New federal report shows an 80 percent decline in larger sage-capercaillie populations

This new science should ring alarm bells whether or not you’ve heard of mugwort or sage, ”said Brian Rutledge, director of the Sagebrush Ecosystem Initiative for the National Audubon Society. “These birds are found in 11 western states and are a reliable indicator of how other wildlife and the larger ecosystem are doing. It is clear they need help. “

The United State Geological Survey (USGS) published a landmark report today This shows that big game chicken populations have declined 80 percent since 1965, a more dramatic decline than previously thought. There are more than 350 different types of wildlife and plants, as well as hunters, ranchers, and entire communities that depend on a healthy mugwort steppe.

Between invasive species, forest fires and unbridled development, it is clear that we have an emergency in the west, ”Rutledge said. In today’s report, USGS also presented its Targeted annual warning system. “IInformation is power and now we have an important tool that we can use to effectively focus conservation efforts, ”said Rutledge. Thank God. This bird and ecosystem need all the help they can get now. “

Great Sage Grouse, Copyright Bill Schmoker, from the Surfbirds Galleries

In 2015, stakeholders from across the West put politics aside and agreed to save this landscape – an agreement that the last government ignored and undermined. A Audubon report from July 2019Along with the National Wildlife Federation and Wilderness Society, a significant increase in leasing and drilling approved in the habitat for sage grouse has been noted, despite the prioritization of off-habitat development for sage grouse in the 2015 BLM plans.

This report follows another report that USGS released earlier this monthSagebrush Conservation Strategy – Challenges for Sagebrush Conservation. This comprehensive report, produced in collaboration with the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, the Bureau of Land Management, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, highlighted the loss and deterioration of the mugwort ecosystem. “Today we see additional scientific evidence showing alarming declines in an iconic bird that is completely dependent on this ecosystem,” Rutledge said.

“This is the ultimate call to action so that our leaders work together and Congress invest in restoring the mugwort ecosystem. We have a lot at stake, but if we act quickly, we will have an opportunity not only to save the sage, but also to restore and rebuild the sagebrush land while creating new jobs for the people who make it back home call. “

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