The BLM will finalize their sage grouse recovery plans in September 2017. The main part of their plan is to exclude new mining within parts of Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Nevada, and Oregon. Rockhounding is classified as causal use and as such will go away. There are two bills before congress to suspend BLM implementing their plan. We need to get these bill supported and passed into Law. S. 273 and HR. 527
The following is the latest information sent out to the members of the NFMS as of April.
Idaho Falls Gem and Mineral Society President’s Message for April 2017
I would like to thank all of you for taking action concerning BLM’s actions concerning rockhounding in the sage grouse areas. We are at a point now where the only way to maintain the use of tools for recreational rockhounding is to have our Congressional Representatives get involved. Two bills have been introduced in the House and Senate but have not been moved out of committee. We need to get our Representatives and Senators to support Rep. Rob Bishop’s and Sen James Risch’s bills that will delay the sage grouse land withdrawal and provide for state and local input into sage grouse protection. If the bills are not passed into law before September 2017 then the restriction on the use of tools for rockhounding will become final. Please take the time to contact your Representatives and Senators let them know you support these bill.
H.R.527 — 115th Congress (2017-2018) (Introduced 01/13/2017)
Greater Sage Grouse Protection and Recovery Act of 2017
This bill addresses the Department of the Interior's October 2, 2015, finding that the greater sage grouse is not an endangered or threatened species. Until September 30, 2027, Interior may not alter or invalidate the finding.
Additionally, Interior and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) are prohibited from amending any federal resource management plans that affect the greater sage grouse in a state in which the governor has notified Interior or USDA that a state management plan is in place.
S.273 - Greater Sage-Grouse Protection and Recovery Act of 2017 (Introduced 02/01/2017)
SEC. 4. PROTECTION AND RECOVERY OF GREATER SAGE-GROUSE.
(a) Endangered Species Act Of 1973 Findings.—
(1) DELAY REQUIRED.—The Secretary of the Interior may not modify or invalidate the finding of the Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service announced in the proposed rule entitled “Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Finding on a Petition to List Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) as an Endangered or Threatened Species” (80 Fed. Reg. 59858 (October 2, 2015)) during the period beginning on the date of enactment of this Act and ending on September 30, 2027.
(2) EFFECT ON OTHER LAWS.—The delay required under paragraph (1) is and shall remain effective without regard to any other statute, regulation, court order, legal settlement, or any other provision of law or in equity.
(3) EFFECT ON CONSERVATION STATUS.—The conservation status of the greater sage-grouse shall be considered not to warrant listing of the greater sage-grouse as an endangered species or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) during the period beginning on the date of enactment of this Act and ending on September 30, 2027.
BOISE • State lawmakers officially began their efforts Tuesday to wrest control from the federal government millions of acres of public forest, backcountry and rangelands across the state. Read More.....
To all NFMS ALAA members and Rockhounds:
We are asking you to contact your Senators and Congressmen asking that the Boulder- White Cloud area in IDAHO not be made a national monument. Our Senators and Congressmen must know we, rockhounds, and there are thousands of us in the Northwest, want the Boulder- White Cloud area to remain as is. The National Monument status could effectly stop rockhounding within this area and severly curtail all other recreation there.
The Director’s Protest Resolution Reports analyze each unique or summarized protest issue statement received on each individual BLM Proposed Resource Management Plan to determine whether the State Director followed established procedures, considered relevant information in reaching proposed decisions, and whether the proposed decisions are consistent with the applicable statutes, regulations, and BLM policy.
The following Director’s Protest Resolution Reports are available for online viewing or download.
American Agriculture was saved by the US Government developing a soil conservation program. Conservation eventually was widely accepted by farmers, although cash payments had to be used, and the same eroded land, in most cases, is now productive. One can view the situation on our public lands in much the same light. Recreationists, for the most, will work with the responsible government agencies in order to have access to public lands. They are the conservationists. While the environmentalists see locking up the lands to "protect them" as the only viable alternative. They are the preservationists. Preservation can work but lost use and income from sale of renewable resources makes preservation expensive. While conservation allows access to and use of the land and sale of renewable resources, making public ownership far less expensive. Everett Headrick Northern Idaho ALAA Representative