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USFS follows BLM to amend greater sage-grouse plans

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The U.S. Forest Service has followed the example set by the Bureau of Land Management by releasing a supplemental notice of intent to draft environmental impact statements for potential amendments to the Forest Service Greater Sage-Grouse and Resource Management Plans. National forests in Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming and Colorado would be affected. A collection of complementary management plans put in place by federal agencies, states and private landowners influenced the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2015 decision not to list the greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) under the Endangered Species Act. The USFWS determined that the combined efforts would be enough to help recover and protect the species and its sagebrush habitat without a federal listing. In June 2017, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke issued a secretarial order instructing agencies in the Department of the Interior to revisit the plans, particularly to assess the local economic impacts and consider resource and energy development in sage-grouse habitat.  Zinke’s order emphasized the need for DOI agencies to coordinate with the USFS and state partners during the process. The Wildlife Society and other organizations expressed concern that any major changes to the plans could threaten the carefully crafted agreements that underpinned FWS’s decision not to [...]

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