Montrose Fresh
Montrose Fresh
Dec 11, 2020
Montrose Fresh: Have Federal Agencies Protected Gunnison Sage-Grouse?
Play • 6 min

Good morning and welcome to Montrose Fresh, the new podcast from The Montrose Daily Press. Today is Friday December 11th and we’re here with local news, events, announcements, and more that matter to us here in Western Colorado. Today, we’re taking a closer look at a recent lawsuit that accuses federal agencies of not doing enough to protect the Gunnison sage-grouse.

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Before we begin, here’s an event that we’re excited about this weekend.

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Delta is holding a jewelry and craft sale on behalf of its African Team Ministry. The craft sale will be from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. on the 12th, and also from noon to 1 p.m. on the 13th. They’ll have jewelry, along with carvings of African wildlife, wood and stone dishes, scarves and more. If you haven’t already finished your holiday shopping, this is a perfect opportunity to do so. Keep in mind social distancing and masks are required. They’ll also be limiting the number of shoppers.

Now, our feature story.

According to a fresh lawsuit, federal agencies have not done enough to protect the threatened Gunnison sage-grouse.

The suit was filed on Monday by The Center for Biological Diversity and Western Watersheds Project - against the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife.

According to the suit, the grouse has not been protected from harm caused by grazing in the Gunnison Basin. Now, the bird’s population is teetering on the edge of extinction.

Ryan Shannon, a staff attorney for Biological Diversity, said that the Gunnison sage-grouse is in sharp decline and will certainly go extinct if immediate action isn’t taken to save it.

The Pew Charitable Trusts describes the importance of acting now in this message:

The bird’s numbers dropped from about 3,149 in 2013 down to 1,667 this year.

To combat this trend the plaintiffs are looking to prevent agencies from authorizing grazing in habitats that are on federal lands. Or at least prevent them in doing so until an adequate consultation is done.

They also claim that the Candidate Conservation Agreement, or CCA, from 2013 that was meant to provide protection is anything but adequate. 

They argue that the CCA has not been consistently enforced, but defendants say the lack of enforcement doesn’t jeopardize the grouse. 

When the Candidate Conservation Agreement went into action, the Gunnison sage-grouse was already reduced to seven small populations in Colorado. Some of those populations were in Montrose County.

The biggest population remains in the Gunnison Basin. That population is critical to species survival and recovery, right now the other populations are just too small to sustain themselves.

The plaintiffs pin the declining numbers on livestock grazing and residential development.

Next, here are a few other things going on in Montrose that you should know about.

Local residents were eager to tune into the City of Montrose’s Planning Commission Zoom meeting on Wednesday. But many were shut out after the maximum of 100 participants was reached. This happened just minutes into the meeting.

Montrose Memorial Hospital’s board enters contract with a new management firm - ending decades-long contract with Quorum Health.

Creative Corner celebrated their eleventh anniversary of being in business this week by awarding their celebration prize to Montrose’s Karen Archey.

And finally, before we go we’d like to remember the life of Lucille Lavina Odell. Lucille grew up in Montrose with her three sisters. She married Don Odell in 1983. During her life she enjoyed spending time with family and watching the Broncos. Lucille loved traveling through Colorado reminiscing and visiting her extensive family. She had many hobbies like embroidery, and creating photo albums to share with family. Her thoughtfulness and her contagious smile will be deeply missed. Thank you for taking a moment today to remember and celebrate Lucille’s life.

That’s all for today, thank you for listening! For more information on any of these stories visit us at

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For more than 137 years, The Montrose Daily Press has been dedicated to shining a light on all the issues that matter to our community. Go to to subscribe for just $1.99 per week for our digital edition. You’ll get unlimited access to every story, feature, and special section. Thank you and remember to tune in again next time on or wherever you listen to podcasts.

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