Sage Grouse Conservation Partnership (SageCon)

The Sage Grouse Conservation Partnership (SageCon) is working together to pull together an “all lands, all threats” approach to sage grouse conservation to both address USFWS’s sage grouse listing decision in 2015 and support community sustainability in central and eastern Oregon into the future.  By addressing identified threats to sage brush habitat the SageCon Partnership will ensure species protection for sage grouse and also work  with traditional ranching and farming communities as well as emerging industries such as  mining and renewable energy.

Background

The SageCon Partnership coordinates federal, state and local efforts (current and projected) to address the multiple threats to sage grouse across the Eastern Oregon sagebrush landscape in anticipation of the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) review of the bird’s “Warranted But Precluded” status under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) (listing decision and critical habitat proposal due in September 2014).

Over the last two years, the Governor’s Office and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) have been convening meetings in response to the “Warranted but Precluded” sage grouse listing status in order to share information about the needs and issues related to renewable energy development and habitat conservation across Eastern Oregon. These meetings led to the formation of the Renewable Energy and Eastern Oregon Landscape Conservation Partnership (the “REECon Partnership”) that met regularly from April 2010 through April 2012.  The new proposed process builds on REECon’s efforts related to renewable energy development and widens the scope of that effort to address other potential threats to sage grouse habitat and conservation in Eastern Oregon.

For more information about the SageCon Partnership see:  http://orsolutions.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/SageCon_OverviewFactSheet_2013.pdf

For more information on REECon see: http://orsolutions.org/osproject/renewable-energy-and-eastern-oregon-landscape-conservation-partnership

The Oregon Greater Sage-Grouse Draft RMP Amendment/EIS is available for review and comment. The comment period is open until Thursday, February 20, 2014.  Drafts and related information are posted on the Oregon BLM website here:  http://www.blm.gov/or/energy/opportunity/sagebrush.php

Objectives

With the USFWS review of the listing status for sage grouse eminent, there is an immediate need to broaden the discussion to include a wider range of development activities as well as other natural and anthropogenic threats across the landscape and develop a coordinated picture of ongoing and projected efforts, both regulatory and voluntary, to address and support sage grouse conservation.  To accomplish this, the new SageCon Partnership would:

  •    Provide a forum for coordination of federal, state, local and private efforts to conserve sage grouse in Oregon;
  •    Inventory existing strategies/approaches and, where appropriate, identify additional strategies/approaches to address the full range of threats to sage grouse viability and recovery in Eastern Oregon; and
  •    Coordinate with USFWS requirements and schedule for the sage grouse ESA listing decision in order to provide timely and relevant input to the USFWS on Oregon’s sage grouse and sagebrush habitat conservation strategies/approaches.

The goal of the SageCon Partnership will be to present USFWS with a unified all-lands approach to sage grouse conservation in Oregon.  The process is intended to be a series of focused but coordinated discussions to address sage grouse conservation in the face of multiple threats and within multiple jurisdictions (federal, state and local) in Oregon.

Additional Resources

Related documents and links:


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