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Uncompahgre Field Office


Uncompahgre Field Office



Cactus flower in bloom


Elk herd on snowy slope

 Gunnison Sage-grouse 

The UFO manages more than 900,000 acres of public land that support a diversity of fish, wildlife, and plants, including threatened, endangered, and other special status species. In fact, the BLM manages more plant and wildlife habitat than any other federal or state agency in the country. When authorizing land use activities (such as recreation, livestock grazing, and energy development), the BLM must ensure that the needs of wildlife, fish, and plants are taken into consideration. The UFO manages these resources in cooperation with other federal and State of Colorado agencies, while working to improve the health of entire watersheds in order to sustain and enhance critical biological communities.

Primary Causes of Species Decline

Habitat loss, competition, predation, disease, and other factors are the primary causes of species decline and imperilment.  Habitat loss and modification due to human activities is the greatest threat to ecosystems, particularly for species adapted to specific ecological niches.  BLM land management practices are intended to sustain and promote species that are legally protected and sustain species not yet protected.  Data on numerous special status species is tracked by the Colorado Division of Wildlife, Colorado Natural Heritage Program, and other partners.  The BLM regularly assists with these studies.

Special status species are those plants or animals that have been officially listed, proposed for listing, or are candidates for listing as threatened or endangered under provisions of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), as well as those listed by a state in a category implying potential endangerment or extinction, and those designated by a BLM State Director as sensitive.

Protecting Federally Listed Species

The ESA mandates the protection of species listed as threatened or endangered of extinction, and the habitats on which they depend.  Section 7 of the ESA clarifies the responsibility of federal agencies to carry out programs for the conservation of listed species.  In addition, federal agencies must consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to insure that any action authorized, funded or carried out by an agency is “…not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered species or threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of habitat of such species…”

The UFO analyzes the effects of proposed actions on threatened, endangered and candidate species and designated critical habitat for these species.  Twelve federally protected plant and animal species potentially occur in the planning area for the Uncompahgre Resource Management Plan, including two candidate species, the Gunnison prairie dog and the yellow-billed cuckoo.  Federally designated critical habitat for three of these species also occurs in the area.

Cooperation between State and Federal Agencies

Federally listed threatened and endangered species and designated critical habitat are managed by the FWS in cooperation with other federal agencies, with the ultimate goal of species recovery and viability.  The BLM cooperates with the FWS to identify and manage habitat for listed species that have not had critical habitat identified and designated.  Consultation is required on any action proposed by the BLM or other federal agency that “may affect” a listed species or critical habitat.

A Focus on Habitat

The BLM assists the Colorado Division of Wildlife (CDOW) with the collection of information for certain species.  While CDOW’s chief focus is on population dynamics and demographics of a species, the BLM focuses its efforts on habitat maintenance and enhancement based on plant community attributes, as well as a site’s capacity to sustain native wildlife species.  Within this framework, the quantity and quality of preferred and suitable habitat, as well as the ability to support prey species, is evaluated.  The BLM also tracks conditions and restricts certain activities in critical breeding, foraging, and wintering areas and migration corridors.

BLM Sensitive and Candidate Species

Candidate species are managed to maintain viable populations in order to avoid listing.  State of Colorado and BLM sensitive species are treated similarly.  The BLM, FWS, and the State of Colorado have developed formal and informal agreements to provide guidance on species management.

Other Non-listed & Non-status Species (including Big Game, Migratory Birds, and Game Fish)

The BLM is responsible for managing fish and wildlife habitats in a condition that will sustain desired levels of a species, while CDOW manages for wildlife population levels.  Population data on game animals is tracked by the CDOW, and increasingly key non-game species are tracked as well.

NEW PAGE! Noxious & Invasive Species (aka Weeds)



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UFO Plant Species

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Threatened & Endangered Plants

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Frog Sitting on Planet Earth


Teresa Pfifer, Acting Field Manager

Phone: (970) 240-5300  |  TDD: (970) 240-5366  |  FAX: (970) 240-5367

2465 S. Townsend Ave, Montrose, CO  81401

Office Hours: 8:00 am - 4:30 pm

Click on the address above for a map showing the location of

BLM Uncompahgre Field Office administrative headquarters


UFO Paradox Landscape