Prairie Conservation Plan, Sterling Ranch, CO

ERO Resources is assisting the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies (BCR) and Sterling Ranch with the installation and monitoring of three artificial nest burrows for burrowing owls. ERO developed a long-term, comprehensive Prairie Conservation Plan for Sterling Ranch that includes conservation of the Western Burrowing Owl, a state threatened species. Sterling Ranch has a long relationship with BCR and has elicited their expertise to design and install artificial nest burrows to encourage nesting by these ground dwelling owls within a designated Prairie Conservation Area.

Bird Conservancy of the Rockies:

Denver Urban Waterways Restoration Study, CO

ERO is currently assisting the City and County of Denver, Urban Drainage and Flood Control District, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with a feasibility study for habitat restoration and flood risk reduction along the South Platte River, Weir Gulch, and Harvard Gulch. Completed a wetland delineation, mapped riparian boundaries, conducted wetland/riparian functional assessments, and stream functional assessments in the study area to determine current habitat functions and values. Evaluated alternatives through the wetland and stream functional assessments to provide habitat improvement scores for each alternative.

Eagle to Horn Ranch Trail Project

ERO assisted Eagle County and BLM staff with collecting approximately 250-300 rare penstemon (Harrington’s Beardtongue, Penstemon harringtonii) for transport to the Upper Colorado Environmental Plant Center, a grow out facility in Meeker. A few of the rare plants were also sent to the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens in Vail. These BLM sensitive plants were within the footprint of the trail and were removed before clearing/grubbing and other trail activities.

Betty Ford Alpine Gardens:

Upper Colorado Environmental Plant Center:

Sage Creek Road Project

Gathering natural resource data along Sage Creek Road
The Federal Highway Administration Central Federal Lands Highway Division, in cooperation with Carbon County and the Medicine Bow National Forest, is considering improvements to Wyoming Forest Highway 26, also known as Sage Creek Road, in south-central Wyoming.  ERO assisted with environmental assessment support; wetland delineation, mitigation, and permitting; raptor and sage grouse surveys; threatened, endangered, and sensitive species (USFS and BLM) surveys and reports; and consultation with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on depletions to the Platte River.

San Luis Valley Regional Habitat Conservation Plan

Agricultural use of mesic and wetland areas in the San Luis Valley

To facilitate conservation of the southwestern willow flycatcher, the State of Colorado retained ERO to complete a regional HCP on behalf of the Rio Grande Water Conservation District.  The San Luis Valley HCP covers a five-county area within the valley and encompasses more than 150 stream miles and more than 13,000 acres of riparian habitat.  ERO was responsible for all aspects of the HCP including valley wide habitat mapping and analysis, facilitating an extensive stakeholder and public outreach process, negotiating and implementing agreements between stakeholders, and conducting the NEPA process.

A HCP is a proactive, locally driven strategy to protect habitat for endangered species and to provide regulatory assurance to local communities, governments, and private landowners.

Western Yellow-Billed Cuckoo Surveys, Conejos County, CO

Riparian habitat adjacent to U.S. Highway 285, Conejos County, CO
CDOT is currently scoping the removal and replacement of two concrete bridges where U.S. Highway 285 crosses the North Branch Conejos River and the Conejos River north of Antonito, Colorado in order to  widen the bridges, increase longevity, and improve safety. ERO planned, designed, and completed presence/absence surveys for the federally threatened western yellow-billed cuckoo (Coccyzus americansus) under ERO’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Native Endangered and Threatened Species Recovery Permit. Survey results help CDOT to design and plan the future construction project.

Wind Development Project, Colorado

Pronghorn (Antilocapra americana)

ERO assisted with permitting for a wind energy project with up to 67 wind turbines and associated infrastructure in Yuma County, Colorado.  To address Public Utility Commission rules, the Yuma County Land Use Plan, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Draft Land-Based Wind Energy Guidelines, ERO prepared a Natural Resource Assessment and Project Development Plan. The plan identified areas of natural resource concern to consider during site development.  ERO also performed preconstruction studies for biological and cultural resources.  The final report recommended measures to minimize impacts on natural resources during development and management of the project.  Based on report results, ERO prepared a Wildlife Preconstruction Study Plan for the project and conducted the preconstruction studies outlined in the plan.

Cedar Point Wind Project

Tiger salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum)

As part of the environmental permitting process for Cedar Point Wind’s construction of a wind power project in eastern Colorado, ERO assessed the proposed project for potential effects of the project on jurisdictional waters of the U.S. and adjacent wetlands.  ERO prepared a preconstruction notification for submittal to the Corps of Engineers, requesting authorization for impacts on potential waters of the U.S. The Corps authorized the project under a Clean Water Act Section 404 Nationwide Permit.

