Importance of Natural Resources

TMCC Distinguished Speaker Series – Sagebrush Ecosystem Council

Welcome everyone this evening I’m Diane
chesil Dean the founder of the distinguished speaker series and we’re
just elated to see all of you here this evening for something we’ve been
planning for a grouse age and excited to have you here with us
welcome community members faculty staff and students to our first distinguished
event of the new academic year and it is indeed an important can you hear that
all right it is an indeed a very important event for all of us who live
in the West and tonight especially for those of us here in Nevada our hope is
that by the end of this evening you will hear have a clearer idea of the
different perspectives that are connected with this up the upcoming
decision on September 30th whether or not to list the greater sage-grouse on
the endangered species list I want to thank the many people who have
helped to make this evening possible among them especially the the committee
for the distinguished speaker series our media media sponsor can P be public
television and Tia Flores who is a noted local artist who has two donated the
beautiful gourd that you saw when you came into the auditorium this evening
it’s so it’s just exquisite and she told me that I believe you’re going to have
it the cover for your calendar this year is that right here and I’d like to have
a promo about Tia I believe you you’re going to be part of a book of noted
women artists in Nevada that’s coming out is that right here we will be
raffling that off at the end of the program
and I wanted to let you know that we will be using those proceeds to begin a
scholarship for a TMCC student and it will be a competitive scholarship and
based on a creative project submitted by the students we’re going to have with
designed the evening to have two parts I guess you would say the first part the
producer of the nature documentary titled the sagebrush sea which was
broadcast in May has graciously joined us this evening he’s come from Virginia
to be with us and he will introduce the evening and has selected some clips too
to give you an overall idea of some of the information that you’ll be hearing
about this evening and the second part will be followed with a panel discussion
by local experts in varying fields who have graciously also offered their time
experience and knowledge so there’s part 1 and part 2 so thank you again for
coming and I’d like to begin by introducing dr. mark dansker the
producer at the sagebrush sea hi how do I come across okay you can
hear me out there you’re right you can’t tell how loud you are here alright so
thanks so much for having me it’s really nice and as Diane said we’re there’s a
two-part show so I’m part one we’re gonna make sure we leave plenty of time
for part two I’m very excited for part two which is the panel discussion I’ve
been going around the western states that are affected by this issue
participating in watching listening in these kinds of panels and I’m really
interested I don’t know a lot about Nevada sage-grouse issues I’m sort of I
take a slightly 30,000 foot kind of view of the whole issue so I’m excited for
the second half I’ll make sure I leave plenty of time for it the and and Brett
Boyd is going to be introducing that is gonna be moderating that from the local
from PBS so that’s exciting so in the first 40 minutes I’m gonna I’m gonna
cover I’m gonna show some excerpts in a bit but I also want to try and give some
context I generally try and show the whole film because we made a film it’s
50 minutes long it tells a story and it’s hard to tell that story shorter
without a really good editor so what I did is we pulled out some excerpts to
show you guys but I’m gonna use my voice in this PowerPoint here to try and put
some context around this for you guys that I don’t usually do I want to tell
you a little bit about the Cornell Lab of Ornithology which is the institution
that employs me and made this film I want to give you a little background on
the greater sage-grouse I think that then we’ll go a little bit more into the
into the the film itself I think it’ll be fairly obvious by then why we made
this film and then I’ll show you some excerpts of the film so this would be
about I don’t know you’ll see plenty of graphs I promise so the just first about
the Cornell Lab of Ornithology I have the good fortune of working for a group
that makes beautiful multimedia so rather than tell you about
group I’m gonna show you just a little two-minute trailer about our group the
narrator this is the director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology his name is
John Fitzpatrick we are in upstate New York you will see a picture of the lab
as well it’s a good test for the system when you look into the eyes of a bird
it’s very easy to suddenly recognize that is a living league-leading
conscious being if there’s one basic thing to the lab
stands or is the idea that we have an opportunity to make a difference the
difference that we can make it brought about by the fact that we didn’t watch
we observe that’s fundamentally what Sciences were built around the idea that
were curious about how nature works we’re curious about how nature doing my mother won’t listen the one we
understand the fantastic thing about birds they actually allow us access to
the very little details of the because birds give us this microscope
into how nature works so beautifully we can look closely at how they interact
with the food with their shelter their places for nesting and with one another birds give us access to how nature works
in ways that most animals don’t there’s art in nature and there’s
science of nature and then there’s the teaching that what we’ve been putting
those together and all of these ultimately coming in the same place we
can’t help singing about it because it’s so spectacular and that all comes from
the fundamental human privilege we have it starts with being able to see
something listen to something think about it and to reflect there’s nothing that’s more beautiful
and fulfilling and potentially explosively life-changing than simply
observing nature well I couldn’t said that better myself
it’s kind of cheating when you have really pretty stuff like that but that
that’s what we do at the lab of ornithology and I’m I’m a producer in
the media group there I’m actually a former biologist I shouldn’t say that
because I still occasionally do science but I’m mostly just produce shows for
education outreach conservation and this is my first show for television that we
we produced before we get a little bit further though let me tell you a little
about the bird and why we’re all here this is the greater sage-grouse how many
people have seen the greater sage-grouse actually in the world wow that’s really
good that’s really good so the greater sage-grouse is isn’t is an alarming
animal an absolutely beautiful animal and spectacular is anything in that reel
that you just saw from around the world and I’ve been studying the Grouse since
the 1990s when I did my doctoral research on their very odd mating
displays and I am happy to talk with you about the bioacoustics of sage-grouse
mating displays but I am NOT here to do that tonight
so I about in the 90s also when the alarm bells started going off about the
populations tank of sage-grouse and it’s not something I was tuned into at the
time until much later but here’s a good map maybe I’ll use a laser pointer this
the you can see I don’t think you can see the key this this right here this
khaki color here is historical range of the greater sage-grouse and the green is
where they remain and that’s about half of the area that they previously
occupied that’s actually not that bad I mean when you think about it it sounds
sort of bad but when you think about the world that we are in now and how much
we’ve changed it half isn’t terrible but the population was estimated and the
estimates vary but the population is estimated to have been at least about 16
million the lowest estimates about 5 million now we’re in these down here
we’re in the five hundred to two hundred thousand
range so we’ve seen a major change over time this is a bird whose populations
oscillate a lot but this is a radical tank from where they were before you
know the white colonial expansion across the West and so this kind of a picture
is what put the bird on as a candidate for the Endangered Species Act and it’s
a long story the the saga of the sage-grouse and the Endangered Species
Act is a long story and we’re coming up on the end of the beginning of the story
for the state of the greater sage-grouse it’s it’s it’s a longer story still
because we’re gonna find out whether or not the birds gonna be listed as an
endangered species or not this month but the conservation strategies that are
going to be required to put this bird and this ecosystem back on the right
