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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.


Western Public Lands

National Wildlife Federation

NWF, affiliates: Let sage-grouse conservation plans work

Wed, 04/27/2016

Greater sage-grouse number fewer than a half million across the West. Image: NWF

DENVER -- The National Wildlife Federation and its Western state affiliates strongly oppose a provision in the defense bill that would do nothing to improve national security but would derail efforts to conserve the greater sage-grouse and the sagebrush steppe.

In a letter sent April 26 to the House Committee on Armed Services, the organizations detailed the problems with a section in the National Defense Authorization Act that would block plans to conserve sage grouse across the West. 

The organizations noted the conservation plans approved by the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service were developed with input from states and private landowners. 

"We simply cannot afford any roadblocks, especially with all the work, collaboration and momentum we have toward conserving this iconic bird and the sagebrush landscape, which is so important to our local economies and activities our communities rely on, like ranching and recreation," says Joy Bannon, field director for the Wyoming Wildlife Federation.


Sportsmen fend off public-land grabs, but more work remains

Wed, 04/27/2016

Sportsmen have helped defeat public-land-grab bills across the West. Image: Aaron Kindle

By Aaron Kindle, National Wildlife Federation

The pro public lands transfer movement is shaking its collective head in agony after yet another losing year in state legislatures across the country. On the other hand sportsmen, outdoor enthusiasts, business owners, and lovers of public lands are taking a moment celebrate the defeat of these bills while also preparing to hold the legislators accountable for their actions. 

Despite being soundly defeated in 2015, and receiving the clear message that citizens of all stripes adamantly oppose public lands being transferred to states, the ideological pro-transfer crowd again used their misguided allies in state legislatures to introduce more bad bills in 2016. 

Fortunately for all of us who love and rely on public lands as the backbone to our communities, economies, and traditions, very few of these bills even got a hearing, much less passed out of the respective legislatures. We showed up in droves every time legislators proposed a bad bill, every time proponents were given the floor to promote the folly of public land transfer, and we flooded the newspapers and airwaves at every decisive moment.

The result was a sound defeat, but the work is not done.


NWF's O'Mara lauds Wyoming Wildlife Federation defense of public lands

Sun, 03/20/2016

NWF CEO and President Collin O'Mara praises the Wyoming Wildlife Federation's work on public lands. Photo:Judith Kohler/NWF

By Judith Kohler, NWF

CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- Some of the country's most important conversations about wildlife and public lands are taking place in Wyoming and the Wyoming Wildlife Federation is the right organization to help provide a pragmatic approach to "bring people together to get big things done again," National Wildlife Federation CEO and President Collin O'Mara said.

O'Mara told the crowd of more than 200 at the Wyoming Wildlife Federation's annual banquet that between the extremes on wildlife and conservation issues is "the commonsense big middle."

"What this country needs more than anything else  right now is folks and organizations that can bring people together to get big things done again," O'Mara said at the March 5 dinner. "You guys have the right pragmatic idea for how we can bring people together."



Greater sage-grouse escapes congressional funding assaults

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.