PRESS STATEMENT | SEPTEMBER 22, 2015
FEDERAL LISTING OF GREATER SAGE-GROUSE AS ENDANGERED SPECIES NOT WARRANTED;
AUTHOR AND PUBLISHER OF NEW BOOK ON SAGE GROUSE AND ITS HABITAT OFFER COMMENTS
[high-resolution photographs and sage grouse habitat maps available]
Seattle, WA – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has opted to not list the greater sage grouse as an endangered or threatened species. Their decision is based on the adoption of strong management plans by the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that protect key core habitat, establish strict standards for development in other areas, and provide a novel framework, for offsetting and restoring unavoidable impacts.
In July 2015, publisher Braided River released Sage Spirit: The American West at a Crossroads, a book that extensively covers the sagebrush ecosystem where greater sage grouse reside, and the impact that unchecked development is having on the land and surrounding communities.
Sage Spirit author and photographer Dave Showalter responded to this listing decision by noting that:
“Greater sage grouse, the iconic avian species of the American West are imperiled; that hasn’t changed. One way or another, we’ll need to deal with western wildlife declines created by human development. Recent collaborative conservation efforts and a range wide plan have given greater sage grouse a chance for recovery, and that doesn’t stop with this decision.
Any progress we’ve made towards a healthier sagebrush ecosystem - the only sagebrush sea in the world - will be lost without collaboration and a range wide vision. Where we go from here becomes a question of values; whether we value healthy lands where wildlife and people enjoy freedom to roam, or whether we’re willing to just let it slip away - to collapse under the weight of unchecked development. The next chapter in the sage grouse saga is up to us.”
Helen Cherullo, executive director of Braided River, had this reaction to the much-anticipated listing decision:
“The sage grouse has galvanized discussions on what kind of American West we want to leave future generations.
“Corporations and their shareholders, motivated by short-term gains, shouldn’t dictate what happens to our western landscapes—these are public lands that every American has the right to call their own and manage for the long-term. Preserving sage country could be a vibrant example to the rest of the world of how landscape and livelihood—and ecology and economy are not mutually exclusive. A healthy natural environment benefits all life.”
Through partnerships with the Audubon Rockies, The Wilderness Society and the Sierra Club-Wyoming Chapter, Braided River and Dave Showalter are encouraging Westerners to see that protecting this noble bird and this iconic landscape of the American West is both their responsibility and their right.
Dave Showalter is on-site at Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge outside Denver today (Sept 22) as Secretary Sally Jewell, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe and the governors of Colorado, Montana, Nevada and Wyoming for the greater sage grouse decision. Preview available sage-grouse photographs at http://www.sagespirit.org/gallery/. For further comments on the sage grouse decision, please contact:
Lace Thornberg, Braided River
(206) 223-6303 x120
Dave Showalter, author and photographer of Sage Spirit: The American West at a Crossroads
Braided River, the conservation imprint of Mountaineers Books, publishes books about climate change, biodiversity and the beautiful landscapes of the American West.