U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall and Congressman Scott Tipton welcomed a D.C. District Court judge's decision today to grant the U.S. Fish and Wildfire Service and other litigants a six-month extension of the decision deadline on the proposed Endangered Species Act listing of the Gunnison sage grouse.
Bennet, Udall, and Tipton sent a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last week urging the agency to come together with relevant parties to extend the deadline on the proposed Endangered Species Act listing. They heralded the litigants' joint motion earlier this week seeking an extension of the decision deadline.
"The judge's decision today is a win-win for Colorado communities and ongoing conservation efforts for the Gunnison sage grouse," Bennet, Udall, and Tipton said. "This additional time will give the state and local communities additional opportunities to come together with federal agencies and implement a science-based plan that preserves Colorado's special way of life while also preserving the unique wildlife that call it home.
The state of Colorado and communities in Southwest Colorado have collaborated and invested in Gunnison sage-grouse conservation for nearly 20 years. The possibility that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service could list the bird as an endangered species and designate more than 1.7 million acres in western Colorado and eastern Utah as critical habitat has spurred continued collaboration among local government and community stakeholders to develop an expanded grassroots plan to preserve the species.
Bennet, Udall, and Tipton have led efforts to ensure the U.S. Fish and Wildfire Service considers state and local efforts to conserve the Gunnison sage grouse before making a final decision on whether to list the bird under the Endangered Species Act.