Monitoring the Grand Mesa Moose Herd

With financial assistance from an energy company operating in the area, the Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) has begun checking female moose on the Grand Mesa for calves. The Grand Mesa herd is Colorado's newest moose population and wildlife managers and biologists are keeping close tabs on the herd to track reproduction.
Funding for the moose monitoring project is provided by Plains Exploration & Production Company (PXP), an energy company that is drilling for natural gas on private and public lands on the Grand Mesa. PXP is contributing $146,380 to fund the hiring of technicians, lease vehicles, pay for monitoring flights, and to purchase radio telemetry equipment and additional items. 
 
“PXP is pleased to have the opportunity to participate in the Grand Mesa moose project,” commented Chuck McDaniel, the senior member of PXP’s Grand Junction office. “As a company we value working collaboratively with regulatory agencies, environmental interests, communities and our neighbors to affirm our industry leadership in compliance, built through trust and innovation.”
 
In addition to monitoring herd health and reproduction, the monitoring effort will allow biologists and wildlife managers to track moose movements as energy development activity is increasing.
 
“We'll be looking at the whole moose population on the Grand Mesa, but much of our focus will be on the Hightower Mountain area where energy development is increasing and many of the moose have concentrated over the past three years,” said Stephanie Duckett, DOW area terrestrial biologist for Grand Junction.
 
While moose tend to be solitary animals and more resistant to disturbances than deer and elk, there has not been much research into the potential impacts to moose from energy development.
 
“We're pleased that PXP is stepping forward to support monitoring and to make sure that the moose herd continues to thrive for the enjoyment of Grand Mesa visitors,” said JT Romatzke, acting area wildlife manager for the DOW. “We've heard from so many people that have had the chance to see the moose and we know that the herd has quickly become valued by the local communities.”
 
Today, the DOW estimates that the Grand Mesa moose herd is between 120 and 150 animals. With cooperation of the US Forest Service, the DOW began transplanting moose to the Grand Mesa in January 2005. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources agreed to provide moose for the project from an area in the Uintah Mountains where the moose population was over Utah's management objective.  
 
The Colorado Division of Wildlife is the state agency responsible for managing wildlife and its habitat, as well as providing wildlife related recreation. The Division is funded through hunting and fishing license fees, federal grants and Colorado Lottery proceeds through Great Outdoors Colorado.
 
PXP is an independent oil and gas company primarily engaged in the activities of acquiring, developing, exploring and producing oil and gas in its core areas of operation: California, Rockies, Haynesville/North Louisiana, Gulf Coast, Gulf of Mexico, Texas Panhandle, South Texas and the Permian Basin of the United States. PXP acquired its Piceance Basin assets, including those in the Hightower Mountain area, in May 2007. The company is based in Houston, Texas and has a regional office in Grand Junction.

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