USCA applauds Sage Grouse non-listing; urges continued monitoring of public lands management decisions

Farm Forum

The United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) applauds the announcement made by the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has decided not to list the greater sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The announcement comes as welcome news to ranchers, land users, managers and owners across the West who have been working with the DOI and USDA to prevent a listing of the species.

USCA Public Lands Committee Chairman Bert Paris (Nevada) commented on the announcement, “USCA and our members in the West welcome the non-listing decision, particularly on private lands. Ranchers have worked hand-in-hand with private and public stakeholders to ensure that every effort was being taken to maintain greater sage grouse habitat while still maintaining a viable operating environment for ranchers and livestock.”

“The non-listing decision sets an example for how the next steps on this issue must happen. Instead of relying on a top-down approach to species listings and habitat management, the process must involve land owners and other users. The decision not to list acknowledges the commitment made by individuals and organizations who maintain a sustainable working Western landscape that includes conservation of the region’s natural resources.”

“USCA and producers across the West should be heartened by this announcement as a solid first step on this matter. The critical next step in this process is how the land management agencies will now implement their management plans. “

“We understand the concerns raised by Congressman Rob Bishop (R-UT) and Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) regarding the BLM and USFS management plans and the fact that they do not recognize the hard work put in at the state level to implement successful conservation and management plans. We encourage the agencies to engage with those working on-the-ground in sage grouse habitat to maintain both the species and the livelihoods of those that have worked so hard to maintain sustainable working landscapes.”

“The conservation on private lands in the West signals a clear relationship between the benefits of grazing and grouse habitat. This relationship holds true on public lands and the BLM and Forest Service management plans should reflect that.”

“USCA members have traveled to Washington, D.C. and across the country to carry the message about the work being done on the ground for the greater sage grouse. This summer, USCA members traveled to D.C. to specifically bring this message to lawmakers and to urge the Administration and agency officials to not the list species under the ESA. We are pleased with yesterday’s announcement and will now take up the next task at hand and show that conservation that works on private land can also work on public land.”

Paris concluded, “This decision shows, ‘what is good for the herd is truly good the bird’.”