Monday, February 7, 2011

$23 Million to protect sage-grouse habitat

Feds Announce $23M to protect sage grouse habitat

I was pretty excited to see this.  While environmentalists and wildlife people are fighting to list the sage grouse on the Endangered Species List, the federal government is doing what it can to prevent them from having to be listed.  They are providing twenty-three million dollars to buy up developmental rights on ranches and farms on nearly 50,000 acres in Wyoming, Montana, and Colorado.  By trying to prevent them from being listed, activities on public lands may be restricted.  I imagine this has a lot to do with recreation, grazing rotations, and, I also imagine, wild horses.  Like cattle are kept from being in leks during breeding season, somehow horse use should also be minimized.  I read this in the Oregon Sage-grouse strategy plan.  Besides stating that cows should not be turned on on areas with breeding sites until after breeding season, Oregon FWS also suggested that agencies must make sure that horse numbers are not over appropriate management levels if there are sage-grouse leks in the herd management area.

It is exciting to see conservation efforts made to preserve not only the sage-grouse, but also the habitat they depend on.  In a way, so do I and I don't ever want to see it disappear or be damaged by development, overgrazing, or too much mining.

                 As you might notice with this map, sage-grouse habitat closely resembles public lands.
                           The patch they are conserving will preserve a corridor from Colorado up to Alberta and Saskatchewan

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