Last week, according to a press release, Governor Hickenlooper sent a letter to the United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to advocate for the protection of greater sage-grouse on lands the BLM intends to sell or lease for oil and gas development. Over the past several years, the State of Colorado has been involved in efforts to protect this disappearing bird; in fact, the governor even mentioned it in his 2018 State of the State speech.
Several species of grouse live in Colorado. One species, the Gunnison sage-grouse, is federally designated as a threatened species. The other species, however – including the greater sage-grouse, the subject of the governor’s letter – are not recognized as threatened by the federal government. The State of Colorado, however, is concerned for the greater sage-grouse, which is found in northwest Colorado and whose numbers have been diminishing.
Since the federal government’s 2003 denial of listing the greater sage-grouse as endangered or threatened, Colorado has issued numerous plans, documents and strategies for conserving the species. The most significant document, finalized in 2008, is the state’s Greater Sage-Grouse Conservation Plan, available online from our library. Five years later, the state issued The Colorado Package, a greater sage-grouse conservation strategy plan specific to Colorado (the BLM had been considering the species’ conservation in nearby states, as well).
For further information on the state’s efforts to conserve the greater sage-grouse, see the following State of Colorado documents and websites:
- Avian Research Projects: Greater Sage-Grouse (website)
- Dispersal Ecology of Greater Sage-Grouse in Northwestern Colorado (2007)
- Greater Sage-Grouse Biology & Habitat Requirements in Colorado (presentation from Colorado Parks & Wildlife)
- Grouse Getaway (blog post and video from Colorado Parks & Wildlife)
- Middle Park Sage Grouse Conservation Plan (2004)
- Northern Eagle/Southern Routt Greater Sage-Grouse Conservation Plan (2004)
- Northwest Colorado Greater Sage-Grouse Conservation Plan (2008)
- Parachute-Piceance-Roan (PPR) Greater Sage-Grouse Conservation Plan (2008)
- Watching Grouse, Prairie-Chickens and Ptarmigan (2014)
The governor’s July 17 letter also addresses big game migration corridors in the affected area.