A plan for conservation of the greater sage grouse on state endowment lands, endorsed unanimously by the state Land Board on Tuesday, is drawing generally positive reviews, the AP reports. "I think Gov. Otter is serious," John Freemuth, a Boise State University professor and public lands expert, told Associated Press reporter Keith Ridler after reviewing the 82-page document. "And the state is serious."
John Robison of the Idaho Conservation League called the state's plan an important step forward, and praised its plan for trading endowment land that contains sage grouse habitat for federal land not considered key habitat, though he had concerns that it did not stop or delay energy leasing on the land.
The plan aims to protect habitat by creating enforceable stipulations in state leases, permits and easements. On private lands, it outlines voluntary practices. It’s aimed at heading off a federal endangered or threatened species listing for the greater sage grouse, on which federal authorities are scheduled to rule by Sept. 30. You can read Ridler’s full report here.