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Public input needed on proposed rules for sage-grouse habitat mitigation

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

SALEM, Ore – Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife staff is holding public meetings on proposed changes to administrative rules for managing sage-grouse in Oregon. The proposed changes address mitigation of impacts to sage-grouse habitat from government permitted developments.

Both meetings are scheduled for 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

  • Lakeview – July 21, Memorial Hall, Lake County Courthouse, 513 Center Street.
  • Burns – July 22, Harney County Senior and Community Services Center, 17 S. Alder.

Currently, ODFW mitigation rules are effectively only recommendations to permitting entities and not requirements for mitigating development impacts in designated core habitat for sage-grouse. Core habitats are areas which encompass about one-third of Oregon’s sage-grouse habitat but support more than 90 percent of the bird’s populations.

The Oregon Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) is also proposing new rules that would allow limited development in core habitat after going through an avoidance test. The new LCDC rules will also require developments to follow ODFW’s mitigation rules. ODFW is proposing to change its rules to require mitigation actions for large-scale and other development such as aggregate mining, wind, solar, and geothermal energy plants.

The proposed administrative rules of ODFW and LCDC will work together to address one of the threats to sage-grouse identified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS): the lack of regulatory certainty in protecting sage-grouse habitat. That protection is key in the upcoming USFWS decision whether or not to list sage-grouse as a threatened or endangered species. The USFWS is expected to make this decision by September 30, 2015. 

Public input on the proposed rules will be taken at both meetings and shared with the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission at their July 27 meeting to adopt the rule changes.

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Contact:

Chip Dale, 541-388-6363
Jackie Cupples, 541-388-6147

 
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