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Puny mouse threatens to delay Colorado flood recovery

Colorado Republican Rep. Cory Gardner is demanding an emergency waiver from the Endangered Species Act for a species of mouse that threatens to delay flood recovery in Colorado.

The Preble’s Meadow Jumping Mouse is a threatened species under the ESA, meaning that any governmental action — such as flood recovery — must first consider potential impacts on the tiny animal’s habitat, even if that habitat was also destroyed in the flood that wiped out entire Colorado communities in September.

On Monday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency sent a notice to Colorado officials that the presence of the mouse in the flood zone “may cause some delay in projects undertaken in the Preble’s mouse habitat.”

“As part of the federal- and state-funded public works recovery program following the fall flooding in Colorado, there are many projects with the potential of harming the Preble’s mouse and/or its habitat,” wrote FEMA official Roger Ingram. “At this time, federal, state and local officials are working closely together to figure out the best way to make repairs, mitigate future flood damage and at the same time preserve the mouse’s habitat.”

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