Important Bird Areas

Unaweep Seep Natural Area

Colorado

Location: Unaweep Seep Natural Area is found 8 miles northeast of the town of Gateway, in west-central Colorado.

Vegetative/natural features: The site is located in the bottom of Unaweep Canyon and contains 24 hillside streams which create a mosaic of wet meadows, hummocks, marsh, willow and wild rose/skunkbrush thickets, cottonwood and boxelder stands. The hillside seeps support a rare assembly of plants, including Indian grass, switchgrass, panic manna grass, Joe-pye weed and giant helleborine orchid.

Ownership: Federal (Bureau of Land Management)

Ornithological Summary

A 1983-84 survey on the BLM in west-central Colorado found this site to be the richest landbird site in the 24 vegetation types sampled across 1.3 million acres of public land. The survey showed a density of 838 birds or territories per 100 hectares.

Nomination packet lists 24 other bird species, about 72 pairs avg and 400 max in addition to listed species. Source: 1983 pre-resource area Management Plan inventory, 1983 data followed by observations by BLM biologist and adjusted. 1983-1999.

Conservation Issues

Minor threats:
Invasive/non-native plants (e.g., common burdock);
Cowbird parasitism;
Pollution from pastures upstream.

Potential threats:
Disturbance to birds from increasing recreation visits.

Management details: The site is a state natural area and a Bureau of Land Management Research Natural Area. Most of the site is within the BLM?s "The Palisade Wilderness Study Area." Land managers use livestock grazing and prescribed fire to help maintain the site?s rare communities.

Habitat

The site is located in the bottom of Unaweep Canyon and contains 24 hillside streams which create a mosaic of wet meadows, hummocks, marsh, willow and wild rose/skunkbrush thickets, cottonwood and boxelder stands. The hillside seeps support a rare assembly of plants, including Indian grass, switchgrass, panic manna grass, Joe-pye weed and giant helleborine orchid.

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