Rare cacti disappear from Mesa County work site
September 28, 2009
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – Two rare cactus plants found at a western Colorado construction site have disappeared, and authorities aren’t sure what happened.
The Colorado hookless cactus plants were discovered during a routine survey in April at the site of a Mesa County road and sewer project.
The cactus, found only in northwest Colorado, has federal protection as a threatened species because of its limited numbers and growing pressure on its habitat.
Pete Baier, Mesa County director of public works, says officials decided to redesign the road to avoid the plants, but when surveyors returned to take new measurements, they were gone.
Baier said the county notified federal officials and has offered to cultivate new plants to replace the missing ones.