CSG West
Energy and Environment Committee
July 28, 2015
Dustin T. Miller
Governor’s Office of
Species Conservation
 Greater sage-grouse has a long history of listing petitions,
federal actions, and litigation.
 FWS March 2010- species warranted for listing across its
entire range, but precluded because of other higher
 Added to the federal list of “candidate” species.
 The FWS must reevaluate the status of greater sage-grouse
by September 3o, 2015.
Rangewide Threats to Greater
Sage-Grouse Identified by the FWS
1. Habitat fragmentation due to:
 Infrastructure/ energy development (Rocky Mountain states).
 Wildfire/ Invasive species (Great Basin states).
2. Inadequate regulatory mechanisms.
Deficiencies with nearly 100 Federal Resource Management Plans
FWS identified multiple secondary threats- many of them localized.
The Federal Planning Effort
 National Sage-grouse Planning Strategy – 2011.
 Secretary of the Interior’s invitation to western Governor’s
to participate.
 Update RMPs across 11 states.
 Most sage-grouse habitat in Idaho occurs on federal land.
 Governor Otter establishes a sage-grouse task force – 2012.
 Governor’s plan (Alternative) for federal lands developed.
Idaho Governor’s Alternative
 Sage-grouse management area (4 conservation areas) with three distinct
habitat zones: Core, Important and General.
 95% of the sage-grouse population in CHZ and IHZ.
 Management flexibility increasing as you go from CHZ to GHZ.
 Robust adaptive management process.
 Primary threats addressed: wildfire, invasive species, and large-scale
 Implementation Team for adaptive management and projects.
 FWS “concurrence” on foundational elements of Alternative- April 2013.
 Designated by BLM as a “co-preferred” Alternative- October 2013.
Wildfire and Invasive Species in
Sage-Grouse Habitat
 Loss of sagebrush (and sage-grouse habitat) in the Great
Basin due to increase in fire frequency.
Facilitated large by the incursion of non-native annual
greases (cheatgrass, medusahead etc).
Expansion of conifer (junipers) due to changes in wildfire
return intervals.
State and federal agencies contain most fires (nearly 9798%).
Those few that get away can become massive if conditions
are conducive.
Thus the focus on wildfire and invasive species in Idaho.
Buzzard Complex 395,747
Holloway fire (460,811 acres) and long
draw (558,198 acres) over 350 miles dozer
lines- many multiple widths wide
ROS recorded300K acre run in one burn
period- approx. 15 miles per hour
Miller Homestead Fire on Burns District same time as
Long draw burned 160,801 acres
Murphy Complex fire
653,100 acres
Wildfire Actions
 Prevention, suppression and
restoration efforts within the
Governor’s Alternative.
 Rangeland Fire Protection
 DOI Secretarial Order on
 Idaho BLM- juniper removal
and fuel breaks projects.
Additional Idaho Conservation
 NRCS Sage-Grouse Initiative: Conifer removal, fence marking,
seedings, grazing system modifications, conservation easements.
 In Idaho NRCS has invested $9.8 million on private land since 2010.
 Plan for conservation on state endowment lands: 600,000 acres, 6% of
the habitat- includes stipulations for land-use activities.
 State funding commitments: lek monitoring, habitat rehab,
RFPA investments, fuel breaks.
Status of the Federal Planning
 Final EISs and Land-use Plan Amendments released in late May.
 Significant changes between the draft and final EISs with
inclusion of Sagebrush Focal Areas (SFAs) and rule set.
 Governor Otter protested and is currently completing a
consistency review of the FEIS.
 Record of decision (ROD) signed in summer 2015.
 Listing determination by FWS September 2015.
Why Does this All Matter?
 Local collaboration produces the greatest results – people
have ownership in the outcomes.
Unprecedented collaboration and local partnerships
Significant investments have been made in Idaho and other
western states.
Each state has their own unique circumstances- thus
variation in plans.
Working to achieve a consistent outcome.
Management and conservation better left to the states and
local partners.