa skyrocket (Ipomopsis polyantha), Parachute beardtongue (Penstemon debilis), and DeBeque phacelia (Phacelia submutica), is required under the National Environmental Policy Act. Some minor changes to unit boundaries and a discussion of further exclusions are also being considered.  The Service is also reopening the comment period for the proposal to allow interested parties an opportunity to comment on the proposed critical habitat designation as well as the two draft documents and the proposed changes.

For the endangered Pagosa skyrocket, 9,641 acres in four units are being proposed in Archuleta County for designation as critical habitat.  For the threatened Parachute beardtongue, 19,155 acres in four units are being proposed in Garfield County for designation as critical habitat.  For the threatened DeBeque phacelia, 25,484 acres in nine units are being proposed in Garfield and Mesa Counties for designation as critical habitat.  In total, approximately 54,280 acres in 17 units are being proposed for designation as critical habitat for the three species.  All three species are listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The draft economic analysis quantifies the economic impacts of proposed revised critical habitat designation for Pagosa skyrocket, Parachute beardtongue, and DeBeque phacelia.  The draft analysis estimates over the next 20 years, potential economic impacts in areas proposed for critical habitat could range from $967,000 to $14.8 million (approximately $85,300 to $1.3 million on an annualized basis), assuming a 7-percent discount rate.  The largest contributor to the incremental costs is impacts to oil and gas development, which represent approximately 90 percent of incremental impacts in the low cost scenario and 99 percent of impacts in the high cost scenario.

Comments on the proposed critical habitat revision as well as the draft economic analysis and draft environmental assessment will be accepted until April 26, 2012.
The critical habitat revised proposal, the draft economic analysis, and draft environmental assessment are available at:  http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/species/plants/3ColoradoPlants/index.html.

Comments may be submitted by one of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal:  http://www.regulations.gov.
  • Follow the instructions for submitting comments to Docket No. FWS-R6-ES-2011-0040.
  • U.S. mail or hand-delivery:  Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R6-ES-2011-0040; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 222; Arlington, VA 22203.

More information on critical habitat and the three species is available online: http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/species/plants/3ColoradoPlants/index.html.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/. Connect with our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/USFWSMountainPrairie, follow our tweets at http://twitter.com/USFWSMtnPrairie, watch our YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/usfws and download photos from our Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwsmtnprairie/.

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