One of the few public workshops to discuss the Endangered Species Act listing of the greater bistate sage grouse is in Smith Valley today.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is hosting a meeting 1-3 p.m. at the Smith Valley Community Center in Wellington. This is the second meeting held by fish & wildlife. A similar meeting was scheduled in Bishop on Tuesday.
According to the Fish & Wildlife Service, the listing would designate 1.86 million acres of sage grouse habitat in Douglas, Lyon, Mineral, Esmeralda, Alpine, Mono and Inyo counties, as well as Carson City.
About 5,000 birds live along the California-Nevada border distinct from the larger population of sage grouse. A 60-day public comment period for the listing began on Oct. 28. Under the proposal, the listing could be finalized on Oct. 28, 2014.
On Friday, a draft of the land use plan and draft environmental statement was released by the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service.
The two services plan public meetings on the documents during December. A 90-day public comment period will close on Jan. 29, 2014.
A half-dozen management alternatives, including one that does nothing, are under consideration for maintaining and increasing the habitat for the grouse on BLM and Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest lands in Nevada and Northeastern California.
More than 17 million acres of sage grouse habitat are managed by the two agencies.
According to the draft, the preferred alternative would provide “a balanced level of protection, restoration, enhancement and use of resources and services to meet ongoing programs and land uses.”
Other alternatives include reducing or eliminating many uses on public land including grazing, excluding certain right of ways, and fluid mineral leasing.
Public comment may be sent by mail to Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R8–ES–2013–0042 and FWS-R8-ES-2013-0072; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042–PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.
To comment electronically, go to www.regulations.gov. In the Search box, enter FWS–R8–ES–2013–0042 and FWS-R8-ES-2013-0072, which are the docket numbers for these rulemakings.