New order from the Colorado governor hopes to protect greater sage grouse
An executive order signed by Colorado’s Governor John Hickenlooper last week aims to keep the greater sage grouse off the endangered and threatened species lists. The order puts into effect a number of mechanisms to help with conservation efforts of the sage grouse while the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) contemplates whether or not the species should be protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
According to the text of the executive order, “We firmly believe that state-led efforts provide the most effective approach to protecting and conserving the species and its habitat. The listing of the greater sage grouse under the ESA would have a significant and detrimental economic impact on the state.”
If the sage grouse were placed under the protection of the ESA, it would mean new restrictions for oil and gas and other kinds of development in its habitat areas.
Hickenlooper’s order includes:
- Increased coordination among state agencies with the Colorado Parks and Wildlife department;
- Launching a market-based habitat exchange;
- Taking an inventory of state lands that have sage grouse populations, and improving the habitats on the land;
- Require the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to “develop a comprehensive tracking system for oil and gas development in sensitive habitat,” and mitigate impacts of development on land used for conservation.
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