The stakeholder committee appointed by Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) to devise a sage grouse management plan will consider core areas where development will be discouraged. In Wyoming, that approach has been used to protect key habitat (above) while allowing for faster permitting to support economic development elsewhere. Photo courtesy of BLM.
The state of Utah will follow Wyoming's lead and develop a statewide plan to identify and protect critical greater sage grouse habitat, a move proponents of the plan say has the potential to save the imperiled bird from extinction.
Gov. Gary Herbert (R) last week authorized three state Cabinet leaders to appoint a committee of up to 20 people representing the energy, ranching and agriculture industries, environmentalists, state government officials, the Bureau of Land Management and the Fish and Wildlife Service to develop a sage grouse management plan.
The goal of the Utah effort is to complete the plan by May, at which time Herbert would likely issue an executive order to enact it.
The state wants FWS to sign off on its approach and BLM to implement many of the strategies as it works to amend resource management plans across Utah and nine other Western states as part of the agency's ongoing sage grouse initiative.