Today, the Idaho Association of Soil Conservation Districts sent a letter to Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter to comment on his federal alternative plan for greater sage-grouse management in Idaho. Governor Otter submitted the plan to the US Secretary of the Interior and Secretary of Agriculture for incorporation into the National Greater Sage-Grouse Land Use Planning Strategy of the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and US Forest Service (USFS). The draft plan requested comments on three specific and outstanding issues noted in the Governor’s Sage-Grouse Task Force final recommendations. IASCD commented on the third issue, “What is the best approach for incentivizing landowners to continue maintaining and improving sage-grouse populations and habitats, especially in the CHZ (critical habitat zone)?”
“Our state’s soil conservation districts are the primary entities for the protection, sustainment, and enhancement of our natural resources,” Kit Tillotson, IASCD President said. “They work with willing land owners to install conservation practices on private land. We feel strongly that the best approach to incentivize landowners to continue maintain and improving sage grouse populations and habitats is through the soil and water conservation districts.”
The Board wrote, “We know the soil conservation districts in the impacted areas can play a vital role in this draft, or a final plan. Districts are proven, responsible government entities and empower Idahoans to voluntarily build or use conservation projects on private land. Therefore, we feel the best approach to land owners who wish to continue maintain and improve sage-grouse populations and habitats are through districts.”
To read the letter in its entirety, please click here.