Rancher joins in Colorado sage grouse conservation effort | VailDaily.com

Rancher joins in Colorado sage grouse conservation effort

GUNNISON, Colorado ” A western Colorado rancher will be the first landowner in the state to participate in a voluntary program aimed at preserving the Gunnison sage grouse, which is under review for federal protection.

Curtis Allen has volunteered to manage parts of his 4,200-acre Gunnison County ranch to benefit both livestock and the birds. Under the program, no further restrictions will be placed on his property if the Gunnison sage grouse is declared an endangered species.

It’s a joint effort by the Colorado Division of Wildlife and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The chicken-like bird with spiky tail feathers is found only in western Colorado and on the Colorado-Utah border. It was once found throughout the Four Corners area, including New Mexico and Arizona.

There are an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 Gunnison sage grouse, mostly in the Gunnison Basin.

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