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Post-Fire Stabilization Seedings Have Not Developed Into Sage-grouse Habitat

Sage brush fire

BOISE — The practice of emergency post-fire seeding in sagebrush landscapes of the Great Basin, which was meant to stabilize soils, has not resulted in restored habitats that would be used by greater sage-grouse according to U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Forest Service researchers who published their results today in the journal Ecosphere.

The new study examined the habitat that was present 8-20 years after the seeding projects occurred. These aerial or rangeland drill seeding projects did not always include sagebrush seeds and were not intended to restore wildlife habitat, but instead were designed to mitigate the effects of fire on soil and vegetation. Yet they provide an opportunity to reverse habitat degradation for sage-grouse, a species being considered for protection under the Endangered Species Act.

Read more: Post-Fire Stabilization Seedings Have Not Developed Into Sage-grouse Habitat

Arizona Game and Fish comments on recent jaguar critical habitat announcement

On March 4, 2014, the Southwest Region of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) notified the public that the Service had designated 764,207 acres of land in Southern Arizona as critical habitat for the rarely-present jaguar. This action completed the third review by the Service that examines the need for jaguar critical habitat in Arizona. The two prior reviews found that designation of critical habitat in Arizona-New Mexico was not warranted. The Arizona Game and Fish Department does not support the latest finding of the Service that designating critical habitat is essential to the conservation of the jaguar.

Read more: Arizona Game and Fish comments on recent jaguar critical habitat announcement

Service Designates Jaguar Critical Habitat in Arizona and New Mexico

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced the final designation of approximately 764, 207 acres of critical habitat for the jaguar (Panthera onca) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This habitat is found within Pima, Santa Cruz and Cochise counties in Arizona, and Hidalgo County in New Mexico. The final rule takes effect on April 4, 2014.

Read more: Service Designates Jaguar Critical Habitat in Arizona and New Mexico

Barred owls replacing spotted owls in Pacific Northwest

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – An increase in the barred owl population is contributing to the decline of threatened Northern spotted owls, according to models developed by U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Forest Service scientists.

The larger barred owl is considered to be a more aggressive competitor, with higher reproductive capacity as well as a more diverse diet and use of habitat. In the face of increasing barred owl populations and declining habitat, the medium size Northern spotted owl, which lives in old growth forests of northern California and the Pacific Northwest of the United States, is declining.

Read more: Barred owls replacing spotted owls in Pacific Northwest

Sage Grouse ESA Listing Questioned

Chairman Hastings Questions Interior Department on Potentially Economically Devastating Sage-Grouse Endangered Species Listing

WASHINGTON D.C. – House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04) today sent a letter to Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Director Dan Ashe raising concerns of scientific integrity and the imposition of arbitrary deadlines surrounding the decision to potentially list the sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The letter requests detailed documents and information concerning the science supporting sage-grouse listing, the planning strategies for sage-grouse conservation, the Obama Administration’s lack of deference to state conservation and other information that has resulted from the Obama Administration’s 2011 closed door, multi-species ESA settlement with litigious groups.

Read more: Sage Grouse ESA Listing Questioned

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