Statement Supporting the U.S. Department of Interior Integrated Rangeland Fire Management Strategy
The Nature Conservancy released the following statement from Sage Grouse Coordinator, Len Barson, in support of U.S. Department of Interior Integrated Rangeland Fire Management Strategy, announced today in Boise, Idaho by U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell:
“Rangeland fires have increased in frequency, size and intensity in recent years, accelerated by the increasing invasion of natural ecosystems by non-native annual grasses. As the Secretary’s strategy and prior Order states, the loss of habitat from fire is a significant threat not only to the greater sage-grouse, but, more broadly, to the future of the native sagebrush steppe ecosystem and the people and wildlife that depend on it.
The Secretary’s plan accomplishes several things: First, it emphasizes use of the best available science to target funding and action. Second, it engages and integrates current federal agency efforts with those of state, local and tribal governments along with non-governmental organizations, local landowners, and firefighters as true partners. It also correctly stresses the need to encourage innovative approaches and the use of new technologies in these efforts.
In addition, we support the Secretary’s recognition of the need to fight this battle in both the short and long term. It is critically important both to develop and implement strategies to be put in place this year and next, and also to consider actions that may take longer to develop and use. We particularly commend the Secretary’s call for a commitment to multi-year investments in restoration, adaptive management, and monitoring of already burned areas.
We are appreciative that the Secretary has implemented this effort in a very short time-frame. We fully support the Department’s commitment to take strong steps and action to prevent and reduce the intensity of future fires and restore the sagebrush ecosystem landscape for the benefit of the diverse wildlife and plant populations, local communities and economies, recreation, and other values it supports.
The Nature Conservancy looks to bring our 50-year experience managing and using fire as a conservation tool in support of the Secretary’s efforts, and will engage with the Department in key states such as Idaho, as well as through our role as one of the three managing partners of the national Fire Learning Networks (along with the Department of Interior Agencies and USDA Forest Service).”
Learn more about The Nature Conservancy’s work on sage grouse at www.nature.org/sagegrouse.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org
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