Greater Sage Grouse: BLM issues draft EIS’s to amend grouse conservation plans

BLM issued draft environmental impact statements on May 2 to amend its 2015 greater sage grouse plans. The drafts are issued for each of these states including Colorado, opening a 90-day public comment period on May 4 (the date they will be published in the Federal Register), We hope that the (2015) plan remains intact but there likely will be some tweeking. The 2015 plan was developed through collaboration among federal, state and local governments, conservation organizations, agriculture and industry.

The plan “clarifies” mitigation requirements. It states, “The BLM will require and ensure mitigation activities consistent with the recommendation of Colorado Parks and Wildlife in the programs. This will be achieved by avoiding, minimizing, and compensating for impacts by applying beneficial mitigation actions. If the BLM and Colorado Parks and Wildlife determine that there are unacceptable residual impacts on the Greater Sage-Grouse or Greater Sage-Grouse habitat, the BLM will require mitigation that provides a conservation uplift and achieves the outcome consistent with the principles outlined in Appendix H (Guidelines for Implementation and Adaptive Management), consistent with the State of Colorado’s Habitat Exchange and mitigation strategy.”

The net conservation gain standard was not changed, but BLM is requesting comment on compensatory mitigation approach in light of changes to mitigation policies and reconsideration of whether BLM has the authority to impose compensatory mitigation.

Here is the link to the mass of BLM’s Colorado 2018 Northwest Colorado Greater Sage-Grouse Draft Resource Management Plan Amendment and Environmental Impact Statement: