Wildlife

Interagency panel identifies most-effective methods for protecting western snowy plovers from raptors

October 1, 2015. For breeding western snowy plovers—small, federally protected shorebirds that nest along the Pacific coast—the list of predators is long. Predation management for the species serves to control some of the bird’s most common predators—including coyotes, foxes, crows, and ravens—but less so for others, like raptors.

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Sage Grouse Conservation: The Proven Successful Approach

Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (http://www.fws.gov/greatersagegrouse/maps.php)The Department of the Interior is engaged in what it describes as “the largest and most complex landscape-scale land management planning effort in US history—and the most ambitious conservation experiment under the ESA [Endangered Species Act]." The object of this extraordinary attention is the greater sage grouse, a large ground-dwelling bird that inhabits 165 million acres in 11 western states.

The Interior Department has a September 30, 2015 deadline to decide whether to propose listing the greater sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act.

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Fire Patterns in the Range of the Greater Sage-Grouse, 1984-2013

usgs-logoOAKHURST, Calif. -- Overall fire threats to greater sage-grouse habitat are much higher in the western part of the species’ range than in the eastern part, according to a U.S. Geological Survey fire threats assessment study published today. 

The USGS report provides a scientific assessment of a 30-year-period of comprehensive fire data (1984-2013) across sage-grouse management zones (see map) and vegetation types that include sagebrush as a major component. Researchers evaluated the implications of these findings for conservation and management of the greater sage-grouse in wildland areas across the species’ range.

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USDA Unveils New Strategy to Conserve Sage Grouse Habitat on Private Lands

usda-mastheadDepartment to Invest Additional $211 Million to Help Ranchers Adopt Proven Conservation Methods

PORTLAND, Ore., August 27, 2015 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced a four-year strategy that will invest approximately $211 million through 2018 in conservation efforts to benefit the greater sage grouse. The strategy, known as Sage Grouse Initiative 2.0, will build on successful public and private conservation efforts made since 2010 to improve sage grouse habitat. The new plan will provide additional assistance for ranchers to make conservation improvements to their land, which mutually benefits the iconic bird and agricultural operations in 11 Western states.

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Dismissed: HSUS Lawsuit to Silence Maine’s Wildlife Professionals

U.S. Sportsmen's AllianceOn Friday, April 3, 2015 Maine Superior Court Justice Joyce Wheeler issued a final judgment in the question of the state’s ability to comment on wildlife issues. In her ruling, Wheeler sided with the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance and fully dismissed a lawsuit aimed at silencing Maine’s wildlife professionals.

The case started in the closing weeks of the Maine bear campaign over Question 1 on last November’s ballot. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), through their front group Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting, sued the state of Maine alleging an improper level of engagement in the. The “state,” in this case, was the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, whose vocal and public opposition to Question 1 didn't mesh with HSUS’ wish to stop bear hunting in the state.

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