This client retained Roe Ecological Services (“ROE”) to assess the potential future Cedar Rose Ranch property in Lafayette, Colorado to determine whether development of the property would impact any wildlife, and if so, to what degree. ROE assessed the habitat, and determined the potential for any threatened, endangered, or sensitive wildlife to exist on, or immediately adjacent to, the site.
The Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973 as amended (16 U.S.C. §§ 1531 et seq.) prohibits the “take” of any federally listed species (plants and animals). “Take” is defined as harm or harassment (including to pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, collect, or attempt to engage in any such conduct) of individuals of a protected species and—under certain circumstances—the destruction of habitat.
In addition, all raptors and other migratory birds, eggs, and active nests are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 as amended (16 U.S.C. §§ 703-712) and/or the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act of 1940 (16 U.S.C. §§668-668c). The nesting season for raptors and migratory birds generally extends from mid-February through the end of August, depending on the species. If there are any construction impacts during this timeframe, and it is determined that there will be any impacts to any migratory birds, eggs, or active nests, then a Federal Fish and Wildlife License for Depredation must be obtained from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“USFWS”).
ROE first ascertained the presence of potential habitat of any federally or state-listed species on the property. This was done based on ROE biologists’ knowledge of the potential species in the area, and via review of the most recent lists of threatened, endangered, and sensitive species.
ROE visited the site and evaluated the potential adverse impacts based on:
- The type and level of existing and/or potential wildlife use of the property;
- The type and level of existing and/or potential wildlife use of immediately adjacent properties;
- The fact that many species of wildlife along the Front Range of Colorado are habituated to human presence and human-induced disturbances; and
- Whether wildlife likely to be present will adapt to changes in habitat, and/or movement corridors.
Of the species evaluated for impacts on the potential future Cedar Rose Ranch property, ROE ascertained that there could be an impact to the following wildlife species caused by development of the site: coyote, red fox, black-tailed prairie dogs, Western Burrowing Owl, raptors and other migratory birds, raccoons, and bats. Recommendations were made for avoidance of and/or mitigation of impacts to these species.