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Local Gunnison sage grouse working group honored

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Photo submitted Members of the Crawford Area Gunnison Sage Grouse Working Group include Doug Ouren (USGS), Missy Siders (BLM), Joe Oglesby, Nathen Seward (CPW), Stuart Sinclair (CPW); (back row) Mark Brennen (USFWS), Dennis Garrison (USFS), Doug Homan (co

The Public Lands Foundation presented the Crawford Area Gunnison Sage Grouse Working Group with the 2016 Landscape Stewardship Award. The PLF granted the award to multiple partners for their work on sustaining the Crawford population of the Gunnison sage grouse and in recognition of community-based stewardship.

Members of the Working Group include the Bureau of Land Management Uncompahgre Field Office, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Black Canyon National Park, Curecanti National Recreation Area, U.S. Geological Survey, National Resource Conservation Service, Black Canyon Audubon Society, local grazing permittees and private citizens.

The Gunnison sage grouse, which occurs in several small populations in southwest Colorado and southeast Utah, was first documented as a unique species in 2000 and was listed as a threatened species in 2014. Currently, there are fewer than 4,400 birds in Colorado.

Well before the bird was listed, in 1995, to address rising concerns about the long-term status of the sage grouse in the Crawford area, which covers 345 square miles or approximately 220,693 acres, the State of Colorado, federal land management agencies, local landowners, grazing permittees and interested individuals and groups formed the Crawford Area Gunnison Sage Grouse Working Group.

The BLM and partners in the Crawford area began working on the Crawford area Gunnison Sage Grouse Conservation Plan and the first plan was signed in 1998. A second revised plan was signed in 2011. The plan establishes a process and a framework that guides a coordinated management effort at a landscape scale directed at improving sage-grouse habitat and reversing the long-term decline of the Crawford population, while continuing to optimize management for the other resources.

This group has demonstrated outstanding leadership, vision and purpose both within the local community and the surrounding area on improving and maintaining healthy landscapes for Gunnison sage grouse and other resource values for over 20 years. For that reason, the Public Lands Foundation presented the Crawford Area Gunnison Sage Grouse Working Group with its 2016 Landscape Stewardship Award for invaluable contributions to the stewardship of America's public landscapes.

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