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

November 26, 2012

Contacts:

Steve Segin 303-236-4578, robert_segin@fws.gov
Susan Linner 303-236-4774 susan_linner@fws.gov


U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to Initiate Status Review of Preble’s Meadow Jumping Mouse

 

Preble's Meadow Jumping Mouse. Credit: USFWS
Preble's Meadow Jumping Mouse. Credit: USFWS

Denver, Colo. –The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) today announced the initiation of a status review under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse (Zapus hudsonius preblei) (Preble’s) throughout its range and the initiation of a 5-year review.

Following the status review and by June 1, 2013, the Service will prepare a 12-month finding on two 2003 petitions, filed by the Governor’s Office of the State of Wyoming and Coloradans for Water Conservation and Development, seeking to remove the Preble’s from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. 

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 Preble’s, including its abundance, distribution, population trends, taxonomic status, and any new life history information. We are also seeking any new information regarding potential threats to the Preble’s and its habitat from human-caused and natural factors, including the potential effects of climate change.

Additional information is available on our Federal Register announcement initiating the status review. A copy of the announcement and other information regarding the Preble’s is available at http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/species/mammals/preble/ or by contacting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Colorado Field Office, mailing address P.O. Box 25486, DFC (MS 65412), Denver, CO 80225; telephone 303-236-4773.

Anyone wishing to submit information regarding the Preble’s may do so by writing to Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R6-ES-2012-0095; 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 announcement stated above. Check the box that reads “Open for Comment/Submission,” and click the search button.  Comments must be received by December 26, 2012.

In 2008, the Service removed ESA protection for Preble’s populations in Wyoming but continued them in Colorado, based on an interpretation of the law that allowed the agency to apply ESA protections to those portions of a species’ range where the Service believed it was most threatened, rather than in all the places where it is found. This interpretation rested on a policy definition of the meaning of “in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of the range” (SPR) that was subsequently invalidated by two court rulings. As a result of those rulings, we began developing a revised policy regarding SPR and asked the court to remand the Preble’s decision back to the agency to allow it to reinstate protections for the mouse in Wyoming. The court granted this request in August of 2011. We are conducting a new status review and will make a new finding on the 2003 petitions to delist the Preble’s populations by June 2013. The revised finding will be informed by a revised policy on SPR language. Because a status review is also required for the 5-year review of listed species, we are electing to prepare these reviews simultaneously.

Preble’s was first added to the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in 1998 as a threatened species. The species is threatened by habitat alteration, degradation, loss, and fragmentation resulting from urban development, flood control, water development, agriculture, and other human land uses.

The ESA provides a critical safety net for America’s native fish, wildlife and plants. This landmark conservation law has prevented the extinction of hundreds of imperiled species across the nation and promoted the recovery of many others. The Service is working to actively engage conservation partners and the public in the search for improved and innovative ways to conserve and recover imperiled species. To learn more about the Endangered Species Program, visit http://www.fws.gov/endangered/.

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 -