Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - November 22, 2017 


Haitian communities vow to fight Trump moves to terminate legal status; also on the rundown; an update on the trial of an activist who shut down a pipeline; a new poll shows Americans want to talk turkey not politics, on Thanksgiving; and just ahead of Black Friday - Cyber Security an emerging toy-safety concern.

Daily Newscasts

Sage-Grouse Conservation Plans Threatened in Western States

The fate of the sage grouse is intertwined with hundreds of other high-desert species across the Great Basin, from California to Montana. (twildlife/IStockphoto)
The fate of the sage grouse is intertwined with hundreds of other high-desert species across the Great Basin, from California to Montana. (twildlife/IStockphoto)
November 3, 2017

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Bureau of Land Management holds a public hearing tonight in the Northern California town of Alturas, about potential changes that could allow more drilling and mining on land currently protected as habitat for sage grouse. The bird is considered a sentinel species whose fate foretells that of 350 other species - including elk, pronghorn and golden eagle.

The Trump administration now wants to revisit conservation plans signed two years ago under President Barack Obama.

But Ken Rait, project director at The Pew Charitable Trusts, says the plans were a big compromise, years in the making, that give states great flexibility.

"Those 2015 plans were the result of a multiyear, collaborative process with governors, land users and sports-persons and conservationists, and really did an outstanding job in balancing conservation and development," he explains.

The sage-grouse plans are an effort to stave off an endangered species listing for the bird, which has already lost half its habitat and 95 percent of its historic population. The bird's habitat, in the "sagebrush sea" of the Great Basin, is also considered critical for ranchers to graze their animals.

Matt Holloran, a consultant with the firm Operational Conservation, says the 98 different sage-grouse land-use plans should be given a chance to work.

"It's looking backwards," he laments, "We're nitpicking a series of management approaches that took a long time to develop. It's critical that we look forward."

The sage-grouse habitat is part of an iconic western landscape that stretches across 50 million acres in eight Western states, including California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming.

Support for this reporting was provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - CA