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Lake agrees to partner with Harney on sage grouse EIS

Lake County’s Board of Commissioners recently approved a request from Harney County’s Judge Steve Grasty to partner with Harney County in developing a collective professional comment on the BLM’s sage grouse EIS.

A shared cost for the hire of a professional consultant of $17,000 would be divided among participating counties affected by the sage grouse issue, meaning a maximum of about $5,000 for Lake County’s share.

Mason, Bruce, Girad Associates would be the consulting firm contracted for the preparation of a professional-level comment on behalf of the counties on the sage grouse EIS.

At present, a 90-day public comment period is underway on the EIS, which the Bureau of Land Management released in late November.  A public meeting on the EIS will be held in Lakeview on Monday, Jan. 13.  See related story for more information.

The Commissioners approved the proposal during their Tuesday, Dec. 31, work session.  Present for the meeting was Adel rancher and Oregon Cattlemen’s Association President-Elect John O’Keeffe.

O’Keeffe noted that he’s no stranger to the issue, and noted that among the alternatives in the EIS is the removal of grazing from some 118,000 acres across the state.

“I would like to see the county do what it can,” he said.  “This is an issue that’s going to define our times.”

Commissioner Brad Winters agreed with O’Keeffe, describing the sage grouse issue as the “spotted owl of the desert.”

Winters noted the importance of supporting the protection of area cattlemen’s livelihood and continued way of life.

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