Colorado’s Gunnison sage-grouse to see recovery plan instead of endangered listing | CraigDailyPress.com

Colorado’s Gunnison sage-grouse to see recovery plan instead of endangered listing

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel

The Gunnison sage-grouse was proposed last January for protection under the Endagnerd Species Act. Fewer than 5,000 of the birds remain, with the largest population found in the Gunnison Basin.

GRAND JUNCTION– Conservation groups have dropped a push to have the Gunnison sage-grouse listed as an endangered rather than threatened species by the federal government, in return for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service developing a recovery plan complying with certain conditions.

The agency has 30 months under the deal to develop a plan to identify and reduce threats to the Gunnison sage-grouse. The entire population is several thousand birds, mostly centered in the Gunnison Basin but also spread out in isolated populations in western Colorado and eastern Utah. One of those populations is in the Piñon Mesa area of Mesa County.

The Fish and Wildlife Service designated the species as threatened in 2014. Conservationists argued in their lawsuit that the more protective endangered species designation the agency had proposed a year earlier was warranted.

Read more at The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.