On Tuesday, April 8th, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced in the Federal Register, the reopening of the Public Comment period for the Bi-State Distinct Population Segment (Bi-State DPS) of the Greater Sage Grouse, both for comment on the Proposed Listing as “Threatened” under the Endangered Species Act, and on the Proposed Designation of Critical Habitat.

The Bi-State DPS includes 1.8 million acres of sagebrush steppe reaching from just south of Gardnerville, NV to the White Mountains, south of Bishop, CA.

The USFWS has listed recreation, especially OHV recreation, as an threat to this Critical Habitat.

N4WDA and the Blue Ribbon Coalition have contested this threat as being an assumption since no comprehensive study of OHV vs. Sage-Grouse has ever been completed. Additionally, no thorough study of the economic effect upon the community has ever been studied, yet there ihas been a determination of no major impact as a result of the critical habitat designation.

The US Government, through President Obama, has stated that only “good science” is to be used within the government agencies for such purposes. We contend that no science, good or bad, only supposition has been used in this listing and habitat designation.

At any rate, the USFWS will be holding two “Public Hearings” concerning the listing and habitat designation during the reopened comment period. These public hearing dates are as follows:

April 29th – Minden, NV @ the Carson Valley Inn from 6-9 PM

April 30th – Bishop, CA @ the Fairgrounds from 6-9 PM

If you can make either meeting, please attend and state your concerns. If you can’t make the meeting, please write a comment to the USFWS stating your concerns. Emailed comments may be made at: http://www.regulations.gov. In the Search box, enter FWS-R8-ES-2013-0072 for the Listing as Threatened or FWS-R8-ES-2013-0042 for the Designation of Critical Habitat.

For further information on the Bi-State DPS or the Northeastern CA/NV Greater Sage-Grouse listings (18 million acres), go to the N4WDA website www.n4wda.org and select Land Use. Read what we have learned and accomplished about this threat.

THIS IS THE GREATEST THREAT TO OHV RECREATION THAT WE HAVE EVER FACED!

Larry Calkins – President, N4WDA