About the Gunnison Sage-grouse Conservation Program
The Gunnison Sage-grouse, a unique species of North American grouse, is a year-around resident of Gunnison County. In 1995 local stockgrowers, environmental groups, Gunnison County and State and Federal agencies formed a “Local Working Group” to address concerns about the future of this species. This group completed the Gunnison Sage-grouse Conservation Plan in 1997. In response to a petition in 2000, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designated the Gunnison Sage-grouse as a Candidate species for threatened or endangered status under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). In 2005 the status of the species was upgraded on the Candidate list for consideration of listing.
On September 27, 2010, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the Gunnison Sage-grouse would be designated a candidate for Endangered Species Protection. Please follow the links on this page to the Fish and Wildlife Service for further information.
Having long been involved with management of the Gunnison Sage-grouse, Gunnison County has been and will continue to be proactive to ensure the preservation of this unique and important species. Wildlife Conservation Coordinator Jim Cochran works with the Board of County Commissioners, the Gunnison Basin Sage-grouse Strategic Committee, Federal and State agencies, private landowners, and interested citizens to plan, manage and coordinate the development of the Gunnison Sage-grouse Conservation Action Plan. This plan guides Gunnison County as it moves into the future, insuring that the Gunnison Sage-grouse will always flourish in our County and the upper Gunnison basin.
View/print a color brochure about the Gunnison Sage-grouse (Page 1 / Page 2). Brochures may also be obtained at 200 E. Virginia, Suite #104.
Notice of Gunnison County, BLM and USFS Road Closures
Gunnison County, the BLM, and the U.S. Forest Service will be closing several roads to all motor vehicles to protect Gunnison Sage-grouse during their mating season and to prevent road damage during the wet spring conditions.
The cooperation of the public is required to successfully implement these road closures. The closures will aid in the preservation of the Gunnison sage-grouse and may assist in reducing impacts on residents and visitors of Gunnison County from a possible Federal listing of the grouse under the Endangered Species Act.
Copies of the closure list and maps are available at Gunnison County Public Works, 195 Basin Park Drive; Gunnison County Administration office, 200 E. Virginia; Colorado Parks and Wildlife office, 300 W. New York; Bureau of Land Management office, 650 South 11th Street; and the U.S. Forest Service office, 216 N. Colorado, Gunnison, Colorado.
These closures apply to all motor vehicles. Do not park at the closures in a manner that blocks access through the closure gates. For additional information call Gunnison County Public Works at 641-0044; the Gunnison County Wildlife Conservation Coordinator at 641-7604; BLM at 642-4940; or the U.S Forest Service at 641-0471
Lek Access Process - 2013
The Gunnison Basin Sage-grouse Strategic Committee will again accept applications and facilitate a program for limited access to Gunnison Sage-grouse leks in the Gunnison Basin area for 2013. The process is described here. The application form is available here. Applications must be received by 5:00pm Mountain Standard Time February 1, 2013. Late applications will not be accepted.
No more than two applications will be selected. Access will be available ONLY for non-commercial and commercial users wishing to access Gunnison Sage-grouse leks for the purposes of photography, audio recording or other activities that will contribute to Gunnison Sage-grouse conservation efforts.
Gunnison County Action Plan & Goals
The Gunnison County Sage-grouse Conservation Action Plan was formally adopted by the Board of County Commissioners on October 20, 2009.
It is the policy of Gunnison County that the following goals and action steps be adopted and implemented in regards to the potential listing of the Gunnison Sage-grouse as an endangered species.
The first goal of Gunnison County is to implement steps which will aid in the preservation of the Gunnison Sage-grouse. In order to accomplish this goal the following actions steps will be implemented:
1) The Board recognizes and understands that the original intent of the Sage-grouse Mitigation Fund was to mitigate the effect of the Landfill on the Sage-grouse. However, the US Fish and Wildlife Service has taken the position that only projects implemented on non federal land can be counted towards this mitigation. The Board has taken the position that the preservation and improvement of habitat irrespective of location is more important than specific mitigation of the effects of the landfill. Therefore the Board directs the Sage-grouse Mitigation Committee to implement the work plan in the Organizational Procedures and Guidelines in terms of looking at funding of quality projects irrespective of location.
2) The Board has decided a complete review of the LUR needs to be conducted to determine what revisions need to be made to further protect Sage-grouse Habitat. Further the Board directs staff to move forward with the process to develop a special area as part of the LUR, in particular researching the potential for the development of a Habitat Conservation Plan. This approach may result in the establishment of special rules for sub areas of the County where Sage-grouse habitat exist. The Board has determined that the "Gunnison Sage-Grouse Conservation Priority Regions in the Gunnison Basin" which was developed by the Gunnison Basin Working Group Research Sub-Committee, would be a reasonable starting place.
3) Negotiate multiple Certificates of Inclusions with the DOW’s CCAA for all appropriate County property.
The second goal of Gunnison County is to minimize disruption to current activities. In order to accomplish this goal the following action steps will be implemented:
1) Work with the regulatory agencies to develop uniformity of requirements that are consistent and predictable.
2) Convene a meeting of the Sage-grouse Working Group to discuss formalizing the membership, adding additional members for broader representation, developing procedures and discussing flexibility in the local plan.
3) Work with the BLM, Forest Service, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service to insure a coordinated review process for review of permits and projects.
4) Work with the BLM, Forest Service, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service to insure that all grazing permits which will expire in the next 18 to 24 months are reviewed and renewed in a timely manner.
5) Schedule a meeting with the US Fish and Wildlife service to discuss the renewal of permits and obtain clear information on the implication of the proposed listing as well as the process for review. In particular a clear understanding of the regulations is desired.
The third goal of Gunnison County is to further collaboration and communication and in particular to develop mechanisms to effectively deal with rumors and misinformation. In that regard the Board adopts the following action steps:
1) Work with the BLM's public relations department to develop press releases which contain factual information.
2) Develop a sub page on the County's WEB site to respond to the most frequently asked questions with links to the DOW, BLM, Forest Service, NRC and HCCA.
The fourth goal of Gunnison County is to implement an effective strategy and programs which will which will preclude the need to list the Gunnison Sage-grouse or at a minimum demonstrate the willingness of the Gunnison Community to preserve and protect habitat which will lessen the impact if listing does occur.
In order to accomplish the above goals and strategies the Board of County Commissioners will create the position of Sage-grouse Coordinator which will have the primary responsibility to implement the identified programs.
|Gunnison Wildlife Conservation Coordinator
|Administrative Assistant III|
Monday - Friday (except for holidays)
8:00 am - noon & 1:00 - 5:00
* Prior arrangements can be made for services during the lunch hour.
|Gunnison County Wildlife
200 E. Virginia Avenue
Gunnison, CO 81230
(Voicemail is available 24 hours per day)
Fax: (970) 641-3061