path those strategies have largely been worked out by groups like the ones
you’re gonna hear from in a little bit and codified through the BLM and and
worked up through bills in the U and the US Department the agriculture programs
so there’s a lot of work that’s going to go on over the next number of years
regardless of the listing and I’ll cut only to the point of saying that on the
listing nothing I’ll say is that conventional wisdom is that the bird
will not be listed that’s conventional wisdom it’s probably true that doesn’t
make it any more any less dire but the reason for that is because of the
extreme efforts of people like the ones in the panel here and the people that
they represent who have done tremendous job turning this thing around and and
and creating a framework that could actually conserve this bird in this
place so I belong to a camp of people who believe that we have done so much
through these efforts that this is the largest conservation effort in the
United States ever and I heard that set by the Secretary of Interior that this
is such a massive effort that we really have to give it a chance and we
to give it a chance not just time but effort and understanding so that’s where
we we sort of come in we looked at this and we said well one of the problems
that the greater sage-grouse house is that it’s not that much out there in the
sagebrush right it looks big and empty and we’ve heard a lot of people say over
time including some former secretaries of the Interior they said well it’s a
good thing they put all that oil and gas out there because there’s nothing there
to disturb and so it’s very easy if you think there’s nothing there to turn that
first gorgeous Vista of sagebrush into this as a Wyoming it’s you don’t have to
own this one that’s what they do up there to their sagebrush but we impact
the sage in all sorts of different ways and what we felt when when when people
came to us and said well what can you guys do to help with this sage-grouse
issue we thought well what we can do is is not to trivialize it but take really
pretty pictures I mean this thing needs a PR campaign you can’t think of it as
flyover country you can’t think of it as a wasteland you can’t think of it as
empty or you can’t care and caring actually does matter maybe it shouldn’t
matter maybe we should preserve things just
because we should preserve things but we don’t caring helps a lot so we produced
a show and I’m gonna show you some more excerpts so I think I’ll start off just
quickly by showing you the trailer to the show show’s already aired so but
it’s still a pretty good representation across the whole thing on an icy plateau a lone performer takes
the stage in a deep freeze with 40 mile an hour
winds he begins his ancient display as lumen is designed to dazzle key to his
success is to stand out in this vast sense his home is often called the big empty
but that couldn’t be farther from the truth those who look closely will discover a
landscape full of life on this stage the struggle for survival has played out for
millions of years but change is on the horizon splintering what remains of the
wilderness forcing those who call this home to face an uncertain future yeah well that dates already passed but
we were really excited when PBS agreed to air this show
we made the film with the idea that we would have to work very hard to get
anybody to see it and it ends up they aired it and about 1.3 million people
watched and it’s gonna air again next week I’ll mention that at the end so you
don’t forget and about available online about a hundred thousand people have
watched it online and I’ve been touring the West with the film for some time
we’re now working on making educational films that will be used hopefully over
the next few decades to teach people about the sagebrush because an hour-long
film doesn’t play as well in the classroom as a 15 minute short so the
reception’s been really good in the timing was very specific we started
three years ago making this film but we knew when this date was coming and we
knew we had me out before it and helped raise interest in profile in advance of
the actual listing decision so we started three years ago and and it’s
been alarming to see how much of a buildup there is today I grabbed
snippets from the internet I used to use I used older ones until now and then I
decided I would grab one from today this is the hill which is a blog really and
anybody almost anybody right there but this one was from somebody you might
recognize her name is Gale Norton she was Secretary of the Interior and this
is from today talking about the importance of basically protecting
species before they get on the endangered species list I thought it was
interesting because when I was doing research early on I heard that Gale
Norton had told the head of BLM sage-grouse worked that the sage guys
would never be listed on her watch and I think she meant that at the time not so
much about conserving it so it didn’t get listed but just that it would have a
tremendous economic consequences but now she seems to think conservation is
important which is good here’s the New Yorker this is also I think either from
today or yesterday worldís h grass were in the West again this this topic of
whether or not the sage-grouse are going to be listed in how
an impact thing is is really top of mind this is energy and environment news
which is not a liberal publication but a fairly balanced source talking about the
Great Basin and how wildfires may decimate grouse populations by 2040
fires are a huge deal here and I’m sure you’ll hear more about that from the
panel this is actually referencing this paper which just came out today as well
that’s pretty dramatic right there so here in Nevada you steward a lot of our
nation’s sage-grouse that’s how I’d like that’s how I like to think of it they’re
there you know used to we it’s the federal lands have a lot of the birds
this is range-wide federal lands or sixty four percent seventy percent I
don’t know what it is in Nevada somebody can correct it I’m sure it’s slightly
different but mostly on federal lands and about fourteen percent of them here
in Nevada so you’re one of the very key states and also that means the most
impacted States because I think I’m willing over the PowerPoint I figured I
would put up an actual map of the Great Basin and the sage-grouse populations
grouse gather on these little Lex which are these tiny little black dots in here
these yellow regions are the core areas as defined 75% areas these are the areas
that are most important to protect and the ones that the regulations and rules
that are going to affect will most affect again just because we could get
rid of all the other stuff that’s Nevada right that’s the area you’re interested
in and so we move this film to try and create an atmosphere it’s harder to
ignore what’s going on out there let me you know I think hopefully you’ve now
you understand a little bit more about where we are and what our motivation was
for doing the film what I’d like to do now is just show you some excerpts which
I think will mostly take me through my time and and then we’ll switch over so
you’re some 13 minutes of sagebrush City in this rugged landscape life has found
a way to thrive winter is over but a final Blizzard
forces itself onto the first days of spring
the locals here are accustomed to extremes they’ve adapted to survive
where others cannot one in particular the greater sage press is found no place
else despite the latest snow the lone
performer begins his spring ritual instinct tells him it’s time
his story actually began three years ago with his father on a nearby stage he’s
not alone males from across the range or arriving to spar for female attention the roulette display has only one
purpose to pass on their genes to the next generation but self-promotion on an
open stage is risky this is the heart of the West an
ecosystem that once stretched 500,000 square miles across the North America
today only half of that remains the melt reveals a sea of sage sage is
the anchor of the high desert without it the land would be a these twisted shrubs can live a hundred
and forty years extending for hundreds of months in every direction they’re the
foundation of this wilderness the wildlife here has evolved with the
sage for over two million years on the flats below lies the home of the grouse they’ve spent the last eight months
hiding but in early spring their genetic imperative draws them to these open
stages years of thaw and evaporation have left patches of salty sediment the
Grouse use these clearings as Lex gathering sites for their mating ritual as other males approach the contest
begins they only have a few weeks if where the females arrive to establish
their dominance and a territory Paris we’re off they see just past each other
and then fights are ferocious and frequent males
