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Comments about ‘My view: The sage grouse is worth protecting’

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Published: Thursday, March 13 2014 5:32 p.m. MDT

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Bird man
Laurel, MT

I agree with the article.A political solution, is not a solution. But a denial, and more spin about the problem. It is what people are doing best, procrastination, and sticking our heads in the sand.The sage grouse, and many other problems, are the Canaries in the coal mines, trying to issue us warnings about what people are doing to the planet.What we are doing to wildlife, and climate, what we are also doing to ourselves, but we can not quite see, or agree on that yet.The environmentalist use to be called a radical, I wonder if the radical is not now the energy developer, or big money interests.Where is the balance and compromise to our problems?We are just asking for responsible smart development and grazing.We are not asking for no energy development,or no grazing, but what about a few protected areas,a few sage grouse reserves, to help imperiled species,do we have to 'take' or develop every acre? graze every acre of grass? that is what seems being radical to me is.

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

It's outrageous that our state legislature is wasting $2 million of our tax dollars on an effort to kill off the sage grouse. Why this demeaning, money-grubbing war on nature? What is truly in the hearts of our legislators, besides the almighty dollar?

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Irony Guy,
A little over-dramatic for me, but whatever....

There's no war on nature. There's no war on sage grouse. No... the legislature does not hate sage grouse.

We do have to care for nature (all of it). Not just the legislature... but all of us.

===

Bird man... every acre is not being developed. If somebody told you that... they were lying. Heck... take a field-trip and go out to the areas where you find sage grouse in nature and see for yourself. Not every acre is being developed. And I see sage grouse all the time, so I don't know how endangered they are.

But I agree we need to protect them.

I don't think we have to vilify energy exploration to do it. We can make energy people our partners (instead of our enemy). They don't hate sage grouse. They don't want to drill on every acre. If you can show them how they can get what they want (the oil) and not impact the sage grouse (which we know is possible) instead of insisting on the radical all-or-nothing approach.... we can probably make progress.

Bird man
Laurel, MT

Two bits: I did not say at this exact moment all land is being developed but in Montana less than 1% of BLM. public land is off limits for development. Of course all private land is open for energy development. Virtually all Prarie BLM public land in Montana is being grazed. There are no protected prairie ecosystems or national parks less than 1% of the Great Plains is protected that is what I'm saying. That is why the Atwater Prairie chicken is almost extinct the lesser prairie chicken will be listed the sage grouse probably the greater prairie chicken less than 5% of its original numbers all grouse declining. So I guess you would be for setting aside a 1,000,000 acre prime sage grouse preserve. Our former secretary of the interior Bruce Babbitt, Suggested for every acre that is impacted developed or possibly overgrazed we need to set aside a certain percentage especially of our public land that is Protected.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Bird man,
Maybe if you could define what you mean when you say "Protected".

Does "Protected" mean all exploration off limits? Because I think all of our Federal and State lands are "protected" to one extent or another. Maybe not as protected as you would like, but also not a free for all. You do have to get BLM permission and pay to graze on it, or drill on it, and you can't develop it (unless you own it). That's at least a level of "Protection". But maybe not as radical a definition of "Protected" as some people may have.

But it's all protected, monitored, leased, restricted, etc. You can't do any drilling on public land without a lease. And those leases are government controlled and closely monitored to protect the land.

I see no problem with some oil exploration and lots of protection. Kinda like the picture in the "Resource Curse" article. The visible impact is a tiny spec... in the whole of nature. Look at all the protected and undisturbed nature in the picture (not just the small part that was defiled so we can have energy).

Bird man
Laurel, MT

Protected, yes I mean we need a few areas that are totally off limits for development and other activities that negatively impact wildlife. It is obvious to me that the present level of protections you mention, are not enough, because of the forementioned prairie grouse species are all declining, all do to man's activities.As i mentioned, the prairie ecosystem is the most endangered ecosystem in North America, non-virtually protected.That means we are farming, and ranching, to intensively ,impacting literally too much of this landmass.We need to determine what is the minimum amount say 20% of all ecosystems that can sustain viable healthy reproductive wildlife systems.Then protect that much, totally managed for wild pristine natural ecosystems.The remaining 80% of say the Great Plains could be managed on a more balanced multiple use system, that combines development, responsible,balanced smart development, the same for farming and ranching.Is that really to much to ask, radical, or do humans want it all, a hundred percent, what greed.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Bird man,
That was the point I was trying to make. If you look at the picture in the "resource curse" article... you will see that oil exploration can be done without driving out the wildlife in the area.

This picture is fairly representative of what's going on in real life. There aren't the oil derricks every few feet some people imagine (like the pictures from the olden days). There is 100 ft pad (once the derrick is gone)... and miles and miles and miles of nature where sage grouse, and other birds can live, just as they did before the evil men came along.

Look at the picture.... I think there is still room for sage grouse there.

===

I agree that we need some areas designated as "wilderness" (totally untouched). But we should be able to have multiple-use (like in the picture) on about 90% of Utah public lands, and sage grouse still have PLENTY of space.

I think the land in the picture is still "protected".... even though man has touched it. We are using SOME of the land, but 99.99% of the land is still left for the sage grouse.

Bird man
Laurel, MT

Then why are the energy companies and politicians complaining that they have to stay away from the leks, even if only a mile or more?Why do ranchers refuse to reduce animal units or change grazing practices?They want no new rules or regulations.In the Bakken, on a 2 mile stretch of Prairie County Road. I watched two different Sharktail grouse Leks for over a dozen years. Now on that 2 mile stretch of prairie there are 10 drilling pads with three pumps per pad and the grouse leks are gone. That's the reality of how and what the energy industry is doing for grouse.

Nan BW
ELder, CO

I am not knowledgeable enough to get into the argument going on here, but I can say I visited Grouse Creek, UT once and seeing many of these fowls in the fields there was refreshing and lovely. I think we to evaluate carefully how to maintain places that accommodate "all creatures great and small." We can all use resources more carefully so they aren't wasted, which helps in making it possible to leave unspoiled habitat for grouse and other species.

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