The Bureau of Land Management is seeking public input to identify conservation measures to protect Gunnison Sage-Grouse within the bird’s habitat on federally-managed lands in Colorado and Utah.
Based on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s recommendation to adopt additional conservation measures, the BLM is initiating a public scoping process to incorporate these measures into up to 11 BLM Resource Management Plans through an Environmental Impact Statement and associated amendment. The EIS is slated for completion by July 2016.
The range-wide amendment process will enable the BLM to examine issues across the range of species and consider conservation and mitigation measures on a landscape scale. The EIS will amend RMPs within several BLM offices to address conservation measures and ensure adequate conservation of the Gunnison Sage-Grouse and its habitat on public lands.
Last month, the BLM issued an Instruction Memorandum guiding management of Gunnison Sage-Grouse as an interim measure until an amendment process can be completed. The IM only applies to proposed occupied critical Gunnison Sage-Grouse habitat on BLM-managed lands. The EIS, once completed, will consider both proposed occupied and unoccupied critical Gunnison Sage-Grouse habitat on BLM lands.
The IM builds on existing protections for Gunnison Sage-Grouse, which have been established through BLM policy as well as partnerships at the state, local, private and federal level. It also extends habitat management strategies established in a BLM Colorado IM in 2013 to include southeast Utah, outlining the BLM’s policy of deferring oil and gas leasing on proposed occupied critical habitat until associated land use plans have been amended or revised to avoid affecting future management decisions.
Gunnison Sage-Grouse can be found in southwest Colorado and southeast Utah. About 5,000 breeding Gunnison Sage-Grouse occur among seven separate populations on more than 700,000 acres of BLM lands, including split estate.
Written comments should be submitted by August 22, via mail to BLM Colorado, Attn: Gunnison Sage-Grouse EIS, 2850 Youngfield Street, Lakewood, CO 80215-7093; via email to firstname.lastname@example.org; or via fax to (303) 239-3699.
Additional information is also available on the project website at http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/BLM_Programs/wildlife/sage-grouse.html.
Press Release Supplied By: BlueRibbon Coalition
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Photo Credit To: BlueRibbon Coalition
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