It’s not the first time the public has had a chance to share their opinions on sage grouse conservation, and it probably won’t be the last.
The U.S. Forest Service will hold a series of public meetings about one of the biggest conservation issues in the West.
Over the summer, the Bureau of Land Management hosted public meetings on a draft plan to amend Obama-era policies. Trump Administration Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke directed his staff to come up with state-focused changes to federal policy. Sage grouse live on both BLM and Forest Service land around the West. Now, it’s the Forest Service’s turn to get public feedback on their version of the changes.
The public meetings come after Idaho sued the previous administration over policy created in 2015. The state argues that the conservation efforts should focus on protecting the birds from wildfire and invasive species, and less on mitigating for ranching practices. Here’s Governor-elect Brad Little talking about the lawsuit, which is still pending:
“It was very frustrating for the people of Idaho," says Little, "whether they were in the sportsmen community or whether they were one of the many industries that’s impacted by sage grouse to collectively get together, to do the hard work and then have the federal government throw it out. And that’s why we’re involved in that lawsuit.”
The first public meeting is Monday, November 26 in Boise at Idaho Fish & Game headquarters. People in Jerome, Challis and Idaho Falls will all have opportunities to submit comment during meetings between now and Christmas.
Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill
Copyright 2018 Boise State Public Radio