Thursday, September 10, 2015

US Sage Grouse decision only days away

The deadline is September 30th but there are indications that the US will make a decision to list or not list the Greater Sage-Grouse as an Endangered Species as early as September 15.

The video shown above--a trailer for "The Sage Brush Sea" airing Sept. 16 on PBS--is from a documentary produced by the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, one of the conservation movement's brightest stars. The lab also published on their web site a very helpful piece entitled "Five Things You Need to Know about Greater Sage-Grouse and the Endangered Species Act."

The story includes the following map, showing how the range has retracted and how the overall population has declined by 95%--most recently and dramatically due to oil and gas development in the species' range.

Whether the species is listed or not, the massive conservation efforts launched on its behalf south of the border will continue and the entire ecosystem and its increasingly rare species stands to benefit.

The American program to save the Greater Sage-Grouse is the largest single-species effort ever for conservation. And part of what is making it work so well is that hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested into the private lands of ranchers to make their land healthier.

People in Canada's government wildlife agencies and in the conservation and ranching NGOs are beginning to see that a parallel effort in SW Saskatchewan and SE Alberta will be necessary if we hope to hold onto our remaining Sage Grouse and many other grassland species at risk.

All that is missing is the political will and funding to get some pilot projects and programming underway.

Here is one more video from the Cornell Lab.

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