A bad bill about sage-grouse went through the House and is now about to be heard in the Senate. Our state Senators need to hear from you ASAP, as HB 271 is expected to be heard on the Senate floor this week – possibly as early as tomorrow. Please call or email them today.
This bill is a bad deal - bad for our wild populations of Greater Sage-grouse. There is a real possibility this bill could pass, unless Senators hear from their constituents (like you) urging them to oppose it!
ABOUT HB 271:
- House Bill 271 (“Game Bird Farms – Greater Sage-grouse”) originally attempted to set up a licensing structure that included tight controls for commercial sage-grouse farms. When it first went through the House, the bill was strengthened to assure that the Game and Fish Department could control the scope of these operations, and especially how and where sage-grouse eggs would be collected from the wild for the start of a commercial brood stock.
- The original bill set an annual limit of 250 sage-grouse eggs that could be collected from the wild by licensees (read original bill here). WY Game and Fish Department officials testified that this was the biologically defensible limit that past analysis had shown was acceptable, without compromising the fate of this precarious species.
by GUSTAVE AXELSON, MARC DANTZKER, and GERRIT VYN
- Last week, the bill went before a Senate committee, where an amendment was made for commercial reasons. Now the Senate is considering increasing the number of sage-grouse eggs collected from the wild to 1,000 eggs (read amendment here)!
- We expect this bill to be up on the floor of the Senate starting this week and need your help. Please take a moment to tell your Senator that this bill is bad for grouse and bad for Wyoming.
Please tell your Senator to oppose HB 271!
PROBLEMS WITH THIS BILL:
- Captive breeding programs are recognized as one of the last resorts in saving a species, when populations are very small and are genetically/geographically isolated. That is not the case for Greater Sage-grouse in Wyoming.
- Greater Sage-grouse remain a species of management priority to the State. Collecting 1000 eggs from the wild could hurt our population by adding more stress to the targeted wild hens and take away birds from the population.
- In addition to the logistical challenge of getting hold of actual eggs, raising sage-grouse in captivity is VERY hard and scientists are not even sure this can be done. Even the sponsors of the bill, and the bird farm that wants to try to raise and release these birds, admit that no one knows if this is a viable commercial operation. There has never been any successful large-scale captive breeding and release of sage-grouse back into the wild.
- It proposes to commercialize/privatize a wildlife resource.
GOES AGAINST LOCAL CONSERVATION ACTIONS:
- Since 2000, two statewide and eight local citizen-based sage-grouse working groups have been established by the state, quite a few of which include sage-grouse experts. These groups have developed plans and implemented conservation actions on behalf of sage-grouse, all within a multiple-use framework. The State has also developed a conservation plan for grouse, one that was recognized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as being solid. None of these efforts have identified the need for captive-rearing. In fact, several local sage-grouse working groups voiced formal objections to captive-rearing when it first was brought-up back in 2008.
- HB271 disregards the work of the citizens tasked by the state to conserve sage-grouse in Wyoming's working landscapes.
- The Wyoming Chapter of The Wildlife Society (composed of wildlife professionals around the state) submitted a formal letter to all the Senators, opposing this bill due to concerns about impacts to our wild populations.
Please contact your Senator ASAP and tell them to oppose this bill. The fate of Wyoming’s sage-grouse shouldn’t be jeopardized by an uncertain and risky business proposition by special interests. Research shows captive breeding is not the answer to managing Greater Sage-grouse in Wyoming.
THREE WAYS YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE:
1. Email your Senator
2. Call your Senator
3. Encourage others to reach out to their Senator
ALL the Senators can make a Difference in the Vote!!
TO FIND YOUR SENATOR:
- Go HERE for a list of the Senators by county. Once you click on their name, you’ll be routed to a page that lists their phone # and email address.
- You can also access a map of the various districts in WY – go HERE (on the top of your screen, click on “Find Your District” where you can enter your address). Then follow steps in #1.
Thank you for taking a few minutes to reach out to your Senator today!