Save The Gunnison Sage-Grouse From Extinction
This is Gunny. Gunny is one of the last remaining Gunnison sage-grouse in the world. Gunny and his friends once ranged widely across southwest Colorado and Utah. Today, however, they occupy just 10% of their historic range, and number fewer than 5,000. Without our help to protect their habitat this iconic symbol of our western heritage could become extinct in our lifetime.
40% percent of current Gunnison sage-grouse habitat is on public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The BLM manages this land for multiple uses, including one that has proven extremely detrimental to Gunny – oil and gas development. The drilling, roads, traffic, lights, sound, and pollution caused by oil and gas development fragments habitat, destroys mating and nesting grounds, and disrupts the fragile balance of the sagebrush ecosystems. Gunny is a tough bird, but he can’t stand up to that kind of pressure.
Immediate Action Needed
Since 2007 Rocky Mountain Wild has been working to protect critical habitat for the Gunnison sage-grouse that is managed by the BLM. (See our Gunnison Sage-Grouse page for more details.) After over 12 years of participating in BLM planning processes to protect these areas we were informed in February that the BLM is once again going to delay considering our request.
Instead of safeguarding habitat through the Tres Rios ACEC amendment, which is under consideration now, they are proposing to punt the decision down the road and consider it as part of the Gunnison Sage-Grouse Rangewide Resource Management Plan. The problem? This other planning process has no scheduled completion date and could take years to complete. In the meantime, oil and gas development continues to encroach on Gunny’s dwindling habitat. We need your help to push back!
Actions You Can Take
Through this process we have the opportunity to protect key habitat that is crucial to the survival of this species.
Please take action to ask the BLM to protect critical habitat for Gunnison sage-grouse. These actions will protect more than 93,834 acres of the most important habitat for six small and incredibly vulnerable populations of Gunnison sage-grouse in Southwest Colorado. Protecting these sub-populations will help preserve the genetic diversity of the species, and safeguard against catastrophic events that could wipe out the whole species.
By taking action, you will help to ensure that future generations have the opportunity to enjoy watching the Gunnison sage-grouse dance at sunrise, and benefit all of the other species including antelope, songbirds, owls, and coyotes, that call this area home. Go ahead – give Gunny something to dance about!
For more background, a map of the area, and information about the historical habitat of Gunnison sage-grouse, please check out our Toolbox at the bottom of the page.
Whether you have 1 minute, 2 minutes, or enough time to complete our Gunnison Superhero Actions, you can make a big difference!
Actions with the Gunny icon are considered high-impact actions and will have a greater direct impact than other actions.
Sign a petition: Sign our petition asking Jamie Connell, BLM State Director, to protect Gunnison sage-grouse vital habitat.
On Twitter: Tweet about #StandWithGunny
Colorado Bureau of Land Management @BLM_CO
Northdale & Dry Creek Basin are critical habitats for Gunny sage-grouse. Please give these areas #ACEC @BLM_CO #StandWithGunny
Gunny sage-grouse need their critical habitat. Please place an immediate moratorium on #oilandgas leasing in the Dry Creek Basin & Northdale potential ACECs until these areas have been considered for protection. @BLM_CO #StandWithGunny
With fewer than 5,000 of Gunnison sage-grouse left and more than half of their habitat managed by BLM, please act to ensure the survival of Gunny. @BLM_CO #StandWithGunny
.@BLM_CO please take steps to protect critical Gunnison sage-grouse habitat by designating the Dry Creek Basin & Northdale/Northdale Expansion potential ACECs through the Tres Rios ACEC Amendment process. #StandWithGunny
Images for Twitter can be found in the Toolbox below.
Retweet: @GunnySageGrouse messages to show that you #StandWithGunny
On Facebook: Post about #StandWithGunny.
The Gunnison sage-grouse (Gunny) was designated as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act in 2014. Right now, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) could safeguard Gunny habitat through the Tres Rios ACEC amendment under consideration. Instead they’ve proposed to delay consideration until they decide on the Gunnison Sage-Grouse Rangewide Resource Management Plan. The problem? The RMP has no scheduled completion date and oil and gas devlopment continues to encroach on Gunny’s dwindling habitat! Please, BLM, designate the Dry Creek Basin and Northdale/Northdale Expansion potential ACECs and place an immediate moratorium on all oil and gas leasing in those areas until they have been considered for protection. I #StandWithGunny
BLM, please designate the Dry Creek Basin and Northdale/Northdale Expansion potential Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACECs) through the Tres Rios ACEC Amendment process AND place an immediate moratorium on oil and gas leasing in these important Gunnison sage-grouse habitats until these areas have been considered for protection. I #StandWithGunny
Images for Facebook can be found in the Toolbox below.
On both Twitter & Facebook: Use our Twibbon to change your profile pictures to show how you #StandWithGunny
Color our Coloring Book Page: Download either of our coloring book pages (Coloring Book Page 1 and/or Coloring Book 2), color it, and send it to the BLM: Jamie Connell, BLM State Director, 2850 Youngfield St, Lakewood, CO 80215 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gunny Superhero Actions
Send some postcards: Download, print, write your message, sign, and send Stand With Gunny Postcards to let them know you #StandWithGunny.
Send your own letter: Submit your own letter to the BLM (Dana Wilson, Southwest District Office, Bureau of Land Management, 2465 S. Townsend Ave, Montrose, CO 81401) to let them know why you #StandWithGunny.
Donate to the Cause: Your donation of just $15 can help protect this species for future generations.
Dance for Gunny: Gunnison sage-grouse are known for their amazing mating dances. Send us a video of your best dance (all types are encouraged: samba, line, tap, interpretive, skate, and of course, Gunnison sage-grouse mating dances). Be sure to include why you #DanceForGunny with statements like, “I am xx from xx, and I dance for Gunny because…” Be sure to email us your YouTube link so we can share it on our social media channels!
Erica Prather has created a great Gunny sage-grouse film that can be shared freely to help inspire others to take action. Check out “Last Chance to Dance” below.
Rocky Mountain Wild’s comments and attachments: A Google Drive folder with Rocky Mountain Wild’s comments to the BLM and attachments.
Survey: Defenders of Wildlife conducted a survey of Colorado voters living in the Gunnison, Montrose, Saguache, and San Miguel counties to see what they thought of Gunnison sage-grouse protections. Here is a PDF of the results.
Background and Talking Points: Download our Word Document with more background about the Gunnison sage-grouse and the areas as well as some talking points that may be of use when writing your letter or postcard.