Vilsack Spells Out Sage Grouse Plan
Instead of tackling all the threats to the sage grouse in a massive land area the USDA’s Natural Resources and Conservation Services and its partners are focusing efforts on specific landscapes in the west.
$28.8 million are being dedicated to Wyoming and 10 other states.
The goal, says Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, ” is encouraging sustainable grazing systems, to improve cover, removing high risk fencing near breeding sites, removing invasive conifers, and other steps designed to make it easier for sage grouse to survive.”
Vilsack says the resources will provide jobs with 16 new positions created for individuals providing technical assistants to landowners in implementing the practices. Vilsack says this gives certainty to producers, ranchers and farmers making investments and will hopefully increase sage grouse populations, while enhancing habitats on 38 thousand acres.
“We’re doing this by working with land owners and identifying over 40 practices that will benefit the sage grouse and encourage land owners, with the utilization of our conservation programs, to basically utilize a suite of practices within those 40 identified practices”
In the past two years the USDA has committed $112 million to the effort with the ultimate goal of keeping the sage grouse off the endangered species list.