Partner Updates, SageCon Summit Highlights and Survey
Partner Updates, SageCon Summit Highlights and Survey
Sage Grouse Conservation Partnership
July-September 2019 News and Updates (Sent October 10, 2019)
The 2019 SageCon Summit 
Thanks to the 65+ partners who gathered around the field and table in Burns for the 4th Annual Sage-Grouse Conservation PartnershipSummit, highlights included:
 *45 participants scanned the sagebrush sea along the Miller Homestead Fire Field Tour. Special thanks to our speakers for sharing their lessons learned from the fire's progression, reseeding and replanting efforts, research and capacity investments to reduce future fire risks and restore sagebrush landscapes; from Burns BLM District (Autumn Toelle-Jackson, Casey O'Connor and Jamie McCormack), ARS (Chad Boyd), The Nature Conservancy (Jay Kerby), ODFW (Lee Foster) and RFPA volunteer/Rancher Gary Miller.
*Welcome from the Burns Pauite Tribe and Representative Witt (Senate Environment and Natural Resource Committee) with reflections around the value of proactive, landscape scale investments for sagebush communities to reduce fire and invasive threats and restore  habitat. 
*Oregon's Sage-Grouse an Sagebrush Status, Trends and Efforts Presentation (link to presentation) from Megan Creutzburg-INR, Lee Foster-ODFW and Molly Anthony-BLM.
*Sara Greenberger (former U.S. DOI staff under the Obama Administration) and Cally Younger (current DOI staff under the Trump Administration) discussion of collaboration under different Administrations and how Oregon has stood out for its locally led initiatives to address threats such as CCAA's and RFPA's. 
*Reflections from foundational leaders of thr SageCon partnership; retired Harney County Judge Steve Grasty and retired BLM Deputy Director Mike Haske on why building the SageCon Partnership was the right thing to do and the responsibilities of partners to stay at the table and continue bridging capacity and resource needs across the urban-rural divide. 
*Report out from the Harney Wildifire Collaborative and its work testing proactive approaches from fuel breaks to outcome-based grazing to restoration under the first ever agreement in a Wildnerness Study Area to alter fuel structures (Summit presentation link). 
Please share your feedback and comments on the Summit experience this year to help inform and improve planning for the 2020 Summit through this survey:
Representative Witt DOI Panelists Cally Younger and Sara Greenberger with Brett Brownscombe-NPCC Retired Harney County Judge Steve Grasty and Retired BLM Deputy Director Mike Haske
State Updates

Executive Summary: During the 2019 greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) breeding season, 1,737 aerial and ground lek surveys were conducted at 755 individual lek sites comprising 489 lek complexes.  Surveys were conducted at 64.0% of known lek sites in the state. Survey effort during 2019 declined 5.8%, 7.7%, and 6.9% from 2018 levels, in terms of number of surveys conducted, number of leks surveyed, and number of complexes surveyed, respectively.  Despite the decline, this constitutes the second highest survey effort accomplished in Oregon to date. Results from these surveys indicate the sage-grouse spring breeding population in Oregon declined by -24.9% between 2018 and 2019, to 13,827 estimated individuals (±1,028 individuals).  This constitutes the lowest sage-grouse population estimate in Oregon during the 1980 – 2019 analysis period. 

State Local Implementation Teams (LIT's) (update from Julie Unfried) 
A detailed update on community outreach and events is available to reflect Julie’s initial meetings with community members listening to capacity needs to support the Prineville and Vale LIT’s. Thanks to all of the SageCon Partners who have met with Julie or invited her to related meetings and workshops since she came on board in April 2019 as the Local Implementation Team Coordinator through a partnership with Pheasants Forever, Intermountain West Joint Venture, BLM and ODFW. 

DLCD (update from Jon Jinings) regarding the requested  $1,075,258 in federal funding requested and coordination around the Community Adjustment Planning Assistance in Response to Siting of Energy Projects to Support Department of Defense Mission Interests.The Department of Defense is assessing sites owned in Oregon for renewable energy development and is coordinating with DLCD, ODOE and other state agencies to flag species conflict areas including where there is protected sage-grouse populations and habitat.

ODF (update from Marvin Vetter)
The Fields-Andrews RFPA signed a Cooperative Fire Agreement with the BLM last spring that made them eligible for the Rural Fire Readiness Grant (RFR). This allows the BLM to donate equipment to its Cooperators with the Fields-Andrews RFPA receiving a stocked Type 6 engine with radio, tools, and accessories to respond to range fires. This is the first donation to Oregon RFPAs through the RFR grant. This program will continue to help strengthen the firefighting efforts in the desert. Thanks to Brent Meisinger from BLM East Ops who facilitated this donation.

ODOE (update from Maxwell Woods)
On May 22, 2019 the Department issued the Draft Proposed Order​ (DPO), recommending EFSC approval of the proposed facility (see below). The issuance of the DPO initiates a public comment period that has been extended to August 22, 2019 at 5 p.m. (EFSC extended the deadline in response to a public request at the June 26 public hearing in Pendleton). The Department and EFSC held a series of public hearings on the DPO in June 2019. Read transcripts from the hearings in Ontario​, Baker City, La Grande, Pendleton and Boardman​.
Federal Updates

Vale District is seeking input on grazing alternatives as part of the initiation of an  environmental impact statement for the Louse Canyon Geographic Management Area. The scoping period for public comment runs through October 15th:

Oregon RFPA's are benefitting from BLM's  Rural Fire Readiness Grant (RFR)

Forest Service Issues Final Environmental Impact Statement and Draft Records of Decision for Greater Sage-grouse Conservation:
Upcoming Events
Upcoming Webinar “Transforming Conflict into Collaborative Action” coming up October 16, 2019 focused on facilitations tools from ROGER in NV:

Join Eastern Oregon ARS and the Upper Snake River Tribes on October 28, 2019 in Burns for the Rangeland Management in a Dynamic Climate Event. Contact Chad Boyd or Jason Kesling to RSVP:
Save the Date WAFWA 2020
June 22-25, 2020 Bend Oregon:

SageCon Technical Resources on the Web
The SageCon website provides information about the partnership, the Oregon Sage-Grouse Action Plan, tools to aid in implementation and monitoring of the state Action Plan, and other resources. Decision support tools have been developed by the SageCon Partnership to aid in coordinated planning throughout sage-grouse habitat in the state. The Oregon Sage-Grouse Development Siting Tool allows developers and planners to input potential project footprints and get information about the mitigation hierarchy and likely impacts to sage-grouse. The SageCon Landscape Planning Tool (formerly called the Data Viewer) has also been updated with new vegetation maps and other spatial data for rangelands in the state, and will soon allow users to create customized queries to identify areas for potential restoration, protection, or other priorities based on the best geospatial data available within the state. In addition, SageCon is also producing guidance for using remotely sensed rangeland maps, including a curated list of map products that may be helpful for assessment of rangeland conditions and management planning in Oregon. Over the next year, the partnership plans to create an online SageCon Dashboard to highlight monitoring information and success stories of the SageCon partnership – stay tuned in the upcoming months for more!
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