Sage-grouse plan released

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The BLM is seeking public comment on the Gunnison Sage-Grouse Rangewide Draft Resource Management Plan Amendment and Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

The BLM manages about 623,000 acres, or 37 percent, of Gunnison sagegrouse habitat across the range of the species. Within Utah, the BLM manages about 4,338 surface acres of critical habitat in the Moab Field Office and 4,979 surface acres within critical habitat in the Monticello Field Office.

The draft Resource Management Plan Amendment and draft EIS consider actions that could be implemented on BLM-managed lands and do not affect state, county, and private lands.

The draft plan considers four alternatives with a wide range of management options. These options range from leaving management of Gunnison sage-grouse habitat as it currently is, to focusing primarily on conservation by avoiding any impacts to habitat of Gunnison sage-grouse. It includes a preferred alternative that provides for management flexibility using appropriate measures to mitigate impacts to Gunnison sage-grouse habitat. Public comments will be used in developing a final EIS and proposed plan amendments for up to 11 BLM Resource Management Plans, including those for Moab and Monticello Field Offices. The deadline for public comments is Jan. 9, 2017.

Based on a January 2013 US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) proposal to list the Gunnison sage-grouse as endangered, the BLM began to analyze current conservation measures and consider additional protections for the bird on public lands in southwestern Colorado and southeastern Utah. In November 2014, the USFWS listed the Gunnison sage-grouse as threatened.

To review the documents, go to http://bit.ly/1Uusw8C. Comments related to the Gunnison Sage-Grouse Rangewide Draft RMP Amendment/ Draft EIS should be submitted by Jan. 9, 2017, using the comment form at: http://1.usa.gov/1Uusw8C, or by emailing gusg_amend@blm.gov, or faxing 303-239-3699. The public can also comment via mail to Gunnison Sage- Grouse EIS, Colorado State Office, 2850 Youngfield St., Lakewood, CO 80215. For more information, contact Bridget Clayton, BLM Colorado Sage- Grouse Coordinator, at bclayton@blm. gov or 970-244-3045.

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