Keep Sage Grouse Out of National Defense

16759461044_1d517811e9_z.jpgHere we go again. For years, some members of Congress have tried to undo the unprecedented collaborative conservation win achieved in 2015 to keep the greater sage grouse—a sage-dwelling game bird—off the endangered species list. These lawmakers are once again trying to slip language into a must-pass bill related to our military readiness and national security.

If successful, they would not only undo the unprecedented cooperation of Western states, sportsmen, ranchers, and many others in conserving this game bird, but they risk diluting important legislation that should be about just one thing: our national security and defense.

Legislating wildlife management through a military spending bill is unacceptable, but here’s what lawmakers don’t want you to understand about the provision they’re trying to force through: It would remove much of the urgent incentive for conservation of sage grouse to move forward.

Take action now to make sure that doesn’t happen. We need to see conservation through—right now it may be for sage grouse, but soon it could be for any number of sagebrush species, including pronghorns and mule deer.

The message below will be most effective with members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, so ONLY their constituents will be able to complete this action. Please fill out our quick form and click ‘Send Message’ if you are a resident of Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, or Virginia.

For others who would like to help, sign the petition at to let lawmakers know that we deserve responsible management of fish and wildlife habitat on public lands, not congressional meddling to undercut conservation.

Photo courtesy of Bob Wick, BLM


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Sage grouse have no place in the NDAA

Dear Senate Armed Services Committee Member,

As an avid sportsman, I am writing to express my opposition to the inclusion of any language in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that seeks to legislate wildlife management or otherwise delay, defund, or undo conservation efforts for wildlife like greater sage grouse and lesser prairie chickens.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (USFWS) decision not to list the bird for Endangered Species Act protection in 2015 came after years of coordination between state and federal agencies and diverse stakeholders. This should be celebrated as one of the greatest wins for conservation in our lifetime, one that will benefit generations to come. But this outcome could not have happened without strong conservation plans for federal lands, coupled with state conservation plans and voluntary efforts from private landowners. The future for sage grouse and sagebrush depends heavily on the full implementation of these combined efforts--if implemented, there is certainly no need for a legislated delay of future listing decisions made by the USFWS.

More is at stake than just sage grouse or prairie chickens. The sagebrush ecosystem, for example, is home to more than 350 different species of plants and animals, including such iconic species as mule deer, pronghorns, and elk, all of which are important to American sportsmen and women. If we can continue to successfully conserve species like sage grouse and prairie chickens, we will help other species and prevent a cascade of future listings that could seriously impact the Western economy.

There is no need for Congress to take action on sage grouse, lesser prairie chickens or other species beyond ensuring adequate funding for implementation of conservation plans by the federal agencies and the states. Anything else would just be impeding historic collaborative progress for important American landscapes. Please keep this language out of the National Defense Authorization Act.

Thank you for your consideration.

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