LOGAN, UTAH – Due to unprecedented demand, Utah State University is making the recorded proceedings of the International Sage-grouse Forum, held Nov. 13-14, 2014, in Salt Lake City, available online to the public, free of charge.
“The forum brought together policy makers, managers, scientists, landowners and industry leaders to summarize contemporary knowledge regarding sage-grouse conservation,” says Terry Messmer, forum chairperson and director of the Jack H. Berryman Institute at Utah State University. “We quickly filled the gathering to capacity with more than 350 attendees and another 200 people joined us online. Given the interest in this information and its immediate pertinence to ongoing conservation efforts range-wide, we decided to make the proceedings readily available to all interested stakeholders.
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert addressed forum participants, calling for continued dialogue and partnerships. The gathering also featured comments from Tom Tidwell, chief of the U.S. Forest Service and Jason Weller, chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, along with sessions led by scientists, public land and wildlife managers, landowners and ranchers, energy industry specialists and local sage-grouse working group members.
“At no time in the recorded annals of wildlife management have so many devoted to much to the management and conservation of a single species – the Greater Sage-grouse,” Messmer says. “The species is indicative of the health of the sagebrush ecosystem on which so many Western stakeholders depend.”
Greater sage-grouse live in 11 western states, including Utah, and have been identified as a candidate species for protection listing under the Endangered Species Act by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The forum’s proceedings, Messmer says, represent more than two decades of the best-available science for conservation management.
“The forum and preceding gatherings have been successful, because they are a synthesis of widespread, dedicated collaboration from a wide variety of stakeholders,” he says. “The proceedings combine emerging science with vast, on-the-ground experience.”
Online access to the proceedings is available at www.sage-grouseforum.org. Visitors should select “Recording Proceedings” from the far left menu and register to receive access by providing the requested information. A password to the proceedings will be provided within 24 hours. The requested information, Messmer says, will allow the forum steering committee to determine distribution and interest.
The forum was conducted under the auspices of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, with support from USU, USU Extension, USU’s Quinney College of Natural Resources and the USU-based Jack H. Berryman Institute for Wildlife Damage Management.