Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter today signed an Executive Order creating the Sage-Grouse Task Force. The Task Force will spend the next three months identifying the opportunities and challenges associated with management and conservation of sage-grouse in Idaho. The full text of the Executive Order can be found here.
"The Secretary of the Interior has provided the 11 western states impacted by a potential listing under the Endangered Species Act the opportunity to develop state-specific plans," Governor Otter said. "The listing of the species would have a significant impact on Idaho's customs, culture, economy and way of life. But I'm confident our Idaho stakeholders will be able to develop workable, reasonable and effective recommendations to conserve the species and preclude the need to list."
The Task Force's primary focus will be providing recommendations to the Governor on policies and actions -- using the State's existing plan as a starting point -- for a statewide regulatory mechanism to help conserve the species and its habitat while maintaining predictable and multiple uses of private, State and public lands.
The Task Force will be led by the Office of the Governor with the assistance of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and the Office of Species Conservation. The membership includes representatives from industry, local working groups, legislators, local officials, conservation and sportsmen interests, and the public. The Task Force's first meeting will be March 12th at the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.
Governor Otter said public input is critically important to the success of the Task Force, which he will ask to develop an effective process for including those comments as part of its recommendations.