Wildlife Conservation

Services

Gunnison County contracts with the Natural Resources Conservation Service Colorado (NRCS) to provide wildlife conservation services.

Sage-Grouse Information

  1. Rearing Habitat
  2. Road Closures
  3. Listing Decision
  4. Wildlife Information

Gunnison Basin, Gunnison Sage-grouse Brood Rearing Habitat/Riparian Resilience/Restoration Project

Project Description

Wet meadows and riparian areas in sagebrush shrublands provide important brood-rearing habitat for the Gunnison Sage-Grouse, listed as Threatened by the US Fish & Wildlife Service. These habitats are also important for numerous other species, including neo-tropical migratory birds, elk and mule deer, as well as to ranchers for livestock grazing. Wet meadows and riparian areas, already compromised by erosion and lower water tables, are at great risk from drought and high intensity rainstorms associated with a changing climate.

Volunteers will address these challenges by working to restore riparian and wet meadow habitats in sagebrush shrublands in the Upper Gunnison Basin. We will apply the approach of restoration expert Bill Zeedyk, author of Let the Water do the Work: Induced Meandering, An Evolving Method for Restoring Incised Channels (2012).

Working above 8000 feet, Volunteers will help to build small rock structures in small streams and drainages to raise the water table helping to support plants and insects needed by wildlife.

Camping is available and encouraged at the nearby Miller Ranch State Wildlife Area, owned and managed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Food will be provided by talented WRV Volunteer Cooks!

Wildlands Restoration Volunteers is happy to be a partner with so many groups including: Gunnison Climate Working Group Members: Bureau of Land Management-Gunnison Field Office, Colorado Natural Heritage Program; Colorado Parks & Wildlife, Gunnison County, Gunnison Conservation District, Gunnison County Stockgrowers Association, Lake Fork Valley Conservancy, National Center for Atmospheric Research, National Park Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Rocky Mountain Biological Lab, The Nature Conservancy, Trout Unlimited, Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District, US Fish & Wildlife Service, US Forest Service, Western State Colorado University, and Western Water Assessment.

Strategic Committee Information

  1. Committee Information
  2. Action Plan
  3. Links
  4. Strategic Committee

Development of the Group

The Gunnison Sage-Grouse, a unique species of North American grouse, is a year-around resident of Gunnison County.

In 1995 local stockgrowers, environmental groups, Gunnison County, and state and federal agencies formed a "Local Working Group" to address concerns about the future of this species. This group completed the Gunnison Sage-Grouse Conservation Plan in 1997. In response to a petition in 2000, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designated the Gunnison Sage-Grouse as a candidate species for threatened or endangered status under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). In 2005 the status of the species was upgraded on the candidate list for consideration of listing.

Moving Forward

Having long been involved with management of the Gunnison Sage-Grouse, Gunnison County has been and will continue to be proactive to ensure the preservation of this unique and important species.

Plan

Wildlife Conservation Coordinator Jim Cochran works with the Board of County Commissioners, the Gunnison Basin Sage-Grouse Strategic Committee, federal and state agencies, private landowners, and interested citizens to plan, manage, and coordinate the development of the Gunnison Sage-Grouse Conservation Action Plan (PDF).

This plan guides Gunnison County as it moves into the future, insuring that the Gunnison Sage-Grouse will always flourish in our county and the upper Gunnison basin.