GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Federal land managers on Friday released a draft management plan for preserving habitat for the Greater Sage-Grouse, a bird found in certain parts of Colorado as well as other western states and in Canada.
The document, formally known as the Draft Northwest Colorado Greater Sage-Grouse Resource Management Plan Amendment and Draft Environmental Impact Statement, will be subject to a 90-day comment period by the public, and comments can be made either online at www.blm.gov/epl-front-office/eplanning/lup/lup_register.do or by email at email@example.com or by FAX to 970-244-3083.
Comments also can be mailed to BLM - Greater Sage Grouse EIS, 2815 H Rd., Grand Junction, CO, 81506.
The draft EIS considers four possible management plans for maintaining and increasing habitat for the birds, which a century ago were estimated to number about 16 million. Today, that estimate has dropped to 200,000 to 500,000, mostly due to incursion of residential construction and energy development into their habitat, according to scientists. In the U.S., the species is a candidate for listing under the Endangered Species Act.
According to a statement from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the Routt National Forest, the EIS contains a “preferred alternative” that is meant to “preclude the need for listing of Greater Sage-Grouse as a threatened or endangered species.”
The statement estimated that more than 1.7 million acres of the bird’s habitat is on BLM lands in its Northwestern District.
In Garfield County, the habitat under consideration is located to the north and northwest of Parachute, along drainages from Parachute Creek in the east to Roan Creek in the west.
Comments are due by Nov. 14, and a decision on which alternative to pursue is not expected until Sept. 30, 2014.