battle dozens of times a day serious injuries are rare mostly it’s a
bad lead if exhaustion the chance to mate only comes once a year and for
grass years I mean most males won’t live more than four years they might well
only get two chances to breathe if they survive saged the sustained pronghorn and mule
deer through the winter with the melt the deer head off to their
summer ages in the mountains these antelope are the fastest sprinters
on the continent adapted to outrun the American cheetah the cat is long extinct
but the pronghorn still run when temperatures warm the high desert
comes to life revealing the diversity contributed hibernators surface from
below prairie dog families excavating in tongues preparing for their hubs imagine digs her underground den where
she will soon give birth short horned lizards emerge with the ants the timing
is critical since ants with their sole source of food and Jack runs have shed
their winter white confirming that spring has arrived the sage sea is filling with new life
and everyone is hungry be cured laboratory permits like
hundreds even thousands of miles to raise their young they synchronize their
arrived with the emergence of insects some return to the exact same spot year
after year finding their small crevice once again in this vast extent for
cavity nesting birds ruffs are the trees of the desert bluebirds use holes like
these in place of hollowed trunks despite their brilliant blues females
pick their mates mostly for the quality of his shelter the tiny American Kestrel is the only
Falcon in North America that uses cavities with their ultraviolet vision
they track rodents by following their urine trails rock rims nests between
stones on the ground they’re highly adapted to life in the desert like many
other desert dwellers they get all their water from the insects they eat once the Sun falls in the desert
temperatures can drop by 40 degrees it creatures of the day give way to those
of the night unlike Ravens and bluebirds grouse are
tied to unbroken expanses of sage without it the species would cease to
exist the sagebrush Pharaoh would also disappear
each year they return here to lay their eggs
they bring nowhere else the sage Thrasher the Brewers Sparrow do
the same though their songs are beautiful the feathers are drab to blend
into this landscape without the sage in the nursery it provides these species
would be lost sagebrush is a nursery for plants as
well while it’s toxic for most animals to eat it’s actually called the nurse
plant because it’s shade and roots help other plants grow this land which might at first appear
empty is far from just a place in between it 140 year old sagebrush and a
constant wind that Harrison sent it’s the clatter of antlers and the beating
of wings as migratory birds come and go it’s a soaring Raptor and a rare
performer that takes a chance each year on the open range
an ancient stage where evolution has slowly shaped the lives of those who
live here it’s a once vast wilderness no longer untouched with the future as
uncertain as the survival of an uncommon bird all right today’s your exes Thanks now
that I know there’s one question on your mind right now and where can I see the
full thing that’s what you’re all thinking
and so I I have a great answer which is that it’s on PBS this next week on
channel 5 KN PB at 8 o’clock it’s also on every other PBS affiliate so you can
tell your friends to watch it on PBS and it can’t be a better time certainly
within a week or two of this date we will find out about the listing and you
will see far more front page headlines one way or the other maybe a lot more if
it is listed but they’ll be out there in the news and the more you can tell
people about the loveliness of this place the more people will care and and
then that matters we’d love it if you’d use our film as a postcard of your
backyard tell people with pride this is where I live this is where this is my
home don’t just tell I keep telling about the mountains that you can get to
in 30 minutes telling about the sagebrush the other way and they can
find out online at anytime they want a nature’s website you can watch it it’s
free they’re giving it away to anybody who will watch because what we care
about is people understanding what’s here so I’m going to turn it over now to
our panelists actually Brent Diane’s gonna thank you so very much mark
for sharing this wonderful creation from your lab you have overseen and I know
many of you have seen the entire film and it’s just wonderful so thank you for
introducing that to some of you who perhaps haven’t seen the whole thing so
I now would like to introduce our moderator this evening and I know that
many of you watched Brent Boynton on his own program and he has been so kind to
collaborate with us and helped make this a very special evening and we are very
appreciative and look forward to your your guidance with our panel and he will
introduce our panelists Thank You Brent Thank You Diane panelist come on down my
first job is going to be introduced them and I first have to see where they’re
going to sit so it’s it’s kind of my flash card routine thank you very much
for for coming out this evening I in case you heard all the sneezing and
coughing that was me I’ve decided I’m allergic to sage-grouse so let’s just
get rid of them all that’s my egg starting at the at your left to the
table is mr. Allen Biagi he’s a third-generation Nevadan from Douglas
County and a graduate from the University of Nevada Reno he has degrees
in hydrology and an architectural engineering design mr. miyagi served as
the director of Nevada’s department of conservation and natural resources which
is a cabinet-level position under governor’s Gwen and Gibbons and as the
administrator of the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection under
governor’s Miller and Gwen during his tenure with the state of
Nevada mr. Biaggi served on numerous boards and commissions including the
Commission on workplace safety the governor’s climate change commission the
lake tahoe by state fire commission and he also sat on the governing board of
the Tahoe regional planning agency for six years including three years as its
chairman after 31 years of public service mr. miyagi retired in 2010 he’s
currently principal of Biaggi and associates a natural resource
and consulting form he also sits on the board of the Tahoe fund which is a
nonprofit organization that secures private money for environmental
recreational and educational projects in the Tahoe Basin welcome Alan thank you next to Alan is Casey Casey she is the
warm-up artist for Duran Duran I’m kidding
Casey is her real first name and her last name is unpronounceable that’s her
husband’s fault so the rest of us just abbreviate it with the letters K and C
did I do okay with that Casey okay she is the program manager for the sagebrush
ecosystem program which is as I understand it means that she works with
the state agencies whose responsibilities overlap in the
sagebrush ecosystem and works to implement the state plan devised by the
sagebrush ecosystem council keep up with me there will be a test on this the
sagebrush ecosystem council was established by Governor Brian Sandoval
in 2012 Alan biaggi Tina nappy and Bevin Lister
on our panel are all members of that council it has more members representing
a large swath of Nevada land users the council created our state plan which is
essentially our official plan for dealing with sage-grouse issues and
Casey and her staff work with the various state agencies to make that
policy really happen before becoming program manager Casey served as a
conservation staff specialist for the Nevada Division of Forestry she was
primarily responsible for the statewide hazardous fuel reduction program she
worked with multiple state local and federal partners and landowners to
spread education and prevention against catastrophic loss in wildland fires and
in implementing strategically placed treatments on the landscapes that
government speaks in other words she managed the process of getting rid of
the dead stuff in the latter fuels Casey also managed the Volunteer Fire
Assistance Program which provided equipment
training to the qualifying volunteer fire departments in our state Casey
started with India as a seasonal employee at the state tree nursery in
2002 then moved into the state office working for the fire program and before
the Division of Forestry she served a – a little over two years in the Peace
Corps doing community service tree work in Nepal Casey has a BS in forestry in
specifically research conservation from the University of Montana in Missoula
all right now Devin Lister I’m going to have to look
up as we speak because we had a little miscommunication on his bio but it’s not
his fault so it’s not my fault that I may have to read this off my phone
either born and raised just outside of Pioche Nevada Bevin Lister has a
