El Paso County wants Preble’s mouse taken off endangered list

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Representatives from the El Paso County Environmental Services Department attended a public meeting in Denver last night to recommend removing the Preble’s Meadow Jumping Mouse from the Federal List of Threatened and Endangered Species in El Paso County.

The move comes after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced on Nov. 1 that the Preble’s mouse would retain its federal protection under the Endangered Species Act in Colorado, but not in Wyoming.

“Basically, we said that if you’re going to de-list in Wyoming then you need to consider what’s going on along the Front Fange and all the conservation easements here,” said Mark Johnston, deputy director of environmental services for El Paso County.

He said El Paso County officials have implemented voluntary preservation measures, as well as maintained an active conservation easement program to preserve acres in the county for the purpose of open space, parks and wetlands enhancement.

Johnson said he was the only one to speak last night in favor of de-listing the mouse in Colorado but that written comment about the matter would be accepted until Jan. 14, and that U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials would make a final listing decision in the summer.

“I think we’ll have quite a bit more written comments submitted with scientific reasoning,” he said. “We are asking the Fish and Wildlife Service to consider all of the actions we have taken to preserve land in El Paso County and give equal merit to the efforts here in Colorado as they did in Wyoming.”