美國內政部長Sally Jewell 14日和土地管理局副局長Steve Ellis、參議員Mike Crapo和James Risch、地方利益關係人以及牧場業主，一同檢討山艾樹生態的保育成果。山艾樹林是美西重要的野生動物棲地，也是民眾戶外休閒和從事其他經濟活動的去處。
Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today joined Bureau of Land Management Deputy Director Steve Ellis, U.S. Senators Mike Crapo and James Risch, local stakeholders and ranchers to view efforts to conserve the sagebrush habitat that supports wildlife, outdoor recreation and other economic activity throughout the West.
The support of landowners is key to a joint effort by the U.S. government and Western states to develop and implement a broad conservation plan for the Greater Sage-grouse before the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has to decide whether or not to propose the bird for Endangered Species Act protection in 2015.
Known for its flamboyant mating ritual, the Greater Sage-grouse is an umbrella species, sharing the sagebrush with more than 350 other kinds of wildlife, including elk, mule deer, pronghorn antelope and golden eagles.
While roughly 64 percent of the Sage-grouse’s 165 million acres of occupied range is on federally managed lands, private lands are critical for the species, often including limited and vitally important riparian and wet-meadow habitat.
Jewell, Ellis and Crapo toured the Browns Bench/China Mountain region of southern Idaho and some areas that were devastated by the 2007 Murphy Complex Fire. Burning more than 600,000 acres, much of it sagebrush habitat, the fire was the largest rangeland fire since 1910.
Federal, state and local partners are restoring the area by reseeding sagebrush from the air and with machines on the ground, combatting cheatgrass and other invasive species, altering fire regimes and creating fire breaks to limit the damage from future fires.
“Fires are burning longer, hotter and faster, and it’s one of the reasons that we’ve seen the range of sagebrush habitat cut by more than half,” said Jewell. “The partnerships in Idaho to bring this key American landscape back are models of what we need to conserve and restore sagebrush habitat that is so important to wildlife and the Western economy.”
Greater sage-grouse once occupied more than 290 million acres of sagebrush in the West, but the bird has lost more than half of its habitat. Settlers reported that millions of birds filled the skies; now between 200,000 and 500,000 birds live in 11 states and two Canadian provinces.