Action Plan

Full Plan
The Gunnison County Sage-grouse Conservation Action Plan was formally adopted by the Board of County Commissioners on October 20, 2009.

It is the policy of Gunnison County that the following goals and action steps be adopted and implemented in regards to the potential listing of the Gunnison Sage-Grouse as an endangered species.

First Goal
The first goal of Gunnison County is to implement steps which will aid in the preservation of the Gunnison Sage-Grouse.

Step One
The board recognizes and understands that the original intent of the Sage-Grouse Mitigation Fund was to mitigate the effect of the landfill on the sage-grouse. However, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has taken the position that only projects implemented on non federal land can be counted towards this mitigation. The board has taken the position that the preservation and improvement of habitat irrespective of location is more important than specific mitigation of the effects of the landfill.

Therefore the board directs the Sage-Grouse Mitigation Committee to implement the work plan in the organizational procedures and guidelines in terms of looking at funding of quality projects irrespective of location.

Step Two
The board has decided a complete review of the Labor Utilization Report (LUR) needs to be conducted to determine what revisions need to be made to further protect sage-grouse habitat. Further the board directs staff to move forward with the process to develop a special area as part of the LUR, in particular researching the potential for the development of a Habitat Conservation Plan.

This approach may result in the establishment of special rules for sub areas of the county where sage-grouse habitat exist. The board has determined that the "Gunnison Sage-Grouse Conservation Priority Regions in the Gunnison Basin" which was developed by the Gunnison Basin Working Group Research Sub-Committee, would be a reasonable starting place.

Step Three
Negotiate multiple Certificates of Inclusions with the Defenders of Wildlife (DOW) CCAA for all appropriate county property.

Second Goal
The second goal of Gunnison County is to minimize disruption to current activities. In order to accomplish this goal the following action steps will be implemented:
  1. Work with the regulatory agencies to develop uniformity of requirements that are consistent and predictable.
  2. Convene a meeting of the Sage-grouse Working Group to discuss formalizing the membership, adding additional members for broader representation, developing procedures, and discussing flexibility in the local plan.
  3. Work with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), forest service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to insure a coordinated review process for review of permits and projects.
  4. Work with the BLM, forest service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to insure that all grazing permits which will expire in the next 18 to 24 months are reviewed and renewed in a timely manner.
  5. Schedule a meeting with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service to discuss the renewal of permits and obtain clear information on the implication of the proposed listing as well as the process for review. In particular a clear understanding of the regulations is desired.
Third Goal
The third goal of Gunnison County is to further collaboration and communication and in particular to develop mechanisms to effectively deal with rumors and misinformation. In that regard the board adopts the following action steps:
  1. Work with the BLM's public relations department to develop press releases which contain factual information.
  2. Develop a sub page on the county's website to respond to the most frequently asked questions with links to the DOW, BLM, forest service, National Research Council (NRC), and Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA).
Fourth Goal
The fourth goal of Gunnison County is to implement an effective strategy and programs which will which will preclude the need to list the Gunnison Sage-Grouse or at a minimum demonstrate the willingness of the Gunnison community to preserve and protect habitat which will lessen the impact if listing does occur.

In order to accomplish the above goals and strategies the Board of County Commissioners will create the position of sage-grouse coordinator which will have the primary responsibility to implement the identified programs.