For immediate release: May 11, 2021
Greta Anderson, Western Watersheds Project (520)623-1878; firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Saul, Center for Biological Diversity (303) 915-8303; email@example.com
Steve Holmer, American Bird Conservancy (202-744-6459; firstname.lastname@example.org
Washington, D.C. – The Biden Administration took important steps towards restoring the Obama-era sage grouse management plans today by announcing plans to resume withdrawing important grouse habitat from mineral entry on ten million acres of the birds’ most important habitat.
“The Trump Administration steadily knocked the legs out from under the 2015 Obama-era sage- grouse plans by undermining key provisions like the mineral withdrawal and then by revising the plans completely to weaken any remaining protections” said Greta Anderson, deputy director of Western Watersheds Project. “Today’s actions are important first steps towards rectifying the losses of the last four years, but based on current population and habitat trends, more steps will be needed to strengthen existing management.”
A recent study by the U.S. Geological Survey estimated Greater sage grouse have declined 80 percent rangewide since 1965 and nearly 40 percent just since 2002. The report also shows that there is only a 50% chance that most breeding grounds, called leks, will be productive 60 years from now if current conditions persist. This research underscores the need for the current administration to act decisively if it intends to put sage grouse on the road to recovery.
“This is an encouraging sign for reviving the efforts to conserve the Greater sage grouse,” said Steve Holmer of American Bird Conservancy. “The mineral withdrawal and mitigation policies are important components of the conservation strategy that were wrongly abandoned and now can be restored. The management plans also need to be strengthened due to grouse population declines and habitat loss, and to better address climate change.”
“We are encouraged to see Secretary Haaland and Acting Director Culver taking steps to reverse the prior Administration’s wanton attacks on the imperiled greater sage-grouse. We look forward to working with the Department of the Interior on a new vision for this magnificent bird’s most important remaining habitats – a vision based on what science tells us is necessary to preserve the sagebrush steppe and steer the sage grouse of their current road towards extinction,” said Michael Saul, senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity.