GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- A group of Western Slope county officials, businesses and associations met up to discuss issues facing the western slope.
This weekend Senator Cory Gardner, Representative Scott Tipton, the Colorado Lieutenant Governor, Donna Lynne spoke at the conference.
Over 100 people from the Western Slope registered for the Club 20 meeting today.
While a lot of topics were covered, the endangered species was a topic of hot debate.
"Today we’re going to be speaking about the issues that are impacting us here at home as far as forest health, opportunities to be able to maintain those jobs to have businesses have access to capital and individuals as well,” Tipton said.
“I think it’s a phenomenal opportunity for us to hear from our federally elected officials, we don’t get that opportunity too terribly often
but the main topic was the endangered species act," Christian Reece, executive director Club 20, said.
“From a western slope perspective we’ve had a lot of issues with the endangered species act and the endangered species in our counties,” Rose Pugliese, Mesa County Commissioner, said.
A panel with local, state and federal wildlife officials spoke to the audience about how habitat conservation can coexist with economic development.
“I’ll favor the concept of the endangered species act," Tipton said. "I love to look outside and be able to see those Bald Eagles soaring, that was a result of the endangered species act, but we don’t want to see it as a tool that’s inhibiting any type of development.”
"Having these conversations with fish and wildlife and the state and local governments to talk about how we can prevent unnecessary impacts to our livelihood in Mesa County is very important,” Pugliese said.
One of those animals here in Mesa County that is on the list for a critical habitat is the yellow billed cuckoo, which is a common bird in the east, but has become rare here in the west.