More than a week shy of the deadline at the end of the month, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the greater sage grouse does not warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This marks a historic moment in conservation and resource management.
For the past five years an unparalleled, collaborative, science-based, landscape-scale conservation effort has been underway in 11 states across the western U.S. And, according to the USFW announcement, it's been a success; across the 173-million acre range, grouse remain well distributed and relatively abundant.
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell describes the sage grouse effort as truly historic and says, "It demonstrates that the Endangered Species Act is an effective and flexible tool and a critical catalyst for conservation."
Tom Vilsack, secretary of U.S. Agriculture, highlights that "Together, we have shown that voluntary efforts joining the resources of private landowners, federal and state agencies, and partner organizations can help drive landscape-level conservation that is good for sage-grouse, ranching operations, and rural communities."
Here in Oregon, Gov. Kate Brown called the decision a "big win" for Oregon, and stated that "Oregonians have reason to be very proud of the work done by partners supporting healthy Oregon ecosystems, rural communities, and economies."
Here's hoping the positive momentum created by the impending listing continues into the future without the proposed threat.
The City of Bend continues work on the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) expansion, and once again they are looking for public input. They're launching the second part of their online survey that asks the public to weigh in on which UGB expansion scenario they favor. The survey will be available from September 24 to October 14. For more information, check the City's website, bendoregon.gov/bendugb.
Additionally, there will be a community meeting on the topic of the proposed UGB expansion scenarios. The meeting will be held October 1, from 6:30-8:30 pm, at the Bend Parks & Recreation District's Riverbend Community Room, at 799 SW Columbia St. The presentation will begin at 7pm, but participants are welcome to arrive anytime. Attendees will also be shown how to use the online survey to comment on the proposed scenarios.
Due to the rebuilding of the railroad crossing, Reed Market Road is scheduled to be closed in both directions from September 22 to October 6. After completion of the railroad crossing, Reed Market road will reopen in both directions.