Gunnison Sage-grouse Threatened!

Gunnison sage grouse, Gunnison Basin

Gunnison Sage-grouse Male Display : Prints Available

In a move that’s sure to rile up folks on all sides, today the US Fish and Wildlife Service designated the Gunnison Sage-grouse as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act. (by the way, that’s my image accompanying the article) Anyone close to the issue and knowledgeable of Gunnison Sage-grouse knows the bird is endangered – they are endangered on the IUCN Red List. But, before we go off and point fingers, claim injustice, and look for a villain, we should all take a collective deep breath. It’s true that we lack the funds to manage Endangered Species as intended when the Endangered Species Act was passed in 1973, and it’s true the bird is endangered, but what would a listing do to improve the situation? Gunnison is different. The entire extended community has pulled together to conserve habitat and save the species. Colorado Parks and Wildlife is leading a Rangewide Conservation Plan that has widespread community support and is the benchmark for western communities. The good people of Gunnison have seen this coming for two decades and have worked hard to recover their namesake bird. The new decision gives Gunnnison Sage-grouse some protection – let’s wait and see how the critical habitat piece affects ranching and recreation.

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