Alert: Bring Back the Greater Sage-Grouse

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Alert: Bring Back the Greater Sage-Grouse 

The Greater Sage-Grouse is one of the most iconic and imperiled bird species of the American West. But it has already disappeared from a number of states and provinces and its rangewide population has been cut in half in just the last seven years.

In spite of the urgent need for conservation, a rider was passed by Congress and signed into law that prevents protecting Greater Sage-Grouse under the Endangered Species Act. Send a letter to President Obama and your elected officials in Congress today, urging that they stand up for the Endangered Species Act and for Sage Grouse conservation

Leading Sage-Grouse Scientists Advise Secretaries Jewell and Vilsack that Heightened Protections Are Needed for Greater Sage-Grouse

Clait E. Braun, Ph.D., John W. (“Jack”) Connelly, Ph.D., and nine other leading sage-grouse scientists sent a letter March 12, 2015 to Secretaries Jewell and Vilsack noting that current sage-grouse conservation measures in the draft agency conservation plans inconsistently apply the best available scientific information on greater sage-grouse, and will not adequately protect greater sage-grouse from further decline.

These scientists expressed concern that the Departments of Interior and Agriculture are “abandoning science-based conservation measures . . . in favor of more elastic, subjective measures.”  In particular, the scientists warned that the agencies’ conservation measures regarding mining and minerals management, livestock grazing, vegetation treatments, prescribed fires, and the calculation of the overall disturbance footprint were inadequate to protect sage-grouse populations and habitat.

The scientists concluded, “[w]e support the federal planning process and are prepared to assist your Departments in developing measures to conserve and recover greater sage-grouse, but federal planners must commit to science-based planning to achieve this goal.”

The letter was signed by William L. Baker, Ph.D. (Laramie, Wyoming), Jeffrey L. Beck, Ph.D. (Laramie, Wyoming), Clait E. Braun, Ph.D. (Tucson, Arizona), John W. Connelly, Ph.D. (Blackfoot, Idaho), Lester D. Flake, Ph.D. (Springville, Utah), Edward O. Garton, Ph.D. (Moscow, Idaho), Robert Gibson, Ph.D. (Lincoln, Nebraska), Matt Holloran, Ph.D. (Fort Collins, Colorado), Kent C. Jensen, Ph.D. (Volga, South Dakota), Kerry P. Reese, Ph.D. (Moscow, Idaho), and E. Thomas Rinkes (Boise, Idaho).

 Forest Plan Challenged for Inadequate Mono Basin Sage Grouse Protections

 ABC, Wildearth Guardians, Defenders of Wildlife, Western Watersheds Project and Center for Biological Diversity filed formal objections with the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest over its Bi-State Sage Grouse Plan Amendment because the proposed changes to public-land management do not do enough to protect the imperiled Mono Basin sage grouse population from threats like mining and grazing.

“For certain activities like renewable energy developments and power lines, the Forest Service did a good job of providing strong protections for sage grouse and their habitats,” said Erik Molvar, a wildlife biologist with WildEarth Guardians. “But the new plan amendment fails to adequately address serious threats like hard-rock mining and geothermal development, which continue to jeopardize the survival of these charismatic birds.”

The Mono Basin greater sage grouse population, located in eastern California and western Nevada and also known as the “bi-state” population, is fragmented and geographically isolated from all other greater sage grouse populations. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is currently deciding whether to provide protection for the Mono Basin sage grouse population by listing it as “threatened” or “endangered” under the Endangered Species Act. The Service proposed listing the imperiled bird as “threatened” in October 2013; a final decision is due by April 28, 2015, but Congress has blocked funding for completing a listing rule. One factor for determining whether a species warrants federal protections is the “adequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms” — which includes conservation actions in forest plans that guide management in species habitat.

Sage Grouse Merchants of Doubt

Defenders of Wildlife recently posted a blog about attacks on inconvenient science.

Feds, states spar in push to create 165 million acre safe zone for grouse

By Bruce Finley The Denver Post

900 square miles of private land

RENO, Nev. — An unprecedented attempt to protect sage grouse habitat across parts of more than 900 square miles of privately owned land in Nevada will begin under a deal Thursday involving the federal government, an environmental group and the world’s largest gold mining company.

Planned Oil Field Threatens 2000 Grouse

 Cutting Greenhouse Gas from Fossil-Fuel Extraction on Federal Lands

By Claire Moser, Joshua Mantell, Nidhi Thakar, Chase Huntley, Matt Lee-Ashley | Thursday, March 19, 2015

Today, taxpayer-owned gas, oil, and coal extracted from federal lands and waters by private companies are one of the nation’s most significant sources of greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for more than one-fifth of all U.S. emissions. A Center for American Progress issue brief recommends a comprehensive plan to bolster the administration’s efforts to fight global climate change. See




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