The BLM, in cooperation with the Forest Service and its partners, has finalized and approved a series of land use plans for the areas they manage. These plans all anticipate ongoing relationships with our cooperators and partners in designing and implementing greater sage-grouse conservation actions. To learn more about the plans, read our Fact Sheet.
The plans focus on conserving Priority Habitat areas that have been identified as having the highest value to maintaining the species and its habitat. Land use measures in Priority Habitat are designed to minimize or avoid habitat disturbance. Within Priority Habitat, specific areas have been identified as Sagebrush Focal Areas. The Sagebrush Focal Areas are important landscape blocks with high breeding population densities of sage-grouse and existing high quality sagebrush. The plans also designate General Habitat Management Areas, which provide greater flexibility for land use activities.
The plans contain three common approaches:
- Minimizing new or additional surface disturbance – The plans seek to reduce habitat fragmentation and protect intact habitat by implementing surface disturbance caps on development, minimizing surface occupancy from energy development, and identifying buffer distances around leks - areas critical to the sage-grouse life-cycle.
- Improving habitat condition – While restoring lost sagebrush habitat can be difficult in the short term, it is often possible to enhance habitat quality through purposeful management. Where there are unavoidable impacts to habitat from development, the plans will require mitigation efforts to enhance and improve sage-grouse habitat.
- Reduce threat of rangeland fire – Rangeland fire can lead to the conversion of previously healthy sagebrush habitat into non-native, cheatgrass-dominated landscapes. Experts have identified fire as one of the greatest threats to sagebrush habitat, particularly in the Great Basin region of Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Oregon and California. The plans seek to fight the spread of cheatgrass and other invasive species, position wildland fire management resources for more effective rangeland fire response, and accelerate the restoration of fire-impacted landscapes to native grasses and sagebrush.
Individual state plans contain variations where different approaches or priorities were consistent with overall conservation objectives. The plans honor all valid, existing rights, including those for oil and gas development, renewable energy, rights-of-way, locatable minerals, and other permitted projects.
To access the Records of Decision (RODs) finalizing the land use plans, click on the links below:
Record of Decision and Approved Resource Management Plan Amendments for the Great Basin Region, Including the Greater Sage-Grouse Sub-Regions of Idaho and Southwestern Montana,
Nevada and Northeastern California, Oregon, Utah, September 2015 (PDF 3.2 MB)
Record of Decision and Approved Resource Management Plan Amendments for the Rocky Mountain Region, Including the Greater Sage-Grouse Sub-Regions of Lewistown, North Dakota, Northwest Colorado, Wyoming, and the Approved Resource Management Plans for Billings, Buffalo, Cody, HiLine, Miles City, Pompeys Pillar National Monument, South Dakota, Worland, September 2015 (PDF 3.5 MB)
For state-specific information about our land use plans, click on the links below:
As part of ROD implementation, the BLM and the USFS are recommending the withdrawal of lands within Sagebrush Focal Areas from location of mining claims, subject to valid existing rights.
For more information on the withdrawal process, click here. To learn more about withdrawals under Section 204 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act and what they do and don't do, click here.
To see a map of proposed mineral withdrawal areas in Sagebrush Focal Areas, click here.
We are confident that our plans will not only benefit the greater sage-grouse, but will also preserve the West’s heritage of ranching and outdoor recreation; protect hundreds of wildlife species that also rely on sagebrush habitat, such as elk, mule deer and golden eagles; and promote balance between conservation and development.