Tuesday morning, at 9am, Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell made the announcement that the Greater Sage Grouse will not be listed on the endangered species list.
“This is truly a historic day in the history of the American West cattle business,” said Oregon Cattlemen’s Executive Director Jerome Rosa. “Through collaborative efforts by ranchers, energy companies and conservationist reducing the decline of the sage grouse habitat in 11 Western states, the need for a listing was not needed.”
Ranchers have been working hard for several years to prevent a listing, including partnering with other groups to booster sage grouse habitat. Rancher’s Tom Sharp and John O’Keeffe have led many of the efforts on behalf of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association.
Sharp sees the decision as a product of hard work. “The on the ground efforts that were led in the state of Oregon by Oregon Cattlemen’s Association for the Candidate Conservation Agreements (affecting public lands) and by the eight Oregon counties, that have sage grouse habitats, for the Candidate Conservation Agreement Assurances (affecting private lands), have achieved many acres of sage grouse protection,” he said.
President Elect for the OCA, John O’Keeffe, is satisfied with Fish and Wildlife’s verdict. “It’s totally appropriate,” he said. “The Fish and Wildlife Services recognizes the value that ranchers bring to sage grouse conservation and the importance of keeping ranchers on the landscape.”
While the decision not to delist is seen as a huge victory to Oregon ranchers, O’Keeffe said the process to keep bettering the sage grouse environment is not over. “It (FWS’s verdict) points to the success of the hard work that has gone into this effort and it is important to view this as a milestone and not a finish line.”
Rosa said he wants to thank not only Sharp and O’Keeffe for their valiant efforts, but other key players as well. “Oregon Cattlemen’s Association would like to thank Governor Kate Brown and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell for their support,” he said.
At the end of the day, Sharp believes all parties involved should be excited that the bird has not been delisted because it means conservation efforts are working. “This is a three way win. It’s a win for the sage grouse. It’s a win for the farmers and ranchers. It’s a win for the conservation groups.”
The Oregon Cattlemen’s Association was founded in 1913 and works to promote environmentally and socially sound industry practices, improve and strengthen the economics of the industry, and protect its industry communities and private property rights.
Source: Oregon Cattlemen’s Association