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North Fork of the Poudre Healthy Watershed Tour and Open House

The North Fork Poudre River Site Conservation Team (SCT) continues to work toward the recovery of Preble’s meadow jumping mouse (PMJM), a threatened mammal listed under the Endangered Species Act. The establishment of SCT’s along Colorado’s northern Front Range is a first of its kind effort, designed to give a voice to local communities in the process of recovering the Preble’s mouse. The goal of the team is to work toward meeting recovery goals, striving to recommend simple, straightforward conservation tools for restoration on public and private lands for habitat improvement.  

The SCT hosted a third healthy watershed community event on September 16th, 2023. Twenty-six community members, land management agency and conservation organization representatives participated in the event. The event included two activities. Eight different conservation groups and local, state, and federal land management agencies hosted booths. Booths were available at the start of the event and during lunch. Organizations shared information for landowners about opportunities for funding and project design and implementation. A watershed tour followed. Three stops were made on public and private lands in the North Fork watershed.

The first stop at Halligan Reservoir was located on private land owned by the Landowners Association for Phantom. Donnie Dustin from the City of Fort Collins gave an update on the proposed expansion of Halligan Reservoir and focused his comments on the newly released Fish and Wildlife Enhancement and Mitigation Plan and Preble’s Meadow Jumping Mouse Mitigation Plan. The second and third stops were located on Rabbit Creek.

At Stop 2 on the Lower Cherokee State Wildlife Rob Schorr from the Colorado Natural Heritage Program described the pilot population monitoring conducted in the watershed during the summer. Rob explained that the Preble’s trapping data collected will be used to refine the 10-Year Population Monitoring Protocol. Dillon Sanders, Colorado Parks and Wildlife Technician, spoke about management on the Cherokee State Wildlife Areas. Stop 2 was an example of High quality habitat. Mindy Gottsegen from the State Land Board spoke at the final stop (3) on State Trust Land along Rabbit Creek.

Stop 3 was an example of Low quality habitat and an opportunity to learn about practices that could restore the habitat over time to improved quality. Overall the tour demonstrated a variety of habitat conditions and management practices that provide healthy habitat for the Preble’s mouse and a diversity of other wildlife. The event concluded with a lunch sponsored by The Forks Mercantile and Saloon and the State Land Board.

Stay tuned for the next event and learn more about PJMJ and the SCT process.