Sage-Grouse in Danger; Lane County Burn Ban Not Coastal; City Council Meeting; Jellyfish Invasion

Sage-Grouse in Danger

The Trump administration wants to ease protections on sage-grouse habitat across the West, opening up millions of acres to drilling, mining and other resource extraction. The Interior Department has released proposals in seven of the 11 states, including Oregon, where the 2015 Sage-Grouse Conservation Plan is currently in place. Ken Rait with The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Public Lands Program says the proposal eliminates 80-percent of the 11-million acres of habitat protected from oil and gas development under the current plan.

“This administration is focused on reducing any kinds of restrictions on energy development, and now we see tens of millions of acres of sage-grouse habitat falling victim.”

The protected habitat is important for about 350 western species in the so-called sagebrush sea. The Interior Department says the move comes at the request of states for more flexibility on public lands. The agency will accept public comments on amending the 2015 plan through January 8th.  Sage-grouse scientist Matt Holloran says it took several years to develop the 2015 plan. He says a wide range of interests came together, including conservation and sportsmen’s groups, farmers and livestock producers, and local, state and federal governments. Holloran believes the Trump administration is throwing all that collaboration away with its new proposal.

“It’s a mistake. I don’t think they have any scientific basis for making the changes. They’re losing a range-wide, landscape-scale perspective on grouse conservation, which I think was the critical role that the federal plans played beyond the state plans.”

The new plan would open up millions of acres to energy producers. But Rait notes the 2015 plans did not eliminate oil and gas development – and points out that only one-fifth of areas with medium to high potential for drilling overlap sage-grouse habitat.

“The BLM is choosing to up-end scientifically based, locally supported plans to benefit the energy development industry, for whom four-fifths of the public lands are not enough.”

 The sage grouse has lost 95-percent of its historic population across its 11-state range.

 Lane County Burn Ban Not Coastal

Currently all of Lane County with the exception of Florence and the coastal areas are under a burn ban.  Included in the burn ban is a red smoke advisory for eastern Lane County the Lane Regional Air Protection Area says that particulates in the air have been steadily increasing with cooler temperatures and more wood burning.  LRAPA urges people to burn hot and clean as smoke adds to pollution and is also wasted fuel

City Council Meeting

Monday evening the Florence City Council will meet at 5:30 pm.  On the agenda will be a resolution certifying the results of the 2018 election. The consideration of an authorization to allow staff to apply for a Tsunami Wayfinding signage grant, and the evaluation of City Manager Erin Reynolds.  The council will also consider the approval of a Volunteer Policy Manual and address a request for property annexation and zone change.  This Monday’s city council meeting will be at the SVFR Fire Station on Highway 101.

Jellyfish Invasion

High winds off the coast of Florence are the likely reason the beaches from north jetty to driftwood shores were covered with small jelly fish.  Swaths of the gooey creatures could be seen all along the north jetty coastal area.  Off shore storms and winds are also a warning to be aware of the possibility of sneaker waves and never turn your back on the ocean.  Sneaker wave season generally occurs between October and April with the heaviest times in November and March.  People are reminded to stay far enough from the water and to protect small children and pets.  Over the years dozens have been killed by sneaker waves along the Oregon coast and can happen when the shores are seemingly calm.