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U.S. Forest Service Failed to Adopt Necessary Protections for Wildlife Migration Corridors in the Rio Grande National Forest

DENVER – The National Wildlife Federation and the Colorado Wildlife Federation filed a joint amicus brief in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, calling out the U.S. Forest Service for failing to provide necessary protections for wildlife habitat and migration corridors in its management plans for the Rio Grande National Forest. 

“Canada lynx, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, pronghorn, elk, mule deer, and numerous other species that live in the Rio Grande National Forest depend on unfettered migration pathways for their survival. The recently announced management plans for the forest failed to offer sufficient protections for the critical Spruce Hole special interest area,” said Jeremy Romero, regional connectivity coordinator at the National Wildlife Federation. “Given the very real potential for oil and gas development and road construction in the region, it’s critical that the U.S. Forest Service safeguard habitat connectivity in this area that serves as a lynchpin for wildlife migration in the Upper Rio Grande watershed.”

“The U.S. Forest Service is required to adopt management plans to maintain or restore the ecological integrity of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and watersheds. The Spruce Hole special interest area in the Rio Grande National Forest plays a key role in wildlife connectivity and migration for the entire Upper Rio Grande watershed,” said Suzanne O’Neill, executive director of the Colorado Wildlife Federation. “It’s incumbent on the Forest Service to safeguard the area from fragmentation and development so that this migration corridor can remain one of the healthiest, intact wildlife corridors in the nation.” 

The Rio Grande National Forest plan will guide management decisions for the next two decades.  



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