Two years ago, the Greater Sage Grouse was in danger of being added to the Endangered Species list. Initially, this sounds like a good thing—the grouse would be protected. Yet listing the species would have had a huge impact on the grouse’s habitat. (See the Audubon article from September, 2015). Instead, the involved states worked together with the oil industry and ranchers to come up with a plan that protected the grouse and still allowed for limited development. As a result, the bird avoided listing, yet is still being protected. It was a win-win solution.
Now, however, the federal government is taking another look at the bird, with the goal of overriding the extensive efforts of two years ago. There is no need for this action, and it could only have a deleterious effect on further collaboration.
Recently, Audubon held a webinar on this issue for chapter leaders and other interested parties. You can view it here (you have to register). Now there are two ways you can help.
Attend a Meeting
Our most time-sensitive request for help is getting people out to BLM’s public meetings – which are happening over the next 2 weeks. As is mentioned in the webinar, these are part of the Administration’s recent effort to “review” the plans, which were the primary reason for the 2015 determination that Greater Sage-Grouse do not warrant federal protection. These meetings are the important first stage in the process.
Attendance at these will speak volumes to those making decisions (and to others closely watching this issue)—so please help spread the word that this is an important issue that westerners care about.
The Colorado meeting will be held November 9 in Craig. (More information…)
Spread the Word
Our second request is to help spread the word:
- This Action Alert came out last week—please help us get people to take action. Again, we want to send a clear message that westerners support these sage-grouse plans.
- We’ve updated our Sage-Grouse web page—please check it out and feel free to reference it as needed.
- We have a short (<1.5 min) video that talks about the sagebrush ecosystem. We partnered with Cornell Lab of Ornithology, using a lot of their amazing footage from The Sagebrush Sea to help illustrate why this is an American treasure—to wildlife and people. Please feel free to share this short video far and wide!!!