While you sat in traffic today
Posted by Hal Young at 08:32 AM
Commuters on US 70, wondering, "Where's my Clayton Bypass?", take heart. The Preble's meadow jumping mouse, a rodent powerful enough to hold up a dam, may lose its Endangered Species Act shield. DNA studies now indicate that the protected rodent is basically the same as another, more common one.
State business and political leaders cheered the tentative decision, saying special habitat protections and environmental studies have cost tens of millions of dollars since the mouse gained threatened species status in 1998.
"The extremist groups who forced this faulty listing on Colorado caused the expenditure of ten of millions of dollars on a species that didn't exist," said Jim Sims of the business consortium Partnership for the West. "I think the taxpayers should send these groups a bill for those wasted costs."
For example: Jim Nikkel, district engineer for Parker Water and Sanitation, said paperwork, permits and project refinements related to the mouse have cost the district $2 million to $3 million since 1999.
Among the projects: creation of 4-inch-square mouse tunnels through structures that divert water from Cherry Creek. The tunnels allow mice to move freely along the creekside without being blocked by concrete walls.
"That, in and of itself, was not a major cost. But that's the level of - I want to refrain from using the word stupidity, but I don't know another word - involved," Nikkel said. "What's to keep a snake from inhabiting the tunnel and eating the mouse?"
Now if someone could spend some time looking at inch-long dwarf wedge mussels …
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