November 2017 "Insider Scoop"

Photo of sage-grouse by Lindsey Christensen Nesbitt

Photo of sage-grouse by Lindsey Christensen Nesbitt

Help keep science in existing federal sage-grouse habitat plans

The Bureau of Land Management is holding a series of public meetings throughout the West to determine the fate of federal conservation efforts designed to provide habitat protections for greater sage-grouse, while still allowing multiple use on public lands. The 99 Bureau of Land Management and US Forest Service Land Use Plan amendments, adopted in 2015, came from over six years of agency and locally-driven efforts to understand the challenges to properly conserving habitat for this species and to find collaborative solutions to managing them on public lands.  Most importantly, it was these Land Use Plan amendments, and the promises for conservation made in them, that obviated the need to list the sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act in 2015. That is why we would like to see these plan amendments remain in place.

Do you think conservation science measures - like population and habitat data informing and shaping land management and use - should be removed from the planning process;  or, continue to remain in the Land use Plans? See example talking points from Pew here. Please consider heading out to one of these towns in Utah to let the BLM know your opinion on this proposal.  The meetings will be held:

·  Tuesday, Nov. 14 at the Western Park Convention Center, 300 East 200 South, Vernal, Utah.

·  Wednesday, Nov. 15 at the Festival Hall/Heritage Theater, 105 North 100 East, Second Floor Conference Center Room 1, Cedar City, Utah.

·  Thursday, Nov. 16 at the Snowville Elementary School, 160 North Stone Road, Snowville, Utah

The links above will take you to page to RSVP for the different meetings, and if there are enough folks signed up to attend, we may be orchestrating vanloads of folks from the SLC area.

Or, if you’d rather email comments in on the proposal to dismantle or redo the sage-grouse plans, you can submit them to blm_sagegrouseplanning@blm.gov.  Remember, background on the sage-grouse plans, the sage-grouse science they were based on, and helpful points to comment on in person or in writing, can be found at this helpful site from Pew Charitable Trusts.

Wildlife Science Program Update

Wild Utah Project biologists have been working this Fall to further develop new and on-going research programs to fill wildlife and habitat data gaps on the landscape in Utah.  These efforts include (but are not limited to):

·         Greater Sage-Grouse Brood-Rearing Habitat and Insect Prey Research Program

·         Stream/Riparian Habitat Assessments and Beaver Dam Installations

·         Boreal Toad Surveys and Aquatic Habitat Assessments

·         Central Wasatch Mammal Camera-Trapping Research Study

Lean more on our current Wildlife Science Programs on our website, and get a sneak peak of how you might be able to get involved with our 2018 Citizen Science Programs which support these research studies!

IMG_1514 (1).jpg

Notes from the GIS Lab – Welcome to Fall Intern Mercede!

The GIS Lab is pleased to welcome Fall GIS intern Mercede Shaw. Mercede is a recent graduate from the University of Utah with a degree in Geography emphasizing Ecology/Biogeography, as well as a certificate in GIS. Her interests are broadly focused in the field conservation ecology, in which she uses her skills in GIS to help address issues related to wildlife habitats.  She loves being outdoors whether climbing, hiking, backpacking, or skiing. Her skills in GIS, as well as her passion and love for wildlife have led her to this volunteer opportunity with Wild Utah Project.  She is excited to be a part of WUP’s work to study and conserve Utah’s wildlands and wildlife!