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Plant and Animal Species of Local Concern in the Boulder Valley

Plant and Animal Species of Local Concern in the Boulder Valley

The loss of species can occur when habitat is lost, fragmented or degraded and when natural processes are disrupted or discontinued. Ecosystem and habitat conservation practices act as a coarse filter to address the decline of species and ecological systems by considering system level interactions, structure and processes. Coarse-scale conservation, however, does not preclude the need to identify and protect individual species. “Fine filter” or species-based approaches are often used to complement ecosystem conservation. These species-based techniques are meant to address the conservation needs of species that are especially rare or sensitive to some human activity and therefore not necessarily conserved by habitat or ecosystem level strategies.

Fine-filter conservation has been used to avoid the decline of species to threatened or endangered status. Some uncommon and rare species of the Boulder Valley, especially plants, occur in restricted and unusual habitats. Because they are localized, they could be destroyed quickly by incompatible human activities, land uses, or natural catastrophes.

Project Purpose

Policy 3.03 expresses the city’s intent to protect local species diversity and natural ecosystems. The purpose of creating the Boulder Valley Species of Special Concern List is to support this policy by refining federal and state lists of species of concern to reflect the uniqueness of lands within the Boulder Valley.

Boulder faces unique challenges in managing its wildlife and plant resources, due to its location at the urban/wildland, the diversity of habitats, the variety of recreational uses, and the amount of community involvement. The Boulder Valley Species of Special Concern List is intended as a supplement to the Critical Habitat and Species section of the Boulder County Comprehensive Plan Environmental Resources Element.

The Species of Special Concern List complements the Natural Ecosystem designation in the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan by serving as a reference for the protection and management of sensitive species and their habitat. The list is a guide for developing departmental management plans and for making citywide policy, land use, and regulatory decisions. The list will be updated as the status of species changes and as data gaps are filled.

Project Goals

The following goals guided the development of the Species of Special Concern List:

  • Recognize sensitive plant and animal species currently unrecognized through regulatory programs
  • Integrate local significant ecological features of the Boulder Valley as part of the spectrum of species of concern
  • Establish local responsibility for species of concern
  • Provide updated and Boulder Valley specific guidance for city policies, regulations, programs and plans
  • Recognize the intrinsic value of local flora and fauna
  • Instill community awareness of species protection issues and the cumulative impacts of habitat loss and fragmentation
  • Create a living record for future monitoring and study

Planning and other city and county practices to help implement policy 4.06 include the following:

  1. Public land management
  2. Public acquisition
  3. Purchase of development rights or conservation easements
  4. Promotion of private land conservation practices
  5. Land use designation changes and rezonings
  6. Annexations and initial zonings
  7. Service area boundary changes
  8. Mitigation of impacts through development review
  9. Subcommunity and departmental master planning.

Listing Criteria

State, and federal species of concern lists were used to create the Boulder Valley List of Species of Special Concern. Information was collected from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Colorado Division of Wildlife, and Colorado Natural Heritage Program. At least one of these agencies recognizes each species on the list as having a global, federal, or state ranking of concern. The criteria for including a species on the Boulder Valley list is as follows:

1. The species is listed under the provisions of the federal Endangered Species Act as;

  • LE – Listed Endangered
  • LT – Listed Threatened
  • PT – Proposed threatened or
  • C – Candidate for listing

2. The species is listed by the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife as

  • Threatened
  • Endangered

3. The species is listed by the Colorado Natural Heritage Program as 

  • G1 – Globally critically imperiled (typically 5 or fewer occurrences)
  • G2 – Globally imperiled (typically 6 to 20 occurrences)
  • S1 – State critically imperiled (typically 5 or fewer occurrences)
  • S2 – State imperiled (typically 6 to 20 occurrences)

In the future, this list may be expanded to include species that meet the following additional criteria, listed in order of precedence:

  • The species is endemic to this area
  • The species is critical to ecosystem function or ecosystem processes are diminished enough to require intervention
  • The species habitat is isolated, at the edge of it range, or declining in Boulder County
  • The species habitat or population is threatened by adjacent land uses, recreational uses, invasive weed species, wildlife influence or collecting activities
  • The species habitat is limited or the species is a member of a relictual community
  • Information or professional data on this species is lacking
  • The species is extirpated in Boulder County
  • The species requires special management or monitoring actions related to public safety or federal/state protection

For plant species, the following criteria may be used in addition to the above to further refine the list as needed:

  • The species is limited to uncommon successional stage(s)
  • The species has a high sensitivity to fire or other disturbance
  • The number of pollinators of the species is limited
  • The species is a critical food source, etc., for rare animal species
  • The species is threatened by the high degree of reproductive or genetic isolation.

Listed Species

Common Name Scientific Name Criteria for Listing
American Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus anatum LE, S2
American Redstart Setophaga ruticilla S1
Argos Skipper Atrytone argos S2
Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus LT, S1, state threatened
Banded Physa Physa utahensis G1, S1
Black-tailed Prairie Dog Cynomys ludovicianus C
Blue-Ringed Dancer Argia sedula S2
Burrowing Owl Athene cunicularia state threatened
Chestnut-sided Warbler Dendroica pensylvanica S2
Colorado Blue Euphilotes rita coloradensis S
Common Shiner Notropis cornutus S2
Cylindrical Papershell Anodontoides ferussacianus S2
Great Egret Ardea alba S1
Greenback cutthroat trout Oncorhynchus clarki virginalis LT, S2, state threatened
Hops Azure Celastrina humulus G2, S2
Lake Chub Couesius plumbeus LE, S1
Lake Darner Aeshna eremita S1
Long-billed Curlew Numenius americanus S2
Moss's Elfin or Schryver's Elfin Callophrys mossii schryveri C, S2
Mottled Duskywing Erynnis martialis S2
Mountain Plover Charadrius montanus S2
Northern Goshawk Accipiter gentilis S2
Northern Redbelly Dace Phoxinus eos S1, state endangered
Ottoe Skipper Hesperia ottoe S2
Ovenbird Seiurus aurocapillus S2
Plains sharp-tailed Grouse Tympanuchus phasianellus jamesi S1, state endangered
Plains Topminnow Fundulus sciadicus C, S2
Preble's Meadow Jumping Mouse Zapus hudsonius preblei LT, S1, state threatened
Regal Fritillary Speyeria idalia C, S1
Rhesus Skipper Polites rhesus S2
Rocky Mountain Arctic Jutta Oeneis jutta reducta S1
Rocky Mountain Capshell Acroloxus coloradensis S2
Sharp Sprite Promenetus exacuous S2
Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus S2
Stonecat Noturus flavus S1
Two-spotted Skipper Euphyes bimacula S2
White-winged Crossbill Loxia leucoptera S1
Extirpated Species
American Bison Bison bison  
Black-footed Ferret Mustela frenata G1, LE, S1, state endangered
Grizzly Bear Mustela frenata LT, state endangered
Northern River Otter Lutra canadensis state endangered
Pronghorn Antelope Antilocapra americana  
Timber Wolf Canis lupus lycaon