Thursday, December 1, 2011

Potential ACEC designation for three endangered plant species

By Bernadette Kuhn

The Kremmling BLM office has released a Draft Resource Management Plan that includes proposed ACEC (Area of Critical Environmental Concern) designations for three federally endangered plant species: Astragalus osterhoutii, Penstemon penlandii, and Phacelia formosula. An ACEC is a designation that highlights areas where special management attention is needed to protect and prevent irreparable damage to important resources, including rare species.

The total number of proposed acres for ACEC designation ranges from 516 to 9,250 acres, under four different alternatives. Comments are due by January 16, 2012. 

Astragalus osterhoutii (Osterhout milkvetch) is a beautiful, robust milkvetch. This narrow endemic is federally endangered. Its global distribution is limited to an estimated 800 acres in north central Colorado.

Phacelia formosula (North Park phacelia), a showy, purple-flowered member of Hydrophyllaceae, occurs on sandy bluffs in Jackson County. 

Penstemon penlandii (Penland's beardtongue) is known from two occurrences outside of Kremmling, Colorado.  This species is highly restricted to shales derived from the Troublesome Formation.

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