The Bureau of Land Management has released its final greater sage-grouse supplemental environmental impact statements for Colorado, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada/northeastern California and Oregon.
Jim Lyons, vice president for landscape conservation for Defenders of Wildlife, issued this statement:
“Once again, the Trump administration is circumventing sound science and years of collaborative work in their last-ditch effort to issue inadequate plans for protecting the imperiled greater sage-grouse. This administration has continued to prioritize oil and gas leasing over habitat conservation, emboldened by a congressional rider that prevents the FWS from listing the bird as threatened or endangered even as sage-grouse populations continue to decline. It’s time to lift the rider from appropriations language and let science, not politics, dictate the best way to protect this iconic bird and the Sagebrush ecosystems on which it – and hundreds of other species – depends.”
- In 2015, the Obama administration designed a conservation strategy for the bird that included 98 amendments to federal land use plans that limited development in important sage-grouse habitat and required mitigation that would result in a net conservation gain for the grouse. The plans, along with complementary conservation commitments by affected states and localities, served as the foundation for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s conclusion that listing the Greater sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act was not warranted.
- In March 2019, the Trump administration rolled back protections to the sage-grouse by revising the Obama sage-grouse plans. The rollbacks were challenged in court, and in October 2019 a federal judge blocked implementation of the 2019 plan amendments until litigation is resolved.