CSG West Energy and Environment Committee July 28, 2015 Dustin T. Miller Governor’s Office of Species Conservation Map? History 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 priorities. 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 (RMPs). 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 infrastructure. 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 acres 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 Associations. DOI Secretarial Order on wildfire. Idaho BLM- juniper removal and fuel breaks projects. Additional Idaho Conservation Efforts 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 Effort 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 created. 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. QUESTIONS?