Sage Grouse Decision Validates Landowner Conservation Efforts
September 22, 2015
The Western Landowners Alliance announces that today’s decision by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) finding the greater sage grouse as not warranted for listing validates the power of proactive, collaborative conservation.
“The twenty-year long collaboration between landowners, agriculture, industry, conservation organizations, agencies and all levels of government to address the issues affecting the greater sage grouse has provided a template for future conservation successes,” said Lesli Allison, Executive Director of the Western Landowners Alliance.
“We commend and thank the many landowners who stepped up voluntarily to conserve sage grouse populations through habitat restoration, resource management and conservation easements. Their efforts and leadership have led in large part to today’s decision” she added.
The Western Landowners Alliance urges that in the wake of the USFWS’s announcement, it’s crucial that all stakeholders continue to implement the hard-earned plans developed through this collaborative process.
“Conservation is a process, not an event — the greater sage grouse conservation effort that has begun must be maintained into the future, for the sake of sage grouse and other wildlife as well as western landowners and rural communities,” Allison said.
The Western Landowners Alliance maintains that success in this effort will depend on fostering collaborative conservation efforts to support those who are making real progress on the ground. The Endangered Species Act was designed as a last resort to prevent the extinction of species. The members of the Western Landowners Alliance wish to see species not merely survive but to flourish. This requires healthy landscapes that can only result from long-term, voluntary stewardship.
The Sage Grouse Initiative has developed a model that works and is widely supported. To date, 1,129 ranchers have enrolled 4.4 million acres of land in conservation management for greater sage grouse. The Western Landowners Alliance asks Congress to continue support for this outstanding conservation effort. In addition, the Western Landowners Alliance recommends that Congress funds and directs the USFWS to develop and implement the necessary tools, plans and assurances landowners need to be part of the solution.
“By providing support to landowners working to conserve species and habitats today, we can avoid the need to list,” said Allison. “An ounce of prevention is still worth a pound of cure.”
As stewards of the Western landscape, the members of the Western Landowners Alliance believe it is our responsibility to ensure that both sage grouse and our rural communities survive and prosper.
Western Landowners Alliance (WLA) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization led by landowners and managers of working lands across Western North America who share a commitment to conservation-based stewardship of land and natural resources. WLA advances policies and practices that sustain working lands, connected landscapes and native species.
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