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Release Date: 07/15/09
Contacts: Vanessa Delgado 303-239-3681    
  Robin Sell 303-239-3723    

Measure Signed to Protect Townsend’s Big-eared Bats

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar signed a new measure to withdraw three abandoned uranium mines in southwestern Colorado that provide key habitat for Townsend’s Big-eared bat. The withdrawal covers roughly 23 acres of public lands from mineral development for the next 20 years. 

“These three sites represent all known maternity roost sites for this species on BLM lands in Colorado,” said Dave Hunsaker, acting State Director with the Bureau of Land Management.  “Thanks to our relationship with Colorado Division of Wildlife (CDOW), we were able to work together to provide additional federal protections for this sensitive species in Colorado.” 

Through the BLM abandoned mine lands program and the CDOW bats/inactive mines program, more than 4,250 mines have been surveyed in the last 15 years for suitable bat habitat.  Bats are one of the slowest reproducing mammals for their size in the world with only one offspring per female per year, making maternity sites critical to their survival.

The three mine sites are located within the Dolores Public Lands Center, and the Uncompahgre and Grand Junction Field Offices.  Under this withdrawal, these lands are withheld from settlement, sale, location, or entry under the public land laws, including the mining laws.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

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Last updated: 07-15-2009