Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Jury still out on success of sagebrush protections

Fifty years ago, sagebrush in the West seemed endless, inexhaustible … and worthless. Land managers and landowners did not conserve sagebrush; they were asked to remove it. Until, that is, land managers realized that sagebrush actually hosted a diverse variety of life. The abundant greater sage-grouse was disappearing, along with 350 other sage species, from mule deer to pygmy rabbits. Holly Copeland Management shifted from sagebrush eradication to sagebrush conservation. But while it was straightforward to eliminate sage, a reversal was more difficult. To halt declines of grouse — and avert a listing under the Endangered Species Act — state and federal agencies worked together on science and actions to benefit grouse. As a result, one year ago, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service made a landmark decision not to list sage grouse as an endangered species. But a year later many are wondering: Are these plans working?...more

No comments: