DENVER — Colorado cattlemen say millions of dollars spent protecting the Gunnison sage grouse will be wasted if the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service goes ahead with plans to protect the chicken-like bird as an endangered species.
The association says farmers, ranchers and local governments worked hard to set up conservation easements and made other changes to avoid severe regulations.
The agency has proposed designating 1.7 million acres in southwest Colorado and southeast Utah as critical habitat for the bird known for elaborate courtship displays. The designation sometimes, but not always, means restrictions on human activities on that land.