Safari Club International supports the Secretarial Order signed by Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to improve sage grouse conservation and strengthen consultation between the federal government and the western states of Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada, Idaho, Utah, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Colorado.
Secretarial Order 3353 establishes an internal review team to evaluate and make recommendations on the land use plans finalized in 2015 that address conservation of the sage grouse and its habitat. Those sage grouse plans, adopted by the Bureau of Land Management (part of the Department of the Interior) and the U.S. Forest Service (part of the Department of Agriculture), govern the management of 67 million acres of federal land in the west. The review team will work with the Forest Service to consider creative approaches and ideas, including a captive breeding program, setting population targets by state, and opportunities to improve state involvement.
Secretary Zinke’s order explained that “[a]s the Department moves forward in the management of Sage-Grouse habitat, it is imperative that it does so in a manner that allows both wildlife and local economies to thrive and incorporate the expertise of Federal employees in the field, local conditions, and proven State and local approaches.” SCI supports approaches to sage grouse management and conservation that will facilitate continued sustainable hunting of greater sage grouse and other game animals that share the habitat, including elk, mule deer, and antelope.
Each of the eleven states with sage grouse populations has different uses and needs affected by sage grouse conservation and management strategies. SCI supports Secretary Zinke’s decision to promote cooperation between the federal, state and local governments involved in sage grouse efforts. Increased cooperation will produce a better result for both the sage grouse, other wildlife, and the public.