by Kurt Hildebrand
khildebrand@recordcourier.com

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June 3, 2014
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Grouse economic report arrives

A draft economic analysis determined that the impact of listing the bistate sage grouse as an endangered species would be $4-$4.9 million.

According to the analysis published Tuesday in the Federal Register, the listing will affect activities that are conducted, funded, permitted or authorized by federal agencies on the 1.86 million acres under the listing.

According to the analysis, 86 percent of the proposed critical habitat occurs on federal land. Because the majority of land in eight Nevada and California counties is also federally managed, more than 80 percent in some, allowable uses could be affected by the listing.

In addition to Douglas, the eight counties include Alpine, Inyo, Mono, Carson City, Esmeralda, Lyon and Mineral.

Activities associated with lands in the area include recreation, tourism, livestock grazing, agriculture, mining and renewable energy development.

A draft analysis determined that there are no significant economic impact to small entities that would result from the listing.

In those critical habitat areas that are not being used by the grouse, where conservation measures could be attributed to the designation, the incremental costs would be $4 million. About three quarters would be for conservation measures that would be recommended for grazing, transportation, residential development and mining activities.

The deadline for comments on the listing of the bistate population of the sage grouse under the endangered species act has been extended a month to July 9. Comments on the economic analysis have been extended to July 3. The final determination on whether the grouse will be listed is scheduled for April 28, 2015.

Total forecast costs of listing the grouse is estimated at $4.9 million in administrative costs, mostly associated with transportation and utility activities in the critical designated areas.

Most public comment on the proposal to list the bistate sage grouse has been focused on the potential economic activities.

Last week at a public hearing, Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Bill Chernock pointed out that the listing could affect residents whose livelihood are dependent on the use of federal lands.

New information submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last week indicated that bistate sage grouse populations during a 10-year period ending in 2012 tended to be stable.


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The Record Courier Updated Jun 6, 2014 11:31AM Published Jun 3, 2014 05:32PM Copyright 2014 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.