FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NACD applauds roll-out of Sage Grouse Initiative 2.0
WASHINGTON, Aug. 27, 2015 — The National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) applauds the renewed initiative announced today by USDA Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to preserve and protect greater sage grouse habitat. The strategy, known as Sage Grouse Initiative 2.0 (SGI 2.0), will invest approximately $211 million through 2018 to assist ranchers making habitat improvements on their land to both benefit sage grouse and agricultural operations in the West.
“The success of utilizing a locally-led, voluntary, incentive-based approach has proven itself time and again. Engaging partners on public and private lands has been critical in preserving sage grouse habitat and providing win-win scenarios without the need for restrictive regulatory measures,” said NACD CEO Jeremy Peters.
By 2018, the USDA estimates SGI 2.0 will conserve an estimated 8 million acres of sage grouse habitat through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and its partners. In addition, under SGI 2.0 NRCS will put a renewed focus on reducing the threat of wildfires while increasing and restoring wildlife habitat and quality livestock forage.
The Sage Grouse Initiative was originally introduced in 2010 as a coordinated effort involving NRCS, Conservation Districts, state and federal agencies, and conservation, agriculture and wildlife organizations. The partnership’s efforts have since succeeded in conserving roughly 4.4 million acres through a voluntary, incentive-based approach to conservation. In just the past five years, conservation easements have increased 18-fold in priority landscapes that are critical habit areas for sage grouse under the original Sage Grouse Initiative.
“Conservation districts continue to deliver positive results on the land working in partnership with landowners and NRCS. The Sage Grouse Initiative 2.0 will further demonstrate results of this highly effective partnership,” said Peters.
Click here to read the full Sage Grouse Initiative 2.0 or visit the NRCS website for more information on this and other sage grouse conservation efforts.
The National Association of Conservation Districts is the non-profit organization that represents the nation’s 3,000 conservation districts, their state associations and the 17,000 men and women who serve on their governing boards. For more than 70 years, local conservation districts have worked with cooperating landowners and managers of private working lands to help them plan and apply effective conservation practices. For more information about NACD, visit: www.nacdnet.org.