Should federal lands bear the brunt of ESA conservation obligations?

Sage grouse are putting that question out there.  BLM and the Forest Service are amending plans to adopt strategies for federal lands that are more ‘strict’ than what states would do.  States don’t like this; do you?

A related question – how important is it to have a consistent conservation strategy across jurisdictions?

I am disappointed by the many proposed differences between BLM’s Montana’s RMPs and the Montana Sage Grouse Habitat Conservation Program,” Bullock wrote in a 12-page letter to Jamie Connell, the BLM director for the state. “The difference between the Wyoming and Montana state plans and the Montana RMPs reflect inconsistencies that simply do not make sense when serving for a consistent approach to sage grouse conservation across significant and interconnected working landscapes.” 

2 Comments

  1. It depends on what’s inconsistent and why.. On the one hand, inconsistencies can be trials of different conservation approaches a la adaptive management- the argument that it’s OK for different states to try different approaches. On the other hand, they can be random bureaucratic functions of personality or personalities in teams, or historical artifacts of the time the document was written. Who could tease these out? Perhaps a committee representing different states, federal agencies, and stakeholders.

  2. Perhaps. But this seems like a ‘bring me a rock’ approach. Everyone does their own thing, the listing agency doesn’t like the overall result, and then they all start pointing fingers. Why not agree on some principles at the start for what would be (consistent) adequate regulatory mechanisms? I think the answer is that nobody (state or federal) is willing to accept the authority of ESA or the listing agencies until they are forced to, which will be at the end of the process (which is often a court).

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