U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
EMS TRANSMISSION 02/23/2007
Instruction Memorandum No. 2007-062
To: All Field Officials (except AK, AZ, ESO, and NM)
Subject: Range-wide Greater Sage-grouse Habitat Connectivity Mapping and Analysis Workshops DD: 06/01/2007
Program Areas: Multiple programs
Purpose: Provide direction to States in required technical and staff support for completion of greater sage-grouse habitat connectivity analysis.
Policy/Action: Each affected state within the current range of sage-grouse will work with the National Science and Technology Center (NSTC) in completing, by June 1, 2007, greater sage-grouse habitat connectivity analysis for their entire state. A series of five regional workshops will be completed between February 5 to May 11, 2007. Each regional workshop will be focused on completing the connectivity analysis within a multi-state portion of the greater sage-grouse range. State Directors shall ensure that a designated state-wide sage-grouse coordinator along with an appropriate mix of relevant expertise participate in each regional workshop. Required expertise includes knowledge of vegetation communities, greater sage-grouse habitat requirements, home range, movements, habitat-use patterns, restoration opportunities and needs. In addition, it is imperative that state wildlife agency personnel with expertise on sage-grouse within each region be invited to participate in each workshop. State Directors should assist with Field Office participation along with the state wildlife agencies and other appropriate agencies such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, that should be invited to participate in each workshop. In some instances, a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) State will need to participate in more than one workshop. Attachment 1 provides a schedule and location for each workshop, Attachment 2 contains a list of affected BLM Field Offices identified by region, and Attachment 3 contains additional background information about the project.
The workload to accomplish this project, while borne largely by NSTC, is substantial, but will be mitigated to a large extent by effective and timely communication between NSTC, State and Field offices, and the state wildlife agencies. The NSTC will provide additional information and instruction on the process that will be used to complete this project. In addition, each affected state should immediately start coordination, planning, and pre-work that will be required prior to participation in each workshop.
Time Frame: This IM is in effect upon issuance.
Budget Impact: States will be responsible for funding travel and labor costs for this work from the funding for sage-grouse and sagebrush conservation programs that has been allocated in their base at Fiscal Year 2007 PTA.
Background: Increased knowledge about the location and condition of habitats and major plant communities on BLM-managed lands across broad regional settings in terms of connectivity (or fragmentation) has become an important concern in recent years. The NSTC has developed a GIS-based approach to analysis, monitoring, and evaluation of sage-grouse and other species’ habitat to help address this need. The BLM is preparing this tool to support species conservation planning, wildlife program planning and implementation, monitoring and reporting of landscape conditions, land use planning, and NEPA analysis in large, regional geographic settings. This is particularly important when addressing the need to increase understanding of significant habitat areas and associated linkages in relation to the regional or range-wide context and setting. Earlier this fall, the Director requested that the NSTC complete connectivity analysis across the entire range for greater sage-grouse. To make this tool effective for addressing sage-grouse and sagebrush habitat conservation, input and support from each affected BLM State is essential. The Director has made this a priority for completion by June 1, 2007, so it is imperative that each affected state participate.
Manual/Handbook Sections Affected: None
Coordination: This IM reflects the input of individuals in different resource groups at all levels of the Bureau. The Branch of Science Investigations (ST-131) has the lead for coordinating and completing this project with support from the Division of Fish, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (WO-230).
Contact: Don Hinrichson, Director, National Science and Technology Center, (303) 236-2700, E. Dwight Fielder, Division Chief, WO-230, (202) 452-7761 or Bruce Durtsche, NSTC, (303) 236-6310 or Cal McCluskey, Wildlife Biologist, (208) 373-4042 for more information.