Protect the Greater Sage Grouse Habitat
Vet Voice Foundation staff member Garett Reppenhagen recently concluded a tour across the western United States visiting crucial sage brush lands that are habitat to the Greater Sage Grouse. During the trip, that included Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, we talked with veterans concerned about the protection of the bird and its home. We were able to coordinate with other conservationists and speak to BLM staff that are dedicated to managing these beautiful landscapes.
Although it was not the best season to view the Greater Sage Grouse, VVF did get to hike the regions that are vital to the bird’s future. It was remarkable to see the rolling sage brush in a huge section of our nation’s outdoors. It was hard not to get sucked into the romantic legacy of our iconic western back country. These areas have an important story to tell about the native cultures. They hold the geological evidence of the earth’s past. These lands are the majestic backdrops to the settlement of America and our very history.
The Greater Sage Grouse has been witness to much of the changing development of sage brush territory. It is an important keystone, indicator and umbrella species. An animal we can measure the health of our wild country and the wildlife that lives there. The survival of the Greater Sage Grouse could very well mean the survival of the hunting and ranching heritage of our citizens and the lands we love.
As our civilization grows and needs for infrastructure, natural resources, and developed land increases we threaten the very foundation of the ecosystems that support us. Invasive species and direct human interference to sage brush lands are threatening the existence of the Greater Sage Grouse. There are solutions that have been developed by leading scientists that balance protection of these areas and the wildlife in them with our many uses for our natural resources. Although not perfect, the BLM has just introduced a management plan that is a good effort to take care of the lands we love.
Working with the BLM to improve the plan and make sure we use sensible science based management is the best chance for the Greater Sage Grouse. But, there are still politicians how wish to interfere and play partisan battles with our public lands and risk threatening our wildlife.
There are senators caving to oil lobbyists, and trying to jam through un-related, anti- conservation legislation that upends years’ worth of collaboration between private landowners and the state/federal governments that are our best chance to avoid the need to list the sage grouse as endangered. It is vital that senators oppose including any efforts to force the sage-grouse into critical national security legislation.
Please sign on to a growing list of military veterans and supporters that demand we protect the Greater Sage Grouse habitat by working with the BLM and our conservation allies to develop the best management plan possible that balances our land use and the future of these incredible natural areas.