Southwestern Colorado

Gunnison sage-grouse
Photo by Bob Gress,

Gunnison Sage-Grouse Habitat Protection

In far Western Colorado, Dry Creek Basin is a sea of sagebrush surrounded by high mesas. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has identified this area as critical to the survival of the Gunnison sage-grouse, one of the ten most endangered birds in North America.

A recent report from Conservation Science Partners confirms that this area has regional significance and should be prioritized for conservation by the BLM. According the study, Dry Creek Basin has more contiguous sagebrush land cover, ecological intactness, and connectivity value than similar tracts of sage-grouse habitat.

Gunnison sage-grouse habitat protection campaign map
Gunnison sage-grouse habitat protection campaign map

Rocky Mountain Wild is working to convince the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to protect this remote landscape as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC). The improved safeguards this designation will provide will help save the Gunnison sage-grouse from extinction. Join Rocky Mountain Wild in this effort to #StandWithGunny.

Additionally, we are working protect areas adjacent to the Dry Creek Basin from oil and gas development. We have filed two lawsuits – along with our friends at San Miguel County, the San Juan Citizens Alliance, and Conservation Colorado – against the Trump administration for its decision to lease public lands for oil and gas development without properly considering the environmental impacts. The Colorado BLM unlawfully sold 14 parcels for development in or adjacent to important Gunnison sage-grouse habitat during the March 2017 and March 2018 lease sales.  Oil and gas development in this area will negatively impact the threatened Gunnison sage-grouse and the leks used for the bird’s unique courtship displays. Read our full press release, the article from The Durango Herald, and the article from Telluride Daily Planet.