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The Trail PAC Overview of Sage Grouse

TPAC Overview/Blog
http://thetrailpac.blogspot.com/2012/01/sage-grouse-becomes-political-issue-in.html

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By now, many trail voters are aware of the Obama Administration’s Greater Sage-Grouse planning effort that has started in a number of Western States. The Trail PAC has been reviewing this issue since mid December 2011.

As the article states below, multiple-use of public lands including recreational access is at risk.

Jan. 9 - Article on Sage-Grouse Planning and Potential Impacts
http://www.mineweb.com/mineweb/view/mineweb/en/page72068?oid=142706&sn=Detail&pid=102055

TPAC believes the 2012 election cycle is critically important to trail voters since it will be those elected federal officials -- with oversight and appointment/confirmation responsibility of unelected regulators -- who make the ultimate decision on how many public land users will be impacted by Sage-Grouse related closures.

To help TPAC elect pro-access candidates, please donate today!
http://www.thetrailpac.com/donate.html

Thanks for your support of TPAC’s effort to get the OHV voter engaged in the federal election process.


Best regards,


Don


Don Amador, Founder
The Trail Political Action Committee
www.thetrailpac.com
 

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Land Use Zeus
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this might be the biggest thing to mess up our access since the Spotted Owl shut down logging in the west.
ouch..
Del
 

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Looks like Andy and crew just found their new surrogate!

“Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics” (FSEEE) was founded in 1989, it's executive director is Andy Stahl, formerly with Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund.

He is on videotape saying he used the "Endangered Species Act" as a surrogate to destroy 35,000 forest resource workers jobs and lives.

In 1988, when he was with the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund, he said of spotted owls: "When it comes to protecting old growth, I've often thought that thank goodness the spotted owl evolved, for if it hadn't, we'd have to genetically engineer it. It's a perfect species to use as a surrogate."
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Lyin King,

10-4. This makes the Heller v. Berkley senate race in NV... all the more important.

TPAC
 

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this might be the biggest thing to mess up our access since the Spotted Owl shut down logging in the west.
ouch..
Del
Eight years in the making, this issue is on track to be the "Spotted Owl" for energy development on public lands. And, like the Spotted Owl impact on logging, recreation will be caught in the crossfire.

Keep in mind, the energy development is not limited to drilling for oil or natural gas, it is also about the vast acreage consumed for renewable energy -- solar and wind.

Stay tuned, the next few months as this plays out will reveal an interesting conundrum for recreation. And, the science presented to date does not match real world experience. Predator control is key. Restricting access and grazing is minimal impact.

Fewer ravens, more sage grouse. More cattle, more sage grouse. What a pattern. Reminiscent of the desert tortoise arguments. Predator control....
 

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Eight years in the making, this issue is on track to be the "Spotted Owl" for energy development on public lands. And, like the Spotted Owl impact on logging, recreation will be caught in the crossfire.
So with eight years to prepare for this, does OHV Recreation have any science to back this up, or scientists/experts on hand to blast the bad science?

Randii
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Randii,

Just as with the NSO, science had little to do with the decision-making... it was political.
I fear the Sage Grouse is no diff. That is why elections matter more then the science. It should be the other way around.

Don
 

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I understand that politics makes a big difference, but we had some pretty good success out here undermining Drew Coe, the enviro-weenie's in-house OHV attack dog... the key was having FOTR volunteers with the right credentials and a willingness to go to bat as professional engineers. The follow-up was RTF financing good science to confront, conflate, and contradict that bad science, further reducing its effectiveness. Now we've gotta continue to be vigilant to make sure that we get this bad science thrown out every time the anti-OHV exclusionists try to sneak it in.

We've still gotta stay politically aware and active, but bad science can be beat with good science, IMHO. I hope that motorized recreation can respond to the sage grouse with good science in real time, instead of getting caught playing catch-up as with the desert tortoise.

I'll keep voting, for sure... but I hope we have more efforts like some of the studies that OHMVR has funded over the years. With little sage grouse habitat in California, it will have to fall to a non-California organization to drive the science... but us Californians can still support the work. Is there REAL science being done on OHVs, grazing, and the grouse?

Randii
 

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The fall off in Sage Grouse populations is loss of habitat caused by Cheat Grass and Medusa Head. Well actually wildfire being able to spread in places it historically did not. With Cheat Grass filling the gaps between sage, fire readily spreads now.
How does cutting cutting People, Recreation and industry from the picture affect the Sage Grouse? The war should be with the non Native grasses not with anything else.
 

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Here they are pushing through wind farms and creating new roads through some of areas that have some of the best populations of sage grouse.

I know at some of the local meeting several people brought up this exact issue. They are locking down the lands for fear of loosing the sage grouse but have no issues with plowing in a new road for wind farms. They were basically told the wind farms were more important than the sage grouse.

