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Colorado Plateau
(Area - 26,484,700 ha)

Executive Summary

Colorado PlateauDescription - The Colorado Plateau is centered on the four corners area and extends into Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. It is an area of tablelands with moderate to high relief dissected by narrow and widely-spaced stream valleys. The Colorado Plateau is characterized by limited precipitation, cold winters and hot summers. Lowest elevations are covered with arid shrublands with grass interspersed. Sagebrush is dominant over large areas, with cottonwoods along perennial water courses. At moderate elevations, woodland vegetation is dominated by pinyon pine and juniper, with various shrubs intermixed. Montane forest is in high elevations, with ponderosa pine and Douglas fir dominant to the south and lodgepole pine and aspen farther north.
Priority Bird Populations and Habitats
Cold desert shrub
PIF Gunnison's Sage-Grouse This subspecies is restricted to this physiographic area and the Southern Rocky Mountains.
PIF Greater Sage-Grouse The nominate and most widespread subspecies.
PIF Bendire's Thrasher Highest percent population of any physiographic area.
PIF Sage Sparrow

PIF Bell's Vireo

Mountain shrub/chaparral
PIF Virginia's Warbler Highest percent population of any physiographic area.

Semi-desert grasslands
PIF Mountain Plover

PIF Black-chinned Hummingbird
PIF Gray Flycatcher
PIF Cassin's Kingbird
PIF Gray Vireo Highest percent population of any physiographic area.
PIF Pinyon Jay
PIF Juniper Titmouse Highest percent population of any physiographic area.

Coniferous woodland/forest
PIF Spotted Owl Mexican subspecies.
PIF Lewis's Woodpecker  Highest percent population of any physiographic area.
PIF Grace's Warbler

PIF White-throated Swift

Complete Physiographic Area Priority Scores (Zipped, Dbase5 file 288K)
Key to Abbreviations: AI-Area Importance, PT-Population Trend, TB-Threats to Breeding. Priority Setting Process: General / Detailed

Conservation recommendations and needs - The entire range of western issues has affected this physiographic area. Overgrazing and invasion of non-native plants, timber harvest followed by changes in woodland character, conversion of habitat to agricultural and residential use, water development, mineral development, and outdoor recreation, particularly widespread use of off-road vehicles have all had their effects. Recommendations include management of grazing to allow regeneration of riparian tree species and to protect natural water sources. Preventing the spread of non-native plants, especially cheatgrass, salt cedar, and Russian olive, and restoring infested areas where practical, is an important concern. Conversion of mature pinyon-juniper and healthy unaltered sagebrush should be avoided through protection of key sites. Developments, such as residential and oil and gas, in or near sensitive areas such as leks and water sources should be avoided.
Physiographic Area Map
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Please send comments to:
Carol Beardmore, PIF Western Regional Coordinator