Wednesday, October 15, 2014

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Keeping Sage Grouse off Endangered Species List: A Challenge

Twin Falls-The U.S. Secretary of the Interior says it will be a challenge keeping sage grouse off the endangered species list, but not unsolvable.

Sally Jewell visited Idaho's best sage grouse habitat south of Twin Falls and heard reports from ranchers, biologists and agency personal on what they’re doing to save grouse habitat.

Idaho Senators Risch and Crapo were at the first part of the tour for a sit down meeting in Rogerson. Just last year Senator Risch grilled Jewell during her 2013 confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill.

“Are you still in agreement that this is the best way to pursue how we do what all of us want to do, and that is preserve, protect and rehabilitate the greater sage grouse?  Are we still singing off the same sheet of music?” asked Risch.

The tone of Tuesdays sit down meeting was positive.

“We do have time and we do have knowledge and we have partnerships that we didn’t have a decade or two decades ago so I think that is very encouraging,” Jewell said. “But we also have increasing risk with a longer, hotter wildfire season.”

Biologist briefed the Secretary on the massive wildfires that swept the area two years ago, they said there’s been habitat loss due to the fires, development and invasive species on the range.

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