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Utah Disappointed with Gunnison Sage-Grouse Decision

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Utah Disappointed with Gunnison Sage-Grouse Decision

DWR director says federal decision will hamper ability to help the birds

A decision to list the Gunnison sage-grouse as threatened under the Endangered Species Act could hurt the bird more than help it, says the director of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

“Placing the bird under the oversight of the federal government will greatly reduce our ability to help the bird,” says Utah DWR Director Greg Sheehan.

Found mostly in southwestern Colorado, a small number of Gunnison sage-grouse also live in San Juan County in southeastern Utah. On Nov. 12, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that, despite years of work in both states, the bird warrants listing as a threatened species.

“Putting the bird under the management authority of the federal government will create roadblocks that will make it difficult to complete work to help the species,” he says.

For example, if the Utah DWR wants to partner with a landowner and a federal agency — to complete a habitat project to help the grouse — they can’t simply launch into the project and do the work. Instead, the project now has to go through a federal review process that Sheehan calls “tedious and time-consuming.”

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