By Our Public Lands | 3.5.14
The Bureau of Land Management needs to go back to the drawing board and improve its plan for conserving the greater sage-grouse in Wyoming, the National Wildlife Federation said.
The BLM’s proposal that would amend land-use plans across Wyoming doesn’t include adequate safeguards for the iconic Western bird whose numbers have plummeted and is under consideration for federal protection, according to NWF.
The agency is taking public comments on its draft environmental impact statement until March 26.
The BLM’s preferred alternative for managing sage-grouse in Wyoming wouldn’t provide enough protection for the bird, NWF said. The BLM has failed to incorporate the latest scientific information on sage-grouse conservation. The plan’s strategies, first proposed a decade ago, would permit too much disturbance in the bird’s core habitat, according to NWF.
The bird’s habitat faces several threats, including drought, invasive species, energy development, over-grazing and subdivision of the land. The BLM needs to develop a more protective plan that includes restrictions on oil and gas drilling, transmission lines, wind turbines and some grazing practices in priority habitat areas, NWF said.
In addition, migration corridors must be protected and damaged habitat must be reclaimed.