Federal agency delays decision on listing of Gunnison sage-grouse

A decision whether to list the Gunnison sage-grouse as endangered is now scheduled for May 12, six weeks later than the previously announced deadline of March 31.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the delay on Wednesday and blamed the government shutdown last year, and a lapse in appropriations, forcing a need to reschedule public meetings.

The extension will ensure “thorough consideration and evaluation of the numerous public comments received on the proposed listing rule and proposed critical-habitat rule for Gunnison sage-grouse,” the agency said in its announcement.

The last comment period for both proposed rules ended Dec. 2. and comments submitted then are now being considered, the agency said.

An estimated 5,000 breeding Gunnison sage-grouse are known in Colorado and Utah, most of them in the Gunnison Basin.

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., said in a statement the delay would ensure the agency would give “full and fair consideration to valid local proposals to manage the Gunnison sage-grouse.


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