Gunnison Sage-Grouse Listing Determination
About the Document
Title: Gunnison Sage-Grouse Listing Determination
Estimated Dissemenation Date: March 31, 2006
About the Peer Review Process
General: In accordance with the peer review requirements of the Office of Management and Budget's Final Information Quality Bulletin for Peer Review, scientific information influential to a final agency action (of our use of such information) shall be peer reviewed. This will ensure and maximize the quality of the information disseminated by the agency. In some cases, non-peer reviewed information shall be cited, but these documents shall not be influential to our decision. A complete list of the references cited, and their status as peer reviewed or non-peer reviewed, is posted on the Gunnison sage-grouse website along with the Federal Register notice once it is listing determination.
In order to comply with this policy and ensure that we consider the best scientific and commercial information available, as required by the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended, it is sometimes necessary to initiate independent peer reviews of key information likely to be important to an upcoming decision. Thus, in February 2006, we solicited an independent scientific review of the Garton (2005) study.
Peer Review of Garton 2005: In this report, the author conducted an analysis of population trends in Gunnison sage-grouse lek count data over the past 50+ years from the five largest populations in Colorado and Utah. He examined the entire 50+ years time period and the past ten years, when data were gathered more consistently. He concluded that there was little or no decline in the various populations examined in either time period.
Our independent review of this document occurred concurrently with the preparation of our listing determination for the species. This peer review was completed by March 31, 2006.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) selected and solicited comments from six independent scientific reviewers. All five reviewers accepted the opportunity to review the document. These reviewers were asked to provide individual written responses addressing whether the analysis was appropriate and do the the data support the conclusions reached. These reviewers are researchers who work on population assessments of wildlife species, including population trends. Most have experience with grouse in particular, and none work for the Service. They were chosen based on their direct research experience with analysis of populations and population trends.
These reviews are included in the administrative record of our final listing determination. Individual peer reviews are available upon request (see Contact section below).
About Public Participation
We are making this peer review plan available to allow the public to monitor our compliance with the Office of Management and Budget's Final Information Quality for Peer Review.
Because we issued a determination that listing is not warranted, an official public comment period was not opened. In this case, the public may submit information that might lead us to reconsider whether this species qualified for listing, including, but not limited to, the quality of the science we relied upon.
For more information, contact Al Pfister, Western Colorado Field Supervisor at 970-243-2778. extension 29 or Al_Pfister@fws.gov.