The Saratoga Sun -

Draft of greater sage-grouse conservation agreement available for public review

 


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife (Fish and Wildlife) announced in a press release Thursday it is making available a draft Environmental Assessment and a draft umbrella conservation agreement available for comment until March 11, 2013.

In March 2010, the Fish and Wildlife determined that protection of the greater sage-grouse was warranted under the Endangered Species Act. The press release said the listing of the greater sage-grouse at the time was precluded as other listings had higher priority.

The greater sage-grouse was added to the list of candidates under the Endangered Species Act.

The draft umbrella conservation agreement, known as the Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances, was developed to encourage landowners to voluntarily implement conservation measures to conserve, restore or enhance habitat for the greater sage-grouse on non-Federal lands in Wyoming, according to the press release.

Landowners, in return, would receive regulatory assurances concerning land use restriction that might otherwise apply to them, should the greater sage-grouse become protected under the Endangered Species Act.

The draft agreement outlines potential conservation measures pertaining to ranch management that might be implemented on voluntarily enrolled non-Federal lands in Wyoming.

The press release said livestock grazing is the dominant land use with the range of the greater sage-grouse and the conservation measures would benefit the sage-grouse.

The Environmental Assessment describes the biological, environmental and socioeconomic effects of the conservation agreement.

The agreement was prepared in cooperation with the Fish and Wildlife, the Wyoming Governor’s office, Natural Resources Conservation Districts, Wyoming Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service.

The draft Umbrella Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances and Environmental Assessment are available online at http://www.fws.gov/wyominges/. Written comments should be submitted to Tyler Abbott, Deputy Field Supervisor, Wyoming Ecological Services Fields Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 5353 Yellowstone Road, Suite 308A, Cheyenne, WY 82009 or email wysagegrouseccaa.fws.gov.

 

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