CO Governor Hickenlooper signs executive order furthering conservation and clarifying mitigation of the greater sage-grouse
DENVER — Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018 — Gov. John Hickenlooper has signed an executive order clarifying state authority over compensatory mitigation and furthering conservation of the greater sage grouse.
“It’s a good day for the sage-grouse in Colorado,” said Governor John Hickenlooper. “This is an important measure to avoid impacts to wildlife, minimize impacts at the site-level, and then offset any unavoidable adverse impacts that remain.”
Earlier this month, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) made important clarifications to its commitment to incorporate and enforce state-required compensatory mitigation. These clarifications strengthen state government’s authority to manage and conserve wildlife species. Compensatory mitigation is often critical to prevent further decline. Landowners, conservationists and state and federal governments have worked diligently together for more than a decade to protect the sage-grouse in Colorado. This agreement was followed by a signing of a memorandum of understanding between the State of Colorado and the Colorado BLM office which gives the framework for working together in Colorado.
The executive order includes directives that will preserve sage-grouse habitat and habitat for other important wildlife, such as:
Colorado Department of Natural Resources (CDNR), and its divisions, are directed to use their full authority to apply the mitigation hierarchy (avoid, minimize, and mitigate), including requiring compensatory mitigation when residual adverse impacts to wildlife resources, including greater sage-grouse or its habitat, occur.
CDNR and its divisions are directed to continue to support the Colorado Habitat Exchange to further on-the-ground voluntary conservation efforts for greater sage-grouse and other wildlife species, and to utilize the Habitat Exchange as one option to quantify and mitigate for residual adverse impacts.
Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) and Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) are directed to implement findings from the internal review of COGCC 1200 Series Rules.
This order builds on EO 2015-004 in support of conservation for the greater sage grouse and is compatible with the Bureau of Land Management’s new Instruction Memorandum on compensatory mitigation.
Read the full executive order here.