lifelong love for the outdoors wildlife and for agriculture he graduated from
Utah State University with a degree in water and biological engineering
he returned to Pioche to help build the family farm and Bevin has raised his
family of six children there the children have grown and the farm has
grown from an 80 acre weekend project to a 700-acre alfalfa producing operation
Bevins passion for the outdoors wildlife and agriculture have led him to and be
involved in many venues he served on the state wildlife Commission the Lincoln
County Public Lands Commission that have had a Farm Bureau board and many other
councils and committees including 25 plus years with the Boy Scouts Bevin
currently serves as the Nevada Farm Bureau Federation vice president and
Nevada sagebrush ecosystem council a dedicated husband and father Bevin
strives to help those around him as an advocate of Agriculture wildlife and the
outdoors Bevin takes care to do his homework and
footwork to best serve all bevin Lister Greg tanner is another native Nevadan
I’m feel like a new comer surrounded by these books he’s originally from
Arrington he grew up hunting fishing and exploring remote rural Nevada as a child
while living in mining camps where his father was employed and those early
experiences spawned and cultivated his interest in working with natural
resources he graduated from UNR with a degree in renewable natural resource
management and he went to work for the vadas Department of Fish and Game
while he was in college it stuck while in college he he went to work for Fish
and Game and then he stayed with what became the Nevada Department of Wildlife
after he graduated he worked out in Las Vegas Harrington Fallon and Reno
primarily in the avian and terrestrial wildlife arena he worked with the
federal land management agencies as well as private landowners mr. Tanner worked
on numerous wildlife conservation efforts and initiatives including
sage-grouse and sage-grouse habitat management he retired in 2004 as the
game bureau chief which is a position he’d held in the last ten years of his
career with the state after he retired he trained dogs and worked as a staff
biologist as the staff biologist for the Nevada wilderness project for the last
several years he’s been self employed working with a northern nevada landowner
as his representative in pursuing conservation easements for his ranches
the objective is to maintain the ranches as viable agricultural operations pardon
me while maintaining and enhancing the quality the high quality private land
habitat for wildlife primarily sage-grouse his wife Joanne is a retired
teacher from Churchill County School District they’ve been married for 40
years Greg says wildlife conservation has been his lifelong pursuit and he’s
been fortunate to have been a key player in past successful wildlife conservation
efforts and he’s hopeful that he’ll be a party to more in the future
Greg tanner and to my immediate left tina nappy
another very native Nevadan she was born and grew up in Washoe Valley the
daughter of a photographer and artist who tried to earn a living first by
raising leghorns for eggs and secondly with the divorce ranch similar pursuits she graduated from UNR with a degree in
English literature and a teaching degree her primary employment was at least the
development of her or her main field was through the Foresta Institute for ocean
and mountain studies located in Washoe Valley that’s where she developed a red
book of Nevada’s rare and endangered species to complement the International
Red Book of endangered species and the emerging US Fish and Wildlife Service
listing of rare and endangered species in other words she was researching these
things before the federal government started listing them mrs. nappies
primary career was in join and Nevada works that’s a program which provided
employment and training services in the 13 northern Nevada counties she served
as director for a number of years and was involved in economic development
meanwhile on the side she was working as a volunteer focusing on Nevada wildlife
writing about lobbying for and serving on various boards including the State
Board of wildlife commissioners several BLM advisory boards and the state of
Nevada’s brief journey into water planning she also served as editor for
time of the toy Hobby trails the toy Hobby chapter of the Sierra Club
newsletter for Tina’s service on the sagebrush council is a continuum of that
passion for wildlife enjoyment of a variety of perspectives and anticipation
of improving conditions for wildlife and of course being invited to participate
her bottom line Nevada no matter what its shortcomings is a great state tina
nappy well thanks to dr. danciger and the
sagebrush si excerpt we now probably have a pretty good idea of what the
sage-grouse is let me ask right first what about the difference between the
greater sage-grouse that we hear about and the bi-state sage-grouse is there
any difference anybody feel free to jump it yes right is this working
yes your honor it takes a few minutes to explain but I’ll explain a little bit
about how it came about well how about the 30 second explanation are we talking
about the same bird they’re the same bird okay except the bi-state has a
unique genetic characteristics that wasn’t determined until DNA technology
became available and that happened in the mid 1990s there was a rather
embarrassing situation that occurred in Utah and Colorado of whereby it was once
thought that the Gunnison sage-grouse was a greater sage-grouse it’s a
separate species so that brought attention to all of the states you
better see what you got for sage-grouse and that precipitated an effort
range-wide whereby all of the states contracted with the University of Denver
and sent their samples in at which time they were analyzed and it was determined
that the birds range-wide exhibited the same genetic characteristics and
consequently were the same bird with the exception of the bi-state the bi-state
had unique genetic characteristics all it’s not a different species or
subspecies it just possesses different genetic characteristics however that
characteristic under the Endangered Species Act qualifies it for a separate
listing and consequently it was petitioned
listing as a distinct population segment of the greater sage-grouse okay
the US Fish and Wildlife Services are required to make a decision honored
before the 30th of this month as to whether to list the greater sage-grouse
if I’m not mistaken as an endangered species do all of Nevada’s sage-grouse
fall under that designation no with the exception of the bi-state okay with the
exception of the bi-state very good so the bi-state will not be listed on the
30th that determination was made earlier this well late last year and in the
service determined not to list the bi-state population okay now our big
reason for caring if it weren’t for the the beautiful documentary pictures we
had if that was just a bird and we have plenty more birds
why does Nevada care about the potential for listing what can happen to our state
as a consequence of the sage-grouse getting endangered specie of listen
anyone care to jump in on that go ahead and you can grab the microphone
to go ahead Bevin oh I’ll let Tina go first well and the first place I’m not
sure there there’s more than there’s a danger threatened or not listed there’s
three options here to look at and I know economically there’s a big concern about
this and I certainly would have some concerns myself and I think that it was
already mentioned that in order to avoid a listing there has been a tremendous
amount of work done which we might discuss because there has been a huge
amount of work done in understanding the bird and the habitat and how best to do
range management and there’s also been a considerable investment financially and
it’s those characteristics that ensure that the bi-state would not be listed
just so we know that if you have a plan in place that you’re willing to fund and
you really work together that perhaps there’s not as much there’s not the need
to list the bird okay Bevin what’s at stake if if the
sage-grouse gets protected species listing you know injured species I’m
sorry I guess those that know me you’ll know that I’m the the least politically
correct of the group here so um the the potential for listing of the sage-grouse
would have tremendous economic and social impacts on all aspects of the
state even the metropolitan areas of the state use the open spaces in the state
for recreation and the amount of restrictions that would be in place with
a listing would severely curtail both economic development current economic
and production practices as well as those recreation opportunities I’ll leave it down okay correct this the way that a listing could
potentially affect the state using the state as an example is through the
