Sage Grouse meetings scheduled

SALEM - Several public meetings are being held across Eastern Oregon to discuss the development of a conservation plan for sage grouse and sagebrush habitat. The meetings are being coordinated by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Bureau of Land Management and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

ODFW has been involved in a multi-state effort to provide a strategy for sage grouse in Oregon since the 1990s.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been petitioned to list sage grouse range-wide for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act. The petition sites declines in sage grouse populations across the birds' historic range as the reason for listing. There will be a discussion of the listing process and its implications to the conservation planning process.

Sage grouse live in 11 western states. Oregon has 18 million acres of sagebrush habitat.

Meeting dates, times and locations are:

Burns - 7-9 p.m. Aug. 10 at the Harney County Senior Center, 17 S. Alder St.

Bend - 7-9 p.m. Aug. 12 at the Bend Armory, 875 Simpson Ave.

September goose season dates change

SALEM - The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has updated the September Canada Goose hunting season dates. Previously listed as Sept. 11-17 in the 2004-05 Oregon Game Bird Regulations, the September Canada Goose season for Douglas, Coos, Curry, Jackson, Josephine and all Eastern Oregon counties is now Sept. 9-15.

The date change was made to comply with federal hunting guidelines, which do not allow the September 2004 Goose hunting season to extend past Sept. 15 in these areas. Season dates initially listed in the 2004-05 Oregon Game Bird Regulations for northwest Oregon remain correct and will differ from those in the remainder of the state. All other regulations listed still apply.

Road, bridge access remains closed

DAYVILLE - The Flat Creek road and bridge access to the Phillip W. Schneider Wildlife Area across the John Day River from Highway 26 remains closed to all motorized vehicles, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced today.

The bridge was closed in November 2002 by ODFW after a certified engineer deemed it unsafe for public use. The old bridge at the river crossing has been removed to prepare for the installation of a new bridge. The bridge is the only publicly maintained vehicle access point to the north end of the wildlife area.

Motorized vehicle access on or to the Flat Creek road is prohibited to prevent potential habitat damage caused by creek fording and new trails created on adjacent private land. The public may gain access to the wildlife area by foot until the bridge is repaired.

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