Description: Challenge to the listing of the Gunnison sage-grouse as a threatened species.
Colorado v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 09/27/2018 Order Download Listing decision and critical habitat designation affirmed. Federal Court Upheld Threatened Listing for Gunnison Sage-Grouse, Rejected Claim That Consideration of Climate Change Was Arbitrary and Capricious. A federal district in Colorado upheld the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) 2014 final rule listing the Gunnison sage-grouse as a threatened species and designating 1.4 million acres as critical habitat. The court rejected a procedural challenge to the listing as well as challenges to the merits of the listing. One issue on the merits was the FWS’s consideration of the threat of climate change to the Gunnison sage-grouse. The court found that the FWS’s “assessment of an increased threat from climate change and drought conditions was not arbitrary and capricious.” In addition, the court was not persuaded that the FWS unreasonably dismissed the effectiveness of existing regulatory mechanisms to protect the sage-grouse in the Gunnison Basin. The court noted that one of those mechanisms, a “Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances,” “does not take into account climate change, drought, disease, and small population issues—all of which reasonably support the threatened listing.” In addition, the court noted that a 2013 conservation agreement executed by the Colorado and Utah governors and counties in the sage-grouse’s range did not address the threat of climate change.