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US Forest Service Continues Public Meetings on Greater Sage-Grouse DEIS

The USFS is encouraging the public to attend DEIS public comment open house meetings.  Several information stations will be located within the meeting venue that will present information on key issues, the planning process, and the public commenting process. Attendees can learn about the amendment comment process, ask questions, and provide comments on the actions being considered.  Meetings are continuing in Wyoming, Nevada, Idaho, and Utah.

Wyoming:  All meetings will be held from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
October 22, 2018, Room PF 108 at the Pathfinder Building, 1400 East College Drive, Cheyenne
October 23, 2018, Pinedale Public Library, 155 S. Tyler Avenue, Pinedale

Nevada:  All meetings will be held from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
November 7, 2018, Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest Supervisor’s Office, 1200 Franklin Way, Sparks
November 8, 2018 Elko Convention Center, 700 Moren Way, Elko

Idaho:  All meetings will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. 
November 26, 2018, Idaho Fish and Game Headquarters Trophy Room , 600 S. Walnut Street, Boise
November 29, 2018, Idaho Fish and Game, 324 South 417 East, Jerome
December 17, 2018, Challis Community Center, 411 Clinic Road, Challis
December 18, 2018, Caribou‐Targhee Forest Headquarters Office, 1405 Hollipark Drive, Idaho Falls 

Utah:  All meetings will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
December 11, Festival Hall, 105 N. 100 E, Cedar City
December 12, Utah State University-Uintah Basin, 320 N. Aggie Blvd (2000 W), Vernal
December 13, Utah State University Extension, 151 N. Main Street, Tooele

Intermountain and Rocky Mountain Regions Publish a DEIS for Sage-Grouse

The Forest Service is proposing to amend the Forest Service land management plans that were created in 2015 regarding greater sage-grouse conservation in the states of Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Wyoming, and Utah.  The Forest Service is publishing the Notice of Availability announcing the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on October 5, 2018, which will initiate a 90-day comment period. Commenters are encouraged to provide specific responses to textual edits that are being considered.

Please submit comments via one of the following methods:

  1. Public participation portal (preferred): https://cara.ecosystem-management.org/​Public/​CommentInput?​project=​52904
  2. Mail: Sage-grouse Amendment Comment, USDA Forest Service Intermountain Region, Federal Building, 324 25th Street, Ogden, UT 84401
  3. Email: comments-intermtn-regional-office@fs.fed.us
  4. Facsimile: 801-625-5277

All comments, including names and addresses when provided, are placed in the record and are available for public inspection and copying. The public may inspect comments received online via the public reading room at: https://cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public/ReadingRoom?project=52904.

Public Participation Strategy

Summary of Comments to Notice of Intent to Amend Sage-Grouse Plans

The Intermountain and Rocky Mountain Regions of the Forests Service incorporated standards and guidelines for the conservation of greater sage-grouse into forest plans in 2015. As plans have been implemented, potential inefficiencies and difficulties have been identified. An initial Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare a draft Environmental Impact Statement was published and then after initial input, the Forest Service released a supplemental NOI with specific proposed actions for comment. The public comment period ended on August 15, 2018. The comments received have been summarized into a report that is available online.

Bulletin

This bulletin provides an update on plan amendment timelines and release of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS).

Extension of Comment Period on Supplemental Notice of Intent for Greater Sage-Grouse Plans

The Forest Service is extending the comment period on the supplemental Notice of Intent to amend greater sage-grouse plans. The new deadline is August 15th, as published in the Federal Register. The FS planning process emphasizes public participation, and this current NOI solicits public comments on proposed actions on land management for greater sage-grouse.

Bulletin

In this bulletin you will find an update on the publication of the Corrected Supplemental Notice of Intent (NOI) in the Federal Register, including links to the specific, proposed plan changes.  With the publication of the July 2, 2018 correction, the comment period for the NOI will extend to August 1, 2018.    This bulletin also addresses cooperating agency requests and plan amendment timelines.

Proposed Text Adjustments in Forest Service Sage-Grouse Plans

The Forest Service is proposing to amend the Forest Service land management plans that were amended in 2015 regarding greater sage-grouse conservation in the states of Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Wyoming, and Utah.  A Supplemental Notice of Intent (NOI) to create a Draft Environmental Impact Statement was published in the Federal Register on June 20, 2018.  The NOI listed several categories of potential changes, but more specific proposed adjustments to the text in the plans can be found by following the links for Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Wyoming, Utah. Commenters are encouraged to provide specific responses to textual edits that are being considered.

Bulletin

This Sage-Grouse Bulletin provides an update on the development of plan amendments in advance of a June 21, 2018 Notice of Intent. It also includes information on planning timelines and the decision framework.

Forest Service Communication Strategy for Greater Sage-Grouse Planning

The U.S. Forest Service is considering developing amendments to current sage-grouse conservation plans.  Public involvement is important for adding meaningful participation from the early phases of planning through finalization of the plan amendments and subsequent monitoring. A public participation strategy has been designed to assist with communication within the Forest Service and between the Forest Service and the public. 

