Study: No boreal toads along lower Maroon Creek

By City of Aspen
Real AspenOctober 16, 2012
A study conducted to determine if there is a boreal toad population along lower Maroon Creek turned up no evidence of toads residing in the area.
A study this summer concluded there are no boreal toads, which are endangered, along lower Maroon Creek where a controversial city of Aspen hydro project is planned.
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The city of Aspen, in response to requests from the public as part of the Federal Energy Regulation Commission process, hired Miller Ecological Consultants, Inc. to conduct the boreal toad survey during the weeks of Aug. 20 and Aug. 27.

“The surveys were completed following the guidelines from Colorado Parks and Wildlife for late summer surveys. We did not observe any boreal toads during the four days in the field," said Dr. William Miller, who conducted the study.

The study area extended from the area directly below the Highway 82 bridge to a location approximately 200 meters downstream of the residences on Maroon Creek. Each survey area had field observers walking the margins of open water areas, upland areas adjacent to the open water areas and wetlands between the open waters. Field workers scoured the landscape for four days and found no boreal toads. They found one amphibian – an immature tiger salamander.

“This study should help those who had questions about this stretch of river move forward with confidence that no boreal toads are present in the region,” said David Hornbacher, Director of Utilities and Environmental Initiatives for the City of Aspen. “We continue to be responsive to the public’s questions and concerns and completed these further scientific studies reflective of our ongoing commitment to environmental stewardship.”

The boreal toad survey is one of many the City of Aspen has undertaken to study the ecology and riparian habitat of all the reaches of rivers that may be impacted by the Castle Creek Energy Center.

The Castle Creek Energy Center is a hydro electric project that will add 8 percent renewable energy into the city of Aspen’s electric utility portfolio and bring the entire portfolio to 83 percent renewable energy. The city’s goal is to have a 100 percent renewable energy profile by 2015.

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