A comprehensive status review determined that there is sufficient scientific and commercial data to propose listing the species as threatened or endangered throughout its range. However, the Service is precluded from beginning work immediately on a listing proposal because its limited resources must be devoted to other higher priority actions.
The Service will add the Gunnison sage-grouse to its list of candidate species and review its status annually. When a “warranted but precluded” finding is made for a species, the Service classifies it as a candidate for addition to the federal list of threatened and endangered species.
If the Service proposes the Gunnison sage-grouse for protection under the ESA in the future, the public will have an opportunity to comment. As a candidate species, the Gunnison sage-grouse will remain a state-managed species.
The Gunnison sage-grouse currently exists in seven populations, including one in San Juan County near Monticello. Gunnison sage-grouse historically occurred in southwestern Colorado, northwestern New Mexico, and southeastern Utah.
For several years, private landowners have worked with state and federal agencies to implement conservation actions under a Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA).
The cooperative efforts have lead the way in conducting important research to enhance the understanding of the life history needs of Gunnison sage-grouse.
Local conservation groups have developed plans for six of the seven populations, as well as a range-wide Gunnison sage-grouse conservation plan.