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June 6, 2024

TRCP Recognizes Opportunity to Conserve Habitat in BLM Draft Lakeview Resource Management Plan Amendment

Draft plan includes management options that would conserve big game habitat, ranching, and outdoor recreation

Today, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership applauded the release of the Bureau of Land Management’s long-awaited Lakeview Draft Resource Management Plan Amendment, which, when finalized, will establish a blueprint for the conservation and management of nearly 3.2 million acres of southeastern Oregon’s public lands.

“The release of the draft Lakeview RMP Amendment offers an opportunity for thousands of hunters who value this vast region’s wild and working landscapes to speak up to secure a successful outcome that benefits sportspeople,” said Tristan Henry, Oregon field representative for TRCP. “The plan includes management options that would conserve undeveloped backcountry and wildlife corridors for big game and other wildlife across this intact landscape.”

Hunters and anglers have been involved in Lakeview plan revision efforts since 2014, and today’s release of the draft RMP amendment is a significant step in a public process that will determine how wild landscapes, habitat, recreation, grazing, development, and other uses will be balanced for the next 20 years or more. This announcement kicks off a 90-day comment period during which the public can provide input on the preferred alternative and other management options developed by the Lakeview BLM Office.

“The TRCP appreciates the BLM’s dedication to develop a plan that balances sustainable use, working lands, and conservation to ensure that the quality hunting and fishing opportunities in the Lakeview District are safeguarded for future generations,” said Michael O’Casey, deputy director of Forest policy & Northwest programs for TRCP.

“The public lands of the Lakeview District provide high quality habitat for pronghorn, bighorn sheep, mule deer, and sage grouse,” said Mary Jo Hedrick, state director for the Oregon Hunters Association. “These public lands also provide extensive access to high quality hunting opportunities. It’s vital that hunters weigh in on this plan to conserve this high value landscape and safeguard hunting opportunities for future generations.”

“The TRCP and its partners are committed to working with their membership and other stakeholders to finalize a plan that prioritizes habitat conservation, while also supporting continued active stewardship for habitat restoration and sustainable economic activities, including ranching, hunting, and outdoor recreation,” added Henry. “We look forward to continued engagement and collaboration to finalize a plan that provides enduring conservation and resiliency of BLM public lands in Oregon.”

As the comment period begins, the TRCP urges its members and the hunting and angling community to participate. Public feedback is crucial in shaping the final Lakeview Resource Management Plan to reflect a balanced approach that honors our sporting traditions, supports local economies, and helps ensure the integrity and vitality of this landscape.

Photo credit: Brian Grossenbacher


The TRCP is your resource for all things conservation. In our weekly Roosevelt Report, you’ll receive the latest news on emerging habitat threats, legislation and proposals on the move, public land access solutions we’re spearheading, and opportunities for hunters and anglers to take action. Sign up now

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TRCP Recognizes Opportunity to Conserve Habitat in BLM Draft Lakeview Resource Management Plan Amendment

Draft plan includes management options that would conserve big game habitat, ranching, and outdoor recreation

Today, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership applauded the release of the Bureau of Land Management’s long-awaited Lakeview Draft Resource Management Plan Amendment, which, when finalized, will establish a blueprint for the conservation and management of nearly 3.2 million acres of southeastern Oregon’s public lands.

“The release of the draft Lakeview RMP Amendment offers an opportunity for thousands of hunters who value this vast region’s wild and working landscapes to speak up to secure a successful outcome that benefits sportspeople,” said Tristan Henry, Oregon field representative for TRCP. “The plan includes management options that would conserve undeveloped backcountry and wildlife corridors for big game and other wildlife across this intact landscape.”

Hunters and anglers have been involved in Lakeview plan revision efforts since 2014, and today’s release of the draft RMP amendment is a significant step in a public process that will determine how wild landscapes, habitat, recreation, grazing, development, and other uses will be balanced for the next 20 years or more. This announcement kicks off a 90-day comment period during which the public can provide input on the preferred alternative and other management options developed by the Lakeview BLM Office.

