On 15 March, Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued Records of Decision (RODs) amending land use plans for Greater Sage-Grouse habitat management on public lands, providing special protection measures for nearly 60 million acres. The decisions received bipartisan support from the governors who sought revisions to the plans that guide conservation of sagebrush steppe habitat on BLM-administered public lands in their respective states. The goal was to better align BLM plans for managing habitat with state plans for conserving the species.
The decisions affect resource management plans for BLM-administered public lands in seven Western states, where the BLM manages habitat and states manage wildlife species. The plans build on those put into place in 2015. In 2017, the BLM began scoping for the new plans asking whether “some, none or all” of the 2015 sage-grouse plans should be amended. The planning effort that concludes with the March decision began in 2017 when governors of most of the affected sage-grouse states asked the BLM to revisit existing plans for managing sage-grouse habitat and adapt them to better meet the needs of individual states. In response, the BLM proposed changes developed in collaboration with governors and state wildlife agency professionals in the seven affected states, as well as other concerned organizations and individuals, largely through the Western Governors Association’s Sage-Grouse Task Force.
More information can be found at the BLM website.