Final BLM Plans Released on Greater Sage Grouse

The Bureau of Land Management has issued Records of Decision (RODs) amending land use plans for Greater Sage-Grouse habitat management on public lands, providing special protective measures for nearly 60 million acres of sagebrush steppe.

The decisions received bipartisan support from the governors who sought revisions to the plans that guide conservation of sagebrush steppe habitat on BLM-administered public lands in their respective states. The goal was to better align BLM plans for managing habitat with state plans for conserving the species.

“The Industrial Minerals Association – North America (IMA-NA) welcomes the decisions taken as they generally are in line with the extensive comments IMA-NA and allied mining associations filed on the Greater Sage Grouse during the Trump and Obama administrations,” the association said in a statement.

“Months of close coordination and cooperation with state governments in Wyoming, Nevada, California, Idaho, Oregon, Utah and Colorado has gone into the development of today’s decision,” said Acting Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt. “The plans adopted today show that listening to and working with our neighbors at the state and local levels of government is the key to long-term conservation and to ensuring the viability of local communities across the West.”  

Colorado Governor Jared Polis welcomed the amended plan: "We are pleased that the Bureau of Land Management addressed our comments brought forward during the Governor's Consistency Review. Our focus now turns to implementation and creating successful outcomes on the ground. We look forward to working with the BLM and our local communities to move important conservation measures forward to protect Greater Sage-Grouse in Colorado."

“The state of Nevada thanks the Bureau of Land Management for incorporating our concerns and respecting the Greater Sage-Grouse habitat plan developed cooperatively by Nevada state agencies and local stakeholders,” said Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak. “In particular, Nevada appreciates the BLM’s commitment to compensatory mitigation as an integral part of the success of Nevada’s habitat management plan. We look forward to working closely with the BLM Nevada Office and the Department of Interior leadership to ensure the revised habitat plans are fully successful.”

“This balanced decision will improve conditions for sage-grouse and hundreds of other species while maintaining certainty and predictability for ranchers, developers, and the public,” Idaho Governor Brad Little said. “Idaho’s work with the Department of the Interior and Acting Secretary Bernhardt is a model for shared conservation stewardship that enhances rangelands across the state.”  

“This new BLM plan improves upon the 2015 federal sage-grouse plans by incorporating the best available science and aligning with the State’s 2019 Conservation Plan for Greater Sage-Grouse,” said Utah Governor Gary Herbert. “I support BLM’s ongoing efforts to work with the state, and other stakeholders, to conserve, enhance, and restore sage-grouse habitats throughout Utah. The state of Utah remains committed to working with BLM, and the Department of Interior to implement this revised BLM plan to manage sage-grouse habitats in Utah.”

"I appreciate all of the diligence that went into these plan amendments and how responsive the Department of Interior has been to Wyoming's approach. I believe the updates are surgical and recognize that the Greater sage-grouse is a state-managed species," Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon said. "A diversity of perspectives have gone into building Wyoming's conservation strategy that include ranchers, conservation groups, oil and gas, mining companies and hunters. Thanks to this well-established, balanced approach and the BLM's plan amendments, Wyoming will continue to conserve sage-grouse and provide predictability to the state's economy."

“Collaboration is hard work, and I appreciate the efforts by our stakeholders, state agencies and the Department of Interior to craft an agreement to protect the sage grouse,” said Oregon Governor Kate Brown. “Balancing sage-grouse habitat protection and economic development requires mitigation of negative impacts. This agreement is a critical step that marks a shift away from planning toward active conservation and landscape management to protect this iconic species. Oregon’s bounty is beautiful and worth continuing to protect and fight for.”