Sage Grouse Conservation Partnership
April Mailer (Sent  April 18, 2017)
Federal Updates
Secretarial Order 3349:  On March 29, one day after President Trump signed the Executive Order entitled “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth”, Secretary of Interior Zinke initiated the review (and set forth relevant timelines) of agency actions, policies and practices identified in that EO by signing Secretarial Order 3349 (“American Energy Independence”).  The review’s stated objective is to “identify agency actions that unnecessarily burden the development or utilization of the Nation’s energy resources and support action to appropriately and lawfully suspend, revise, or rescind such actions as soon as practicable.”  In addition to this review’s future implications for shaping Dept. of the Interior (BLM and USFWS) policy related to sage-grouse conservation, rangeland communities, and economies, the Order specifically:
  • Revokes Secretarial Order 3330 signed in October 2013 entitled “Improving Mitigation Policies and Practices of the Department of the Interior”.  Actions taken to date pursuant to Sec. Order 3330 (including the landscape mitigation goals and deliverables contained in the April 2014 report entitled “A Strategy for Improving Mitigation Policies and Practices of the Department of the Interior”) will be “reviewed for possible reconsideration, modification, or rescission as appropriate.”  (*NOTE:  this revocation flows from the Presidential EO, which rescinded the November 2015 Presidential Memo entitled “Mitigating Impacts on Natural Resources from development and Encouraging Related Private Investment.”)
  • Reconfirms the direction to BLM to rescind its March 2015 rule entitled “Oil and Gas; Hydraulic fracturing on Federal and Indian Lands.”
  • Directs BLM to review its January 2017 rule entitled “Waste Prevention, Production Subject to Royalties, and Resource Conservation.”
  • Directs each DOI bureau and office head to identify all existing actions issued by them that “potentially burden … the development or utilization of domestically produced energy resources, with particular attention to oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear resources.” (Link to DOI Press Release)
BLM developed an Information Bulletin released April 4, 2017 to serve as formal notification of the 2016 adaptive management triggers and an overview of the Causal Factor Process to District offices:
BLM in Oregon is in their second season of implementing Assessment, Inventory, and Monitoring  (AIM) points across all eastside districts. This season there will be 5 crews from the Great Basin Institute, 6 crews from the Institute for Natural Resources and 1 crew from the Chicago Botanical Garden. These crews collect standardized, core vegetation data with additional indicators added to address sage-grouse habitat objectives in Table 2.2 of the ARMPA (Link). Crews are scheduled to collect 600 plots this year in addition to over 600 plots collected in 2016.
NRCS held an All-SWCD meeting in Ontario March 15, 2017 regarding Oregon CCAA process coordination, implementation and strategic planning. For all NRCS Sage Grouse Initiative updates, visit their website:
State Updates
The 2017 Legislative Session is underway in Salem.  Under consideration are various policy bills and budget matters of relevance to the SageCon effort and related habitat, rural community and economy concerns:
Policy Bills--Among the variety of bills related to sage-grouse, habitat, and rural communities / economies, SB 644 and SB 432 are among bills that, as currently proposed, could affect the state land use and mitigation rules advanced through the SageCon effort and associated Rules Advisory Committees (RACs) and agency commission decisions (Fish & Wildlife, and Land Conservation and Development, and Fish & Wildlife).  
Budget--various SageCon partners are working together to secure funding related to mitigation (economic development and habitat efforts), conflict resolution and coordination capacity, wildfire (RFPA's), and noxious weeds.  Click HERE for the link to a 1-pager being circulated by some partners, and for further information, updates or desire to engage on budget matters, please contact:  Bruce Taylor: 
ODFW completed helicopter surveys in the Cow Valley and Bully Creek PACs in March despite less than optimal conditions including heavy rain, mud, and snow. From the air, ODFW staff spotted 30 potential new lek locations and there is currently a technician confirming those leks on the ground.  A preliminary population estimate won’t be available until June or July, with a detailed report released in September/October.
At the LCDC meeting on March 20, 2017, DLCD staff proposed initiation of rulemaking to establish limited revisions to OAR 660-023-0115 (Land Use rule developed through the SageCon process) regarding data layers relevant to the sage grouse development registry called for in the rules ("Specifically, the department is proposing to exchange the use of a proprietary dataset depicting the location of transmission lines in favor of a dataset that is state owned and maintained.”).  LCDC is expected to act on this rulemaking at its May 2017 meeting, and in the meantime DLCD is engaging in public outreach including convening the Resource Advisory Committee of entities who engaged in the initial rule development.  To read the full report, visit the DLCD website (Link)

Local Implementation Teams
A subgroup of the Baker LIT met April 10th to work on refining the Baker PAC Comprehensive Threat Reduction Plan. LIT meetings will be held in Prineville and Vale/Jordan Valley in late May/early June. For more information  including meeting materials and upcoming dates see:
    Live-streaming Leks
    As a collaborative effort between USFWS, The Nature Conservancy and private landowners; a webcam has been set up outside Bend to show lek activities to a public audience (meanwhile reducing impacts such as early morning vehicle/foot traffic in sensitive areas). Direct link to lek web cam here :
    Media coverage and an additional viewing option in Lakeview are linked below.
    Sage Grouse In the News*
    "Officials Discuss Sage Grouse" (Baker City Herald): link to pdf
    “Sage Grouse Need Intact Landscapes For Long-Distance Movement” (Sage Grouse Initiative):
    "Livestock grazing effects on sage-grouse: study identifies options to sustain ranching and help wildlife" (USGS):
    “Zinke Looks West For Deputies and Priorities, Rejected VA Job” (EE News):
    "Will Trump Revamp Complex Plan to Save Endangered Sage Grouse?" (Science Magazine):
    "Split Decision in Western War on Sage Grouse" (Courthouse News):
    *Please Note, these news stories/links don’t represent the totality of sage-grouse-related articles in the news, nor do they represent endorsement of any statements made as part of the story. If you have news stories to share, please pass them along
    Help Us Keep Updates Rolling In...

    The Mailer is designed to round up information from partner meetings, reports and implementation activities around the state--please send leads our way. Further, the SageCon Partnership distribution list is maintained to the best of our ability to reflect stakeholder/staffing changes. Please help us stay up to date by reviewing / editing your contact information directly (see link below), and please add your direct phone # if you are willing.  Send along related information to Julia Babcock at: review/edit your information directly, find below a link to the current distribution list:

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