The long-legged, long-tailed Preble's meadow jumping mouse used to inhabit the entire South I-25-East Plum Creek right of way in Castle Rock, Colorado. But development in the drainage altered stream runoff and caused "downcutting" of the channel, which threatened to destroy the mouse's habitat. When the creek was forced to carry more water during runoff than the channel could handle, deep gullies formed in the middle of the creek, taking water away from the streamside vegetation. Lower water levels caused willow patches to die and wetland sedges to dry up. To fix the problem, the Colorado Department of Transportation installed three sheet metal "check dams" 25-feet deep into the soil of the creek. The dams, which look like little waterfalls, allow an even flow of water in the creek and elevate water levels on land so vegetation can once again thrive. The project is part of a statewide, interagency conservation bank to protect the federally-listed as threatened mouse.
--Apr 25, 2003
|U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service photo|
|Preble's meadow jumping mouse|