The Denver Post, July 9, 2008
Preble's mouse protections removed in Wyo., but not Colo.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced it has removed the Preble's meadow jumping mouse populations in Wyoming from protection under the Endangered Species Act.
The service said it is also amended the listing for Preble's to indicate the subspecies remains threatened in the Colorado portion of its range.
"For Colorado basically nothing changes," said Susan Linner, supervisor of the service's Colorado field office.
The critical habitat areas already identified — which stretch from Larimer through Boulder Jefferson Douglas and Teller counties — will remain in place.
A new management plant with a new critical habitat map will be developed by 2010, she said.
Typical habitat for the Preble's meadow jumping mouse is comprised of grassland plains alongside streams.
These riparian areas include a relatively dense combination of grasses, forbs, and shrubs.
The determination is based on a better understanding of the distribution of and threats to Preble's meadow jumping mouse populations in Wyoming and Colorado, officials said.
The Fish and Wildlife Service was forced to reconsider the status of the mouse after it it was determined the 2005 decision to remove the mouse from the endangered species list was tainted by political pressure from a former Interior Department official.
"This action will allow us to more precisely focus the protections of the Act specifically where these protections are needed," said Steve Guertin, the Service's Regional Director for the Mountain-Prairie Region.
The Fish and Wildlife Service decision was criticism by five environmental groups, who said that the scientific evidence supported protecting Preble's mice in both states.
"The Service blew this opportunity to salvage its scientific integrity," said Noah Greenwald, Science Director for the Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity. "Wyoming's mice are just as important for the species' survival as those in Colorado."
The mouse was removed from protection in the four Wyoming counties where it is found — Albany, Laramie, Platte, Converse — because they are predominantly agricultural; areas and there is no large population growth projected for the area, officials said.
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