Chalk Bluffs Natural Area

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The Chalk Bluffs is a barren escarpment in the northeastern part of the U.S. state of Colorado, stretching from the Wyoming border east of I-25 to near the South Platte River in Logan County, Colorado. Most of the escarpment lies within the Pawnee National Grasslands. The Chalk Bluffs exposes the Ogallala, Fox Hills and Arikaree Formations. Miocene, Eocene and Paleocene vertebrate fossils are found. As the bluffs are barren and protected from fire, trees normally found in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains: Ponderosa pine, Rocky Mountain juniper, limber pine, and mountain mahogany are found there. Numerous raptors nest on the cliffs including Swainson's hawks, ferruginous hawks, golden eagles, and prairie falcons. The bluffs are a favorite site for birdwatching. It has been recognized by the National Audubon Society as a site of "global importance".

It was reported in The Denver Post on August 3, 2006 that a wind farm, the $480 million Cedar Creek project, is slated to be built by Greenlight Energy on private land at the crest of the Bluffs. It will produce power to be sold to Xcel Energy to satisfy Excel's Amendment 37 obligation to produce 10% of its energy from renewable resources. Concern has been raised by birders and the Colorado Division of Wildlife regarding the possible danger to raptors posed by the wind turbines. Solutions to the problem include use of modern turbines which are taller and have a slower blade speed and setting the turbines "back aways" from the cliffs.

A 640-acre (2.6 km2) portion of the Bluffs in Weld County, Colorado were set aside in September 2001 by the Colorado State Parks Natural Areas Program as the Chalk Bluffs Natural Area.


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