Comments on Greater Sage-Grouse Plans Received and Summarized

The Northern, Intermountain, and Rocky Mountain Regions of the Forests Service incorporated standards and guidelines for the conservation of greater sage-grouse into forest plans in 2015. As plans have been implemented, potential inefficiencies and difficulties have been identified. To thoroughly and transparently explore the effectiveness of the plans, the Forests Service asked for comments from the public during a comment period which ran from November 21, 2017 to January 19, 2018. The comments received have been summarized into a report that is available online.


On November 27, 2017, the Forest Service provided public notice of an administrative change we intended to make to the land management plans that were altered on September 16, 2015. This administrative change does not affect any plan components, only other plan content, as it extends the timeframe for implementing of livestock grazing direction. 


Ogden, Utah, November 21, 2017 – The U.S. Forest Service published a Notice of Intent (NOI) to seek comments on the sage-grouse plan amendments that were adopted in 2015. The NOI was published to the Federal Register Tuesday, November 21.”

Grazing Permits and Greater Sage-grouse Time-frame Change
The Northern, Intermountain, and Rocky Mountain Regions of the Forests Service incorporated standards and guidelines for the conservation of greater sage-grouse into forest plans in 2015. All of the plan components for sage-grouse conservation remain in effect, but the timing of implementation of grazing guidelines will vary from the plans’ initial timelines.


A story map has been created to provide highlights of some accomplishments made by federal agencies and partners in conserving the sagebrush ecosystem. Implementation Guides are available on the Washington Office Sage-Grouse web page. 


2016 Accomplishment Report-- Greater Sage-Grouse Conservation the Sagebrush Ecosystem; Collaborative Conservation at Work

What is the Forest Service doing to benefit Sage-grouse?

Close up of a Male Sage-GrouseThe Lucky Peak Nursery helps support the efforts towards conservation of the Greater sage-grouse (GRSG) habitat. The nursery, located on the Boise National Forest, propagates sagebrush seeds into seedlings which will be used in the restoration of dry, grassy plains essential to the GRSG habitat.

Photo of a burn going on through an area for sage-grouse habitat improvement.The Sawtooth National Forest has completed many projects on the Forest to benefit sage-grouse habitat.  

Photo of a DNR employee holding a radio collared sage-grouse with a volunteer standing next to him.The Manti-La Sal National Forest worked with Southern Utah Fuels Company, Utah State University Extension, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, and Utah Watershed Restoration Initiative to install guzzlers and radio collared sage-grouse in the Wildcat Knolls and South Horn Mountain Areas. They have also worked on sagebrush habitat projects in the Wildcat Knolls area and in the Joes Valley Corridor.

Photo of two people marking fences with yellow streamers.The Curlew National Grassland on the Caribou-Targhee National Forest partnered with volunteers, conservation groups, Boy Scouts of America and local high schools to accomplish a couple of projects on the grassland.  Learn more the marking fences and protecting wet meadows and riparian areas projects.

The Douglas Ranger District of the Thunder Basin National Grassland has partnered with the Thunder Basin Grasslands Prairie Ecosystem Association on a large-scale sagebrush mapping project to help land managers identify and prioritize greater sage-grouse habitat. The project has been underway since 2011 to produce a first-of-its-kind sagebrush canopy cover map. This project will use high-resolution aerial imagery and sage-grouse location data to identify areas for management action, such as restoration or maintenance.

Sage-GrouseThe Heber-Kamas Ranger District of the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest has partnered with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources to create openings in thick sagebrush cover to promote sage-grouse use. Read more about this effort.

Photo of four sage-grouse in a grassy meadow.  Three of them are hens.The West Desert Adaptive Resource Management Sage-Grouse Working Group has collaborated to remove encroaching conifer in the Vernon, Utah area. Read more about this effort.

Photo of two people placing a radio collar on a Sage-grouse.The Salmon-Challis National Forest began using telemetry to gain an understanding of the distribution and location of Sage-grouse seasonal habitats. Read more about this effort.

Sage-GrouseThe Washington Fire minimally impacted the Bi-State sage-grouse habitat and did not affect any nesting or lekking sites. Read more about the fire effects on the habitat.

 

Click to view Forest and District Habitat Maps

Two US Forest Service Records of Decision and associated land management plan amendments are the culmination of an unprecedented planning effort in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management to conserve greater sage-grouse and its habitat on National Forest System lands and Bureau of Land Management-administered lands.

Sage-Grouse Conservation Overview

The greater sage-grouse, an iconic species of the sagebrush steppe ecosystem, currently occupies an estimated 56% of its historic range. Greater sage-grouse populations have been declining for more than 40 years. The Forest Service manages approximately 8% of the remaining greater sage-grouse habitat and is responsible for helping to ensure that greater sage- grouse populations persist. The conservation measures in five Forest Service land management plan amendments protect the greater sage-grouse by maintaining and restoring the sagebrush steppe ecosystem. Read an overview of the Forest Service strategy.

Records of Decision and Plan Amendments

 

Facts & Information

GIS Data

GIS Data Contacts

 

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