Arapahoe Snowfly on the Brink of Extinction

April 26, 2011

Scott Hoffman Black, Executive Director, Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation; 503-449-3792
Dr. Nicole Rosmarino, Wildlife Program Director, WildEarth Guardians; 505-699-7404

DENVER, Colo. — Responding to a petition from a coalition of conservation groups and scientists the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) today issued a positive 90-day finding for the Arapahoe snowfly (Capnia arapahoe) determining that protection may be warranted and initiating a status review of the species.

The Arapahoe snowfly is known only from Young Gulch and Elkhorn Creek, two small tributaries of the Cache la Poudre River in the Front Range of northern Colorado. A recent status review developed by the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation strongly indicates that this aquatic insect is critically imperiled and may be on the brink of extinction.

“We are very pleased that the USFWS is going to take a serious look at protecting this species,” said Scott Hoffman Black, Executive Director of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. “The science clearly shows that Arapahoe snowfly is threatened with extinction.”

Besides being extremely rare, the species is threatened by habitat damage from intensive recreation, livestock grazing, timbering projects, stream de-watering, insecticide application close to water bodies connected to Elkhorn Creek, sedimentation and runoff from roads and trails, and pollution from residential and destination resort septic systems.

Endangered Species Act protection for the snowfly would mean that their habitat would be protected and restored.

Snowflies (sometime called winter stoneflies) such as the Arapahoe snowfly are described as “indicator species,” meaning that the health of their populations signals the health of their freshwater habitats. Snowflies require cool clear rivers and streams making them excellent biological indicators of watershed health.

The Arapahoe snowfly is only one of the many important species found in the Cache la Poudre watershed. Careful management in this watershed is essential to sustain the diverse species this area supports.

“Protecting and restoring the Poudre River is our organization’s mission,” said Gary Wockner of Save the Poudre: Poudre Waterkeeper. “The Snowfly is an indicator species of the health of the Poudre River ecosystem. We commend the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for launching a science-based review process for this imperiled species.”

Information on petitioners:

Dr. Boris Kondratieff is a Professor of Entomology at Colorado State University.
The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation
is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the diversity of life through the conservation of invertebrates.
WildEarth Guardians
is a nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to protecting and restoring wildlife, wild places, and wild rivers in the American West.
Save The Poudre: Poudre Waterkeeper
works to Protect and Restore the Cache la Poudre River. Cache la Poudre River Foundation is an organization founded for the protection of wild trout through the town of Fort Collins, Colorado.
Center for Native Ecosystems
conserves and recovers native species and ecosystems of the Greater Southern Rockies using the best available science.

For more information on the the Arapahoe snowfly see:

Stoneflies: Arapahoe snowfly (Capnia arapahoe)

To download the petition go to: