Mono County Praises Grouse Decision
Bridgeport, CA – On April 21st, 2015 the United States Department of the Interior hosted a multi-agency event announcing that the Bi-State Distinct Population Segment of Greater Sage-grouse will not be listed as threatened. Mono County hailed this action as a step forward in achieving species preservation and ensuring that new regulatory burdens were not imposed on private and public land owners of the Eastern Sierra.
Mono County Board of Supervisors Chair Tim Fesko, representing Mono County at the announcement event, commented, “A listing would have been devastating to Mono County. The proposed critical habitat blanketed 82% of private lands in Mono County, and would have been a regulatory burden that would have deeply damaged our fragile rural economy. Today’s action by the Department of the Interior shows that Mono County’s ongoing commitment to resolving this issue through participation paid off for our communities and for the species. Mono County had a choice when the proposed listing was issued: Commit to the conservation effort based on the understanding that the Sage Grouse should not be listed for scientifically verifiable reasons, or fight the listing. Mono County chose conservation and the power of partnerships and collaboration over political grandstanding.”
Mono County has been involved since the early days of the Local Area Working Group (LAWG) in 2000 and was at the table for the 2004 Bi-State Action Plan, participated in the 2012 update, and regularly attended the LAWG meetings. Mono County has taken a local government leadership role and helped to:
1. Develop a summary report of conservation actions and future agency commitments for the entire Bi-State.
2. Support and host outreach and education forums on topics such as pinyon-juniper management and critical habitat.
3. Encourage and enhance inter-agency communication and coordination.
4. Work with private landowners to mitigate impacts, follow best practices, and secure resources for conservation work; and count leks with agency biologists to assist with population monitoring.
If the Grouse had been listed, Mono County would have been forced out of a conservation role and into a regulatory role, directing Landowners to obtain clearance/permits from Federal agencies. Mono County commends the USFWS for its decision to not list the species, and its recognition and support of the tremendous efforts of federal, state and local agencies, conservation entities and local landowners in the collaborative planning and implementation of the Bi-State Action Plan. Congratulations also to Steve Nelson, BLM Area Manager, on receiving the STAR Award from Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell for his grouse preservation leadership during Tuesday’s announcement.
WASHINGTON – Tuesday, Rep. Paul Cook (R- Apple Valley) released the following statement after the United States Department of the Interior announced it will not list the sage grouse found in California and Nevada as an endangered species:
Cook said, “Today’s announcement by Secretary Jewell is recognition of the hard-work done by state and local governments to protect sage grouse habitat. Because of this effort, the sage grouse habitat has been stabilized and draconian federal regulations will not be implemented. This is a victory for my constituents who would have faced economic harm if the sage grouse was listed as an endangered species.”
cover photo by BLM