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Sage grouse meetings pushed back to May 28-29

May 21, 2014

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has rescheduled a local public hearing on a proposal to list the the Bi-State Distinct Population Segment of the greater sage grouse as threatened. If approved, the designation will include 1.86 million acres of critical habitat designed to protect the bird. Photo by Wendilyn Grasseschi

Federal Fish and Wildlife authorities have rescheduled two public hearings on a proposal to designate the Bi-State Distinct Population Segment of the greater sage-grouse as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
Last month, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service extended the comment period for the Sage Grouse proposal for 60 days, making the deadline June 9. According to USFWS Deputy State Supervisor for Nevada Carolyn Swed, the new hearing schedules were set to give residents more time to review information and make informed comments on the proposal.
“Given the comment extension, we thought it would be appropriate to give the public a little more time. There is some extensive material available and we certainly want to make sure that out decision is based on the best available information,” Swed said.
The first hearing will be held from 6-9 p.m. Wednesday, May 28 at the Carson Valley Inn in Minden Nevada. The second meeting will be held from 6-9 p.m. Thursday, May 29 at the Tri-County Fairgrounds in Bishop.
The threatened species proposal, if adopted by the USFWS, will include designating approximately 1.86 million acres of critical habitat for the species in Carson City, Douglas, Lyon, Mineral and Esmeralda counties in Nevada, and in Alpine, Mono and Inyo counties in California. The designation would also include a special rule that would provide increased flexibility for land management practices that are intended to benefit the sage-grouse.
In addition to the extended comment period the USFWS approved a six-month extention on the final determination of whether or not to list the sage grouse as a threatened species. The final listing determination will be published on or before April 28, 2015.
Scientific information regarding these proposals will be accepted until at 11:59 p.m. on June 9, and may be submitted at the public hearings and by one of the following methods:
• Electronically, via the Federal eRulemaking Portal, at www.regulations.gov. In the Search box, enter FWS–R8–ES–2013–0042 and FWS-R8-ES-2013-0072, which are the docket numbers for these rulemakings. Then, in the Search panel on the left side of the screen, under the Document Type heading, click on the Proposed Rules link to locate this document. Comments may be submitted by clicking on “Comment Now!”
• Hard copy, via U.S. mail or hand delivery, to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R8–ES–2013–0042 and FWS-R8-ES-2013-0072; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042–PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.
A copy of the proposed rules that were published on Oct. 28, 2013, and other information about the Bi-State DPS of greater sage-grouse are available at www.fws.gov/nevada/, www.regulations.gov, or through the Nevada Fish and Wildlife Office at 775-861-6300.

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