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BLM schedules Price scoping hearing on sage grouse conservation issues

As part of a national strategy to evaluate greater sage-grouse conservation measures, the Bureau of Land Management Utah and the U.S. Forest Service are inviting the public to participate in public scoping meetings to help identify issues to be addressed in an environmental impact statement.? Public scoping began on Dec. 9, when the Notice of Intent was published in the Federal Register.

One of the scoping meetings, in an open-house format, will be held Jan. 17 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Carbon County Even Center at the Fairgrounds.

A complete list of scoping meeting times and locations can also be found on the BLM's greater sage-grouse website at http://www.blm.gov/sagegrouse.

These scoping meetings are being held in conjunction with the 60-day public comment period to the Notice of Intent for the two agencies to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) to incorporate greater sage-grouse conservation measures into land use plans and land management plans.

The 60-day public comment period provides the public an opportunity to comment on issues that should be addressed in the EIS. The public scoping meetings provide the public an additional opportunity to talk to staff and resource specialists and to submit written comments on the proposal in person.

Based on ongoing threats to the greater sage-grouse and its habitat throughout the West, as well as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's 2015 deadline for making a decision whether to list the species under the Endangered Species Act, the BLM and the USFS plan to incorporate consistent objectives and conservation measures into all relevant plans by September 2014.

The two agencies have identified the following preliminary issues to address in their environmental analysis, including but not limited to: Greater Sage-grouse habitat management, wildfire, invasive species, rights-of-way, renewable energy development, grazing, off highway vehicle management and recreation.

To ensure that comments and information are fully considered, comments must be received by close of business on Feb. 7, 2012. Comments may be submitted by any of the following methods:

1. Web: http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/more/sagegrouse/western.html

2. Email: sagewest@blm.gov

3. Fax: 775-861-6747

4. Mail: Western Region Project Manager, BLM Nevada State Office, 1340 Financial Blvd., Reno, NV 89502

For more about the BLM's Greater Sage-Grouse Planning Strategy, visit http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/more/sagegrouse.html.




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