Service Completes Wyoming Ranch Management Conservation Agreement for the Greater Sage-grouse
For Immediate Release
May 1, 2014
DENVER - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has completed a Greater sage-grouse Wyoming Statewide Ranch Management Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA). The Service worked with several partners to develop this CCAA to offer Wyoming ranchers the opportunity to voluntarily conserve sage-grouse and its habitat while carrying out their ranching activities. This umbrella CCAA provides a streamlined approach for enrolling landowners who volunteer to carry out sage-grouse conservation on their ranches. In return for volunteering, the Service will issue permits to participating landowners that authorize incidental take of sage-grouse as a result of CCAA implementation. It will also provide assurances that no further commitments or restrictions would be required, even if the species is listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
The CCAA was developed with considerable input from, and in collaboration with, Federal, State and local government, and stakeholder representatives, many of whom work closely with private landowners in Wyoming. The Service also provided the public an opportunity to review and comment on the proposed CCAA and draft Environmental Assessment (EA). The final CCAA and EA are available online at http://www.fws.gov/wyominges.
On March 23, 2010, the Service determined that the sage-grouse was warranted, but precluded from listing by higher priorities. The long-term persistence of sage-grouse depends on maintenance of intact landscapes. The destruction and fragmentation of their habitat has contributed to significant population declines over the past century. If current trends persist, many local populations may disappear in the next several decades, with remaining fragmented populations vulnerable to extinction. The CCAA provides an opportunity for concerned landowners to implement strategic, proactive conservation on the ground for the conservation benefit of the sage-grouse—one of several factors that will be taken into consideration in the Service’s decision whether to list the species. A final rule on that determination will be made by September 30, 2015.
– FWS –