Steamboat Springs The U.S. Forest Service is proposing a change to its management indicator species list in the Routt National Forest.
The list currently contains 24 species of birds and mammals that were selected for monitoring to assess how Forest Service actions affect them and their habitats.
The proposed change would reduce that number to six species - Colorado River cutthroat trout, brook trout, Golden Crowned kinglet, Northern Goshawk, Vesper sparrow and Wilson's warbler.
Removing the other species from the list is necessary, said Jena Hickey, Forest Service wildlife program leader in Laramie, Wyo. Hickey said some of the species are not meaningful indicators of management activities, and others have proven too difficult to monitor.
"The motivation to change the list centers on the need for us to be more effective and efficient, especially in light of our limited budget," she said.
The amendment would help ensure that monitoring each species is feasible and useful. The proposed action would require an amendment to the Resource Management Plan 1997 Revision, or Forest Plan.
The Plan formerly listed 24 species of birds, mammals and fish that were used to assess management issues such as water quality, fragmentation and fire risk.
However, many of the 24 species proved too difficult to monitor because they were rare, difficult to detect or did not respond clearly to management actions.
In drawing the amendment, Forest Service officials reviewed the existing plan to determine which species are more suitable for the list and what type of management issues are facing the Routt National Forest, Hickey said.
"We think what we're doing is pretty straightforward and clear cut," she said. "We're looking at how we can better manage our forest."
Residents who want to submit a question or concern about the planned amendment must do so by Sept. 17.
Officials will take public comments into consideration before drafting the final amendment. The Forest Service will implement the new plan without taking any other action because the Forest Service regulates the plan.
Comments should be sent to Project Coordinator Diana Hood, Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest, P.O. Box 249, Saratoga, WY 82331.
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