Background: Today, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced a series of conservation decisions of historic scale aimed at rescuing the greater sage grouse from the threat of extinction and conserving its habitat across the West. Jewell announced that conservation plans developed by federal biologists working with local stakeholders, along with significant investments in private lands conservation and the states’ plans, are sufficient to preclude the need to list the greater sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act. The Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service manage 67 million acres of sage grouse habitat across the American West, including nearly 60 percent of priority habitat.
In response to today’s announcements, Jamie Williams, President of The Wilderness Society, issued the following statement:
“When Americans work together, we know we can both protect our wild landscapes and continue to responsibly work the land. The plans finalized today represent that kind of conservation leadership and vision. Guided by sound science and honed through local on-the-ground knowledge, these plans strike a smart balance.
“We applaud the work of the federal agencies, state and local governments, industry, hunters, ranchers and conservationists to develop these plans to conserve the greater sage grouse and to sustain America’s vast sagebrush ecosystem and the hundreds of wildlife species that call it home.
“But the work is not done. Success will only be achieved when these plans are fully implemented. This requires all stakeholders to continue to work together to ensure standards are met, progress is monitored and adjustments are made. We urge Congress to ensure sufficient funding for these plans to be successful.
“The plans are in place—now we must let them work.”