Both political parties are getting what they want. Lock the public out because of the wind farms makes the libtards happy because they still get to lock people out and get their "green" energy and the donkey's are happy because they are getting the massive amount of government subsidized profits.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Lincoln,

You are right. It is the political agenda of the current admin. re. wind power and ESA that are pushing this issue.

Don
 

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I'm just starting to get my teeth into this Grouse issue, so I am no expert on this and I am just posing questions and things I've heard. But....with that said, to give a bird 4 miles of core area protection so they can fluff up in the sage brush, sure scares me. I've heard it only means no new roads and no development. But yea, right....it scares me like a logger finding a Spotted Owl nest on his logging property.....

The other thing I heard is that if we don't give this bird some safety net (habitat protection) he surely will end up on the Endangered Species list...if that happens, this core area/habitat protection will look like child's play.

I've got more homework to do here for sure. But I do believe this is a HUGE one for us.
Del
 

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The fish and game has kept the hunting season limited to 6 days with a 1 bird per day limit for a long time. I heard years ago that was to fight off the endangered species designation.

30 years ago it was really common to to see multiple covey's driving around the desert. 15 to 30 birds at a time. Those seemed to dwindle really fast in about a 10 year period.

There is still lots of prime habitat and potential habitat here if it wasn't for political things going on. Some of my opinions related to the desert across Southern Idaho.

1. Expansion of the bombing range. Even though it was supposed to be electronic targeting you can easily hear the bombs dropping 40 miles away at my parents home. I don't blame the bombing and the heavy traffic and all the roads that were built as much as I blame them for starting fires. Almost every major fire we've had up here starts in the same area from "lightening". Even a local weather caster said during the news one day there were no strikes detected that day.

2. There has been battles for years about grazing rights. Years ago they would burn or plow the sagebrush out and replant grass, a lot was cheat grass. At some point they realized how bad the cheat was even for cattle and tried replanting some of the native grass's like bunch grass but never sage. This goes back 40 years much more. Over the years there have been very pro grazing times where more was taken over and times of more restriction but never to the point of restoration.

In recent times they have been holding the grazing back too long after fires and a lot of those grass's are basically annual. They grow lay down and basically create a mat. This has intensified the fires enough they will overtake the slow burning sage brush. Combine that with some of the winds we get and the result is hot enough to kill the seeds as well. Since they usually don't put the money back in to plant sage it removes more habitat.

3. When the bird flu started it really hurt some strong populations of the bird. I was just starting to see some very promising covey's around and it killed lots of them.

China Mountain was a place you could always find them. It had someone escaped all of the political changes all these years and they were just there. My guess is those populations will start dropping now as well.

Basically everyone wants to do something except just leave it the way it had been up until 15-20 years ago. The ranchers didn't need more grazing land and there didn't need to be more wilderness, and there didn't need to be more bombing range, and there didn't need to be new and improved roads, and, and, and.

I really hate this attitude that we have to choose between wilderness or development. It doesn't have to be one or the other. I don't believe wilderness fixes anything because a lot of it has already been hurt. Historically most of these areas don't see enough traffic to do anything. The government plowing in new gravel roads and the amount of rangers the BLM has added has increased the traffic more than anything. I rarely see anyone but me when I go.

So basically I believe the politicians on both sides are hurting the sage grouse populations more than anything else. So yes it is very similar to the spotted owl issue.
 

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BlueRibbon and Sage Grouse

From doing web search stuff, it looks like BlueRibbon Coalition is taking this on with a vengeance, at least keeping us informed as to what is going on and what we need to know as this progresses. They've got a whole web page just dedicated to the Sage Grouse.

Read about and keep up with the 10-State Sage Grouse planning effort here at:
http://www.sharetrails.org/public-lands/10-state-sage-grouse-planning

Del
 

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Grouse Heads Toward Listing

Without Changes, Endangered Status will be Inevitable, Wildlife Experts Say

Maintaining the status quo when it comes to protecting Nevada’s sage grouse will eventually lead to its listing under the Endangered Species Act, a situation that could come with widespread economic impact to the state, experts said.

Instead, federal and state officials and private property owners must work together in a unified strategy to conserve increasingly threatened sagebrush habitat vital to the bird’s future, participants in a “stakeholder’s update” hosted recently by Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval’s office agreed.

“If we keep doing the same thing, we will end up with a bird that is listed,” said Amy Lueder, Nevada’s state director for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

Representatives of the BLM, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, Nevada Department of Wildlife and other agencies gathered in Carson City to discuss ongoing activities to protect sage grouse habitat and avoid its listing as a threatened or endangered species.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared in March 2010 that listing of the greater sage grouse is “warranted but precluded” across its range of 11 western states, including Nevada. That means federal scientists believe listing would be justified, but other species in bigger trouble have a higher priority.

