Consideration of Sage-Grouse Habitat

In BLM Land Use Plans (2/23/04)

 

 

In February 2004, BLM State Planners and State Biologists completed a data call to determine, at a coarse level, the extent to which land use plans address sage-grouse and sagebrush habitat considerations.  The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) issued an identical data call.  This memo reports the findings for BLM lands. 

 

CONSIDERATIONS

OBSERVATIONS

95 land use plans (58% of all plans in the Bureau) contain current sage-grouse habitat.

Qualitative overview of extent to which plans address sage-grouse considerations

o       29 are in process of being revised, or are scheduled to start being revised by 2006 (it may be possible to update these plans fairly easily).

o       8 are recently completed or are slated to start being revised after 2006 (these plans may require an amendment).

o       9 do not contain information about plan status that is sufficient to determine when revisions will start or finish.

 


Extent to which plans include prescriptions or standards, for specific land uses or activities, which will benefit sage-grouse.  (Respondents answered questions related to energy, fire, grazing, realty, recreation, special management areas, vegetation management, wild horse & burros.)

·        Land uses or activities for which at least half the plans contained provisions to benefit sage-grouse or sagebrush habitat:  Energy and grazing.

·        Land uses or activities for which less than half contained provisions to benefit sage-grouse or sagebrush habitat:  Fire, realty, recreation, special management areas, vegetation management, wild horses & burros.

·        Roughly half of the plans contain prescriptions or standards that benefit sage-grouse for at least half of the land uses or activities. 

 

Status of plan revisions

o       Revisions in progress:   31 plans (33%)

o       Revisions are scheduled to start by 2006:  33 plans (35%)

o       Recently completed:  6 plans (6%)

o       Revisions are scheduled to start after 2006: 11 plans (12%)

o       Revision is not scheduled:  1 plan (1%)

CONCLUSIONS

·        There is a great variance in the extent to which plans address sage-grouse and sagebrush habitat considerations.  Based on the qualitative assessment, some are highly prescriptive, while far more do not mention sage-grouse or do so only in very generic terms.

·        BLM should consider developing a list of standards and prescriptions for each resource (energy, vegetation management, etc.) that land use or activity plans should include.  This would enable the determination of which plans are truly adequate in terms of sage-grouse and sagebrush considerations.  Such a list would also ensure consistency across the Bureau, and would facilitate plan revisions and amendments.  The Management Actions section of the Interim Guidelines could serve as a starting point.

·        Plans in progress and upcoming revisions offer the greatest opportunity for easily incorporating sage-grouse and sagebrush considerations into land use plans.  68% of plans with current sage-grouse habitat are either in process of being revised (33%) or are scheduled to start being revised by 2006 (35%).  BLM could amend the remaining plans as necessary.

·        If the greater sage-grouse is proposed for listing, consultation with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service would be needed on all 95 plans, regardless of the current status of consultation.


Information collected in the Sage-Grouse Data Request

For each Resource Management Plan (BLM) or Land Management Plan (USFS)

With Current Sage-Grouse Habitat

 

Associated Field Office (BLM only).

 

Sage-Grouse is a management indicator species (USFS only):  Yes/No.

 

Qualitative overview of sage-grouse conservation considerations:  Pick one of the following

o       The plan does not mention current sage-grouse habitat specifically.

o       The plan mentions current sage-grouse habitat, but only in very generic or indirect terms (i.e., ecosystem restoration).

o       The plan specifically discusses current sage-grouse habitat and provides some considerations (i.e., the plan cites management objectives for the habitat). 

o       The plan is highly prescriptive for sage-grouse habitat (i.e., discusses sage-grouse, identifies objectives, standards, and monitoring activities that pertain specifically to sage-grouse and/or its habitat.

 

Land uses or activities that may affect sage-grouse habitat.  Select one of the following codes for each land use/activity (fire, grazing, realty, recreation, special management areas, vegetation management, wild horse & burros): 

o       Yes - Use or activity occurs, and the plan includes related prescriptions or standards that will contribute to sage-grouse and/or sagebrush habitat conservation.  Complete the appendix for any "Yes" answers.

o       No - Use or activity occurs, but the plan does NOT include prescriptions or standards that will contribute to sage-grouse or sage-brush habitat conservation. 

o       N/A - Not a use or activity. Please bold codes for uses or activities that are considered "major" within the planning area, and Energy.

 

Planning schedules

o       Year of current plan.

o       Status of plan revision.  Pick one: 

·        Recently completed in (month & year)

·        Scheduled to begin in( month & year)

·        In progress and scheduled for completion in (month & year)

·        Expected to start in (year)

 

Status of consultation with USFWS on the land use plan.  Pick one: 

o       Completed in (year)

o       In process and planned to be completed in (year)

o       Planned to start in (year)

o       Not completed & no plans to start. 

 

Name(s) of individual(s) who filled out this table for this planning effort.

 

Notes.