Action Alert: Sage Grouse comment period
The comment period for the Oregon Greater Sage Grouse Resource Plan Amendment and Environmental Impact Statement is open now through August 2, 2018. This short window allows you to give feedback on this issue.
Using your choice of the bullet points below, please write your letter of comment and submit it digitally here, or via mail with a postmark of no later than August 2, to this address:
BLM, Oregon State Office
1220 SW 3rd Ave.
Portland, OR 92704
Oregon Greater Sage Grouse Resource Plan Amendment and Environmental Impact Statement
- Thankful for the opportunity to comment on the critical Resource Management Plan Amendment (RMPA) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
- After reviewing the draft RMPA and EIS with the options presented, our preference is for the Management Alignment Alternative (the preferred alternative).
- The plan allows livestock grazing to continue in all nine Research Natural Areas (RNA) throughout the Vale District.
- Beef cattle production is the largest single agricultural commodity in Malheur County.
- Residents in Malheur County depends on the ability to graze on public lands. Livestock grazing in our rural communities is a crucial component to economic health and to our western culture.
- Closing the RNAs in the Vale District to grazing would be devastating.
- There is no scientific data to support allegations that grazing is a threat to Sage Grouse. Wildfires, however, are a proven and number one threat to Sage Grouse. By banning grazing, more fuel is available for fires, making fires larger and more destructive to the ecosystem which the Sage Grouse depend.
- The removal of grazing, recommended in the RNAs of the Oregon Greater Sage-Grouse 2015 ROD/ARMPA, will be detrimental to these areas, leading to unnecessary waste and destruction of these ecosystems by fire.
- With additional methods of assessment and compliance, BLM protocols for Sage Grouse habitat monitoring, and the already overwhelming workload for the agency, makes it unrealistic to add new areas to monitor and manage.
- The changes in the standards ignore all previously collected data and all historical improvements.
- Livestock permit holders will suffer direct economic losses from the additional regulations through delays in permit renewals, reductions in AUMs and potential lawsuits over unmet standard compliance by the BLM.
- Economic sustainability is crucial for rural communities and one component is the ability to make long-term business plans. The timely renewal of grazing permits is one of the most important components of this economic stability for ranching families.
- Malheur County is the number one beef-producing county in Oregon and number 14 in the United States.
- In 2017, beef was the number two revenue producing agricultural commodity in all of Oregon.
- Families, individuals and businesses in Malheur County will experience direct and indirect financial hardships if livestock grazing is removed from the nine RNAs, if AUMs are suspended and permit renewals become mired in litigation.
- Public and private public lands are crucial to ensuring continued thriving populations of the Sage Grouse.
- Collaboration with permit holders is essential to secure continued cooperation between private and public lands.
- Rangeland Fire Protection Associations (RFPAs) and Conservation Candidate Assurance Agreements (CCAAs) are examples of working partnerships.
- Many landowners have signed CCAAs through the Soil Water Conservation Districts (SWCD) and have improved and protected thousands-of-acres of habitat by cutting juniper trees, building fences, installing watering ladders and controlling predators in four counties of eastern Oregon.
- Because of the importance of grazing on public lands to the communities in Malheur County and the surrounding counties, we ask that you continue to keep the RNAs being grazed now.