“The TRCP appreciates the BLM’s dedication to develop a plan that balances sustainable use, working lands, and conservation to ensure that the quality hunting and fishing opportunities in the Lakeview District are safeguarded for future generations,” said Michael O’Casey, deputy director of Forest policy & Northwest programs for TRCP.

“The public lands of the Lakeview District provide high quality habitat for pronghorn, bighorn sheep, mule deer, and sage grouse,” said Mary Jo Hedrick, state director for the Oregon Hunters Association. “These public lands also provide extensive access to high quality hunting opportunities. It’s vital that hunters weigh in on this plan to conserve this high value landscape and safeguard hunting opportunities for future generations.”

“The TRCP and its partners are committed to working with their membership and other stakeholders to finalize a plan that prioritizes habitat conservation, while also supporting continued active stewardship for habitat restoration and sustainable economic activities, including ranching, hunting, and outdoor recreation,” added Henry. “We look forward to continued engagement and collaboration to finalize a plan that provides enduring conservation and resiliency of BLM public lands in Oregon.”

As the comment period begins, the TRCP urges its members and the hunting and angling community to participate. Public feedback is crucial in shaping the final Lakeview Resource Management Plan to reflect a balanced approach that honors our sporting traditions, supports local economies, and helps ensure the integrity and vitality of this landscape.

Photo credit: Brian Grossenbacher


The TRCP is your resource for all things conservation. In our weekly Roosevelt Report, you’ll receive the latest news on emerging habitat threats, legislation and proposals on the move, public land access solutions we’re spearheading, and opportunities for hunters and anglers to take action. Sign up now

June 5, 2024

In the Arena: Greg Breitmaier

TRCP’s “In the Arena” series highlights the individual voices of hunters and anglers who, as Theodore Roosevelt so famously said, strive valiantly in the worthy cause of conservation.

Greg Breitmaier

Hometown: Lodi, California
Occupation: Sustainability Program Manager at MYSTERY RANCH (Bozeman, MT)
Conservation credentials: As the Sustainability Program Manager at MYSTERY RANCH, Greg is a champion for sustainable manufacturing practices. He is a public lands advocate who is committed to fostering the next generation of conservationist to protect America’s legacy of conservation, habitat, and access.

Inspired from a young age and through a life of exploring, fishing, running, and recreating in the outdoors, Greg is driven by a personal responsibility to offer guidance and education to protect America’s legacy of  conservation, habitat, and access.  

This is his story.

I grew up in the countryside outside of Lodi, California, surrounded by a mix of pastures, vineyards, and orchards. From an early age, I spent countless hours unsupervised, climbing haystacks, searching for buried treasure, riding my bike between vineyard rows, and swimming in the nearby Mokelumne River. On my 10th birthday, my dad bought me my very own rod and reel combo. Little did I know that his gift would start my lifelong love of fishing. 

 

Fishing the blue-ribbon trout rivers of Montana is where I feel the most at home. To me, there’s no match in terms of the sheer beauty, variety of water, incomprehensible hatches, fishing tactics, and solitude (provided you’re willing to hike a mile from the river access). With that said, I’m not a well-traveled angler and would absolutely love to trade in my bootfoot waders for boardshorts and sandals. Fishing for a Tarpon that might outweigh me seems like a good time. Not to mention the obligatory après-fish ceviche and cold ones at a laid-back beach bar. 

