Launch of Sage Grouse Initiative 2.0
August 27, 2015
• Thank you, Secretary Vilsack, for coming to Oregon to announce this significant advancement in the federal partnership with states.
• I also want to extend my thanks to your crew here. Ron Alvarado and your eastern Oregon staff have been invaluable in their leadership and partnership building efforts.
• I want to recognize the efforts of all the Soil & Water Conservation Districts and partnering landowners in advancing working lands conservation through Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances. I also want to thank the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Burns Agricultural Research Station, and the Nature Conservancy for their efforts.
• Strong partnerships are essential to addressing issues that span millions of acres of private, state, and federal lands. These issues present both challenges and opportunities.
• Today, I’m proud to stand here and say that when it comes to our rural communities in Oregon, we are tackling the challenges before us and taking advantage of the opportunities that present themselves. Partnerships like the Sage Grouse Initiative are proof positive of our hard work.
• Using the Regional Conservation Partnership Program funding, we look forward to applying lessons learned here in Oregon to our collaboration with S-G-I 2-Point-O. Those lessons come directly from our juniper removal work as part of the Sage Grouse Initiative… Some of that work I got to do personally!
• SGI 2.0 will also benefit from the support built by our home-grown collaborative work:
o Our state legislature stepped up this past session with almost $3 million in new funding to advance Sage Grouse Action Plan priority work.
o The Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board has committed at least $10 million over the next 10 years to advance our work.
o And our Sage Grouse Action plan strategically prioritizes where habitat dollars are spent. Ensuring the best return on investment.
• With this funding and additional capacity, the State stands at the ready to partner with SGI 2.0. And we are committed to moving forward - regardless of the outcome of the pending Endangered Species Act listing decision.
• These investments are not just good for the conservation and recovery of sage grouse, but for the vitality of our rural communities, health of our rangeland, resilience of Oregon’s economy, and Oregonians’ way of life.