The decision by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) not to list the Greater Sage Grouse under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) was an adroit dance of politics. The plan to “save’ the sage grouse has no clothes. The government proposed solution to the bird’s decline includes 14 new sage-grouse recovery plans—consolidated from 98 distinct Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) land use plans, that the agency says will “conserve” 35 million acres of federal lands across 10 states.
The new plans adopted by the federal government may slow the bird’s decline, but are not likely to reverse its race towards extinction. The plans are mostly all show and lack real substance to address the major factors causing the bird’s demise. The most important factors are energy development, habitat fragmentation, and livestock grazing (which is intricately linked to cheatgrass wildfires burning up sage brush habitat).
SAGE GROUSE DECLINE
What is tragic about the sage grouse decline is that we are not talking about a “rare” species. The emblematic bird of the Sagebrush Sea, the sage grouse, once numbered in the millions.
|Scooped by Garry Rogers|
GR: The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U. S. Bureau of Land Management, and the U. S. Forest Service manage lands chiefly to benefit private financial interests. This becomes very clear whenever protecting an endangered species such as the Sage Grouse would reduce profits by the timber, livestock, and other industries that harvest the public land for private profits. In those cases, adequate protection is not provided. A century of management of the public lands for special interests has robbed the nation of its foundation of natural resources. Because of human nature, a government ruled by special interests rather than reason will invariably fail to conserve its resources.