Service Releases Report to Help Guide Greater Sage-Grouse Conservation Objectives
Mar 25, 2013
U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228
March 25, 2013
Contact: Noreen Walsh, 303 236 7920
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Releases Report To Help Guide Greater Sage-Grouse Conservation Objectives
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is making available a final report that is designed to help guide the efforts of the States and other partners to conserve the Greater sage-grouse with a landscape level strategy that will benefit the species while maintaining a robust economy in the West. The report, prepared by state and federal scientists and sage-grouse experts, identifies the conservation status of the Greater sage-grouse, the nature of the threats facing the species, and objectives to ensure its long-term conservation.
The final report is a collaborative state and federal effort to evaluate species conservation before the Service is required to make a decision in 2015 on whether to propose protecting the species under the Endangered Species Act. The draft report was submitted for scientific peer review, and the Service addressed those comments in the final version.
The intent of the report is to provide State, Federal, local and private entities with permitting or land management authority information to support conservation actions for the sage-grouse. Such actions might involve modifying or amending regulatory frameworks to ensure the long-term conservation of the species by avoiding, minimizing, or mitigating the threats to the species, or focusing voluntary conservation efforts in ways that will benefit the species the most.
“The range of the sage-grouse is broad and encompasses areas with different habitat needs. We commend the Western states for providing their knowledge and expertise in helping us outline the conditions that will ensure the long-term viability of the Greater sage-grouse,” said the Service’s Director Dan Ashe. “Addressing those needs will take the collaborative efforts of federal and state agencies, non-governmental entities and Tribes. This report is an important step in our collective efforts to protect, manage, and restore sagebrush habitat for the benefit of sage-grouse and the health of this important landscape.”
The final Conservations Objectives report is based on scientific principles of conservation biology and uses information and conservation strategies provided by the States to identify key areas of habitat across the species’ range, as well as the threats operating within each population that need to be mitigated to conserve the species over the long term. Given the differences across the sage-grouse range, the report allows flexibility for States or other agencies to determine and develop the measures that will best achieve conservation success.
Greater sage-grouse are found in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, eastern California, Nevada, Utah, western Colorado, South Dakota and Wyoming and the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. A large ground-dwelling bird, the decline of the sage-grouse population has been a result of primary threats such as habitat loss and fragmentation due to wildfire, energy development and invasive plant species. The birds currently occupy approximately 56 percent of their historical range. Based on a 12-month status review pursuant to the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service determined that the listing of the species was warranted but precluded by higher priorities.
The final report is available on at http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/species/birds/sagegrouse/
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