WASHINGTON - The public will have additional time to comment on the Bureau of Land Management's draft Sage Grouse Habitat Conservation Strategy, which seeks to provide for the survival of the sage grouse through management of its habitat on BLM-administered public land throughout the West. The new deadline is Nov. 1, and public input can be provided through the BLM national Internet site at www.blm.gov.
The BLM developed its proposed strategy to support on-going state government wildlife agencies in their efforts to avoid listing of the sage grouse as a threatened species through their own state sage grouse conservation plans. The BLM plan is designed to complement state-led planning strategies and ensure coordination throughout the planning process at the state level.
"A sage grouse listing would have dramatic impacts on land management policies and will result in limitations to management decisions at the state and national levels," said BLM Director Kathleen Clarke. "We must maintain sage grouse habitats to uphold our multiple-use mandate. In doing so we will base our actions on the best available science and work in partnership with states and the public who depend upon our ability to manage public lands for multiple use."
The Bureau draft Strategy covers BLM-managed public lands within the entire range of the Greater and Gunnison sage grouse, regardless of state boundaries. The strategy will support state government planning efforts and provide a framework for BLM offices in western states as they develop and implement sage grouse habitat conservation strategies for the public land they manage within their states.
Multiple petitions to protect both the Greater sage grouse and the Gunnison sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act have been filed with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. A listing of the sage grouse would affect a wide scope of activities either conducted or authorized by the BLM, which administers the largest amount of remaining sage grouse habitat managed by a single entity - over 50 million acres.
Comments may be submitted from the Internet site or mailed to: BLM Sage Grouse Team, P.O. Box 66625, Washington, D.C. 20035-6625. For more information, call the Baker City Field Office at (541) 523-1256; Vale District Office, (541) 473-3144; or the Washington, D.C., office at 1849 C Street, Room 406-LS, Washington, DC 20240; (202) 452-5125.