Down on the Ground with Conservation Evolving

By George SIbley

When Ryan Zinke was appointed Secretary of the Department of Interior a year ago, he declared himself to be an “unapologetic admirer of Teddy Roosevelt,” whom we think of as the father of American conservation. Secretary Zinke’s actions since then have caused virtually all contemporary American conservation organizations to call him out on that, and to directly challenge his proclaimed commitment to any concept of conservation.

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Bad Times for the Boreal Toad

By Daniel Smith

It’s the amphibian of your youth.

Brown, squat, lumpy with “warts” – the kind your mother warned you about. The Boreal Toad (Anaxyrus Boreas) is the quintessential toad in appearance.

The little four-inch toad is the focus of an important preservation campaign in Chaffee County, which has one of the few isolated areas in the world where it may have a chance to hold its own. But now the extinction threat is real, even here.

The chytrid fungus, a disease thought to have originated in Africa, is an extinction threat. Globally, amphibian numbers have declined alarmingly, accelerating since the end of the last century.

The Boreal Toad was very common in high, wet areas of the Colorado mountains, but by 1989, surveys found an 83 percent population loss from breeding areas.

Beginning in 1994, population surveys were done in some of the habitat where they were quickly disappearing, and a multi-agency rescue effort started not long after. The Boreal Toad is now listed as endangered in Colorado and New Mexico and as a protected species in Wyoming. A decision on its listing as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is pending in 2017.

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Conservation easement is just another adventure

Column by Hal Walter

Conservation – April 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

“Prepare to receive intense gamma radiation,” the figure on the aspen-lined trail calls out from ahead. “We’re coming up on the richest vein of thorium in the nation.”

My first instinct is to hold my breath. But as I look into the pit, where splintering timbers point to a dark hole, I open my mouth and the irradiated but familiar thin air rushes into my lungs. I run by this mine quite often on my regular runs around Bear Basin Ranch near my home in the Wet Mountains. What the hell — if thorium particles are good for Gary Ziegler to breathe, they must be good for me too.

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