Public Lands Sportsmen Welcome BLM Sage Grouse Guidance

News for Immediate Release
Sept. 1, 2016
Contact: Katie McKalip, 406-240-9262, [email protected]

BLM plans offer instructions for implementing sage grouse management plans; BHA stresses that continued collaboration among stakeholders key to success

MISSOULA, Mont. – A series of instructional memorandums released today by the Bureau of Land Management can facilitate the continued recovery of greater sage grouse populations and benefit a broad range of sagebrush-dependent wildlife species, says Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, but their success depends on continued support from and collaboration among diverse stakeholders.

“Multi-stakeholder, science-based, collaborative approaches to sage grouse conservation work – it’s as simple as that,” said BHA President and CEO Land Tawney. “The conservation successes we’ve already seen – including the decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service a year ago not to list sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act – are proof positive of this fact.

“The BLM’s release of implementation guidance for existing management plans gives us a roadmap for how to achieve continued success, further bolstering sage grouse populations and, in addition, helping the hundreds of species of wildlife that rely on the sagebrush steppe,” Tawney said. “Now is the time for us to redouble our efforts to conserve sage grouse habitat – and to reject any attempts to legislate the plans’ failures or undermine grouse recovery on our public lands.”

The 4.2 million acres of sagebrush steppe occupied by the grouse provide habitat for more than 350 species of fish and wildlife, including big-game species such as mule deer, pronghorn and elk. These landscapes not only are vital to public lands hunters and anglers; healthy and functioning sage-grouse habitat also fuels an outdoor-reliant economy that provides a stable source of income for communities across the West.

Some members of Congress, however, have attempted to take advantage of important public lands and national defense spending legislation to undermine sage grouse conservation efforts. Collaborative plans for recovery of the bird, years in the making, were developed by a wide range of stakeholders and balance access for recreational opportunities like hunting with other land uses like ranching and energy development. The plans stand as a confirmation of the public’s commitment to conserving sagebrush habitat and supporting our Western heritage and sporting traditions.

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is the sportsmen’s voice for our wild public lands, waters and wildlife.

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