Hearing in Monticello will address sage grouse
Jan 23, 2013 | 2461 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A public hearing will be held in Monticello on Thursday, February 7 to hear public comment about a US Fish and Wildlife Service proposal to designate the Gunnison sage grouse as an endangered species.

The meeting will begin at 5 p.m. at the Monticello High School cafeteria.

The proposal for an endangered species designation was announced on January 11. The announcement opens a 60-day comment period where residents can make their opinions known on the proposal.

It is anticipated that a final designation could be made later in 2013.

A public hearing in Dove Creek, CO on January 31 was initially the only planned local meeting. The meeting in Monticello was set up at the request of the San Juan County Commission.

More than 70,000 acres of private land in San Juan County may be designated as critical habitat for the sage grouse, a species with an estimated local population of approximately 100 birds.

The private acreage is nearly 20 percent of the total private land in San Juan County, where more than 92 percent of the land is owned by the state or federal government.

In total, 1.7 million acres of land may be designated as critical habitat for the birds, which are located primarily in Colorado.

Local groups have been trying for several years to take proactive measures to protect the birds and avoid a cumbersome federal designation.

However, local officials have said that while the designation of the Gunnison Sage Grouse as an endangered species may be unavoidable, they hope to minimize the impact of critical habitat.
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