Peaks to Plains Clear Creek Canyon Trail

Finished section of trail
ERO Resources has been assisting Jefferson County Open Space and Clear Creek
County with several segments of the Peaks to Plains Trail in Clear Creek Canyon. ERO
completed a wetland delineation, mapped habitat for Preble’s meadow jumping
mouse, and assessed the project area for other wildlife concerns. ERO prepared
several Section 404 preconstruction notifications and an Individual Permit for the
various segments of trail in Clear Creek Canyon. In addition, ERO assessed impacts to
Preble’s meadow jumping mouse using a functional assessment method and prepared
two Biological Assessments for formal consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife

Avian Management Plan for Aggregate Mining

Active nest buffer zones

In 2009, bald eagles began constructing a nest along the Cache la Poudre River in eastern Larimer County, Colorado within ¼ mile of an active aggregate mine.  The mine permit area also contained an active heron rookery and red-tailed hawk nest.  ERO developed a comprehensive avian management plan with guidelines and management protocol for the bald eagles, as well as all birds protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.  ERO worked with the aggregate company and federal and state agencies to design project activities and scheduling that avoided disturbing the nest sites and foraging areas. 

Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project, WY

Overview of the Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy project area
ERO Resources is assisting Power Company of Wyoming LLC with obtaining Clean Water Act Section 404 permitting for its Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project in Carbon County, WY. ERO was selected for the project because of our expertise in obtaining Section 404 permits for complex, multi-phase projects with federal agency involvement. The proposed project consists of 1,000 turbines and is situated on interspersed private land and federal land administered by the Bureau of Land Management.

Pikes Peak – South Slope Recreation Area Noxious Weed

City of Colorado Springs – South Slope Recreation Area
Pikes Peak South Slope Recreation Area recently reopened to visitors after being off limits to the public for more than a century. This diverse and biologically rich landscape is now vulnerable to invasive weed species from increased public use. To prevent the establishment and spread of nonnative aggressive invaders, Colorado Springs Utilities contracted with ERO to complete a noxious weed survey for species listed under Colorado’s Noxious Weed Program. A team of biologists from ERO and the Colorado Natural Heritage Program recorded and mapped all noxious weeds in susceptible areas to establish the base information needed to implement an integrated weed management plan.

Wetlands Protection and Revegetation Guidelines

Cover art - City of Boulder Revegetation Rules publication

ERO assisted the City of Boulder with implementing the City’s wetland ordinance.  We reviewed wetland permit applications and mitigation plans; evaluated wetland delineations; and provided recommendations on wetland avoidance, minimization, and compensatory mitigation measures.  We developed Revegetation Guidelines to assist wetland permit applicants in restoring wetland, riparian, and adjacent habitats.  The guidelines include information on species selection, with habitat characteristics, landscape use, management concerns, and wildlife values for each species.

Douglas County Regional Habitat Conservation Plan

Preble’s meadow jumping mouse habitat on Cherry Creek

ERO assisted Douglas County and the towns of Castle Rock, Larkspur, and Parker with developing the Douglas County Regional HCP.  ERO developed the HCP with significant input from a wide-ranging group of stakeholders and the public.  ERO was responsible for all phases of the project including habitat mapping, participating in public meetings, coordinating with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), and preparing the HCP.  Our biologists mapped more than 275 stream miles of Preble’s meadow jumping mouse habitat and used the data to develop a GIS database to calculate impacts, determine protected habitat, and compare the extent of protected areas to the Service’s proposed critical habitat and recovery objectives.

This project received a  Local Government Award for Collaboration from the Denver Regional Council of Governments in 2008.

Water Infrastructure and Supply Efficiency (WISE) Project

WISE Partnership Service Areas Map
The WISE Partnership is an innovative regional water supply project that supplies much-needed renewable water to communities in the south metro area to reduce their reliance on nonrenewable Denver Basin ground water supplies.  ERO assisted the South Metro Water Supply Authority, Parker Water and Sanitation District (Parker Water), Denver Water, and Aurora Water with acquiring the needed Clean Water Act permitting to store water in Rueter-Hess Reservoir in Douglas County.

Water Infrastructure and Supply Efficiency (WISE) Project

WISE Partnership Service Areas Map
To develop a permit amendment to allow WISE water to be stored in the existing reservoir and WISE infrastructure to be constructed in phases without additional Section 404 permitting, ERO addressed Endangered Species Act and National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) compliance and coordinated with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps). ERO is continuing to support the project by assisting Parker Water with the development of a 10-year programmatic agreement to guide the Section 106 process for WISE, a phased undertaking permitted by the Corps, and providing compliance under Section 106 of the NHPA.

ERO's Threatened and Endangered experience

ERO biologists are permitted and have experience surveying for the following T&E wildlife species:
• Southwestern willow flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus)
• Western yellow-billed cuckoo (Coccyzus americansus)
• Mexican spotted owl (Strix occidentalis lucida)
• Preble’s meadow jumping mouse (Zapus hudsonius preblei)
• Ute ladies’-tresses orchid (Spiranthes diluvialis)
• Colorado butterfly plant (Gaura neomexicana var. coloradensis)
• Knowlton’s cactus (Pediocactus knowltonii)
• Uinta Basin hookless cactus (Sclerocactus wetlandicus)