Oregon Commission Asked to Adopt Sage Grouse Management Rules

Male Greater-Sage Grouse Photo Jeremy R. Roberts
Oregon Commission Asked to Adopt Amended Rules for Sage-Grouse Management
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Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Oregon  -(Ammoland.com)- The Fish and Wildlife Commission will meet at 1 p.m., Monday, July 27 in Salem for a special meeting to adopt amended administrative rules for sage-grouse management in Oregon.

The Commission agenda will be limited to the sage-grouse rules, adoption of recent temporary rules, and approval of past meeting minutes.

The meeting will be held at the ODFW Headquarters in the Commission Room, 4034 Fairview Industrial Drive SE. The agenda is posted to the ODFW website here. Public testimony on the proposed sage-grouse rules will be taken.

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.

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 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 (meaning the project proposal shows other areas were considered but development is dependent on unique geographic features of the site, not feasible elsewhere, and necessary for infrastructure, economic opportunity or public health and safety). The new LCDC rules will also require developments to follow ODFW’s mitigation rules.

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 Sept. 30, 2015.

Public input on the proposed rules will also be taken at public meetings coming up in Lakeview on July 21 and Burns on July 22. This input will be shared with the Commission at the July 27 meeting in Salem.

The Commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in the state. While the meetings usually include a time for public testimony about items not on the agenda, there will be no public forum during the July 27 meeting due to its brief agenda.

Reasonable accommodations will be provided as needed for individuals requesting assistive hearing devices, sign language interpreters or large-print materials. Individuals needing these types of accommodations may call the ODFW Director’s Office at 800-720-6339 or 503-947-6044 at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.