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Ranching Works with Sage Grouse

Why is the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) proposing a plan for protecting sage-grouse habitat in Oregon that directly harms cattle ranchers, who do more to protect the sage-grouse’s habitat than any other group? A plan that terminates grazing on 118,000 acres of public grazing land and imposes unnecessary regulations on approximately 600,000 acres of land that BLM has labeled “areas of critical environmental concern?”  Moreover, while BLM has no authority over wildlife, sage grouse predators are currently estimated at many times their historic level.  The plan would therefore require ranchers to make significant management changes while a major threat to the species goes unattended.

All this “planning” has taken us to a place that seems void of common sense and reasonable management plans for either cattle ranchers or sage-grouse. As manager of J-Spear Ranch Company, I and the people I work for have a vested interest in protecting the land that we and several animals, including sage-grouse, live and work on.  It is my responsibility to manage the ranch for cattle, timber and wildlife, ensuring that the three work in harmony with one another.  Much of my efforts directly benefit sage-grouse by preserving sagebrush ecosystems, reducing the threat of and opportunities for predators, and by successfully managing forage for optimum production and habitat. Multiple studies have shown that sage-grouse are attracted to allotments grazed by cattle. BLM’s proposed plan to improve sage-grouse habitat by eliminating and restricting grazing is counter-intuitive and will fail.

There’s still time to make your voice heard and submit comments regarding this plan to BLM – Greater Sage-Grouse DEIS, 1220 SW Third Ave., Portland, OR 97204, or by email to blm_or_so_gsg_planning_comments@blm.gov. Comments and suggestions will be accepted through Feb. 20. Please support your local cattle ranchers and sage grouse populations with sensible alternatives to this plan.

 Joe Villagrana


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