BLM unveils updated sage-grouse management plan

Mar 15, 2024

The Bureau of Land Management released its draft Sage-grouse Resource Management Plan in which the agency’s “preferred alternative” will restore some restrictions on drilling and other activities across the nearly 67 million acres of the birds’ remaining habitat across ten Western states.

Center for Western Priorities Deputy Director Aaron Weiss praised the BLM’s new sage-grouse management plan, saying, “The sage-grouse is not just an iconic bird across the West—it’s a barometer for the health of the entire sagebrush sea. Saving this ecosystem will take hard work by federal, state, and local governments, working alongside private landowners and conservation groups. This plan provides the blueprint for success.”

Some of the restrictions reflect those that were originally proposed by the Obama administration in 2015 to protect the imperiled species. In 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined that listing the greater sage-grouse as an endangered species was unnecessary because the Obama administration’s plans were protective enough. However, the BLM never had the opportunity to fully implement the Obama-era strategies because the Trump administration attempted to remove protections for sage-grouse, a move that was rejected by the courts in a legal battle that continued into 2023.

The BLM’s new plan aims to provide certainty and stability for land managers, states, and industry, while stopping the long-term decline in sage-grouse populations across the West. “Joint efforts to conserve the greater sage-grouse and its habitat led to the largest collaborative conservation effort in our history, and we are building on that work, together with our partners, to ensure the health of these lands and local economies into the future,” Bureau of Land Management Director Tracy Stone-Manning said in a statement.

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Quote of the day

As we all know, the most severe consequences of climate change fall disproportionately on communities that are least able to prepare for and recover from them, including Tribal nations.”

—Tom Perez, White House senior advisor and director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, E&E News

Picture This

A view of the Great Smoky Mountains, showing a range of rolling peaks covered in lush green forests

@nationalparkservice

Trails are a lot like life – sometimes you’re cruising along smoothly, enjoying the scenery and feeling on top of the world. Other times, you hit a rough patch, walk through a spiderweb, and wonder why you ever decided to wear flip flops as you embark on this journey in the first place. (For the comfort, we get it.) But just like in life, it’s the ups and downs, the twists and turns, that make the trail worth navigating. So embrace the challenges, savor the moments, and remember that no matter how tough the trail may seem, there’s always a stunning view waiting for you at the end. And possibly a bear.

*We said there would be twists.

Image: A view of the Great Smoky Mountains, showing a range of rolling peaks covered in lush green forests @greatsmokynps

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Featured image: Male greater sage-grouse near Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge in Wyoming. Photo: Tom Koerner/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service