Feds: Arapahoe Snowfly Warrants Federal Protection
But Fish and Wildlife Service Claims Listing is Precluded by Other Priorities
Scott Hoffman Black, Executive
Director, Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation * 503-449-3792
Gary Wockner, Save the Poudre: Poudre Waterkeeper * 970-218-8310
Josh Pollock, Conservation Director, Rocky Mountain Wild * 303-454-3382
Denver, CO- Responding to a petition
from a coalition of conservation organizations
and scientists, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) today issued a
positive 12-month listing determination for the Arapahoe snowfly (Capnia arapahoe), finding that
protection is warranted under the Endangered Species Act, but that listing
the species is precluded by higher priority actions.
publication of the 12-month petition finding, the USFWS will add the Arapahoe
snowfly to its candidate species list and develop a proposed rule to list the species
as priorities allow.
Arapahoe snowfly is known from only
two small tributaries of the Cache la Poudre River in the Front Range of
Northern Colorado: Young Gulch and Elkhorn Creek. A recent status review
developed by the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation strongly indicates
that this aquatic insect is critically imperiled and may be on the brink of
“We are pleased that the Service has determined that the Arapahoe snowfly warrants protection,” said Scott
Hoffman Black of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. “We hope
that they work with all due haste to list this species as an endangered species.”
being extremely rare, the Arapahoe snowfly is threatened by habitat damage from
intensive recreation; livestock grazing; logging; stream de-watering;
application of insecticides in the vicinity of Elkhorn Creek; sedimentation and
runoff from roads and trails; and pollination from residential and destination
resort septic systems.
Endangered Species Act protection for the snowfly would help protect their
habitat and facilitate restoration efforts.
“Our mission is to protect and restore the Cache la Poudre River, and that
includes the river itself and every species in it. It's terrible news that
the Arapahoe Snowfly indeed merits listing as an endangered species, but it's
good news to find out now so we can all work together keep this river ecosystem
healthy and whole,” said Gary Wockner of Save the Poudre: Poudre
Waterkeeper. “We look forward to protecting this species and we accept
part of the responsibility to make sure the Arapahoe Snowfly never goes extinct
from the face of the earth.”
(sometime called winter stoneflies) such as the Arapahoe snowfly are described as “indicator
species,” meaning that the health of their populations signals the health of
their freshwater habitats. Snowflies require cool clear rivers and streams
making them excellent biological indicators of watershed health.
plight of the Arapahoe snowfly should serve as a wakeup call for all of us on
the Front Range to care for our streams and rivers,” said Josh Pollock of Rocky
Mountain Wild. “Extinction is just not sound stewardship, and we know we can do
better. Endangered Species Act
protection can help us do that in the case of the Arapahoe snowfly.”
snowfly is only one of the many important species found in
the Cache la Poudre watershed. Careful management in this watershed is
essential to maintain sustain the diverse species this area supports.
Boris Kondratieff is a Professor of Entomology at Colorado State
Xerces Society is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to
of life through the conservation of invertebrates.
Guardians is a nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to protecting
and restoring wildlife, wild places, and wild rivers in the American West.
The Poudre: Poudre Waterkeeper works to protect and restore the Cache la
la Poudre River Foundation is an organization founded for the protection of
wild trout through the town of Fort Collins, Colorado.
Mountain Wild, formerly Center for
Native Ecosystems, conserves and recovers native species and ecosystems
of the Greater Southern Rockies using the best available science.
For more information on the Arapahoe snowfly (Capnia arapahoe), see www.xerces.org/arapahoe-snowfly.