In what feels like a lifetime ago, I was obsessed with trail running, exploring challenging terrains in Oregon and Washington. I not only participated in but successfully completed several supported ultra marathons. Yet, it was my inaugural unsupported ultra that remains a lasting memory – an extraordinary circumnavigation of Mount St. Helens via the 32-mile Loowit Trail. This is a feat that can only be achieved because of the incredible public lands our country offers. My buddy, whom I’ll call Dave, and I camped at the June Lake trailhead in the bed of his Tacoma, starting our adventure at sunrise. Our plan was straightforward: we stopped at each water crossing to replenish our water supplies and refuel with trails snacks and chia seeds. The weather was ideal, but around mile 18, Dave fell victim to nausea and unmistakable signs of dehydration. Fortunately, a fortuitous encounter with a kind older couple, leisurely picking huckleberries, led to their generous offer to guide Dave down the trail to their parked car, approximately two miles away. Determinedly, I completed the loop on my own, with a semi-humorous sock-losing incident at the final water crossing adding a twist to the day. As dusk descended, I finished the trail, forever cherishing the beauty of the Loowit Trail and the triumph over adversity, making it one of my most unforgettable experiences.  

It’s not an original idea from me, but I know my well-being is intrinsically tied to the well-being of my environment. We can’t be healthy if our outdoors spaces are suffering. Just like it’s important for me to maintain a clean home, healthy garden, and landscape, so is it to maintain and conserve our public lands. 

The fact is more people leads to more pressure on wildlife, habitat, and our natural resources. For the most part, I believe folks understand their own impacts and do what they can to minimize them, but we have an opportunity to offer guidance and education to new hunters and anglers so we can ensure that we protect what we value so highly.  

“Sustainability” is meeting the needs of the present, without sacrificing the ability for future generations to meet their needs. 

My partner and I are parents to three young children who deserve the same opportunities as we had when we were children. Fostering a love for the outdoors is one of the best ways we can ensure our children grow up healthy and happy.

Simply put, the next generation of hunters and anglers are relying on us to do the right thing today. The most common definition of “sustainability” is meeting the needs of the present, without sacrificing the ability for future generations to meet their needs.  That is why organizations such as the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership are so critical in today’s fight to protect America’s legacy of conservation, habitat, and access. TRCP’s ability to work with such a passionate and knowledgeable team of leaders and partners is really second-to-none. 

Click here to learn more about Mystery Ranch’s commitment to sustainability 

All photos courtesy of Greg Breitmaier and MYSTERY RANCH 



The TRCP is your resource for all things conservation. In our weekly Roosevelt Report, you’ll receive the latest news on emerging habitat threats, legislation and proposals on the move, public land access solutions we’re spearheading, and opportunities for hunters and anglers to take action. Sign up now

Ensuring the Future of Sage-Grouse

Now is our best, and maybe our last, chance to act on behalf of this iconic, American bird

Each spring across the vast, but increasingly fragmented, sagebrush ecosystem, greater sage-grouse perform their ancient and elaborate mating ritual with fewer and fewer performers. As an aging biologist, I’ve been witness to the drama of the display, the loss of the bird and its habitat, as well as unprecedented efforts to conserve both.

At his 2007 Sage Grouse Summit in Casper, Wyoming, Governor Dave Freudenthal didn’t mince words, “The scientific picture is clear,” he said. “We need to roll up our sleeves and develop a plan to protect and restore core sage grouse habitat. We have a narrow window of opportunity to protect the grouse and prevent it from being listed as an endangered species.”

That statement catalyzed policy-making efforts in Wyoming, often mirrored in other states, which were then largely incorporated into range-wide plans approved by the BLM and USFS in 2015. Cumulatively, these plans—shaped with collaboration from Wyoming’s industries, non-governmental organizations, and government agencies—provided the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with the basis to determine that the greater sage-grouse was not warranted for listing under the Endangered Species Act. Unfortunately, the plans developed in 2015 were never fully implemented.

Our success or failure with greater sage-grouse will be measured by whether or not we maintain enough of the remaining sagebrush sea so that the primal, guttural sounds of strutting sage-grouse continue to punctuate the clear, cold air of spring sunrises across the West.

My 33-year career with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, the last 15 years of which were as the state’s sage-grouse coordinator, meant I spent thousands of hours out in the sagebrush. Over those decades, I learned that this conservation effort, and the threats to this ecosystem, is about much more than just a single species. The problems associated with a breakdown in the health of sagebrush country resulting from massive wildfires, invasive plants like cheatgrass, woody species expansion, and human infrastructure and disturbance impacts all of us, here in Wyoming and across the West. These lands underpin the economies of our rural communities.

