Press Room

The Interior Department Shouldn’t Reinvent Sage-Grouse Conservation Plans

The choice is simple for Interior: a science-based approach that protects birds and Western communities or a flawed approach that puts special interests over collaborative conservation.

PINEDALE, Wyo. (August 7, 2017) — “You don't need a PhD to understand that no living thing can survive without food and shelter. In other words, habitat protection and restoration is key for any species’ success, especially the Greater Sage-Grouse,” said Brian Rutledge, Audubon’s conservation policy and strategy advisor, in response to the Department of the Interior’s recommendation to amend the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) sage-grouse conservation plans.

“As Interior’s own report acknowledges, Western states remain committed to retaining the 2015 conservation plans. Western states’ fish and game experts agree that 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. The existing conservation plans provide the best chance for the sage-grouse, Western economies and 350 other species of wildlife like Sagebrush Sparrows and Burrowing Owls.

“Returning to old methodologies of preferring one use of public lands over all others will lead us all to failure. Audubon continues to stand with our partners, industry, ranchers, elected officials and communities across the West, who have worked together for years to protect America’s sagebrush landscape. We expect Interior will begin an inclusive and public process in which our voices will be heard."

During this 60-day review period, Audubon members have submitted more than 23,000 comments to the Department of the Interior, urging Secretary Ryan Zinke to uphold and strengthen the existing land-use plans that benefit the Greater Sage-Grouse and more than 350 other species of plants, birds and wildlife.

To learn more about the unprecedented efforts to protect the Greater Sage-Grouse and the places it calls home, please visit

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 how to help at  and follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @audubonsociety.


Contact: Nicolas Gonzalez,, (212) 979-3100.


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