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DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA — U.S. Reps. Chris Stewart, Utah, and Scott Tipton, Colorado, have introduced the Sage-Grouse and Mule Deer Habitat Conservation and Restoration Act, a bill that would streamline the approval process for vegetation management projects to protect or restore the habitat of the sage-grouse and mule deer.
Read the bill: Sage-Grouse and Mule 5 Deer Habitat Conservation and Restoration Act of 2017 – introduced as HR 3543
In recent years, the rapid encroachment of invasive Piña and Juniper trees on sagebrush habitat has threatened sage-grouse and mule deer populations and created dangerous wildfire conditions.
According to a news release from Stewart’s office, his Conservation and Restoration Act, if passed, will allow the Bureau of Land Management to quickly engage in habitat restoration and proactive vegetation management projects to protect the species and improve ecological conditions.
In order to protect mule deer and sage-grouse populations in Utah and across the West, we must protect their habitat. The review process for vegetation management has become too cumbersome and time consuming. This legislation removes bureaucratic red tape and gives land managers the tools needed to protect and preserve this precious habitat.
Tiptin agrees. He said:
The current vegetation management process isn’t allowing Western states to keep up with the rapid growth of invasive species in sagebrush habitat. To combat invasive species effectively, we must streamline the process through which BLM must go to protect and restore threatened habitats and address potential areas of concern. Our bill cuts through the unnecessary red tape that has prevented BLM from acting quickly in the past.
The Mule Deer Foundation applauds the efforts of Stewart and Tipton.
“The Sage-Grouse and Mule Deer Habitat Conservation and Restoration Act will allow conservation partners to move quickly on landscape habitat restoration projects that are proving to have a tremendous impact for mule deer, sage-grouse and other species dependent on sagebrush rangelands. This is good for wildlife conservation as well as western big game hunters,” MDF President and CEO Miles Moretti said. “The Mule Deer Foundation greatly appreciates Congressmen Tipton and Stewart for working together to introduce this important legislation in the House. With bills now in both chambers of Congress, we are optimistic about moving this issue forward in this Congress.”
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