In an unsettling revelation, we’ve recently learned through satellite imagery that the West is losing 1.3 million acres of functioning sagebrush habitat every year. And because the bird depends on healthy sagebrush habitat, the range-wide population of sage-grouse has declined 80 percent since 1965 and half of that decline has happened since 2002.

But we now have an opportunity to realize a healthier future for this ecosystem. The BLM, which oversees 67 million acres of sage-grouse habitat across 10 states, is currently updating the prior plans using new science and input from its partners.

Again, the health of the sagebrush ecosystem is larger than just one species. Our collaborative conservation efforts must shift from a sage-grouse focus to a sagebrush biome focus in order to more effectively address the threats facing not only sage-grouse but the entire ecosystem and those species, including human users, reliant on it. I implore the BLM to better incorporate this concept into their decision document.

Tom Christiansen, longtime Wyoming state sage-grouse coordinator, observes a lek on an early spring morning. Photo credit: Tom Christiansen  

Also, any and all plans, including those of the states, must make a commitment to transparency and collaboration in managing the sage-grouse habitat. Open data sharing across administrative boundaries is essential in fostering an inclusive environment where scientists, policy makers, and the public can access and contribute to the ecological data that guides management decisions. This approach not only enhances the trust and cooperation among stakeholders but also strengthens the scientific basis for those decisions and provides defensible evidence of the successes and failures of management actions.

Here in Wyoming, we are lucky to still have some relatively intact landscapes that rise above others in terms of their value to sage-grouse and associated species. I support efforts to secure the most effective safeguards for these “best of the best” areas, which are resistant to impacts like invasive species and resilient in their ability to return to good habitat after an impact such as wildfire. These landscapes are the cornerstones upon which the survival of the sage-grouse depends. Irreplaceable places, such as the Golden Triangle in western Wyoming, have such high biological value that these habitats must receive the highest level of conservation.

The current proposal by the BLM to update its sage-grouse management plans is an important step forward. By focusing on strategic habitat management, implementing open data practices, and utilizing advanced adaptive management tools, we can forge a sustainable path for the sage-grouse. This approach will not only benefit the bird but also the myriad other species and human communities that rely on a healthy sagebrush ecosystem. It’s a chance to reaffirm our commitment to conserving a vital part of our natural heritage thereby ensuring that we hand these natural resources in good condition to future generations.

Historically our record is less than stellar when it comes to grouse conservation. The heath hen of the eastern coastal barrens is extinct. The highly endangered Attwater’s prairie chicken is hanging on by a thread along the Texas Gulf Coast. And lesser prairie chicken populations in the southern Great Plains are now listed as threatened or endangered. Our success or failure with greater sage-grouse will be measured by whether or not we maintain enough of the remaining sagebrush sea so that the primal, guttural sounds of strutting sage-grouse continue to punctuate the clear, cold air of spring sunrises across the West.

Tom Christiansen retired after a 33-year career with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department where he served as a regional wildlife biologist and then as the statewide sage-grouse program coordinator. Tom served on the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ Sage and Columbian Sharp-tailed Grouse Technical Committee, the Rangewide Interagency Sage-Grouse Conservation Team, and the Wildfire and Invasive Species Working Group. Like sagebrush, Tom’s roots run deep in Wyoming. His family has maintained continuous residence in Wyoming since 1885.

A version of this article was published by the Casper Star Tribune.

Photo credit: USFWS  

May 22, 2024

125 Pennsylvania Trout Streams That Deserve a Conservation Status Update

Anglers are again campaigning to update the designations of top Pennsylvania waterways to reflect the exceptional status of their wild trout populations and water quality

Four times each year, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission proposes streams to be added to the Class A Wild Trout and Wild Trout lists. Right now, there are 125 Class A and Wild Trout streams that represent the best of our best waters up for designation. Among those eligible for protection during this comment period include Beaver Creek and Deep Run in Monroe County and tributaries of the Delaware River and Shohola Creek in Pike County. These outstanding waters positively affect surrounding communities through increased economic activity and improve the natural, scenic, and aesthetic values of the state.

