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Colorado wildlife officials warn of drilling plan’s effect

BOULDER, Colo. – Colorado wildlife officials want an oil and gas company to consider proposed drilling’s effect on a variety of animals and their habitat if the plan moves forward.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife recommended this week that Crestone Peak Resources be cautious about surveying for wildlife in eastern Boulder County. Wildlife officials recommended that the company adjust a construction timeline if needed to avoid harming burrowing owls, wintering bald eagles and the threatened Preble’s meadow jumping mouse.

“We’re trying to help them responsibly develop this site with as little to no impact to wildlife,” Brandon Marette, Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s northeast region energy liaison, told The Boulder Daily Camera.

State wildlife officials also recommended avoiding new construction, including access roads, near the Boulder Creek and Coal Creek where great blue herons and fish species are found.

Crestone spokesman Jason Oates said Colorado Parks and Wildlife along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have been involved since the start of the planning process.

Oates also said the company employs wildlife biologists to help it address concerns about wildlife by avoiding different species’ habitats or minimizing drilling’s effect on them.

State officials based their recommendations on Crestone’s third draft of a proposed plan to drill 140 wells in eastern Boulder County.

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission ultimately will consider the company’s final proposal.

The company’s final draft is due to the state commission by Jan. 29. The state could rule on the application as soon as April. Boulder County also has a review process.