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Saving the Sagebrush Sea: An Imperiled Western Legacy

Nearly 350 plant and animal species depend on sagebrush habitat for their survival.
 


 

Greater sage-grouse escapes congressional funding assaults

Date: 
Wed, 12/16/2015

 

An agreement on a new federal spending bill spares greater sage-grouse conservation plans marked earlier this year at a news conference with Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, other federal officials and Western governors. Image: NWF/Jack Dempsey

By Judith Kohler

The National Wildlife Federation said an agreement on a $1.15 trillion federal spending bill is good news for greater sage-grouse conservation because of what it doesn’t contain – provisions that would have derailed work to save the signature Western species and the habitat that supports more than 350 species.

 Federal lawmakers’ rejection of amendments to the proposed omnibus spending bill that could have blocked implementation of federal sage-grouse conservation plans is a boost to saving some of our country’s irreplaceable landscapes, said Aaron Kindle, the National Wildlife Federation’s Western sportsmen’s campaign manager. He noted that a 2014 NWF poll found nine out of 10 Western sportsmen support conserving sage grouse, whose numbers have been declining for decades.

 “It’s time to carry on the hard work of bringing the bird back from the brink of no return and ensuring public lands that sustain hunting, angling, recreation and local economies remain healthy,” Kindle added.

 

 

Sportsmen welcome Roan Plateau progress

Date: 
Mon, 11/23/2015

Mule deer are among the wildlife found on western Colorado's Roan Plateau. Image: John Gale

 

SILT, Colo. – The Bureau of Land Management  has released a draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Roan Plateau, a backcountry area prized by hunters and anglers for its fish and wildlife and a cornerstone of the area’s recreation economy.

Sportsmen’s groups were reviewing the draft EIS, but they welcomed the BLM’s designation of last year’s settlement as its preferred option in efforts to balance energy development with conservation.

“This keeps us moving toward a balanced, fair solution to protecting the Roan Plateau,” said David Nickum, executive director of Colorado Trout Unlimited. 

Renewable energy bill has wide support

Date: 
Tue, 11/17/2015

There is broad, bipartisan support for the Public Lands and Renewable Energy Development Act of 2015. Image: Matt Vincent

By Joel Gay, New Mexico Wildlife Federation

Although members of Congress are often divided, it was refreshing to see all five of New Mexico’s congressional delegation unanimously support bipartisan legislation that would pave the way for responsible development of renewable energy on public lands in New Mexico and throughout the West.

Hunters and anglers have always known that healthy public lands are crucial if we want strong populations of game and fish as well as a vibrant hunting and fishing industry – in New Mexico alone, that sector of the outdoor recreation economy is worth $650 million a year. It should be no surprise that sportsmen support responsible energy development on public lands, which gives us both abundant energy but also protects critical wildlife habitat and our outdoor way of life.

The Public Lands and Renewable Energy Development Act of 2015 would guarantee both goals are met. 

The path to Westerners' hearts -- and votes -- runs through public lands

Date: 
Wed, 10/28/2015

Former Interior Secretary and U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar urged presidential candidates to debate issues Westerners care about. Image: Judith Kohler

There’s a “Royal-Gorge-sized chasm between Coloradans” and some presidential candidates’ views on public lands, wildlife and conservation, says Ken Salazar.

The former Interior Secretary and U.S. senator was among the speakers at a news conference Tuesday who detailed what that they want to hear the candidates discuss. People in Colorado and the West care about public lands, water and wildlife, he said. And they don’t want public lands transferred to the states or sold to the highest bidders.

“Colorado voters, I know, oppose this idea,” Salazar said. “These proposals make absolutely no sense. These ideas deserve to be rejected.”

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