Issues of concern to people who live in the west: property rights, water rights, endangered species, livestock grazing, energy production, wilderness and western agriculture. Plus a few items on western history, western literature and the sport of rodeo... Frank DuBois served as the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003. DuBois is a former legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, and is the founder of the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Tougher protections loom for sage grouse
The U.S. government is getting serious about protecting sage grouse — gradually — according to conservationists reviewing the latest land-management guidelines. The Bureau of Land Management released a set of guidelines Tuesday for protecting the imperiled range birds during a planning phase expected to last a couple of years. That part, subject to local BLM managers’ case-by-case interpretations, disappoints activists who hoped for immediate restrictions on drilling, mining, grazing and roads in core grouse habitat. But the agency also released planning directions, including long-term recommendations by a technical team of state and federal biologists. It contains potentially huge changes — such as a 3-mile buffer around the birds’ breeding flats — that conservationists believe will help the BLM curtail habitat destruction. Facing a 2015 review over the bird’s potential threatened or endangered status, they believe, the BLM will have to adopt the science it just released to preserve the species. "It’s going to be very difficult for the agency to unring this bell," said Erik Molvar, a wildlife biologist with the Laramie, Wyo.-based Biodiversity Conservation Alliance...more