BLM Considering Updates To Sage-Grouse Conservation Plans
By Kristin Forbis, Nov 22, 2021
The Bureau of Land Management is considering updates to the sage-grouse management plans that were adopted 6 years ago. In 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined that protecting the greater sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act was not warranted. That, however, may change. “The BLM is committed to reversing long-term downward trends in sage-grouse populations and habitats in a manner that fulfills our multiple-use and sustained yield mission and meets the needs of Western communities,” said BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning. “We remain dedicated to working closely with states, local governments, Tribes and other partners who have worked in a collaborative and bipartisan fashion for more than a decade toward sustainable and balanced management of sagebrush habitat.” The BLM announced they will hold a review to “examine new scientific information, including the effects of stressors like climate change, to assess what management actions may best support sagebrush habitat conservation and restoration on public lands to benefit sage-grouse, as well as the people who rely on this landscape to support their livelihoods and traditions.” A related effort to evaluate the proposed withdrawal of public and Forest System lands in sagebrush focal areas from mineral location and entry is already underway. “The 2015 plans established a solid foundation, but actions during the previous administration kept those plans from being put into action,” Stone-Manning said. “As we move to build upon the earlier plans, we are asking whether there are other steps we should take given new science to improve outcomes for sage-grouse and also for people in communities across the west who rely on a healthy sagebrush steppe.” Public comment is being accepted through eplanning.blm.gov.