Volume 4, Number 42 - January 13, 2005
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In late December, Western Watersheds Project filed a motion for injunctive relief before a federal judge in Reno, Nev., asking that grazing of domestic livestock be stopped on over 1.2 million acres of Bureau of Land Management-administered lands in Elko County, in northern Nevada. Alternatively WWP has asked the court to enforce interim grazing management that would significantly restrict livestock grazing over the same landscape in the event the court decides not to implement a full injunction against livestock grazing on the three very large allotments in question.
This is the same federal judge who ruled in favor of WWP in a lawsuit on these three allotments last year.
No grouse listing
The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service has completed its status review of the greater sage-grouse throughout its range and determined that the species does not warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act at this time,
Director Steve Williams announced last week.
This decision follows a recommendation made by agency senior regional scientists and managers that the sage grouse does not warrant listing under the ESA. Williams publicly announced the regional recommendation on Dec. 3, 2004.
"I have reviewed the work completed by our scientists and I am confident that they have conducted a thorough and rigorous review and their recommendation is based on the best available science," Williams said. "I concur with their recommendation that the greater sage-grouse does not warrant the special protections of the Endangered Species Act across its range. At the same time, the status review clearly illustrates the need for continued efforts to conserve sage grouse and sagebrush habitat on a long-term basis. I commend federal and state agencies as well as the local working groups for their current efforts to maintain or improve sagebrush habitat and encourage them to continue to move forward with the new plans to develop and implement conservation strategies throughout the grouse's range."
The Wyoming Farm Bureau applauded the announcement.
"This decision shows that when sound science is allowed to play a part in the decision-making of listing a species, good decisions can be made," said WyFB executive vice president Ken Hamilton.
"This will ensure that the sage grouse can be better protected by cooperative efforts at the local level. We are hopeful that the BLM and Forest Service will also work to support the cooperative efforts at the local level to conserve the sage grouse."
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