BY SHAIN GILLET
Clipper Sports Editor
SYRACUSE — The conservation plan for sage grouse has been completed, thanks to the efforts of several of Utah’s governing bodies, including the governor’s office.
The Utah Division of Natural Resources, along with the Division of Wildlife Resources and other state and local agencies, completed a plan that will have as much as 50,000 acres of land available for the habitation of sage grouse.
“Many diverse interests have come together to address the challenges sage grouse face in Utah,” said Gov. Gary Herbert in a press release. “The direction the plan provides will maintain or increase the number of sage grouse in Utah while allowing economic development to continue. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
Herbert assembled the group for the conservation effort back in 2012. Among them were county commissioners, federal land management agencies and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services.
The group met last year and held several open forums and public meetings to receive input, then put the plan into action by focusing on three main objectives.
They are to protect 10,000 acres of habitat for the birds annually, to enhance 25,000 acres and to increase the habitat to a total of 50,000 acres.
Kathleen Clarke, the director of the public lands policy office, led the planning efforts. She said conserving the birds will still require a concerted effort by state and federal agencies, as well as private land owners, in order to keep the conservation intact for the future.
“State representatives and the Natural Resources Conservation Service are ready to work with private landowners who wish to conserve sage grouse in a way that benefits the landowners and the birds,” she said.
Alan Clark, sage grouse coordinator for the Division of Natural Resources, said not everyone agreed with all the recommendations, but “the group developed a sound and balanced approach to conserving the species.”
While none of the areas of conservation will include Davis County, the effort will preserve up to 90 percent of the total population.
The entire plan, along with maps and question and answer sheet, are available at go.usa.gov/TX93.