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PNS Daily Newscast - June 17, 2019 


Trump once again floats the idea of being president beyond two terms. Also on the Monday rundown: A new national report ranks children's well-being, from coast to coast; and a Family Care Act gains support.

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Poll: Majority of Voters Favor ESA Listing for Gunnison Sage-Grouse

A new poll shows a majority of Colorado voters who live in the heart of Gunnison sage-grouse range favor Endangered Species Act protections. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.)
A new poll shows a majority of Colorado voters who live in the heart of Gunnison sage-grouse range favor Endangered Species Act protections. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.)
March 11, 2016

DENVER - More than a year after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the Gunnison sage-grouse as "threatened," a new poll shows a majority of Colorado voters across the political spectrum support federal protections for the birds.

Mark Salvo, director of landscape conservation for Defenders of Wildlife, said the survey asked local residents if the dire predictions that a listing would hurt the region rang true.

"Their answer was 'no,' that species conservation is actually a core American value," he said. "Even those who live among a listed species support its conservation, including listing under the Endangered Species Act."

Today, fewer than 5,000 of the grouse remain. The majority are in the Gunnison Basin, with much smaller populations in southwestern Colorado and southeastern Utah. The listing designated 1.4 million acres of the bird's habitat to support recovery efforts.

Business groups were quick to criticize the move, claiming it would blunt development.

Gunnison sage-grouse need access to large expanses of sagebrush for food and cover. But according to Defenders of Wildlife, habitat has been fragmented by decades of oil and gas drilling, roads, power lines and livestock grazing. Despite warnings that protections would be bad for business, Salvo said, the four counties in the survey - Gunnison, Montrose, Saguache and San Miguel - continue to thrive, thanks in large part to outdoor recreation.

"Our review of available data suggests that Gunnison country, the economy here locally in southwestern Colorado, continues to do well - on the same pace as the economy nationally, and across the state of Colorado," he said.

The Tulchin Research poll results were presented at the fourth Gunnison Sage-Grouse Summit at Western State Colorado University in Gunnison this week.

The poll results are online at defenders.org.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO