Idaho Gov. Butch Otter added specific triggers to the recommendations of his sage grouse task force and now wants your comments.
The draft Idaho sage grouse plan will guide management across millions of acres of Idaho, which has some of the best sagebrush steppe grouse habitat left in the West. The public has until July 13 to comment then he has to turn it into the federal government for its approval.
Otter’s triggers are for imposing additional restrictions or conservation measures in the event that fire destroys grouse habitat or some disease such as West Nile virus kills a significant part of the population.
They would force land managers to limit development in the second tier or important habitat zone at the highest level of protection, not just the top zone, called the core habitat zone. Big infrastructure projects such as transmission lines, wind generation plants and airports would be prohibited, with few exceptions.
The state plan would be added to the National Greater Sage Grouse Land Use Planning Strategy being developed by the Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service. If approved, the state plan would be part of amendments to existing land-use plans.