Summit to celebrate two decades of species conservation efforts

Male Gunnison Sage-Grouse fight over territory dispute on the lek during a spring mating season at Mill Creek Ranch in Gunnison, CO. Photo: Noppadol Paothong

Gunnison, Colorado, March 16, 2022 – Western Colorado University’s Center for Public Lands (CPL) will host the Fifth Gunnison Sage-Grouse Summit on April 4 and 5. The Summit marks both a celebration of the Gunnison Sage-Grouse and an opportunity to jointly work toward the recovery of this iconic bird.

“The Gunnison Sage-Grouse Summit is a wonderful opportunity every five years to bring together the community of land owners, managers, municipalities, students, and researchers who support the recovery of the Gunnison Sage-Grouse by catalyzing application of knowledge to action on the ground,” says Dr. Jessica Young, a professor at Western Colorado University who has worked with individuals and organizations to conserve the Gunnison Sage-Grouse since 1988.

Local engagement in Gunnison Sage-Grouse conservation is a key theme of the Summit. All interested members of the public are invited to participate in a community conversation on their role in the sage-grouse recovery. Monday’s facilitated conversation will be followed by dinner, an awards ceremony, and a celebration of the Gunnison Sage-Grouse in its 20th year of being designated as a species.

Science presentations include updates from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) on the species’ progress toward recovery and from Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) on population trends and targets. Sessions will focus on management practices and perspectives from the ranching community, as well as partnerships reaching across traditional boundaries to accelerate the species recovery.

A series of workshops and panels will discuss successes, roadblocks, and future ideas for implementation of the recovery strategy, and share current research on topics including genetics, fire ecology, livestock grazing, cheatgrass, wetland restoration, and more.

As to the importance of the summit, Dr. Patrick Magee, a professor at Western Colorado University and director of Sisk-a-dee, a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of the Gunnison Sage-Grouse, comments, “this summit is the platform for stakeholders to share vital information about successes and challenges in the conservation of this rare and special species found nowhere else in the world except our backyards.”

The $50 registration fee will be waived for students and landowners with sage-grouse habitat on their property. Options to attend in-person or virtually are available. More information and registration details are at

This summit would not be possible without generous contributions and support from Sisk-a-dee, CPW, USFWS, Colorado State University Extension, Gunnison Basin Sage-Grouse Strategic Committee, the Gunnison County Stockgrower’s Association, Gunnison County, and Western Colorado University.

Editor’s note: Stay tuned for coverage of the summit!