The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) just began a planning effort encompassing just about every BLM land use plan in 10 Western states. The subject of this gargantuan, multi-million dollar planning effort is the greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus).
In April 2010, the United State Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) found the greater sage-grouse warrants protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), but listing the species was precluded by the need to address other high priority species first.
Soon after this, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) began working with state and local governments on massive conservation efforts which have been moderately successful. The situation with sage grouse habitat is improving.
Common sense resource protection is never enough for theВ Big Green Foundations that fund a small group of radical environmentalists. To these radicals, an endangered species is nothing more than a regulatory mechanism to ensure human use and access will be drastically reduced or eliminated.
I know… you have heard this before. Barely a day goes by without some Big Green Foundation funding some lawsuit using an endangered bird, bug, bog or beast to lock up public lands.
But what sets the sage grouse issue apart is the size of the habitat. To this day, nobody knows how many acres of public, state and private lands will be designated as “critical habitat” but the figure is staggering. Millions upon millions of sagebrush grassland habitat could be affected.
The Big Green Foundations have had some success with their litigation, and so the BLM and USFS are reviewing land use plans across 10 states. Experienced BRC access advocates know this is likely to be one of those long drawn out NEPA planning projects. There will be several opportunities for you to keep the radical environmentalists from achieving their goals.
BRC will track the administrative effort and inform our members and supporters when public input is most effective. We will continue to monitor and participate in travel planning in sage-grouse habitat, both to provide for recreation and protect natural resources. When necessary, we will continue to challenge unlawful closures.
CLICK HERE for the announcement of the 10-State Sage Grouse planning effort. Bookmark that page for regular updates and info.В В CLICK HERE here for a breakdown of the meetings scheduled in your area by State and Region.
IMPORTANT NOTE: This sage-grouse issue is one of these epic land-use battles that last for decades. Many decades. It involves play on the legislative, legal and administrative playing fields. As recreational advocates, we must gird ourselves with patience and a sense of humor. We must work closely with other groups and elected representatives.
State and local recreation groups will also be key players. If you haven’t already, join the state and local OHV organization of your choice.
Friends, we are witnessing one of the greatest land use battles ever. Please continue to respond to BRC action alerts on this and all of the important issues we deal with. You can trust us not to waste your time. We strive to blast action alerts only when your time away from work and family will be effective.