For immediate release, August 21, 2023
Media contact: Greg LeDonne, Western Watersheds Project (208)779-2079; firstname.lastname@example.org
BOISE, Ida. – Late last week, the Bureau of Land Management Idaho office announced its final decision for the Resource Management Plan of the Four Rivers Field Office, affecting over three-quarters of a million acres in southwest Idaho. The plan encompasses lands vital for slickspot peppergrass, greater sage-grouse, and bighorn sheep, but allows the most widespread use – livestock grazing – to continue in their habitats, despite the known harms of cattle and sheep to these sensitive species.
“It’s disappointing that the Biden Administration has had more than two years to improve this plan but merely tweaked around the edges rather than undertaking a more substantial review of its provisions,” said Greg LeDonne, Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project. The Idaho-based conservation group protested the proposed plan in 2020, objecting to the fact that it didn’t go far enough to protect wildlife and to limit the adverse impacts of grazing in the drought-afflicted landscape.
The new plan says the agency will adjust livestock grazing use on Bureau-managed allotments when it “fully processes” grazing permits. However, as of 2021, three-quarters of Idaho’s permits have been automatically renewed without any process at all.
“The goals and objectives in the vegetation management section appear very strong, but without substantial changes in livestock use, ideals such as ‘limit spread and establishment of noxious weeds’ will remain out of reach,” said LeDonne. “We are concerned that this puts Idahoans at risk from more frequent, high-intensity wildfires that could otherwise be prevented with proactive management.”