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BLM Is Accepting Comments on its National Greater Sage-Grouse Planning Strategy

January 9, 2012

The Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) is now accepting comments on its National Greater Sage-Grouse Planning Strategy (“Sage-Grouse Strategy”). The Sage-Grouse Strategy is the result of a 2010 determination by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service that the sage-grouse warrants protection under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”), but listing is precluded by the need to address other, higher-priority species first. At the local level, the Sage-Grouse Strategy will be implemented through formal land use management plan amendments that contain new sage brush conservation and habitat restoration measures to protect sage-grouse habitat. The BLM has divided the sage-grouse’s range into regions and subregions so that its measures reflect differences in sage-grouse and habitat.  Oregon is its own subregion, within the Western Region.

The comments are part of BLM’s scoping efforts.  Scoping is the first step in preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (“EIS”) for the proposed plan amendments.  Over the next month, the BLM will host meetings to give the public an opportunity to comment and identify issues of concern that should be addressed in the EIS.  Oregon’s public meetings are in Lakeview, Ontario, Baker City, and Prineville.

After scoping is complete, the BLM will issue a Draft EIS for Oregon.  The public will have an opportunity to comment on the Draft EIS, after which the BLM will issue a Final EIS.  The BLM anticipates release of the Draft EIS in late 2012, and a Final EIS in late 2013.  After the Final EIS is issued, local BLM offices will incorporate the Sage-Grouse Strategy into each district’s land use management plans.

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