The service has until September 2015 to decide if listing of the greater sage grouse should occur. The timeline is shorter for a separate population of sage grouse that lives along the Nevada-California border, with the deadline to determine that bird’s status set at September 2013.

Sandoval wants a recommended course of action to avoid the bird’s listing within a year, Dale Erquiaga, the governor’s senior adviser, told stakeholders.

“We recognize a sense of urgency,” Erquiaga said. “There’s no easy answer, and the stakes are high.”

The BLM, which manages the vast majority of sage grouse habitat in the West, is currently preparing a broad-based strategy to preserve land the bird depends upon that is increasingly being lost to wildfire, invading vegetation and energy development projects. The effort is being modeled on a plan to preserve “core” sage grouse habitat in Wyoming, home to roughly half of the West’s greater sage grouse.

Roughly 80 percent of Wyoming’s sage grouse can be protected through aggressive conservation of 30 percent of the bird’s habitat, an approach that could work in Nevada as well, Lueders said.

Some audience members during the meeting — viewable by teleconference in Las Vegas and Elko — compared the situation regarding sage grouse to the listing of the spotted owl, which critics said came with devastating economic consequences to communities in the Pacific Northwest.

Ken Mayer, director of the Nevada Department of Wildlife, argued a “whole different approach” is being taken with regard to sage grouse than was pursued years ago with the spotted owl. Limiting disturbance to “core” habitat while being less restrictive on less important land would likely lessen economic impacts to ranching, energy development and similar activities, Mayer said.

“There are a variety of things that will keep us from that path,” Mayer said. “I think there’s a compromise we need to explore here in Nevada.”

Ron Lohoefener, director of the Pacific Southwest Region for U.S. Fish and Wildlife, said efforts under way in Nevada and elsewhere to conserve sage grouse and its habitat appear to be moving in the right direction.

“We can do this,” Lohoefener said. “We don’t want to list the sage grouse. To us, listing the sage grouse is a failure.”

Source: http://www.rgj.com/article/20120130/NEWS/120130002/Grouse-heads-toward-listing
 

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Here's the biggest reason the Sage Grouse may is in trouble. The eco's strike again.

http://buckingtheodds.com/articles/coyote-problems-in-colorado/

Coyote Problems in Colorado
Colorado is like many other states! Due to the fact the environmentalist have all but eliminated trapping, coyotes have no natural predators. Hunters are lucky to put a small dent in the coyote populations, so now the coyotes are attacking city dwellers and probably eating the pets of the same environmentalist that try to say coyotes aren’t a threat. From the outside looking in, coyote must look like cute Little dog to an environmentalist…
What people don’t understand is the coyote is an opportunist that kills for a living. When coyote populations get out of hand you will see deer, elk, antelope, waterfowl, turkey, sheep, goats, cattle, and many other populations struggle. Coyotes prey on the week. They mostly prefer killing defenseless babies in their bedding areas.

Check out these articles below. You never used to hear about these things before the environmentalist stepped in…

Toronto singer killed by coyotes

Broomfield woman reports coyote attack

Denver suburb focused on solving the coyote problem

City Council will take up fate of coyotes

Well we could go on for a long time, but the above should give you a good idea…

Lance Benson, Bucking The Odds
 

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Yup, one of four or five "native" top predators that have wreaked havoc under the protectionists!

And then there are the “imports” that “they” haven’t gotten around to interfering with . . . YET!

"Pythons eating through Everglades mammals at 'astonishing' rate?" (National Geographic, 1/30/12)

"Before 2000 it was common to see mammals such as rabbits, red foxes, gray foxes, Virginia opossums, raccoons, and white-tailed deer on roadways after dark" in the Everglades, but in recent animal surveys, "raccoon observations dropped by 99.3 percent, opossum by 98.9 percent, and bobcat by 87.5 percent. The scientists saw no rabbits or foxes at all during their surveys." This month, "the U.S. Department of the Interior announced a new law banning importation and interstate transport of four species of invasive snakes, including the Burmese python."

Source: http://www.ca.blm.gov/n5jd
 

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What is the primary preditor of the Sage-Grouse?
Not man it seems. Control the natural preditors, and the populations of the Sage-Grouse will increase.

The same problem affects the desert tortise populations, as the ravens feed on the young desert tortise and their soft shells!

Todd
 

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What is the primary preditor of the Sage-Grouse?
Not man it seems. Control the natural preditors, and the populations of the Sage-Grouse will increase.

The same problem affects the desert tortise populations, as the ravens feed on the young desert tortise and their soft shells!

Todd
In the case of Grouse, it's invasive species . . . introduced by man.
 
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