Wade Brown, Easement Program Specialist
Signup for Rangeland Conservation Easements Ends June 7
Steve Cote, District Conservationist, Arco Field Office: 208.527.8557 x 105
Howard Johnson, District Conservationist, Rigby Field Office: 208-745.6664 x 101
Patti Hurley, District Conservationist, Shoshone Field Office: 208.886.2258 x 112
Ken Beckmann, District Conservationist, St. Anthony Field Office: 208.624.3341 x 102
Alexis Collins, Public Affairs Specialist: 208.685.6978
Boise, ID, May 17, 2013 — Landowners interested in protecting sage-grouse populations and protecting their rangeland from conversion to non-agricultural uses may apply to the Natural Resources Conservation Service for a permanent conservation easement through the Grassland Reserve Program. Land must be within either the Pioneer Mountain or the Clark-Fremont priority areas. Applications are due by June 7, 2013 to be considered for this year’s funding.
“Our goal with this funding is to assist eligible ranchers with conserving critical sage-grouse habitat as well as maintaining large expanses of native sagebrush grazing lands that are important to sage-grouse,” said Jeff Burwell, Idaho State Conservationist. “We enlarged the Pioneer Mountain Priority Area and created the new Clark-Fremont Priority Area, so more landowners can participate in the program.”
The Pioneer Mountains Priority Area lies north of US Highway 20/26 between State Highway 75 east to US Highway 93 up to National Forest lands; it encompasses portions of Blaine, Butte and Custer counties. The new Clark-Fremont Priority Area includes all of Clark County and the portion of Fremont County west of Highway 20 and south of the Yale-Kilgore Road (see attached map).
The Grassland Reserve Program is an easement program that protects grazing lands from conversion to non-agricultural uses. Landowners can still graze easement land and grow forage crops but the land is protected from being divided into small parcels by development. Applicants must have clear title and legal access to the land.
NRCS is committed to helping ranchers and sage-grouse. “NRCS promotes working proactively to keep sage-grouse off the endangered species list by focusing on habitat improvement,” said Burwell. “We work with landowners to improve native grazing lands in ways that benefit both livestock and sage-grouse. In the end, what we help accomplish to support sage-grouse will benefit and sustain western ranches.” Conservation easements in focused areas create an unbroken swathe of prime habitat critical to sagebrush-dependent species.
For more information on the boundaries of the priority areas and the Grassland Reserve Program contact the NRCS Shoshone Field Office at 208-886-2258, the Arco Field Office at 208-527-8557, the Rigby Field Office at 208-745-6664, the St. Anthony Field Office at 208-624-3341, the Boise State Office at 208-685-6987, or visit http://www.id.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/grp/index.html.
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