Interior’s plans for imperiled Greater Sage-Grouse complement state and county efforts to balance development and conservation in Idaho

May 29, 2015

Sage Grouse

Bureau of Land Management
Today marks a pivotal day for greater sage-grouse populations across the western United States, where sage-grouse recovery plans were released that will have huge impacts for western communities, especially those in Idaho.

More than 50 million acres of Bureau of Land Management Land could include more conservation measures to help sage-grouse, based on plans announced by Interior Secretary Sally Jewell today in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  The plan released for Idaho is meant to pair the protection of sage-grouse habitat with other multiple use management of public lands. If implemented correctly, this plan can create more certainty for Idaho ranchers while also making a significant commitment to conserve sage-grouse habitat.

“The Wilderness Society has long advocated for plans that put in place strong measures to conserve sage-grouse habitat and recover sage-grouse populations,” said Rob Mason, central Idaho representative for The Wilderness Society based in Boise. “This plan is a result of a true partnership between landowners, stakeholders and all levels of government to recover the large population of sage-grouse that once called Idaho home. Today’s announcement by the Interior Department highlights the kind of collaborative planning efforts that The Wilderness Society continues to support and engage in throughout Idaho.” 

Locally-driven collaborative solutions continue to prove to be the most effective and long-lasting method of reaching agreements on public land management in Idaho. 

“Idahoans can implement conservation measures that will conserve sage-grouse habitat in places like the Owyhees and the High Divide, while also recognizing and protecting the diverse uses of our public lands across the state, including recreation, hunting, fishing and ranching,” said Mason. “Using science and economic factors as a guide, we can better inform Idaho’s collaborative efforts to protect this unique icon of the American West.”

A commitment to conservation by the Interior Department has long been needed due to imbalance that has been seen when it comes to energy development and other uses of our land. A recent Wilderness Society report, Open for Business (and not much more) analyzed federal data that shows 90 percent of our public lands are available to oil and gas drillers. At the same time, only 10 percent are set aside for conservation and other values, including habitat for sage-grouse.

###

The Wilderness Society is the leading conservation organization working to protect wilderness and inspire Americans to care for our wild places. Founded in 1935, and now with more than 700,000 members and supporters, The Wilderness Society has led the effort to permanently protect 109 million acres of wilderness and to ensure sound management of our shared national lands. www.wilderness.org.  

Contacts:
Rob Mason, Central Idaho Representative, (208)350-2082, rob_mason@tws.org