TIE DENVER POST
October 15, 1987
Voice of the Rocky Mountain Empire
'Skipper' to cost dam
By Norm Udevitz
Denvr Post Staf WriMr
The builders of the Two Forks Dam
will have to spend $600,000 to protect a
rare, threatened butterfly.
The Pawnee Montane Skipper but-
terfly, the hardy ice-age survivor that
ranges over the area that will be inun-
dated by the proposed dam, has been
declared a threatened species by the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The decision, made public this
week, won't scuttle the huge project,
but will force the dam's builders -
the Denver Water Department and
the Metropolitan Water Providers -
to spend 600,000 to guarantee survive
al of the only skipper colony in Colo-
rado, primarily to buy nearly 1,400 .
acres of land near the new reservoir.
The 1,400 acres will augment anoth-
er 5,078 acres already owned by the
department in the area all of which
wil be usedfor a t I
a won't rep all of
* the 8,000 acres that will be covered by
the Two Forks reservoir. But officials
believe the skipper population can be
stabilized on the reduced habitat.
"This is a firm commitment by
Denver and the providers," said Steve
Work, director of the board's environ-
mental impact statement group. "We
think and hope it will solve the prob-
lem once and for all."
The butterfly problem has been
looming over the project for more
than two years and already has cost
dam proponents more than $50,000 for
studies by entomologists.
ThEijS among other thingsJ,
volvd trained th diuminutive insects
and re Jeky h ,,C thL2W9[... "
creature about one-inch from
wingtip to wingtip re subdued in
havinr and don't like to be Cauh
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
said that Denver's commitment con-
stitutes a finding of "no jeopardy to
te secies." The U.S. Army Corps of
the Engineers and the U.S. Forest
Service, the agencies that will make a
final decision on Denver's applicaUon
for a permit to build the dam, will be
Officials described most of the re-
placement land as "high quality skip-
per habitat that has been selected by
species experts." Tracts that are less
suitable, they said, will be improved
by thinning trees and increasing quan-
ities of plants the skippers require
for food, protection and breeding.
The Pawnee Montane Skipper butterfly.