The ESA protects animals and plants that are in danger of extinction (endangered) or are threatened to become endangered (threatened) and the habitat upon which they depend. Consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is required if a threatened or endangered (T&E) animal species occurs on your property or your project could potentially affect a T&E species. For plants, consultation with the FWS is required if a CWA permit or another federal permit is needed for your project.
Currently, the FWS lists 11 species that have potentially suitable habitat in Boulder, Larimer or Weld County or where projects in these counties could affect these species. Other species proposed or under review may be added to the list in the future. If you would like to determine if your land has suitable habitat for a T&E species, a good tool is the FWS IPaC (Information for Planning and Consultation) website. Enter the location of your property, and the website will list the ESA species and other species of environmental concern in that area.
Below are a few of the more common T&E species that occur within the Lefthand, St. Vrain, Big Thompson and Little Thompson watershed areas or could be affected by projects in the these areas. These are also mentioned in Chapter 2 as part of the ‘Landowner Assessment Questionnaires’.
Listed as Threatened
Description: Preble’s is a small mouse with large hind feet and a long tail for jumping. This mouse occurs along streams and rivers along the Front Range in Colorado at elevations below about 7,500 feet. Preble’s typically occurs under shrubs and other dense vegetation that protects it from predators. Usually Preble’s occurs near running water; although it has been found more than 300 feet from the floodplain.
Potential habitat for Preble’s occurs throughout the drainage systems of the areas discussed in this Handbook. It is known to occur along three of the four river systems – Big Thompson River, Little Thompson River, St. Vrain Creek and some of their tributaries.
Regulation: If your property is below 7,500 feet in elevation and your project is near a stream, then you might have suitable habitat for Preble’s. A professional ecologist/wildlife biologist would be able to help determine the likelihood of Preble’s occurring on your property. If Preble’s is known to occur or your land potentially has suitable habitat, then coordination with the FWS would be required.
Listed as Threatened
Description: Colorado Butterfly Plant is a short-lived perennial that occurs along streams in the Front Range and into the plains in Colorado at elevations below 6,500 feet. This threatened species usually occurs in active meandering stream channels. Suitable habitat for Colorado Butterfly Plant may occur within the areas discussed in this Handbook.
Regulation: If your property is below about 6,500 feet in elevation and occurs along a stream, then you could have Colorado Butterfly Plant on your land. If your project requires a CWA permit, coordination with the FWS would be required to determine if suitable Colorado Butterfly Plant habitat occurs on your property. A professional ecologist/wildlife biologist would be able to assist with this coordination.
Listed as Threatened
Description: This small orchid with numerous white flowers grows along streams and open meadow wetlands. Ute Ladies’ Tresses Orchid has been found in the St. Vrain watershed, and suitable habitat may occur along all streams within the other three watershed areas below about 7,000 feet in elevation. This threatened species may also occur within wetlands and along canals in Boulder and Larimer Counties.
Regulation: If your property is below about 7,000 feet in elevation and has wetlands near streams, you may have Ute ladies’ tresses orchid on your land. If your project requires a CWA permit, coordination with the FWS would be required to determine if suitable Ute ladies’ Tresses Orchid habitat occurs on your property. A professional ecologist/wildlife biologist would be able to assist with this coordination.
Platte River Threatened and Endangered Species
Several T&E species in Nebraska are threatened by the reduction of flows in the Platte River system. The Left Hand Creek, St. Vrain Creek, Big Thompson River and Little Thompson River all eventually flow into the Platte River system. Species impacted within the Platte River system include the least tern, piping plover, whooping crane, pallid sturgeon, and western prairie fringed orchid. If your project would result in water-related depletions to tributaries to the Platte River system, it may affect these species. Any project that would result in removing water from the system would require outside help, including a professional ecologist/wildlife biologist that would be able to assist with this coordination.