Bistate sage grouse comment period extended
Far from grousing about the potential that the bistate sage grouse will be listed as an endangered species, Douglas County commissioners sought a rewrite of letters commenting on the issue.
Commission Chairman Greg Lynn said that after hearing from the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife, the board had “one of the best discussions we’ve had all year.”
Lynn said he felt the tone of the drafts presented to the commission wasn’t helpful, and that was borne out by the presentation at Thursday’s County commissioners’ meeting.
“He said we should focus on what we want to happen rather than what we don’t want to happen,” Lynn said on Friday.
The listing is back in play after a federal court ordered the Department of Fish and Wildlife to go back and re-examine its decision not to list the sage grouse.
In late October the department issued a notice that the bistate sage grouse is up for being listed under the endangered species act, something state, private and federal agencies, along with private individuals have been working to prevent.
So far only the bistate sage grouse, which lives between Douglas County and Bishop along the Nevada-California border, has been proposed for listing. But a sage grouse population, which occupies much larger areas of the West, may also be considered at some point in the future.
Two critical sage grouse habitat units are partially located in Douglas.
On Friday, Nevada Senators Harry Reid and Dean Heller released a discussion draft of the Nevada Sagebrush Landscape Conservation and Economic Development Act. The proposal would conserve sage-grouse habitat in Nevada while providing economic development opportunities to industries and local governments throughout the state. Attached is a copy of the discussion draft.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Thursday the extension of the public comment period for 45 days on the proposal to protect the grouse along the California-Nevada border as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. The proposal includes a rule that would increase flexibility for land management practices that are intended to benefit the sage-grouse. The extension will also add 45 days to the comment period on a proposal to designate approximately 1.86 million acres of habitat for the species.
Information regarding the listing will be accepted until Feb. 10, and may be submitted by one of the following methods:
Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal:
http://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. Then, in the Search panel on the left side of the screen, under the Document Type heading, click on the Proposed Rules link to locate this document. You may submit a comment by clicking on “Comment Now!”
Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery 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.
The Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service report 209 people attended the recent workshops in California and Nevada.
Information including links to the Draft LUP/EIS, posters and materials used at the public workshops and guides on developing and submitting comments can be found at on.doi.gov/1dxWdQt.
Written comments related to the sage grouse are being accepted through Jan. 29:
Eplanning website: http://on.doi.gov/14ZD3Rb
mail: BLM – Greater Sage Grouse EIS, Attn: Joe Tague, 1340 Financial Blvd. Reno, NV 89502