Landscape Stewardship Certificates of Appreciation - 2016

L to R: Tim Murphy, Idaho BLM State Director; Bas Hargrove, The Nature Conservancy; Ann Moser, Idaho Department of Fish & Game; Anna Steele, PLF Director-at-Large; Josh Uriarte, Idaho Office of Species Conservation; Kathleen Hendricks, USFWS; Virgil Moore, Idaho Department of Fish & Game; Diane French, Idaho Department of Lands; Chris Simonson, BLM; Tom Schultz, Idaho Department of Lands.

The Public Lands Foundation presents the Idaho Sage-grouse Action Team with its 2016 Landscape Stewardship Certificate of Appreciation and this Citation. The Foundation grants this recognition to honor private citizens and organizations that work to advance and sustain community-based stewardship on landscapes that include, in whole or in part, public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

The Action Team membership includes representatives from eight private, state and federal entities, which are concerned with the total occupied sage grouse habitat in Idaho (primarily in southern and central Idaho), which exceeds 17 million acres.

The Idaho Sage-Grouse Action Team is a collaborative, which exists to advance, focus and sustain across-the-board efforts in Idaho dedicated to benefiting the Greater sage-grouse. The Action Team facilitates close coordination among decision-makers in the private, state and federal sectors. This approach means each partner experiences a benefit and shares in the success of others.

Just a few months after the Idaho Sage-Grouse Action Team was formed in May 2015, the Soda Fire occurred, which burned over 280,000 acres, making it one of the largest fires of 2015 in the continental U.S. Over 70 percent of the landscapes burned by the fire (200,000 acres) was sage grouse habitat. The fire burned parts of 41 grazing allotments, three wild horse management areas, and much of a popular recreation area. Ironically, the fire offered a tailor-made opportunity for the Action Team to fulfill its purpose.

The scale, complexity, and multiple ownerships of the Soda Fire presented many rehabilitation planning challenges, as well as many opportunities. The Action Team helped inform the planning effort by serving as a touchstone for planners. The Team’s input ensured that the final Endangered Species Review plan was responsive to multiple viewpoints and voices, which helped the plan win broad support.

The Action Team works in an advisory and coordination role, and it unifies efforts around projects and proposals that best protect and improve sage-grouse habitat.

The Action Team is serving as a catalyst for community-based learning about natural resources, including facilitating partnerships with two school districts in southwest Idaho.

The Public Lands Foundation is pleased to present the Idaho Sage-grouse Action Team with its 2016 Landscape Stewardship Certificate of Appreciation and this Citation for invaluable contributions to the stewardship of America’s public landscapes.

Signed: Edward W. Shepard, President
September 15, 2016