consultation requirement contained within the Endangered Species Act that
means any proposed federal action or any activity that has a federal Nexus
associated with it what’s the federal Nexus well anything that you spend
federal dollars on whether it be an individual or the state or whoever
that’s a federal Nexus any of those activities will require a formal
consultation with the US Fish and Wildlife Service with regards to the
potential impact of the proposed action you know does that get down to the level
of grazing rights it’s much bigger than that
yes it absolutely would potentially affect annual well grazing permits but
it’s it’s bigger than that I regularly observe people misunderstanding the
potential impact of the listing in that a lot of people consider this to be a
rural issue it’s as much of an urban issue was anything and why would it be
that well it’s just some examples the water situation Las Vegas being an
example what are they short of were they planning to get water potentially to
sources right now one is the Colorado River drainage obviously where they’re
putting the third intake into Lake Mead to obtain water the entire upper
Colorado River watershed is sage-grouse habitat and actions in that watershed
could potentially affect the future of water in or the Eastern Nevada valleys
were has been proposed that water be obtained to support Las Vegas how are
they going to get it there any conveyance other than a truck is going
to cry well any conveyance you can imagine
across the sage-grouse habitat so those are some examples and of course there’s
a hole that one of the points that I want to make and then I’ll let somebody
else talk but we don’t know what the we have no way of knowing the breadth of
the impact because then we would have to look into the future and know what the
proposed actions are before we would know the full extent of the impact about
listing well can we look at other examples let’s say the desert tortoise
in in Southern Nevada and say this was handled in this particular way so this
is what we would expect using that as an example when it when the desert tortoise
was listed the Las Vegas Valley was being developed very rapidly casino
expansion and urban expansion basically the Las Vegas Valley was being excavated
and all of that was a desert tortoise habitat
the feds listed it which required that development any time there was federal
funding involved recorded that type of development required a consultation with
Fish & Wildlife Service the long and the short of it over time was that all of
the affected entities got together about 30 different entities and they developed
what’s called Clark County multi-species habitat conservation plan it and and
ultimately what happened was that the Fish and Wildlife Service allowed
development within the Las Vegas Valley to continue but they proved precluded
development elsewhere in Clark County as a mitigation okay and and so that’s
that’s using an example of of what potentially could happen with another
species Allen Biaggi since since you’ve worked a lot with the mining Association
what would be the economic impacts to the mining industry of a listing
well I think that the mining industry will tell you that probably the one
thing that is most detrimental to their business is uncertainty and one thing
that a potential listing brings is time delays and uncertainty whether or not
you can permit a mine and I think it’s important to to recognize that in Nevada
the greatest threat to the bird is not mining it’s not energy development it’s
not livestock raising it’s fire and it’s invasive species and in Nevada we’re in
a very cyclical arrangement where we have fire it burns our sagebrush falling
in behind the fire is cheatgrass which burns which further exacerbates the
problem further burns more sagebrush for Nevada that is our greatest threat so we
need to always keep that in mind and keep that context that that’s really
what we need to watch out for the most does mining grazing and energy
development have impacts absolutely it does
but they’re they’re smaller in comparison but to get to your question
again a potential listing has huge potential impacts to the mining industry
through uncertainty through potential withdrawals of mineral entry and for
permitting delays given a listing and asking what if again what protections
would the bird receive and what would be the the likely impact on populations
Bethan I saw you smile you know I yeah and like I said I I’m gonna share the
different perspective here because in from my point of view a listing would be
death to the bird any in what way because it would sound like it would
protect the birds well federal management is the biggest
threat to the bird right now hands down and I’ll state that in any venue fires
increased because of the way that federal lands are managed species have
decreased because of the way that federal lands are managed the
restrictive management there there isn’t any management done anymore
it’s just restriction and restriction isn’t going to solve the problem in fact
the reason that the sage-grouse blossomed and and populations exploded
immediately following the most extensive natural resource use in the state was
because the ranching population was there putting water in a lot of various
places trees were cut sagebrush the sagebrush ecosystem expanded
tremendously once we turned the corner in the 1970s to a restrictive and
preservation minded way of management you can look at the numbers and I know
the science is everybody’s got their own piece of science but the facts all you
have to do is look at the facts and since restrictive management has been
put in place deer populations have declined rabbit pygmy pygmy rabbit is
one of the indicator species populations have declined and the sage-grouse
populations have declined there is not a solution in restriction there is not the
idea that pre I mark the one slide I guess I have problems with is the idea
that pre-colonial we had these millions and millions of birds well I don’t know
because we don’t have records from pre-colonial we do know that the early
explorers brought extra horses with him because there was nothing to eat and
they ate their extra horses that’s a fact that’s written in journals after
settlement after we started to clone colonized and and like said develop
different areas and use some of the resources that’s the period of time that
we saw the greatest explosion in in our wildlife population
in talking to all of you panelists before this event I realized that the
history is not necessarily well understood and that drawing conclusions
based on that history may be somewhat controversial does anyone else want to
weigh in on that before we forge ahead Greg well I will comment I would agree
with Bevin that we experienced an eruption of sage-grouse populations they
likely peaked in the late 1950s and Nevada
like other sagebrush obligate species including well-known species like mule
deer and black tail Jackrabbits and there are some reasons there were a
sequence of events that all came together that resulted in a different
sagebrush ecosystem that was favorable to these species so there were there
were good reasons why it happened and but unfortunately the common thinking is
that we had great numbers during the pre-colonial period and then they’ve
gradually diminished that is not the case and in talking with you I think
that you would contend that it was largely through the management of man
that the sage-grouse blossomed to be beyond historic what would have been
historic levels at that time well it wasn’t intentional it was just the
sequence of events that occurred I’ll give you two great examples some of the
major influences the first was the deforestation that occurred in
conjunction was the early mining activity in Nevada beginning in about
1860 and then commencing through 1900 we have a little bit of difficulty
visualizing the extent of deforestation that occurred but can you imagine all of
the timber surrounding Lake Tahoe cut it was for Virginia City as an
example the old newspapers cite many situations for example around Ione and
central Nevada where the pinyon-juniper there was clear cut for a 50-mile radius
around the mining camps so and obviously that was the source of fuel for the
people that were mining in addition to making steam for milling and processing
that type of thing so there were good reasons but that deforestation was an
action on the landscape that resulted in the emergence of a favorable shrub
community that the sagebrush obligate species later took advantage of another
huge influence on the landscape was the intensive livestock grazing that
occurred initially it was cattle between 1815 and
eight there at 1850 and 1889 that was the year that we had the hardest winter
on record in Nevada it literally killed 80 and 90 percent of the cattle on on
