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Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission Approves Three New Colorado Natural Areas

CO Parks News Release 12/08/11
Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission Approves Three New Colorado Natural Areas

FORT COLLINS - The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission Thursday approved three new Colorado Natural Areas, located in San Miguel, La Plata and Yuma Counties. Since 1977, the Colorado Natural Areas Program has worked with interested landowners and volunteers to conserve the ecosystems, species, geology and fossils that are uniquely Colorado at 91 sites, including the three new areas:

· The 2,529-acre Miramonte Natural Area is located within the Dan Noble State Wildlife Area at Miramonte Reservoir in San Miguel County. The area is renowned for its excellent recreational opportunities and remarkably diverse rare plant habitats. This area also serves as an indicator of healthy sagebrush communities and provides some of the best habitat for the Gunnison sage-grouse in the county.

· The 125-acre Haviland Lake Natural Area in La Plata County comprises much of the Haviland Lake State Wildlife Area. The riparian shrub lands and wet meadows provide habitat for sensitive wildlife species such as the osprey and the Northern leopard frog. The natural peat lands and robust wetland vegetation also make the site significant for rare plants and other ecological features.

· The 2,240-acre Arikaree River Natural Area, located along the Arikaree River in eastern Colorado, is part of the largest remaining naturally functioning Great Plains river system in the state. This river system is dominated by native fish, including several rare species. Several other rare wildlife species reside within the near-pristine habitat that includes high-quality native prairie and riparian plant communities. The area, owned by the Colorado Land Board, also serves as a meeting ground for many bird species from the eastern and western United States.

The Colorado Natural Areas Program identifies designates and protects Colorado’s most significant natural features through cooperative land management agreements.

The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission is a 14-member board appointed by the governor. The Parks and Wildlife Commission sets regulations and policies for Colorado's state parks wildlife programs. The Commission meets monthly and travels to communities around the state to facilitate public participation in its processes.

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