The Gunnison sage-grouse is federally listed as threatened. Loss of habitat is the biggest driver of this bird’s population declines, and almost all Gunnison sage-grouse are found in Colorado. Colorado has the largest stable population (centered around Gunnison Basin) and six satellite populations, while Utah has only one satellite population, representing about 2 percent of the birds.
Why Are Gunnison Sage-grouse Important?
Since 98 percent of Gunnison sage-grouse reside in Colorado, our efforts to conserve them are vital to the survival of the species. CPW is the leader of the conservation endeavor. In addition, since the entire sagebrush ecosystem is threatened, actions aimed at conserving Sage-grouse also serve to strengthen it. The health of the sage-grouse population reflects the health of the larger ecosystem, like a canary in a coal mine.
What Are The Associated Challenges?
What Is CPW Doing?
CPW is currently collaborating with the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as they formulate the best conservation plans.
In addition, we are creating a Collaborative Action Plan to promote and foster partnerships with landowners rangewide. Because so much sagebrush falls on private land, these partnerships are essential to conserve this species and its habitat. We’ve seen great success at the county level, including an 11 county coalition.
Our research unit is also working on developing seasonal habitat maps and movement patterns for the Gunnison Basin.