all of the landscape in Nevada following that period the nomadic sheep operations
from other states took advantage of avoid and they moved into the state in
huge numbers peaking about 1910 where we had between two and three million sheep
on the landscape in Nevada that’s a huge number compared to today’s approximately
90,000 so what did the place look like after three million sheep were on it
it’s actually recorded because the landowners of the day at the time were
so concerned about the huge impacts of this these nomadic domestic sheep
operations by the way they were from somewhere else they weren’t from the
data but they they lobbied their congressional representatives and their
concern was watershed there we’re concerned that heavy winters were gonna
that soil right down under their private lands due to the intensity so the first
thing that happened was that Congress designated those lands national forest
reserves those were the precursors to our national forest lands in Nevada
today the first thing that that happened upon that congressional designation was
that they were they sent biologists and range people out here to document the
landscape they photographed the landscapes on the tops of the mountain
ranges all of that’s in the Library of Congress some in local libraries but
literally the land it all looks the same when you look at those photographs taken
in 1906 1907 1908 you got bare ground with some sagebrush dogs stickin up the
the country had been denuded of a lot of its vegetation so following that period
we had some real and big winners a lot of vegetation the resulting the result
was a huge emergence of a shrub community upon a landscape that had been
severely compromised with intensive livestock grazing so you’ve got
deforestation that occurred here you’ve got broad scale livestock grazing that
occurred by both cattle and domestic sheep and then a period of and and by
the way that subsided that that that declined after about 1920 but you had a
huge emergence of a shrub community including bitterbrush sagebrush and the
sagebrush obligate species followed that trend upwards okay and thank you for
that I’m gonna direct this this next question to Casey let me turn that
question around this is this is the what-if question if the sage-grouse does
not get federal protection what protection will it get as a result of
state action and as the result of the council on here yes so I mean the state plan
regardless of a state listing of the bird or a federal listing of the bird
the state plan will be enacted as as it’s intended to currently we’re also
working on the strategic action plan that takes some of the higher-level
thinking and actions in the state plan and makes them into something that we
can actually set a date to and tell to say who is doing that and all of that
gets enacted regardless of a listing decision this SEC the sagebrush
ecosystem Council the sagebrush ecosystem technical team which I
represent those all remain it was very strategically named the sagebrush
ecosystem program not sage-grouse because we are concerned about the
ecosystem as a whole we’re currently looking at sage-grouse but we do hope to
expand to all obligate species and that is that’s an important point about
tonight’s discussion as well as the sagebrush sea it is a whole
environmental area and are there other other species and other elements that we
need to be looking at in addition to sage-grouse yeah yes Tina would you but
borrow borrow Greg’s microphone would you there’s about 350 species of plants
and animals that are part of the sagebrush system and of course they’re
all going to be vulnerable we looked at it what I think would be maybe helpful
because to me dealing with the sage-grouse and the sagebrush system
requires all of us to get involved and to maybe think differently than we have
thought before and I believe some of this came up in a Marc’s movie we have
all I’m NATIVE out in and some of us are here as we grew up we always looked
across that sagebrush at the mountains beyond and we have done a very good job
of saving some of those mountains and in this areas we have saved water in
wildlife refuges we have saved the Black Rock Desert for its because it’s a
desert its historical its aesthetic but when you look at all those places we’ve
saved there’s only one place that has meaningful sage-grouse in it and that’s
the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge was saved for pronghorn so what we’re
looking at when we look at this stage brush see we’re looking at lands that
have been sort of owned they’re owned by grazing permits they’re great owned by
prospecting and mining claims they’re owned by all of us as we ride our off
highway vehicles in they’re owned by the horse people who don’t want a single
horse removed from the herd management areas so what we have is a landscape
that has heavy use as has already been mentioned and it’s whether it’s the
sage-grouse is listed or not we have to deal with that and we have to deal with
fire aren’t trying to remove or reduce the impact of fire and it the sagebrush
ecosystem Council at the state level to me is one of the first really good steps
in that direction because it is going to be fire and weeds and pinyon-juniper
invasions and yes we have to deal with grazing pyramids obviously I don’t agree
with Bevin on everything but I think there is a huge opportunity and it’s an
opportunity that we all have to buy into because in the long run it’s going to
recreate some restraints on all of our behavior if we want to save the stage
grouse and everything in that system and the history is subject to interpretation
there are a lot of different ways to look at it but one of the things that
has happened that I think is wonderful over the last few years is the huge
investment and study on how best to which lands are most important for
recovering which lands are best for pinyon-juniper removal which lands are
best for receding that’s a learning experience you just don’t arrive knowing
that you have to study it and get the best out of it
so my concern about listing this is endangered is that I don’t want to lose
the cooperation and the working together that has come about over the last few
years and I hope it wouldn’t the Fish and Wildlife Service cannot do this by
itself it has to involve all of us and we have to be more involved the state
level financially and the state under governor sand of all the legislature has
made a very good first step on that so I want to just I don’t want to be negative
about this there’s so many good things that are positive for the sage grouse my
concern is if it’s not listed is that all of this investment will drop and the
energy that’s something we have to to really think about but as we discuss
this this evening I think it would be nice if any of you had ideas about
things that could be done and maybe we need to save different kinds of lands we
need different parts so we need different set asides but just remember
that you and I helped to save lands that didn’t really include the sage grouse
for the most part in thinking and we would like to get to audience questions
and comments in just a moment but first Alan did you want to chime in on that no
I think Tina did a very good job okay you leaned forward very very
purposefully I agree with Tina it’s imperative that the focus that’s been
started here it continues that we continue to work towards solutions here
within the state and and and gather all entities together I’m gonna go back to
the statement that I made before I’ll disagree with Tina that special
designations or Trick shion’s do not benefit because
those become non managed lands they just become a future fire a special
designation whether it’s a wilderness area with this conservation area
whatever you call it it just becomes a non managed area that’s why I said the
federal government would be the crippling of the bird population the
federal government the BLM has specific direction to manage the wild horse
population which they have utterly failed to do they have specific
direction to manage for certain rangeland health which they have
miserably failed to do the the the idea that because we gives a piece of land a
special designation and tell everybody to stay off doesn’t mean that it’s ever
going to be good wildlife habitat and it’s definitely not going to improve if
it’s not currently good wildlife habitat you you see that basically evolving as
the neighbor’s house undergoing foreclosure and the weeds in the yard
you you see that is the bank’s management of that property is being
similar to federal management absolutely that’s that’s that’s a great picture
thank you fuck Casey how many of these state things you you say that they are
actually happening what have we learned from all this what have we gained from
this whether whether the bird is listed or not will this continue forward if we
