Sage grouse preservation topic of Friday meeting

In an attempt to maintain and enhance sage grouse populations on private and public lands, the Northwest Colorado Coordinated Resource Management Committee will host a Sage Grouse Work Group open house at 1 p.m. Friday in the Moffat County Courthouse Annex. The meeting will focus on the Draft Northern Sage Grouse Management Plan for Moffat County.

The plan seeks to help sage grouse thrive.

"The plan will help to ensure that sage grouse numbers are maintained and hopefully increase," said Patty Halbert, District Conservationist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Services. "The planning process is involving many entities; they are professionals trying to help improve existing numbers."

Roxeanne Falise, a biologist with the Bureau of Land Management, will speak at the open house. A representative from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will also explain how the plan may affect listing sage grouse as a threatened or endangered species.

According to Halbert, the plan affects anyone dealing with land or habitat development. Recreationists, hunters, photographers, environmentalists, oil and gas industries, construction companies and everyone with a concern about wildlife habitat are encouraged to attend.

In Moffat County, populations have declined 40 to 80 percent.

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