Sage Grouse Comment

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Sage Grouse Comment

Postby bhennessy » Sun Oct 15, 2017 9:59 am

The Trump administration has initiated a process to re-open and roll back the federal, multi-state and industry agreement on sage grouse habitat management that was negotiated several years ago. As part of that process they have asked for public comment, although true to form they have severely truncated the normal comment period to 45 days only.

The agreement reached, while not perfect, directly addresses habitat loss, which is at the root of the birds decline, like it is with the southern quail, and other birds we pursue. The Trump administration has indicated it would rather acquiesce to industry and forgo habitat based management in favor or other proven failed projects such as releasing pen raised birds.

The irony is that the agreement reached was viewed as a compromise between all parties, and while most were not completely happy, it kept the bird off the endangered species list, which was a win for all but the most ardent environmentalists.

The Theodore Roosevelt Consevation Partnership (a very pro sportman and hunter organizational) has a link for us to send comments to the BLM, but we need to act quickly as we are well into the 45 day comment period. trcp.org
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Re: Sage Grouse Comment

Postby STait » Mon Oct 16, 2017 2:43 pm

Done! thanks for posting.
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Re: Sage Grouse Comment

Postby bhennessy » Sat Mar 16, 2019 9:35 am

For those who commented on and were heartened by the multi-group agreement in 2015 that sought to strike a balance between conservation of sage grouse habitat and development of that habitat, it appears now that the agreement arrived at by virtually all the stake holders involved in this western-state issue wasn't good enough for the administration and a few select industries and western state politicians. This past Friday the Administration decided to unilaterally void key portions of the agreement and weaken habitat protections for 75% of the lands covered by the agreement. The administration's basic argument is that the Sage Grouse can better adapt to the pressures that drilling impose on its habitat that the parties to the 2015 agreement assumed when crafting the compromise.

Historical sage grouse numbers = an estimated 16 million birds.
Human expansion and development has cut the bird's sagebrush habitat in half.
Current sage grouse numbers = an estimated 500,000.
Its done a great job adapting so far.

The irony is that in a novel and non-federal government-centric approach, the previous administration enabled all the stakeholders to craft a compromise that kept the bird off the endangered species list, which would have put an almost complete halt to development across the bird's habitat. No one got 100% of what they wanted, as with any compromise, but everybody got something, including the birds. Friday's action by the administration will almost certainly spur multiple lawsuits and a renewed push to list the sage grouse as endangered. There is a very good chance that judges will side with the bird, given the clear science which pinpoints human activity as leading cause of its habitat loss and related decline. Listing the bird as endangered will put an almost complete halt to the very activity and industries that the administration is trying to reward.

Thankfully the history of the current administration's push to roll back public land and wildlife protections has been one of blatant politics and woefully inadequate science. Good science however is what the law will require of the Interior Department/BLM when they have to defend their actions against the landslide of lawsuits to come. Changes to existing regulation must demonstrate that the assumptions underlying the original regulation have fundamentally changed.

As a bonus for you Atlantic Bluefish fanatics, all indications from the Interior Department are that the revised ruling will open up the Atlantic seaboard to offshore oil exploration and production. Fortunately this action too will end up in court for years to come.
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Re: Sage Grouse Comment

Postby flitecontrol » Sat Mar 16, 2019 9:46 pm

Why am I not surprised?
I've had several really good dogs, but none were perfect. Neither am I, so keep that in mind!
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