Delta County, along with 10 other western counties, has succeeded in getting delay of a federal decision to list the Gunnison sage grouse as an endangered species.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced last week that it will delay until March of next year its decision on the status of what has become known as "the bird."
The FWS announcement came after U.S. Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet, and U.S. Representative Scott Tipton issued a joint letter also requesting the delay.
Members of an 11-county consortium have been working for years to forestall an endangered listing for the bird, and have worked even longer on efforts to conserve and improve sage grouse habitat on the Western Slope.
The 11 counties have joined in a binding conservation agreement endorsed by the governors of Colorado and Utah to continue their conservation efforts.
The Udall-Bennet-Tipton letter sent to cabinet-level officials in Washington, D.C., stated, "Local governments and private landowners (have) used a variety of tools to protect the (Gunnison sage grouse) including: the implementation of protective land use policies, conservation easements on private land, conservation agreements with assurances, and private property acquisitions. These efforts and others have led to the expenditure of over $30 million in public and private funds all with the goal of conserving the (Gunnison sage grouse). Thanks to these initiatives we've made great progress. FWS data now show the populations of Gunnison sage grouse have increased in the Gunnison Basin."blog comments powered by Disqus