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News & Releases
Mountain-Prairie Region

News Release

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to hold public meetings for comprehensive conservation plans for Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge and Two Ponds National Wildlife Refuge

For Immediate Release

July 15 2013


VTwo Ponds National Wildlife Refuge. CREDIT: Sherry James

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that the Gierisch mallow, a desert plant, will be protected as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and has identified areas important to the species’ recovery. The Service published its final rule in the Federal Register today.

Gierisch mallow, found primarily on federal land in Utah and Arizona, is a perennial, orange-flowered plant that grows up to 3.4 feet tall. Eighteen known populations of the plant – 17 on Bureau of Land Management and one on Arizona State Land Department administered land – are found in northern Mohave County, Arizona and southern Washington County, Utah.

Primary threats to the mallow include gypsum mining, unauthorized off-road vehicle use and other recreational activities. In areas under federal jurisdiction, the ESA prohibits malicious damage or destruction of threatened or endangered plants.

A total of 12,822 acres presently occupied by Gierisch mallow has been designated as critical habitat. These areas provide the biological soil crusts within gypsum soils that are essential to the mallow. Critical habitat is a term in the ESA that identifies geographic areas containing features essential for the conservation of a threatened or endangered species. Federal agencies that undertake, fund or permit activities that may affect critical habitat must consult with the Service to ensure such actions are conducted in a manner that does not destroy designated critical habitat. Critical habitat designations have no effect on actions taking place on non-federal lands unless proposed activities involve federal funding or permitting.

An economic analysis of the effects of critical habitat designation projects $3,300 in annual costs – primarily from Federal administrative efforts that would be in addition to basic ESA consultation costs. An area may be excluded from critical habitat if we determine that the benefits of excluding the area outweigh the benefits of including the area as critical habitat, provided such exclusion will not result in the extinction of the species. None of the initially proposed areas were excluded from the final designation. The economic analysis and environmental assessment that helped inform that determination will be available shortly.

The Two Ponds National Wildlife Refuge is one of the smallest urban refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System. The refuge is approximately 72 acres in size consisting of a number of important fish and wildlife habitats including native short and mixed grass prairies, riparian corridors, and wetlands. We have scheduled public scoping meetings between July 25th and August 15th around the Denver Metropolitan Area. During public scoping, we request input as to which issues affecting refuge management or public uses should be addressed during the planning process. These meetings are essential to developing a list of issues that the CCP will address.

The meetings are considered “informal.” We encourage the public to arrive at 5:30 pm for a brief presentation beginning at 6:00 pm. We will solicit public comments following the presentation. Before and after the presentation, attendees will have the opportunity to meet with our personnel, learn more about the CCP process, and provide input.

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Public meetings for the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge are as follows:

July 25, 2013
Reunion Recreation Center
17910 E. Parkside Drive North
Commerce City, CO 80022
5:30—7:30 pm

July 30, 2013
Central Park Recreation Center
9651 E. Martin Luther King Boulevard
Denver, CO 80238
5:30—7:30 pm

August 5, 2013
Commerce City Recreation Center
6060 E. Parkway Drive
Commerce City, CO 80022
5:30—7:30 pm

August 15, 2013
Montbello Recreation Center
15555 E. 53rd Avenue
Denver, CO 80239
5:30—7:30 pm

Public meeting for the Two Ponds National Wildlife Refuge:
August 13, 2013
Arvada Public Library
7525 W 57th Avenue
Arvada, CO 80003 5:30—7:30 pm

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 www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie. Connect with our Facebook page, follow our tweets, watch our YouTube Channel, and download photos from our Flickr page.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Office of External Affairs

Mountain-Prairie Region

134 Union Blvd

Lakewood, CO 80228

303-236-7905

303-236-3815 FAX

www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/



Contacts

David Lucas
(303) 289-0350
david_c_lucas@fws.gov

Bernardo Garza
(303) 236-4377
bernardo_garza@fws.gov

Toni Griffin
(303) 236-4378
toni_griffin@fws.gov

Steve Segin
(303) 236-4578
robert_segin@fws.gov
 



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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.
Last modified: September 04, 2013
All Images Credit to and Courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Unless Specified Otherwise.
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