Gunnison Sage-Grouse designated a "candidate species"
The Colorado Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) has concerns with urgency presented in last week’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife (USFWS) announcement that the Gunnison Sage-Grouse will be listed as a candidate species. When a species is listed as a candidate species, it means it is warranted but precluded at a level 2 out of a range of 1-12 (1 being the highest priority). This will result in the Gunnison Sage-Grouse being a very high priority species for consideration of full listing compared to other candidate species.
Since the formulation of petitions and lawsuits to list the Gunnison Sage-Grouse as threatened or endangered, landowners and agencies have worked diligently to keep this bird off of the endangered species list. Landowners, various industries and counties, along with the Colorado Division of Wildlife (CDOW), have implemented extensive conservation practices and conducted in-depth scientific study of the bird and its habitat that are second to none throughout the bird’s range.
“I believe the service’s decision regarding Gunnison Sage-Grouse shows a degree of positive consideration toward the agricultural industry’s proactive efforts to enhance Gunnison Sage-Grouse populations were recognized,” states Greg Peterson, member of CCA’s Endangered Species committee and Gunnison County rancher. “It also shows that locally led, collaborative work, in cooperation with the USFWS, CDOW, Bureau of Land Management, United States Forest Service and other local government and private interests can and do work in the best interest of the grouse. However, these proactive efforts must continue to show positive results with regard to the Gunnison Sage-Grouse in the hopes that enough work can eventually be done to remove the species from the candidate list.”
USFWS, CDOW and other local government and private interests will continue to work cooperatively to further the conservation interests of the Gunnison Sage-Grouse. — WLJ