Garfield County supports sage-grouse habitat mapping revisions

Updated maps more accurately show areas that are suitable for habitat, development

November 9, 2018

GARFIELD COUNTY, CO – Mapping of greater sage-grouse habitat in Colorado has been refined, updated, and supported by the Garfield County Board of County Commissioners. The Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado (AGNC), of which Garfield County is a member, worked with Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) to update and refine habitat mapping in northwest Colorado.

The mapping for six separate greater sage-grouse populations in northwest Colorado was updated in this project, including the Parachute-Piceance-Roan (PPR) population. That population is located in central-western Garfield County and southern Rio Blanco County, which are also home to substantial, nationally recognized oil and gas reserves.

While Garfield County pioneered an effort to refine habitat mapping in the region in 2013, a partnership between AGNC and CPW undertook a much broader effort to refine habitat in all of Northwest Colorado. The revised maps have identified terrain that is not suitable for sage-grouse habitation, allowing for new development opportunities without reducing the overall level of greater sage-grouse conservation in these areas.

“As commissioners, we are elected to preserve and protect the public health, welfare and safety of our citizens,” a letter from the BOCC to AGNC notes. “Garfield County and Northwest Colorado are blessed with an abundance of wildlife and natural beauty, as well as natural resources that are critical to our socio-economic well-being. We concur with and applaud CPW’s conservation approach to greater sage-grouse habitat mapping, and encourage the BLM to incorporate these new maps into its resource management plans, understanding the underlying collaboration between local government and the State of Colorado in their creation. Garfield County provides its full support to the revised mapping.”

Funding for the project came from in-kind contributions from individual local governments, AGNC, CPW and grant funds awarded by the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA).