Feds target the rest of Nevada for sage grouse protection
The other shoe dropped on Nevada today.
A week ago the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to designate as threatened — under the terms of the Endangered Species Act — the bi-state greater sage grouse found along the northern California-Nevada border, supposedly a distinct population segment of about 5,000 remaining birds.
Today the Bureau of Land Management posted on the Federal Register its land use plan alternatives to protect sage grouse in 16 counties in Nevada — it appears to exclude only Clark County — and northeastern California. There are separate notices covering sage grouse habitat in other Western states. Links to the planning strategy are available here.
The public now has 90 days to comment.
There are six alternatives:
— Alternative A: No action — continues current management direction under existing planning documents. This includes all 11 field offices involved in the planning effort, plus the Humboldt and Toiyabe National Forests.
— Alternative B: Focuses on priority habitat areas that have the highest conservation value to maintaining or increasing sage grouse. Could limit rights-of-way and fluid mineral leasing.
— Alternative C: Reduces or eliminates many of the uses on public lands, including livestock grazing.
— Alternative D: Is a sub-regional alternative that allows local adjustments to protections and allow some ongoing land uses.
— Alternative E: Is the Nevada governor’s alternative and looks at state-proposed conservation strategies.
— Alternative F: Would reduce mineral development and rights-of-way and other uses.
These alternatives cover more than 13 million acres.
This could lead to restrictions on mining, grazing, farming, fences, oil and gas exploration, roads, power lines, wind turbines and solar panels, various forms of recreation and more — costing jobs and economic development.
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