Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Survey of Critical Biological Resources in Chaffee County

In 2008, Chaffee County became the 31st Colorado county surveyed for critical biological resources by CNHP, completed by Denise Culver, Delia Malone, and Stephanie Neid. The survey included both wetland and upland areas and was made possible with funding from Chaffee County, Great Outdoors Colorado, Colorado Division of Wildlife, the Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 8.

CNHP Ecologist Denise Culver

Chaffee County has three Potential Conservation Areas (PCA) ranked with an Outstanding Biodiversity Significance (B1) due to the rarity and/or excellent condition of a species. The Middle and South Cottonwood Creek PCA is Colorado’s best breeding site for the State Endangered (G4T1Q S1) Boreal Toad (Bufo boreas boreas). The Castle Gardens and Droney Gulch PCAs are also ranked as outstanding due to the documentation of the critically imperiled (G1G2 S1S2) Brandegee wild buckwheat (Eriogonum brandegeei), a Colorado endemic and Fendler’s townsend-daisy (Townsendia fendleri) (G2S2), a regional endemic. Learn more about Natural Heritage rankings here.

Townsendia fendleri
Townsendia fendleri (Fendler's townsend-daisy)

The project increased the number of PCAs in the county to 57 and added 53 new element occurrences and updated 27 known occurrences. The information from the survey is already being used by several land trusts to establish conservation easements for private properties, and also provides an additional data resource for the Chaffee County’s Comprehensive Plan. The full report PDF can be downloaded from our website.

Last month CNHP made the local paper (The Mountain Mail in Salida) regarding our report to the Chaffee County commissioners. Here’s the full article.

Frenchman CreekFrenchman Creek in Chaffee County, CO

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