U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials will release their determination on listing the Gunnison Sage Grouse as endangered after October 1st. The designation may be a factor in whether or not a controversial gravel mining-asphalt making operation is allowed to move forward, according to Montrose County Manager Rick Eckert.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released a report last spring outlining the challenges facing the survival of the Gunnison Sage Grouse.
Montrose based U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologist Charlie Sharp. Sharp says that there was no shortage of comments submitted from Western Slope residents to the federal agency on the potential endangered classification, and those comments along with input from partner agencies like Colorado Parks and Wildlife is being sifted through and absorbed by the decision makers now.
Sharp adds that the impact on local economies by an endangered designation will also be given serious consideration before a decision is arrived at.
The Endangered Species designation has historically enjoyed a high rate of success at bringing back wildlife populations from the brink of extinction, with the Bald Eagle and California Condor serving as examples of successfully replenished populations.