DENVER — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today the availability of a draft economic analysis and draft environmental assessment on a proposal to designate 1.7 million acres of critical habitat for the Gunnison sage-grouse (Centrocercus minimus) in southwestern Colorado and southeastern Utah. The Service is reopening until October 19, 2013, the public comment period on the proposal to list the species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and designate critical habitat.
The economic analysis estimates the economic impacts of Gunnison sage-grouse conservation efforts associated with livestock grazing, agriculture and water management, mineral and fossil fuel extraction, residential and related development, renewable energy development, recreation, and transportation activities. Only areas that contain habitat essential to the conservation of the species and where the benefits of this habitat outweigh potential economic impacts will be included in the final designation. The Service will use the draft environmental assessment to help decide whether critical habitat will be designated as proposed, if the proposed action requires refinement, or if further analysis is needed through preparation of an environmeFor the complete article see the 09-20-2013 issue.
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