Sage Grouse

The U.S. Department of Interior decided Tuesday that the greater sage grouse does not need protection under the Endangered Species Act. The bird spans 11 western states including Colorado, where it lives in pockets along the western slope, but is mostly concentrated in the northwest part of the state.

Gov. John Hickenlooper was one of the many people working to avoid a federal listing for the bird. While the sage grouse decision is a win for the governor, a few other initiatives – and longtime battles in Colorado – still need his attention.

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  • Colorado governor weighs in on sage grouse decision and fracking
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The U.S. Department of Interior has decided that the greater sage grouse, a peculiar and distinctly Western bird, does not need protection under the Endangered Species Act.

In a statement, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said that an unprecedented land conservation effort has already significantly reduced the threats to sage grouse.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the conservation marked a successful effort by the government and ranchers on public and private lands.

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  • State water board awards $5.5M for projects at Montrose meeting
  • Governor submits sage grouse conservation plan to feds
  • Organic agriculture in Colorado continues to grow
  • Governor releases Colorado climate change plan
  • Paonia homecoming parade features vintage car tour

  • 1 in 7 Coloradoans struggle with hunger
  • Paper calls into question sage grouse numbers
  • Second person arrested in human trafficking case
  • Large, illegal marijuana grow operation found
  • A discussion about Paonia’s proposed fee increase
John Hickenlooper
Laura Palmisano

On this episode of Local Motion, we’ll hear from Governor John Hickenlooper and members of his cabinet who spoke at a forum in Montrose last month. First, Irv Halter, the director of the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, speaks. Then John Swartout , a senior advisor to the governor, talks about sage grouse. And lastly, Hickenlooper delivers his remarks. 

The greater sage grouse is a peculiar and distinctly Western bird. It's about the size of a chicken and about as adaptable as the dodo bird, which is to say it's not very adaptable at all — at least not in a human-driven time scale.

In biological terms, the greater sage grouse is perfectly adapted for its habitat: the rolling hills of knee-high silver scrub that's sometimes called the sagebrush sea. It's the oft-forgotten parts of the fast-changing West — The Big Empty, as settlers used to call it.

  • Feds pledge $211M to protect sage grouse
  • Thousands without irrigation water in Mesa County due to Issues with 38 Road repairs
  • Delta County hopes to see Rogers Mesa agricultural site comeback to life
  • Interview with incoming State Supreme Court Justice Robert Gabriel

The Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service has announced a new plan to protect the greater sage grouse from extinction, while hoping to prevent the bird from being added to the endangered species list.

The sage grouse population has dropped from 16 million birds to less than half a million, mainly due to lost sagebrush habitat. The bird's range spans 11 western states including Colorado.

"As land managers of two-thirds of greater sage grouse habitat, we have a responsibility to take action that ensures a bright future for wildlife and a thriving western economy," said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell at the announcement in Cheyenne, Wyoming.


  • Oxbow mine auctions off equipment
  • Colorado Mesa University receives grant for innovation center
  • A talk with local state representative about session
  • Montrose airport breaks ground on second flight service company
  • Gov. Hickenlooper issues order to protect sage grouse, avoid listing


  • Governments in San Miguel County grapple with housing prices
  • Gov. Hickenlooper works to prevent Sage Grouse listing
  • Small businesses seek collaboration to heighten their profile
  • Presentation about how to ‘get by’ in Paonia
  • Patient in Colorado tests negative for Ebola
  • State Senate passes budget along party lines
  • Head of the VA visits Colorado


  • Hints at Sage Grouse listing from Fish and Wildlife
  • State officials meet tomorrow to decide rules for medical marijuana
  • Poachers hit near Telluride
  • Winter weather outlook for Western Slope
  • Enterovirus possibly moving towards western slope
  • Denver Post might be sold off


  • Dems urge study of severance tax in state senate
  • A measure to increase fines for violations by gas and oil industry passes state house
  • Colorado prepares to sue Feds over sage grouse listing
  • Legislature moves to prevent poor from being jailed if they can’t pay petty fines
  • Garfield County hantavirus victim recovering


  • Power Line and Poles Damaged by Recent Rockslides
  • Retail Pot Shops in Telluride Mostly Seeing Tourists
  • Bill to Ban Food Stamps from Pot Shops Fails
  • Hickenlooper Asking BLM for a State-Centered Approach for Sage Grouse Management


  • Private Gun Sales affected by New Background Check Law
  • US Fish & Wildlife Says BLM Sage-Grouse Plan is Too Weak
  • Bross was First Luxury Hotel in Delta County
  • Pataognia CEO Defends Company's Stance on Fracking
  • Western Governors Launch Wildlife Mapping Project


  • School Board Member Wants New Policy on Transgender Students' Access to Facilities
  • DMEA Board Member Glen Black Resigns
  • BLM Limiting Drilling because of Sage Grouse Concerns
  • Promising Ski Season in store for Telluride Ski Areas
  • Telluride Chapel Hosts Annual Community Thanksgiving Meal


  • Hickenlooper visits Craig & Rifle, Calls for Compromise on Greater Sage Grouse
  • DMEA Expects Hydroelectric Upgrades to Increase Efficiency, Save Money
  • Business Leaders Across State Call for Quick Immigration Reform
  • Looking at the Challenges of Sourcing Food Locally with Joel Salatin


  • El Paso County Sheriff Disputes Statements about Black Forest Fire
  • Grand Junction Airport Launching its Own Probe into Fraud Allegations
  • Fate of Broomfield Fracking Moratorium Put on Hold
  • Debate over Greater Sage Grouse Continues in western Colorado
  • US Fish & Wildlife Won't List Gunnison Prairie Dogs as Threatened/Endangered


  • Moffact County Officials Criticize BLM's Approach to Sage Grouse Plans
  • Garfield County Outlines Sage Grouse Protection Plan
  • Rocky Mountains Seeing More Horizontal Drilling than Rest of U.S.
  • Connect for Health Officials Working on Faster Insurance Applications
  • Basalt Residents Will See Vote on Retail Marijuana
  • Adams County Republican Joins Governor's Race