Press Room

As Washington Undermines Sage-Grouse Plans, Nevada Marks Conservation Milestone

A gold mine purchases the first conservation credits in a new, market-based approach to protect Nevada's sage-grouse habitat.

WASHINGTON — “People working together—private landowners, industry, federal and state experts—has long been the key to success for sage-grouse conservation,” said Sarah Greenberger, Audubon’s VP of conservation policy, in response to Nevada's Conservation Credit System's first habitat credit transaction, which takes place today between Kinross Gold USA, Inc. and the Tumbling JR Ranch.

“Nevada’s conservation credit system proves there’s an appetite for more collaboration.

“Habitat loss is the biggest threat facing the sage-grouse, and the best path forward lies in the innovative, science-based approaches championed by Western leaders like Governor Sandoval. However, the credit exchange that created today’s win-win solution for industry, landowners and birds was only possible because of certainty created by the existing sage-grouse conservation plans, plans the Interior Department is moving right now to undermine.

“Today’s success story for Nevada and Kinross Gold demonstrates that the current plans are working thanks to pragmatic Western leadership. We hope Washington is watching and leaves the sage-grouse conservation plans in place.”

In 2015, Western states, federal agencies, energy executives, ranchers, sportsmen, scientists and other stakeholders came together to celebrate that collective commitments to sage-grouse conservation were so strong that there was no need for Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections. By working together, they had designed a path forward that provided enough flexibility for all stakeholders to pursue their livelihoods and traditions while also securing enough firm conservation commitments to protect the Greater Sage-Grouse and the sagebrush habitat it and 350 other species of wildlife depend on.

Western states’ fish and game experts agree that sage-grouse habitat protection is the best way forward. Scientists fear a focus on bird numbers alone and discredited methods to meet them like captive breeding would be doomed to fail, putting the sage-grouse at risk of further decline. Sage-grouse are indicator species for the health of the sagebrush, an ecosystem harboring 350 other species of wildlife, including birds like Mountain Bluebirds and Golden Eagles.

Audubon has engaged its 38 chapters in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming to oppose weakening conservation plans for the Greater Sage-Grouse.

To learn more about the unprecedented efforts to protect the Greater Sage-Grouse and the places it calls home, please visit www.audubon.org/sage-grouse.

The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow, throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon’s state programs, nature centers, chapters and partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Since 1905, Audubon’s vision has been a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Audubon is a nonprofit conservation organization. Learn more at www.audubon.org and @audubonsociety.

Contact: Nicolas Gonzalez, ngonzalez@audubon.org, (212) 979-3100.

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