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Half of the greater sage-grouse habitat has already been lost forever. The remainder is threatened by oil and gas drilling, livestock grazing, mining and off road vehicle use, all of which destroy sage-grouse breeding, nesting and winter habitat every day.
Tell the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service that they have a responsibility to protect and restore one of America's most iconic birds!
Dear Federal Planners,
Thank you for this opportunity to comment on draft amendments to update federal management plans with new direction to conserve the imperiled greater sage-grouse. The National Greater Sage-Grouse Planning Strategy is an unprecedented opportunity to bolster sage-grouse conservation on millions of acres of public lands in the West.
Historically abundant, sage-grouse range has been reduced by almost half and current populations are estimated at less than 10 percent of historic levels. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that the grouse warrants protection under the Endangered Species Act, primarily because federal agencies have failed to adopt adequate conservation measures to conserve the species. The Service will consider the bird for listing in 2015.
In the meantime, and regardless of the listing decision, the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service have an obligation to develop and implement adequate, consistent management prescriptions to protect and restore sage-grouse and their habitat on public lands. Sage-grouse are a landscape species that are highly sensitive to habitat loss and degradation. Final agency plans must adopt management alternatives based on the best available science that:
*Specially designate sagebrush reserves where conservation of sage-grouse and other sagebrush-dependent species is prioritized on the landscape.
*Withdraw or close priority habitat areas to further mineral development, and exclude new rights-of-way in these areas. Where management must accommodate valid existing rights, restrict habitat disturbance to one developed site and 3 percent of the land surface per section to limit effects on sage-grouse.
*Prevent livestock grazing from degrading sage-grouse habitat, and facilitate voluntary retirement of federal grazing permits in sage-grouse range.
*Manage sagebrush grasslands to maintain and enhance sage-grouse seasonal habitats, including nesting, brooding, and winter habitat.
Greater sage-grouse are an important indicator species for the Sagebrush Sea, a landscape that inspires with endless views, supports hundreds of fish and wildlife species, and provides limitless opportunities for recreation and sustainable business. Please develop management plans that will protect sage-grouse and other important values on our public lands.