Pennsylvania sportsmen and sportswomen have a chance to influence this process and seal the deal for our best trout streams—here’s why you should take action today.

The Economic Power of Trout Waters

With 86,000 miles of streams and around 4,000 inland lakes, Pennsylvania is home to some of the best publicly accessible fishing that the East Coast has to offer, including phenomenal trout and bass fishing. With opportunities like these, it’s no wonder that 1.2 million Pennsylvanians fished their local waterways in 2020, helping contribute to the state’s $58-billion outdoor recreation economy.

Since 2010, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has worked with sportsmen and local universities to distinguish our best waters through the Unassessed Waters Program. Based on the UWP’s evaluation, stream sections that meet a set of criteria are eligible for certain protections. For example, streams that have abundant populations of wild rainbow, brown, and brook trout can be eligible for Wild Trout Stream or Class A Stream designations. Protecting these streams ensures that the outdoor recreation industry continues to thrive and that future generations can enjoy the same (or better) fishing opportunities.

Tackle shops and fishing guides are among the businesses that make up an important part of the robust outdoor recreation industry in Pennsylvania. And giving special consideration to the best wild trout streams supports these small businesses. “When I worked in the local fly shop, the Class A list provided a great reference to point people in the right direction to find trout water,” says Matthew Marran, a flyfishing guide and former fly shop worker in the Delaware River Basin. “As a guide, I depend on Class A waters to put clients on wild trout with consistency and confidence. And I’m seeing more and more people ask when booking to fish exclusively for wild trout.”

Why Does a Designation Matter?

In these cases, what’s in a name really matters: Wild Trout and Class A streams qualify for additional protections from Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection, including the limitation of activities around these streams that would degrade water quality. The Wild Trout Stream title designates a water as a Coldwater Fishery and protects surrounding wetlands from development. Similarly, streams that qualify for the Class A designation get additional recognition as high-quality waters, which restricts in-stream discharges and guards against habitat degradation.

These designations from the PFBC are critical to helping the state manage and protect fish populations, especially as demands on Pennsylvania’s water resources continue to increase. When you consider that roughly 40 percent of streams across the state are NOT suitable for fishing, swimming, and/or drinking water, according to the DEP, it makes sense to safeguard the exceptional waterways that already meet top standards and support outdoor recreation that drives our economy.

Fortunately, sportsmen and sportswomen understand the importance of this process. A TRCP survey found that 92 percent of Pennsylvania sportsmen and women support designating streams when they meet the right criteria.

What You Can Do to Help

Pennsylvania’s hunters and anglers have an important opportunity to conserve more critical streams. If we don’t speak up, these exceptional waterways could easily be degraded and eventually lost to pollution.

Take action now and tell the PA Fish and Boat Commission that you value these protections for clean water and fish habitat.

This blog was originally posted in November 2019 and has been updated for each quarterly public comment period. The current comment period ends on June 14, 2024.

Banner photo credit Noah Davis; other photos by Derek Eberly.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

CHEERS TO CONSERVATION

Theodore Roosevelt’s experiences hunting and fishing certainly fueled his passion for conservation, but it seems that a passion for coffee may have powered his mornings. In fact, Roosevelt’s son once said that his father’s coffee cup was “more in the nature of a bathtub.” TRCP has partnered with Afuera Coffee Co. to bring together his two loves: a strong morning brew and a dedication to conservation. With your purchase, you’ll not only enjoy waking up to the rich aroma of this bolder roast—you’ll be supporting the important work of preserving hunting and fishing opportunities for all.

$4 from each bag is donated to the TRCP, to help continue their efforts of safeguarding critical habitats, productive hunting grounds, and favorite fishing holes for future generations.

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