Lawmakers Seek Delay in Gunnison Sage Grouse Listing

us-fish-wildlife-300An agreement was entered into yesterday between the U.S. Fish and Wildfire Service and other litigants to come together to seek an extension of the decision deadline on the proposed Endangered Species Act listing of the Gunnison sage grouse. The extension will afford the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service additional time to consider scientific information on the status of the bird, as well as give federal, state and local stakeholders time to advance proactive local solutions.  Colorado lawmakers Scott Tipton, Michael Bennet, and Mark Udall sent a letter to Fish and Wildlife last week urging the agency to come together with relevant parties to extend the public comment period on the proposed listing.  The state of Colorado and communities in the Gunnison Basin have collaborated and invested in Gunnison sage-grouse conservation for nearly 20 years. The possibility that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife could list the bird as an endangered species and designate more than 1.7 million acres in western Colorado and eastern Utah as critical habitat has spurred continued collaboration among local government and community stakeholders to develop an expanded grassroots plan to preserve the species.  Officials in Northwest Colorado are monitoring the process closely, as a decision will also come soon about the Greater Sage-Grouse.