SALT LAKE CITY, Utah -(Ammoland.com)- Senator Orrin Hatch and Senator Martin Heinrich introduced the Sage-Grouse and Mule Deer Habitat Conservation and Restoration Act, legislation that will help expedite important habitat restoration projects across the West.
These types of habitat stewardship projects, which the Mule Deer Foundation (MDF) has coordinated or actively participated in, have benefited deer and elk populations while also improving opportunities for hunters.
MDF worked closely with the Senate co-sponsors to craft the bill and strongly supports the legislation.
“This bill will allow conservation partners to move quickly on landscape habitat restoration projects that are proving to have a tremendous impact for mule deer, sage-grouse and other species dependent on sagebrush rangelands. This is good for wildlife conservation as well as western big game hunters,” noted MDF President/CEO Miles Moretti. “The Mule Deer Foundation greatly appreciates Senator Hatch and Senator Heinrich for working together to craft this important legislation and we look forward to working with them to move the bill through the Senate.”
The Sage-Grouse and Mule Deer Habitat Conservation and Restoration Act, S. 1417, directs the Bureau of Land Management to develop a categorical exclusion, in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act, for vegetation management projects on federal public lands that protect, restore, or improve greater sage-grouse or mule deer habitat.
Projects must meet the objectives of Secretarial Order 3336 on rangeland fire prevention, management, and restoration, and they must also conform to applicable land use plans. The goal of the legislation is to expedite projects such as conifer removal, native vegetation restoration after natural disturbance, and management of invasive species.
These types of projects have been highly effective in restoring habitat that mule deer and other wildlife species depend on. Projects must have a 20-year monitoring and maintenance plan to ensure that the restoration work continues to be effective.
“MDF has been actively involved in many habitat stewardship projects in recent years that have shown dramatic improvements for mule deer and other wildlife. By removing encroaching junipers or replanting native grasses, shrubs, and forbs we can make a difference on restoring our native western rangelands, which is beneficial for hunters and other public land users,” Moretti continued. “Enactment of this bill will mean we can move more quickly after natural disasters or in other habitat restoration efforts providing even greater benefits for these important landscapes. We hope that the U.S. House of Representatives quickly follows with companion legislation and we will work closely with all sponsors to get this legislation passed as soon as possible.”
The Mule Deer Foundation is the only conservation group in North America dedicated to restoring, improving and protecting mule deer and black-tailed deer and their habitat, with a focus on science and program efficiency. MDF is a strong voice for hunters in access, wildlife management and conservation policy issues. MDF acknowledges regulated hunting as a viable management component and is committed to recruitment and retention of youth into the shooting sports and conservation.
Get involved on their website or call 1-888-375-3337.