The long-anticipated decision on the status of the Gunnison sage-grouse has been made. On Wednesday, November 12, 2014, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (U.S. FWS) determined that the Gunnison sage-grouse will have the designation of “Threatened” under the Endangered Species Act.
Gunnison County, state and federal agencies, landowners and stakeholders have been working diligently and cooperatively to avoid this determination, employing many pro-active measures to conserve the sage-grouse. It is thanks to these cooperative efforts that the more flexible “Threatened” was chosen rather than the more serious “Endangered,” and U.S. FWS has given indication that the listing will not greatly impact our area. The decision reflects situations in the six smaller populations in other counties.
High Country Conservation Advocates is proud of all the local efforts that have been made toward Gunnison sage-grouse conservation over the past twenty years. HCCA sincerely hopes the spirit of cooperation will continue. Local efforts are essential to the well-being of the species and to a speedy recovery. Because of all the work that has been done in our community over the last two decades, we are in a unique and ideal position for achieving rapid recovery. Now is not the time for local efforts to be given up―rather, it is time to remain engaged and work together toward a successful outcome. In order to further the recovery process, it is imperative that local efforts to conserve the species stay the course.
Conserving a species is not an easy thing to do, but with time and continued dedication, the Gunnison County community and Gunnison sage-grouse can thrive long into the future.
High Country Conservation Advocates