Sage Grouse Conservation Partnership
January-February News and Updates (Sent March 5, 2018)
BLM hearing on RMPA in Burns BLM Public Hearing on RMPA in Burns
Federal Updates
BLM Resource Management Plan Review--Scoping Report Released
Pursuant to Secretarial Order 3353, the Dept. of Interior and BLM published a “Notice of Intent to Amend Land Use Plans Regarding Greater Sage-Grouse Conservation and Prepare Associated Environmental Impact Statements or Environmental Assessments” (published October, 2017 at Fed. Reg. 4310-84).  The public comment and scoping period has since concluded and BLM continues to determine next steps pursuant to the input received within Oregon and beyond.
On March 2nd, DOI / BLM released the Potential Amendments to Land Use Plans Regarding Greater Sage-Grouse Scoping Report, summarizing the process and public comments received during the formal scoping period. The scoping report was released with a cover letter from Deputy Secretary Bernhardt highlighting actions taken as part of the plan amendment process.
Dept. of Interior Mitigation Policy Changes
Released December 22, 2017, Secretarial Order 3360 rescinds previous BLM mitigation and climate direction deemed inconsistent with Secretarial Order 3349 “America’s Energy Independence” and related Presidential Executive Order 13783.  SO 3360 ("Improving Mitigation Policies and Practices of the Department of the Interior") speaks to the development of a new Instruction Memorandum on mitigation.
The issuance of SO 3360 is in addition to DOI’s publication of Federal Register Notice (82 FR 51382) dated November 06, 2017, seeking comment on portions of the US Fish & Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) Mitigation Policy and related Endangered Species Act Compensatory Mitigation Policy (ESA-CMP).  This notice sought public comments on existing Mitigation Policy and ESA-CMP mitigation planning goals--as developed in late 2016 pursuant to a Presidential Memo that has since been rescinded by Executive Order 13783 (March 28, 2017)--and focused in particular on whether to retain or remove “net conservation gain” as a mitigation planning goal within the USFWS’s mitigation policies.  The public comment period has been closed since January and DOI’s next steps remain to be determined.

Big Game Habitat, Migration Corridors, and Hunting
On February 9, 2018, DOI released Secretarial Order 3362, which seeks to improve habitat quality and western big game winter range and migration corridors​ for antelope, elk, and mule deer. ​The order fosters improved collaboration with states and ​private landowners, seeks to advance hunting opportunities, and facilitates all parties ​using the best available science to inform development of guidelines that helps ensure that robust big game populations continue to exist. “Secretary Zinke Prioritizes Conservation & Big Game Migration Corridors” Press Release
BLM Programmatic Implementation Proposal--Fuelbreaks and Habitat Restoration
On January 17, 2018, BLM issued a press release announcing its intent to advance two Programmatic Environmental Impact Statements (PEIS’s) and related public meetings regarding wildfire reduction (fuel breaks) and sagebrush habitat restoration. Public scoping sessions were held in Oregon February 7 in Lakeview and February 8 in Burns. The two EISs are fuel breaks and hazardous fuels reduction/rangeland restoration (which will include rehabilitation of burned areas, but is not limited to only those areas). Descriptions of each below:
  • BLM is proposing to construct a system of fuel breaks across the Great Basin in order to further protect life and property, and to sustain its multiple-use public lands. These fuel breaks would provide a proactive approach by which the BLM could reduce the number of acres burned annually, and decrease loss of life and property, increase multiple-use opportunities, and protect habitat.
  • BLM is proposing hazardous fuels reduction and rangeland restoration to protect and conserve the sagebrush steppe ecosystem so that it is capable of delivering sustainable goods and services, such as healthy rangelands, clean water, and recreational opportunities, while at the same time conserving and protecting wildlife and their natural surroundings.
Lakeview Lek Tours
Reserve your spot on a guided lek tour March 10 or April 7th.  Viewing is limited to 20 people per tour in order to minimize the potential for disturbance to the sage-grouse. To reserve a spot, contact Larisa Bogardus at  541)-947-6237 or
NRCS Funding Opportunity
Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) funding is now available through the Sage Grouse Initiative to help Oregon ranchers “save water, reduce wildfire risk and improve rangeland health.” The next application deadline for funding is March 16, 2018. SageCon partners may be interested in this funding to help advance implementation efforts relevant to rangeland health and habitat.  Further details can be found in the press release below:
Science Synthesis
With significant contributions from the NRCS Sage Grouse Initiative, USGS developed the following annotated bibliography/synthesis of greater sage-grouse scientific research published since the 2015 no-list decision:
Additional articles advanced as part of the 2015-2017 NRCS Sage Grouse Initiative Science Synthesis Include:

State Updates
ODFW Staff Updates/Transitions
  • Lee Foster continues to be the Oregon Sage-Grouse Conservation Coordinator stationed in Hines. His role is to advance conservation strategies statewide as well as oversee field work.
  • Nigel Seidel has been hired as the ODFW Mitigation Coordinator as a permanent position (thanks to all who helped express the need for continued funding to the legislature last session). He formerly worked as the Northeast Oregon Energy Coordinator for ODFW including consultation on the Boardman to Hemingway project.
  • Pete Baki, who recently served as the Sage-grouse Mitigation Coordinator,  has transitioned back to work on fish issues as the ODFW Fish Passage Liaison.
  • Dave Budeau, ODFW’s Upland Game Bird Coordinator, recently retired. He served on the Range-wide Interagency Sage-grouse Conservation Technical Team (RISCT) and the State Technical Team, contributing pivotal research and technical expertise on sage-grouse issues and policy development. Dave’s contributions to sage-grouse and other upland bird conservation, research, and recreational enjoyment have been immense over the years.  Thank you Dave! ODFW is in the process of filling this position and should have a coordinator announced soon.
SB644 and DOGAMI next steps
During its 2017 session, the Oregon Legislature passed SB644 related to permitting larger-scale mining operations on significant mineral resource sites in certain counties, including requirements related to land uses in exclusive farm use zones, county-level versus statewide permitting review, and statewide land use planning goals and rules relating to land use. Stakeholders interested in learning more information about what types of mining (uranium, rare minerals, etc.) are subject to the bill and the nature and scope of the adopted / intended regulatory process should follow up with Ian Madin Deputy Director and Chief Scientist, DOGAMI ( 
Credit: Partners in the Sage
Multimedia Communications, Reports and Research
The Great Basin Fire Exchange is hosting a webinar series starting March 8 and running through May 5th on the topic of, “Managing Cheatgrass by Putting What We Know Into Practice.”  This series--in partnership with NRCS, ARS, BLM and the USFS--will involve 5 different web-based presentations, with relevance to invasive plants beyond cheatgrass as well.  See the above link for the schedule and links to presentations.
Partners in the Sage made 30 educational videos available on their website on the topics of “Sagebrush Country’s Resilience, Resistance and Emerald Islands”:
NRCS SGI released a new map series to show the dynamics around songbird populations and habitat in sagebrush country:
Sage Grouse in the 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
Sage-Grouse Conservation Partnership Resources 
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