Listing the Gunnison sage grouse disempowers and alienates rural landowners and ignores the concerted efforts of states and communities to protect the grouse.
Over the past 20 years, Utah’s and Colorado’s ranchers, conservationists and state and local leaders have worked to protect the Gunnison sage grouse. Utah, Colorado and the citizens of Gunnison County have spent more than $50 million during the past 20 years to conserve the Gunnison sage grouse.
Their mistake? They thought that a stable population in the Gunnison Valley would prevent the bird from being federally listed.
Yet the Fish and Wildlife Service did exactly that.
Despite Coloradans’ efforts, the Wild Earth Guardians—an environmental extremist lobbying organization—pressured the Fish and Wildlife Service to list the bird as endangered under the Endangered Species Act by Nov. 12 in an out-of-court settlement. The Fish and Wildlife Service announced its decision to list the bird as “threatened” and to designate more than 1.4 million acres of potential habitat.