The Saratoga Sun -

By Joe Elder 

Status of threatened species under review


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service yesterday announced the initiation of a status review under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse throughout its range and the initiation of a 5-year review.

Following the status review and by June 1, 2013, Fish and Wildlife will prepare a 12-month finding on two 2003 petitions, filed by the Governor’s Office of the State of Wyoming and Coloradans for Water Conservation and Development, seeking to remove the Preble’s mouse from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. 

To ensure this status review is comprehensive, Fish and Wildlife is soliciting information from state and federal natural resource agencies and all interested parties regarding the Preble’s mouse, including its abundance, distribution, population trends, taxonomic status and any new life history information. They are also seeking any new information regarding potential threats to the Preble’s and its habitat from human-caused and natural factors, including the potential effects of climate change.

Additional information is available on Fish and Wildlife’s Federal Register announcement initiating the status review.  A copy of the announcement and other information regarding the Preble’s is available at or by contacting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Colorado Field Office, mailing address P.O. Box 25486, DFC (MS 65412), Denver, CO 80225; telephone 303-236-4773.

Anyone wishing to submit information regarding the Preble’s may do so by writing to Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R6-ES-2012-0095; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042-PDM; Arlington, VA 22203 or by electronic mail to http.//  After accessing the website, in the box that reads “Enter Keyword or ID,” enter the docket number for this announcement stated above.  Check the box that reads “Open for Comment/Submission,” and click the search button.  Comments must be received by December 26, 2012.

In 2008, the Fish and Wildlife removed ESA protection for Preble’s populations in Wyoming but continued them in Colorado, based on an interpretation of the law that allowed the agency to apply ESA protections to those portions of a species’ range where the agency believed it was most threatened, rather than in all the places where it is found. This interpretation rested on a policy definition of the meaning of “in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of the range” was subsequently invalidated by two court rulings.  As a result of those rulings, Fish and Wildlife began developing a revised policy on significant portion of range and asked the court to remand the Preble’s decision back to the agency to allow it to reinstate protections for the mouse in Wyoming.  The court granted this request in August 2011. Fish and Wildlife is conducting a new status review and will make a new finding on the 2003 petitions to delist the Preble’s populations by June 2013. The revised finding will be informed by a new policy on that language. A status review is also required for the 5-year review of listed species, so Fish and Wildlife is preparing these reviews simultaneously.

Preble’s was first added to the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in 1998 as a threatened species. The species is threatened by habitat alteration, degradation, loss, and fragmentation resulting from urban development, flood control, water development, agriculture and other human land uses.


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