Friday, December 27, 2013

Meeting set to discuss plan for sage grouse

Comments sought by BLM, Forest Service


By GREG MOORE
Express Staff Writer

The BLM and the U.S. Forest Service will hold a public meeting in Twin Falls on Tuesday, Jan. 14, to provide information and take comments on a draft plan for sage grouse recovery in Idaho and southwest Montana.
    The “subregional” plan’s draft environmental impact statement, released Nov. 1, contains two preferred alternatives, both of which would limit development and off-road travel, increase efforts to prevent and suppress wildfire, and more strictly manage livestock grazing. However, conservation groups have said the plan would not do enough to keep greater sage grouse off the endangered species list.
    The Twin Falls meeting is one of seven to be held throughout the state beginning Jan. 6. It will take place from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Canyon Springs Red Lion Inn, 1357 Blue Lakes Blvd. N.
    The public meetings are being held in conjunction with a 90-day public comment period that ends Jan. 29. A final EIS is expected to be released in the spring.
    According to a news release from the BLM and the Forest Service, the agencies plan to incorporate consistent objectives and conservation measures into all 15 subregional plans by September 2014. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a court-ordered deadline of September 2015 to decide whether to list the species under the Endangered Species Act.
    Comments can be emailed to blm_id_swmt_sagegrouse-eis@blm.gov or mailed to BLM Greater Sage-Grouse EIS, 1387 S. Vinnell Way, Boise, ID 83709.
    The entire document can be viewed at www.blm.gov/id/st/en/prog/nepa_register/sage-grouse_rmp_revision.html.
Greg Moore: gmoore@mtexpress.com




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