Target: Kent Politsch, Chief of Public Affairs for the US Department of Agriculture
Goal: Applaud USDA for its collaborative efforts to save the sage grouse from extinction.
The Greater Sage-Grouse no longer needs protection under the Endangered Species Act, as recently announced by the Fish and Wildlife Service. This conservation effort has been deemed the largest landscape-level conservation effort in U.S. history, representing remarkable strides by government and private sectors working together, as well as efforts of ForceChange activists to demand protection for this unique bird.
Over half of the sage grouse’s environment is found on public lands, usually managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest service. Through the struggle for preservation, federal agencies have acknowledged extensive feedback from both the state administrations and the general public, finalizing 98 individual resource management plans to eliminate the threats to the sage grouse and its habitat. Nearly 70 million acres of territory have been conserved, saving not only the sage grouse but also aiding in the relief of over 350 additional species of wildlife including the golden eagle, mule deer, and elk. In addition, these plans helped to greatly reduce the threat of wildfire in the west.
This victory hinged on the Department of the Interior, USDA, and thousands of ranchers teaming up with numerous western states and their officials, including Colorado Governor Hickenlooper, Wyoming Governor Mead, Nevada Governor Sandoval, and Montana Governor Bullock.
Thousands of ranchers are now voluntarily working with state and federal agencies to conserve the stunning sage grouse, and over 4.4 million acres of key habitat have been protected through programs awarding financial assistance to the effort. These announcements mark a breakthrough milestone, illustrating that when we work together we can conserve entire landscapes and help save the world from ourselves.
There’s a lot more work to do, and the USDA has announced plans to spend another $211 million by the end of 2018 to continue the conversation effort. Thanks to this hard-working and collaborative effort, the majestic sage grouse will go on to thrive, and the Western sagebrush landscape along with rural communities involved only stand to prosper.
Dear Mr. Politsch,
Due to your hard work and collaboration with numerous state and federal agencies, the sage grouse has been saved from its impending extinction. This has been an incredible effort on your part, and will not go unnoticed. Your plans to spend over $200 million in additional funds by the end of 2018 to help carry on the conservation of the sagebrush habitat in the west will make an irreversibly positive impact on wildlife, and are greatly appreciated.
The sage grouse is no longer doomed for extinction, and more than 350 other species living in the sagebrush habitat stand to benefit. Additionally, the threat of wildfire to 70 million acres of protected land has been reduced. The public applauds you for the finalization of these plans, and is greatly thankful for the bright future remaining for the sage grouse. Keep up the excellent work!
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Menke Dave, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service