In September 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) will decide whether to list the sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act. A listing would be devastating to the ranching industry in Oregon and across the west. In attempt to prevent a listing, BLM is amending its land use plans with new sage grouse regulations. While avoiding a listing is the ultimate goal, these regulations themselves could be very damaging to industry.
Comment Now on BLM’s Draft Oregon Sage Grouse Plan
BLM is taking comments until February 20th on its draft land use plan amendment for Oregon–which has the potential to be very damaging to your operation. BLM is required to take into account comments that are submitted–and anti-grazing special interest groups are actively seeking comments from thousands of people who have no stake in the outcome.
Act NOW: click here for a set of drafted comments ready for your personal touches (be sure to click the “download” button at the top right hand corner of your screen to ensure the original formatting is preserved), and/or send an email to email@example.com to have the comments emailed to you along with suggestions on ways to tailor your message.
Once you have made your personal touches to the contents, simply copy and past or just forward the message to the BLM address provided by Feb. 20. **Watch for emails from the firstname.lastname@example.org address for updated materials and helpful tools!**
What Does the Draft Plan Mean to You?
Amongst our chief concerns with the proposed plan amendments:
- Proposes to add new “indicators” to Rangeland Health Assessments. If your allotment is not reaching the new sage grouse objectives, grazing will likely be reduced. Range improvements may also be removed or altered, and the roads and trails you use may be limited.
- Grazing on 118,000 acres of select “Research Natural Areas” (RNAs) would be terminated immediately. Other RNAs would also be evaluated for termination.
- “Areas of Critical Environmental Concern” (ACECs) in sage grouse areas will be managed with far more restrictionsa—and new ACECs are being considered.
- Permit retirement: The DEIS proposes that, if a rancher gives up his permit, it will be permanently retired. This gives litigious anti-grazing groups an incentive to harass ranchers into relinquishing their permits.
Click here to view a map and find out whether your operation falls on “priority” or “general” habitat, or in a “research natural area” or “area of critical environmental concern”–where grazing will either be terminated or heavily regulated under the draft plan. For more details on boundary lines, contact your local BLM office. The entire three-volume land use plan amendment and draft environmental impact statement can be found at this BLM Oregon sage grouse page.
Aside from commenting, you should attend at least one of the BLM public meetings scheduled throughout eastern Oregon to see how you will be impacted. The final remaining meeting will be held Jan. 23rd from5:30pm to 7:30pm in?Durkee at the Old School.
If you have any questions, please contact OCA President Elect, John O’Keeffe, at email@example.com or 541-219-1111, or OCA Executive Director Jerome Rosa at 503-361-8941 (ext. 12) or Jerome.Rosa@orcattle.com.