Grazing Working Group

Uncertainty Plain

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Richfield-Sevier Valley Center at Snow College

800 West 200 South, Richfield, UT 84701

The Grazing Rights Conference hosted by the Utah Farm Bureau Federation is being held Thursday, February 18, 2016 at 9:00 AM. The conference is being held at the Richfield-Sevier Valley Center at Snow College in Richfield. There will be multiple panel discussion by both Utah’s Public Lands Policy Coordinating Office and Utah Department of Agriculture and Food.

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Judge Finds Deficiencies in Richfield RMP

Brian Maffly | Salt Lake Tribune

“A federal judge has ordered the Bureau of Land Management to document that its designation of a 4,377-mile network of motorized routes in central Utah will not harm wildlife and archaeological resources.

The order that U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball issued Friday spells out the “remedy” needed to address deficiencies he found in the BLM’s Richfield resource management plan (RMP) in 2013. The agency has three years to conduct new analyses of the routes in its travel plan, a component of the larger document.

BLM’s Richfield RMP covers 2.1 million acres in Sevier, Garfield, Wayne and Piute counties — a scenic area bounded by Capitol Reef and Canyonlands national parks, extending north up the Sevier Valley and encompassing the Henry Mountains, Factory Butte, the Dirty Devil River and Muddy Creek, among other notable landscapes.”

To read more of this article, click here.

To read Judge Kimball’s decision, click here.


PLPCO Director Testifies Before House Committee on Natural Resources

Clarke testimony

PLPCO Director Kathleen Clarke testifying before the House Committee on Natural Resources Photo Credit: Utah Governor’s Office

On May 19, 2015, PLPCO Director Kathleen Clarke testified to the House Committee on Natural Resources that “the relentless efforts to force more standardized and irrelevant mandates on the use of the land not only threatens the conservation of the species, but unnecessarily imposes hardship on the hard-working citizens of the West”. Ms. Clarke testified along with Dustin Miller, Administrator, Idaho Office of Species Conservation; John Swartout, Senior Policy Advisor, Office of Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado; and Ed Arnett, Senior Scientist, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. All of their expert testimonies were offered as part of an oversight hearing titled: “Empowering State Management of Greater Sage Grouse”. Western states have been frustrated with federal efforts that exclude the states and local governments. “Instead of helping cut through the red tape, federal agencies are focusing most of their effort on finding new ways to regulate human activity,” said Director Clarke.

While Mr. Arnett favored both state and federal plans to manage sage grouse, other experts advocated for state and local control. Mr. Miller said, “[t]he State of Idaho holds to the notion that local collaboration, local ideas, and local efforts garner the greatest results.” Ms. Clarke agreed by saying “[t]he state of Utah is committed to the long-term conservation of greater sage-grouse. Over $50 million has been invested over the last 10 years on sage-grouse conservation in Utah.”

Representative Lummis of Wyoming seemed to agree with the experts by stating: “[t]he Administration has spurned this committee’s efforts to improve the law, all while defending a deeply flawed system. Simply trusting that the Administration will fix these problems on its own seems like allowing the fox to guard the hen house.” Representative Bishop from Utah also agreed that states need more influence and authority in managing their resources. “States are using resources wisely to recover species and keep them off the list. We should do more to encourage them” according to Bishop.

To listen to the archived hearing webcast, click here.

WGA Releases 2014 Sage-Grouse Inventory

April 1, 2015

Cover Image of 2014 WGA Sage Grouse InventoryToday the Western Governor’s Association (WGA) released its 2014 Sage-Grouse Inventory, highlighting cooperative conservation work across 11 states. The WGA is committed to conserving the bird and asserts that its conservation efforts will provide the necessary habitat for the sage-grouse to thrive. Some of the highlights of the report include:

  • Utah’s completion of nearly 85% of a 560,000-acre project to ameliorate conifer encroachment in sage-grouse management areas
  • Colorado, Nevada, North Dakota, and South Dakota completed or updated state plans for sage-grouse conservation
  • Idaho, Montana, and Colorado have protected 350,000 acres of habitat through purchase or conservation easements

For more on the release of the 2014 Sage-Grouse Inventory, click here.