MOCO Supports Amending Sage Grouse Plan

The changes Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is considering making to the Sage Grouse Management in the U.S. will most likely be less severe than previously thought. Reports are now that Zinke is looking to modify the existing plan as opposed to scrapping the whole plan and starting over. He is said to be considering modifications to incorporate population based metrics in the habitat management plan, but will not be switching entirely to a population based model. Moffat County Commissioner Ray Beck and Natural Resource Director Jeff Comstock said they both support incorporating population into the sage grouse plan.  According to Comstock, population was part of the plan officials in Northwest Colorado came up with for sage grouse management, but due to the fact the BLM under the Obama administration was run using a top down approach, these recommendations were almost entirely ignored. In fact, the administration made sweeping changes to the final version of the Sage Grouse plan, without consulting local stakeholders. Due to the fact that local issues were ignored in the final version of the plan, the Moffat County Commissioners joined Garfield, Jackson and Rio Blanco in a lawsuit challenging the legality of the BLM’s sage grouse management plans last Month.

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