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 Immediate Release

August 28, 2012

Contacts:

Leith Edgar, 303-236-4488; leith_edgar@fws.gov

Ellen Mayo; 970-243-2778 x14


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to Review Status of Rocky Mountain Monkeyflower

 

Rocky Mountain Monkeyflower. Photo by Steve Olsen / U.S. Forest Service
Rocky Mountain Monkeflower. Credit; Steve Olsen / USFS

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service evaluated a petition requesting the listing of the Rocky Mountain monkeyflower (Mimulus gemmiparus) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

We determined that a more in-depth examination of the status of the species is justified.  The agency will conduct a full status review of the species, and once the review is complete, determine whether to propose adding the species to the Federal lists of endangered or threatened wildlife and plants.  The Rocky Mountain monkeyflower is a rare plant known to occur in only seven small subalpine locations along the front range of the Rocky Mountains west of Denver on federal and state lands.  The plants are only about 4-inches high, they seldom produce their characteristic little monkey-faced flowers, and they hide among ferns and mosses on moist soils along seeps and streams.

Our decision, commonly known as a 90-day finding, is based on scientific information about the species provided in a petition requesting listing of the species under the ESA.  This finding will be published in the Federal Register on Wednesday, August 29, 2012.  The petition provided substantial information that the Rocky Mountain monkeyflower may be threatened by habitat destruction or fragmentation due to trampling by hikers, wildfire and a warmer, drier climate.  Information in the petition also indicated that the species may be vulnerable to these threats because the plants are small fragile annuals that do not have flowers or seeds, and they depend on moist soils along seeps or streams.

The finding on the petition does not mean we have decided it is appropriate to list the Rocky Mountain monkeyflower.  Rather, this finding is the first step in a process to trigger a more thorough review of all the biological information available.

To ensure that this status review is comprehensive, we are soliciting information from State and Federal natural resource agencies and all interested parties regarding the Rocky Mountain monkeyflower and its habitat.

Based on the status review, we will make one of three possible determinations:

1. Protection under the ESA is not warranted; in which case no further action will be taken.

2. Protection under the ESA as endangered or threatened is warranted.  In this case, we will publish a proposal to add the Rocky Mountain monkeyflower to the list of threatened and endangered species, solicit independent scientific peer review of the proposal, seek input from the public, and consider the input before a final decision about listing the species is made.  Generally, the final decision is made one year after the species is proposed.

3. Protection under the ESA is warranted but precluded by higher priority activities.  This means the species is added to the Federal list of candidate species, and the proposal to list is deferred while we work on listing proposals for other species that are at greater risk.  A warranted but precluded finding requires subsequent annual reviews of the finding until such time as either a listing proposal is published, or a not warranted finding is made based on new information.

For more information about the Rocky Mountain monkeyflower and this finding, please visit our website: http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/species/plants/RockyMountainMonkeyflower.

Anyone wishing to submit information regarding the Rocky Mountain monkeyflower may do so by writing to Public Comments Processing, Attn:  FWS-R6-ES-2012-0052; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042–PDM; Arlington, VA 22203 or by electronic mail to http://www.regulations.gov.  After accessing the regulations.gov website, in the box that reads “Enter Keyword or ID,” enter the docket number for this finding stated above.  Check the box that reads “Open for Comment/Submission,” and click the Search button.  Comments must be received by Oct. 29, 2012.

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/

 - FWS -