think well we dodged a bullet we don’t have to worry about that anymore
well I would always like to think so I’m a never an optimist I think what Tina
said is very true we’ve we’ve built a lot of relationships that have never
really been built before and I think sage-grouse can be you know
given the credit for that because it brought a lot of us together it probably
should have happened along time ago we all should have been working
together in liberally on management resource management for years and we
have been working alongside of each other for a long time and together on
some issues firefighting we do a good job at working together on but I think
that those relationships will continue regardless of what happens with a
listing decision and beyond sage-grouse um hopefully into just all of our land
management issues managing for multiple resources is is hard and multiple uses
is hard and it’s difficult and from the state’s perspective it’s different and
from a federal perspective it’s different from everyone’s perspective
it’s different and I think if the areas that are being successful if you if you
look at recent areas that are getting a lot of project work done and the way
they’re doing that is through real collaboration through processes of all
of them coming together and building a plan then maybe not everyone’s happy
about but at least can get implemented and and does something good out there
and there’s a lot of success stories like that right now and it’s really it’s
an exciting time I mean I think what’s going to come out of this regardless of
the listing decision is a really good working relationship between the federal
the state agencies industry and and everyone and and really working together
to make things work for the state of Nevada 20 years from now this will be a
better looking picture yeah okay when I retire on that optimistic note would
anyone from the audience like to ask questions at this point yes sir glad to see to the land out there
are you when you’re sitting in the safe house or what is what would be your
preference for these back areas of Nevada each area is different and that’s
why that’s why federal management fails is because a bunch of folks in
Washington DC cannot write a management plan that is going to cover all all
aspects of everywhere it’s it has been a tremendous challenge as a council to sit
down and write a plan just to address the issues here in the state of Nevada
that I believe that the the plan that the council has put together will be
effective and and has the tools in it to adaptively manage all of the different
parts of Nevada’s landscape I’m not sure did that answer your question development or some form of use of the
land that is more desirable for you and I want to know what that is would you
prefer seeing the land being used for each piece of land has its opportunities
I guess if I can use a better term I see a lot of the state of Nevada and
it’s very diverse there are most of the state has been used for grazing for
generations and most of it other than some periods that there was not any kind
of management that most of it is managed fairly productively and for long-term
sustaining grazing the valid use mining is a valid use energy production is a
valid use each in their individual places but non management I don’t think
is a valid approach there is in my country yeah I live down there in the
Netherlands part of the map it’s a different country fire is not our issue
with the sagebrush ecosystem pinyon juniper encroachment is the issue and
those lands yes will eventually burn and they will burn in catastrophic fires
much of that unfortunately has been locked up in wilderness that then cannot
be receded into fire resistant species that cannot be managed it is a it’s a what did Lou prevent here call it a
black hole heading toward a vicious cycle of fire and invasive weeds so
that’s your thing is fire invasive weed management yes yes I believe that you have a
federal intervention yes other questions yes ma’am let me repeat the question just in case
you weren’t able to all hear it in the audience
considering that that we have natural fires here caused by lightning how do
you prevent fire and at least damaging fires in sagebrush country
brenell I’ll start with that one and in case you can fill in the key to fighting
fires in Nevada is catching them early it’s the key is to try and capture 100
percent of the fires when they’re an acre or less if you can put out you can
capture the small fires and you can put them out it’s when they start to grow
and get larger and larger and larger they get out of hand
I pulled up some statistics before coming in today some of the acreage
that’s been burned in Nevada over the last 10 or 12 years year two thousand
seven hundred thousand acres two thousand one 600,000 acres 2005 almost
one and a half million acres 2006 1.3 million acres so when we let those small
fires become large we have these catastrophic fires and that’s where we
lose our sage-grouse and sagebrush habitat the other thing that we can do
and the federal government has really come around to this it used to be that
if there was a timber fire in Montana or a a timber fire in Oregon that fire took
priority and they said it’s just Nevada it’s just sagebrush let it burn they’ve
come around to recognize the the valuable habitat that sagebrush is and
they’ve put it on a par with big timber in terms of allocating resources to
fight fires so that’s another big change another thing we can do is put in fire
breaks within our sagebrush habitat so that if a fire does occur it maybe will
burn up to that fire break and it gives us a chance to fight it at that point
and not get significantly larger than it might be so there are some techniques
that we can use the Nevada Division of Forestry has been very good over the
last few years of sending resources there helicopters from here on the
Sierra front out to Elko County to help address those fires as they
occur in their sagebrush lands Casey I’m sure you have more you’d like to say on
that I would just say yeah you don’t prevent fires in Nevada fire is a
naturally occurring event in Nevada and and one thing I think that’s taken us a
long time to come to terms with is is that not all fire is bad there are some
fires I mean we have we have tried to stop every fire and and by doing that
we’ve overstocked a lot of the forests and a lot of the forests that look
healthy to us are not healthy because that wasn’t its natural stocking level
and historically so at the the scale at which we’re looking at things we can’t
do a whole bunch to prevent it but we can do a lot more to stop it from
catastrophic loss or coming in in the right areas and rehabbing in the right
ways I mean we’ve there’s a lot of strides being made to try to change the
way that we’re looking at the rehabilitation of fires I think before
we’ve just kind of blanketed rehab across landscapes and we’re learning a
lot more now about native sourced seeds and in areas where we could do plantings
that would be more successful we’re not very successful with flying sagebrush
seed over in a helicopter but we are successful in planting islands of
sagebrush and getting them to grow again so so I think that what we have to look
at is fire is gonna happen here and we are gonna lose some landscapes but what
can we do after the fire and what can we do ahead of it
thinning the fuels getting rid of the dead in the down taking some you know
thinning the trees to a smaller stocking level so that when fire comes through it
would do what it naturally did which is clean up the understory but not take out
the entire area so there there’s a lot we can do it’s just it’s such a large
area to have it done in and a big change that’s come around since I think 1917
when cheatgrass was first discovered in Nevada is we’ve got this invasive
species previously when fire went through the landscape
eventually the sagebrush would come back now the cheatgrass the medusahead in
these invasive species out-compete the sagebrush and they don’t it doesn’t come
back again it’s gonna take man intervention
for that sagebrush to once again re-establish sagebrush sagebrush grows
slowly we’re looking at 15 20 30 50 years for it to return next question yes
sir it’s a question you mentioned the sage-grouse is the spy state what two
states are those and then are the population of the greater sage-grouse
I’m like how many of those verses are feisty I’ll take a stab at it so we’re
really talking as greg has talked about is to two populations of the bird when
we’re talking by state it’s a very small population and it’s Nevada in California
from about Lyon County down to about Bishop right along the california/nevada
border the greater sage-grouse is in 11 western states it’s that huge expanse
that that Mark showed on the map so by state two states Nevada California very
