The Gunnison sage grouse listing takes a large step backward in species conservation and capitulates to extreme activists disregarding over 20 years of successful science-based conservation outcomes.
Today’s announcement by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) that the Gunnison sage grouse would be listed as threatened is disheartening, according to Colorado Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) President Frank Daley.
The members of CCA, along with a diverse group of stakeholders, have worked tirelessly during the past two decades alongside private landowners and state and local government to protect habitat and rebuild populations. “Until today, the work done to protect this species and its habitat was considered a success story,” says Daley. “Voluntary conservation efforts have led to 71 percent of all Gunnison sage grouse-occupied habitat across the species’ range being protected.
In some individual populations, protected habitat exceeds 91 percent. I fail to see how a “threatened” listing can improve on the candidate conservation agreement on federal lands or candidate conservation agreement with assurances on private land. Not to mention the many other conservation actions already implemented.”
Gunnison sage grouse populations have been stable and increasing in part due to voluntary efforts of private, state, and local stakeholders. The listing of this species will have little, if any, positive impact on its population and habitat area and only serves to undermine any future collaborative efforts for species protection. “The USFWS has chosen to largely disregard the conservation efforts led and financed by state and local entities,” says Daley. “We stand behind Governor Hickenlooper and his effort to take the necessary legal action to stop the listing. We believe in the protection of threatened and endangered species, but in a science-based effort that results in measurable outcomes.”