Threatened & Endangered Species

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is considered a keystone of our nation’s environmental laws.  As such, ESA compliance is an important part of land use reviews, wetland permit applications, and environmental impact assessments.

In addition to the species protected under ESA, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and state agencies including Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) have developed sensitive species lists used to guide land management decisions and evaluate project impacts.

Birch Ecology’s team has the expertise to identify and map habitats for these rare species; work with regulatory agencies to ensure ESA compliance; and develop and implement management plans, then monitor trends and provide recommendations.

Ute Ladies’ Tresses Orchid (Spirathes diluvialis), a Threatened Species.



Birch Ecology’s team of plant ecologists and associated wildlife biologists is experienced in addressing the requirements of the Endangered Species Act.    We regularly conduct habitat assessments and surveys for Threatened and Endangered Species, then evaluate project impacts for NEPA compliance, wetland permit applications, and land use reviews.

Colorado Hookless Cactus (Sclerocactus glaucus), a Threatened Species.


We have considerable experience preparing habitat assessments and surveys for federally listed Threatened and Endangered species, as well as the sensitive species identified by the USFS, BLM, and State of Colorado.  Our habitat assessments are based on detailed field reconnaissance used to characterize the plant communities, and an evaluation of the land use history, soil types, geology, hydrology, topography, and location, among other factors. For areas with suitable habitat for rare species, we conduct detailed clearance surveys in accordance with the recommended protocols.  The results of these investigations are summarized in reports with GIS maps, photographs, descriptions of habitat conditions, conclusions, and recommendations.

DeBeque Phacelia Survey in Western Colorado.

DeBeque Phacelia (Phacelia submutica), a Threatened Species.



Based on the data collected through onsite habitat assessments and surveys, we evaluate project impacts to Threatened, Endangered, and Sensitive species.  These analyses are used to produce Biological Assessments, Ecological Assessments, and NEPA compliance documents such as Environmental Assessments (EA’s) and Environmental Impact Statements (EIS’s).  In addition, our investigations provide the foundation for developing mitigation and management plans and for designing project alternatives to limit potential impacts to rare species.  For example, we have worked with open space managers and trails coalitions to route trails away from populations of rare plants; developed mitigation and management plans to enhance the habitat for Preble’s Meadow Jumping Mouse; and have worked with clients to mitigate potential impacts to nesting raptors and migratory birds.

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Harrington penstemon (Penstemon harringtonii), a Sensitive Species that occurs in sagebrush shrublands.


For projects that may affect a listed Threatened or Endangered Species, a Section 7 Consultation is conducted with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Our team has participated in both informal and formal Section 7 Consultations and we have experience preparing Biological Assessments for rare plants and wildlife.

Preble’s Meadow Jumping Mouse (Zapus hudsonius preblei) captured by Jerry Powell in Jefferson County, Colorado.


Preble’s Meadow Jumping Mouse (PMJM) is a federally listed Threatened species that occurs in plains riparian habitats along Colorado’s Front Range and extending north into southern Wyoming.  Through our partner Wildlife Specialties, LLC, we offer trapping studies for PMJM.

Trapping Study for Preble’s Meadow Jumping Mouse (Zapus hudsonius preblei) in Boulder, Colorado. Photo Credit: Jerry Powell