limited population size yes ma’am with the questions but to keep it short just
two of my questions the first one this gentleman was talking about desert of
vacation now I saw a video when I very first came to the bed a long time ago
about how they take these big chains and they click tractors on either end of
these chutes and they go over the landscape killing
everything and that makes me proposed again the disturbing and Wildlife
Commission being as a matter of fact that’s part of the plan to me that’s
going to cost more desert vacation I don’t know I haven’t heard anything
about the consequences of vilifying the natural plants that are supposed to grow
here for shade for piñon nuts for peanuts for cover for animals
I owe my ears vilification of these species of plants are native to our
state and that I think have aesthetic value besides the other values I’ve
mentioned so to me that’s a very scary proposition and it sounds really
exaggerated and a second vilification that’s taking place are braveness and
the numbers of ravens that have already been killed are huge and when they do
that without poison eggs I have no idea if the poison is getting into the food
chain and thereby any poisoning other animals in the food chain I think it’s
out of control and think it’s indiscriminate and I don’t see vilifying
species of animals or species of plants just in a rush to save this one bird and
again I haven’t heard any specifics from this panel about this economic disaster
that were supposedly facing how exactly precisely is there a study that I can
see that tells us exactly what is this economic disease
that will occur thank you well there are three questions let’s start with with
the first with the the vilification of plant species who’d like to tackle that well I’m not sure not knowing what the
project is I know there are some places in the state where the sagebrush has
gotten so tall and it’s really maybe killed off the understory but I don’t
know I’m not sure any of us up here knows anything about that particular
project okay the practice that you’re referring
to is Chaney it’s it’s usually used to to manage the pinyon-juniper that is a a
very rapid rapidly expanding population into areas that were originally
rangelands or what they call rangeland sites I’m not the guy to talk about what
was on the council that McAdoo Kent what was his about site specific
evaluation and insight potential and all that good stuff
I’m not that scientist so I can’t tell you about it but the the use of chains
to reduce pinyon-juniper stands has been in place for years before you started
wasn’t it great oh yeah and and then perhaps I should follow up with why his
pinyon-juniper bad at least in some places or some concentrations why do we
not Revere it like we do the sagebrush it creates a expansive monoculture and
where there is no understory under it that is you yeah it’s nice and green to
drive by nothing lives there it takes over it
takes over occasionally there are occasionally there are pine nuts but
certainly not every year kind of like one in five or sometimes when it rains
but I don’t know is it’s a vilification of any kind of species its management
practices and when the gentleman asked me before about what do you want to see
where well there are woodland sights there are range sights I’m not talking
about nobody’s talking about desert off’ occasion when a range site becomes taken
over with pinyon-juniper then everything else leaves and so we’re in a in a place
where we’re focused on the sagebrush ecosystem pinyon-juniper expansion in
some areas of the state is destroying the sagebrush ecosystem so somewhere
along the line we have to decide what our priorities are and I guess just one other thing maybe
to get to the basic issue the sage-grouse don’t like to be around
trees and the reason for that is that the Predators that the Eagles the Ravens
the Hawks sit in those trees and they can very carefully watch where this
sage-grouse are nesting they can see the little ones and they pick them off very
easily so when you look at sage-grouse habitat it’s typically in areas where
there are no trees and over the over the last 150 years we’ve seen sage we’ve
seen pinyon and juniper expansion significantly in the state and just to
give you an idea of how intertwined all of our resource issues are is that we
have as a council have been saying pinyon-juniper not good we’ve got to try
and reduce it and quite frankly five guys and chainsaws over a summer can can
do a lot in terms of in health enhancing grouse habitat but we heard our our
Native American representative at our last sagebrush ecosystem council
saying hey we need to stop we need to think about this because opinion and
juniper are very important to Native people they’re a food source there’s
some spiritual significance to them and so what we run into all the time is
these values are intertwined and we were talking it at the reception earlier
tonight that it’s like whack-a-mole you’ve hit something here something else
pops up over there so we need to be you know the challenge
of really of the sagebrush ecosystem Council is how do you balance all of
these values and manage the land for multiple use it’s a very difficult thing
and it’s it’s a huge challenge for the land management agencies and we always
talk about you know the the devils of BLM are the Devils of the Forest Service
but they’ve gotten an extremely difficult job
to try and balance all of the uses on our public lands let me just skip over
the the Raven question and just get to the the economic impact because we’re
we’re basically out of time does anyone want to to tackle the the question about
the severity of economic impact if there were a sage-grouse listing to my
knowledge nobody has attempted that feat yet but it’s I think it suffice it to
say that we can’t at this point in time we don’t know what the ramifications of
a listing would be ultimately that would be tied to the consultation process
required under the Endangered Species Act with the Fish and Wildlife Service
and their ability to affect a permit to maintain mitigate or restore sage-grouse
and/or their habitats so we we really have no way of knowing I don’t know how
you’d put that data together but suffice it to say that we did we do know that it
affects virtually everybody in Nevada not just rural or urban
and it would be a significant thing now I’m gonna make a statement a little bit
about just very quickly along those lines one of the problems we’ve got with
this is money the the more recently completed plan is not the first plan in
Nevada we’ve had other plans their failures frankly have been funding on
behalf of the state when you go through a budget process in the state of Nevada
and I say this anecdotally after years of working for them that when ultimately
your budget goes to the legislature and is approved and then goes back to the
governor the priorities are such that education is funded first Health and
Human Services get funded natural resource management is always at the
bottom and historically has been in Nevada Nevada is challenged by itself to
be able to fund a lot of this management that we’re talking about this is
expensive stuff you talk about pinyon-juniper treatment on a per acre
basis I was involved in one down in the Bridgeport district we’re talking about
$5,000 an acre it gets a little expensive so along the
lines of what Tina mentioned earlier the only way that we’re going to be able to
undertake management of sage-grouse in Nevada is to utilize all of the
available partners and that includes the federal agencies historically some of
our major industries have been extremely helpful with their funding primarily the
the mining industry has just been superb in the past and in terms of coming up
with the money to fund the expensive projects to benefit the critters so
anyway we’re challenged by money and it takes money for management proper
management so those are just a few anecdotal comments with regard on the
economic aspect of things and you asked the question where can you look at the
economics of a potential listing and I think if you look at the environmental
impact statement that the federal agencies have put out there is some
economic analysis within that document if you want to go through all 1800 pages
of it another way to look at it is look at other species that have been listed
and the economic impacts of those species we’ve talked about the desert
tortoise spotted owl in the north the northwest and any other number species
throughout the country and that leads to the the final question I’d like to close
on because we are out of time where can anyone in our audience go to find more
information about the topic other than just a Google search is there any
clearinghouse for information about the the sagebrush habitat okay what let’s
have a round of applause for our panelists

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