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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

sportsmen

NWF, Affiliates: Sage-Grouse Order Could Jeopardize Conservation Plans

Date: 
Wed, 06/07/2017

A secretarial order on greater sage-grouse conservation plans could derail years of work. Image: FWS/Tom Koerner

By Judith Kohler

WASHINGTON  – The order by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to review and perhaps significantly alter the greater sage-grouse conservation plans runs the risk of derailing a years-long effort to save the bird and a landscape that supports 350 other species, the National Wildlife Federation said.

The 60-day review by an Interior Department team could upend plans that are based on science, conditions in individual Western states, and the overall threats to sage grouse, including the loss and degradation of its habitat, while allowing for responsible energy development.

“The Secretarial Order to review and perhaps alter the collaborative conservation plans could unnecessarily derail this multi-state effort and jeopardize not only an iconic species, but the sagebrush steppe that supports more than 350 wildlife species, including mule deer and pronghorn, provides countless opportunities for hunters, anglers, and outdoor enthusiasts, and supports more than $1 billion in annual economic benefits for local communities," said Collin O’Mara, the National Wildlife Federation’s president and CEO. 

Hunting, Fishing Businesses Unite in Support of National Monuments

Date: 
Tue, 05/09/2017

 

New Mexico's Rio Grande del Norte is one of the national monuments under review by the Interior Department. Image: BLM/Bob Wick

Hunting, Fishing Businesses Unite in Support of National Monuments

WASHINGTON – More than 100 hunting and fishing business owners and sporting organizations sent a letter May 9 to Congress to show their support for national monuments and the responsible use of the Antiquities Act.

The letter is part of a larger effort to demonstrate the important role national monuments and the Antiquities Act play not only to small businesses and rural economies but also to hunters and anglers all across the country. Business owners met with decision makers in Washington to emphasize the value of public lands and national monuments to the outdoor industry.

“As someone who has helped develop the outdoor industry in Colorado and watched it grow into an economic powerhouse, I am concerned by current efforts both to curtail national monuments and weaken the Antiquities Act itself,” said Jim Bartschi, president of Scott Fly Rods in Montrose, Colorado. 

Sportsmen: BLM Right on Track with Plan for CO's South Park

Date: 
Thu, 03/09/2017

Sportsmen have joined a diverse group of stakeholders to comment on a new management plan for Colorado's South Park. Image: Bill Dvorak

By Judith Kohler

DENVER  – Colorado sportsmen say the release of preliminary management proposals for public lands in South Park and surrounding areas shows that the Bureau of Land Management intends to keep the public informed and involved in decisions affecting one of the region’s premier hunting, fishing and recreation spots.

The BLM’s Royal Gorge Field Office on Wednesday released preliminary management scenarios that include a proposed master leasing plan for oil and gas development in South Park. A master leasing plan, or MLP, is a planning tool available to BLM intended to better balance uses of public lands. Park County and local elected officials as well as landowners and sportsmen and women asked the BLM to write an MLP for South Park because of its important fish, wildlife and water resources.

"The Bureau of Land Management is on the right track in South Park. Park County, along with numerous other cooperating agencies, have worked effectively with BLM on the draft alternatives for the plan and we, too, will continue working with the county, diverse stakeholders and BLM to gain a balanced future for these public lands."  ~ Suzanne O’Neill, executive director of the Colorado Wildlife Federation

Sportsmen: Idaho Bill Reveals Truth of Public-Lands Attacks

Date: 
Wed, 02/22/2017

A  bill in the Idaho Legislature is targeting public lands. Image: Brian Brooks/IWF

BOISE, Idaho – Two sportsmen’s groups and a landowner are taking aim at a bill that not only would force Idaho state agencies to decide which public lands to get rid of but would prevent willing landowners from selling property to public agencies.

The Idaho Wildlife Federation, Trout Unlimited and landowner Erik Cetovick said Monday that Senate Bill 1065 in the Idaho Legislature could end up locking the public out of lands they have hunted and fished for generations. The bill also tips lawmakers’ hand in showing that the goal of taking over public lands is to sell them to private parties, dismantling Idahoans’ public-lands heritage, they added.

"For years now, our politicians have said that the transfer of public lands to the state is about better management. Well, now we have them flat out advising all state agencies to prioritize their land parcels for sale to private owner ship any lands that might not be fulfilling a 'public purpose,’” said Brian Brooks, executive director of the Idaho Wildlife Federation. 

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