Many things here...
1. If you are using golden or peterson guide for range map of sage
grouse, thats very out of date. Use the well-written WDFW greater sage
grouse recovery plan:
In that document you will find that the Washington population has been
limited to two areas, one centered on the Training Center and a larger
population centered in Douglas county. Greater sage grouse (as just
about all other shrub-steppe obligate species) are mainly limited by
habitat loss. Habitat loss was one of the main reasons behind pygmy
rabbit loss as well and same for ferruginous hawk and other species that
are declining. Using your analogy we should just accept that all of
these species should be let to go and convert more habitat.
2. Sage grouse have been shown to use CRP lands (a form of converted ag
fields to habitat) in Douglas County for nesting and frequently use
plowed fields for lekking due to the open nature of the landscape. Here
is another great resource: I was one of the field managers for this
3. The use of live fire for training is a neccessary training tool, but
as many in the Yakima birding community have expressed before, to do so
in the middle of prime fire season and without adequate fire control
measures leads to vast unchecked wildfires that have decimated large
areas of mature shrub-steppe habitat.
4. Extripation is a natural event that happens over time. However,
habitat loss is a human caused event and I for one don't believe that
humans have the right to take a species habitat and say " It is a fact,
deal with it.".
On Wed, Mar 23, 2011 at 3:09 PM, tulimgr wrote:
I just read Andy's conservation column on sage grouse and thought
I'd make a few comments about it on birdyak. First, the next time you
look in your golden or petersen birdbook, look at the map for sage
grouse. It is a dot in the middle of Washington state. It was the same
for pygmy rabbits. If I learned anything from the pygmy rabbit issue, it
is some wildlife die off, become extirpated, or extinct no matter how
hard we work to turn things around. It is a fact, deal with it.
With both sage grouse and pygmy rabbits, they will be extirpated from
our state, but not extinct. Populations can be found in other parts of
the northwest. They too are in decline.
As a tax payer, I question the state and federal funds spent on trying
to maintain a dying species. I think thresholds need to be developed
that stop funding and just let the species go. It seems there are times
when state or federal fish and wildlife agencies get involved you see
study after study after study with no clear improvement, just alot of
reading material that repeats past studies and makes the same
recommendations. Additionally, the last time I checked, grouse and
rabbits can't read...so this may be why they are not cooperating with
fish and game biologists.
I also find the inevitable contradictions in this article. Such as,
agriculture eliminated most of the sage grouse habitat. Then, it states
that in Moses Coulee, agriculture is helping the sage grouse. In the
case of the pygmy rabbit, wildlife biologists claimed that grazing would
keep the grasses mowed down to help prevent wildfires that would destroy
the mature stands of sage the rabbit needed as habitat.
And then there's the Firing Center comments about using live rounds
during training that cause wildfires. Consider the consequences of
sending soldiers into battle without having fired live rounds. Because
of birds??? Rabbits???
Extirpation followed by extinction has been happening on this planet for
quite some time. Somehow, we humans who care about nature got the idea
that extinction is a thing of the past, like when dinosaurs roamed the
earth. Biologists and conservationists should know better than anyone
that evolution did not stop with the Industrial Age. Evolution created
modern day man which is the culprit in most incidents of extirpation
and extinctions. This does not bode well for grouse and rabbits in the
Will the northwest survive without sage grouse and pygmy rabbits? Yes.
It progressed without mammoths, camels and three toed horses found in
our local fossil beds. It can also survive without hatchery fish, non
native sport fish, non native upland game birds, Rocky Mountain elk,
Rocky Mountain big horn sheep, Oregon and Wyoming antelope, buffalo,
etc, etc, etc. Get the message?
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