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.
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
For more technical information (data, tools and maps) and the meeting calendar see: http://oregonexplorer.info/SageCon
The Oregon Greater Sage-Grouse Draft RMP Amendment/EIS is available for review and comment. The comment period ended Thursday, February 20, 2014. Drafts and related information are posted on the Oregon BLM website here: http://www.blm.gov/or/energy/
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.
Related documents and links:
- January 2015 USDA awards $22 million for Oregon conservation projects under Regional Conservation Partnership Program. NRCS RCPP Program National News Release. More information about Oregon NRCS news: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/or/newsroom/
- January 2015 DOI Secretarial Order on Sage Grouse and Fire and corresponding Press Release
- December 2014 Statement by Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on the Sage-Grouse Rider in the FY15 Omnibus Bill
- November 5-7 The Next Steppe Conference: Sage Grouse and Rangeland Wildfire in the Great Basin was held in Boise, ID
- November 2014 Representatives from the SageCon Partnership present to Oregon's Land Conservation and Development Commission. Staff report available here: http://www.oregon.gov/LCD/docs/meetings/lcdc/111314/Item_13_Sage_Grouse_Final.pdf
- November 2014 USGS Buffer Report, USGS Announcement and Review Journal Article
- May 2014 BLM releases National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy:
- February 20, 2014 State comments were submitted to BLM to inform their DEIS and RMP revisions process. Documents submitted included a cover letter to State Director Perez, coordinated state agency comments and a draft proposed disturbance framework document.
- February 20,2014 USFWS comments were submitted to BLM USFWS Final OR BLM GRSG DEIS Comments
- January 15, 2014 the Draft Programmatic Candidate Conservation Agreement With Assurances for the Greater Sage-Grouse in Harney County, Oregon and Draft Environmental Assessment was released on the Federal Register. Visit USFWS Oregon Office website to view the related press release "U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes conservation agreement to conserve sage-grouse and maintain ranching way of life", Draft Environmental Assessment and Draft CCAA.
- November 2013 Draft BLM and State Planning Process Timeline
- November 2013 BLM Oregon Subregion Greater Sage Grouse Draft Resource Management Plan Amendment and Environmental Impact Statement has been released: http://www.blm.gov/or/energy/opportunity/sagebrush.php
- October 2013 Bistate Decision Published to Federal Register. Related documents: 2012 Bistate Action Plan and Final Recommendations
- September 2013 Saving Sage Grouse from the Trees: A Proactive Solution to Reducing a Key Threat to a Candidate Species and Press Release: http://www.sagegrouseinitiative.com/saving-sage-grouse-trees-new-study-shows-benefits-targeted-tree-removal-declining-birds/
- June 2013 Central and Eastern Oregon County Land Use Planning Assessment: http://www.co.harney.or.us/PDF_Files/Sage%20Grouse/County%20Sage%20Grouse%20Regional%20Report1142013.pdf
- June 2013 Greater Sage Grouse Baseline Environmental Report (BER) from USGS
Press release: http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/
- March 2013 Sage Grouse Conservation Objectives Team Final Report.