Important Bird Areas

Highline State Park

Colorado

Location: Highline Lake State Park, located northwest of Loma, is a complex of two lakes (Highline and Mack Mesa) and ponds supplied by Highline Canal with water diverted from the Colorado River.

Vegetative/natural features: Park uplands are dominated by saltbrush shrublands and saline bottomland shrublands. Diverse wetland, riparian, and aquatic plant communities have become established around the reservoir and below both dams.

Ownership: Federal (U.S. Bureau of Reclamation)

Ornithological Summary

Observers have recorded more than 200 species of birds at the park, including waterfowl, shorebirds, neotropical songbirds, and raptors. Seven species of ducks and six species of shorebirds are common. As a "migrant trap," the park also holds many winter residents.

Additional Species Info:
Based on surveys conducted by the BLM Bald Eagle Inventory, CDOW Winter Waterfowl Surveys, and a collaboration of personal observations the following informaiton was provided in the nomination.

Waterfowl species: avg- 15,000 birds
max- 25,000 birds
migration passage- winter
dates are unknown
Charadriiformes: avg- 1,000 birds
max- 10,000 birds (rare)
migration passage- fall
1977-1999
Other waterbirds: avg- 1,000 birds
max- 3,000 birds
migration passage- spring
1977-1999

Conservation Issues

Serious threats: disturbance to birds by recreational use of the park; hydrologic changes (April to October more water comes into Highline Lake than the headgate pipe can vent, thus the water level always remains at the spill level except during droughts).

Minor threats: development of park facilities

Potential threats: cowbird parasitism, facilitated by nearby dairy and range livestock industries; pollution from human activity upstream.

Efforts to address threats: Park regulations restrict waterfowl hunting to weekdays north of the buoy line on Highline Lake. No boats are allowed from October 1 through March 1, and electric trolling motors are the power boating limit on Mack Mesa Reservoir.

Management details: The portion of the site that is federally-owned is managed by Colorado State Parks through an agreement with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The site is a Colorado Watchable Wildlife site.

Habitat

Park uplands are dominated by saltbrush shrublands and saline bottomland shrublands. Diverse wetland, riparian, and aquatic plant communities have become established around the reservoir and below both dams.

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