Newmont Continues Sagebrush Conservation Efforts

Jun 25, 2015 3:05 PM ET

Habitat loss is a leading cause of declines in wildlife populations. Without a safe place to live and access to the right food, survival of a species is uncertain. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is concerned with declines in populations of Greater Sage-Grouse from, as they note, the loss of sagebrush habitat due to wildfire, expansion of non-native invasive annual grasses, habitat fragmentation and other factors. The Department of Interior says the bird’s population has significantly declined to between 200,000 and 500,000, compared to millions, in years past. As part of its ongoing land stewardship, Newmont is helping to reverse this trend on lands it manages and uses. Through Newmont’s Sagebrush Ecosystem Conservation Plan and associated Conservation Bank Program, we are working to improve rangeland health and thereby enhance habitat for Greater Sage-Grouse and other sagebrush-obligate wildlife.

The program is a multi-species, landscape-level conservation plan for about 400,000 acres of Newmont’s private lands and large portions of 1,400,000 acres of federal grazing lands. Through a partnership approach, the plan will help conserve habitat for Greater Sage-Grouse, along with the Lahontan cutthroat trout, golden eagle, mule deer, pygmy rabbit, burrowing owl, redband trout, and sagebrush-related birds and wildlife. Newmont has partnered with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to utilize TNC’s Sage-Grouse Conservation Forecasting and ecological models to identify and use appropriate conservation practices for vegetation management including rangeland seeding, prescribed grazing, wildlife water development and brush management.

These latest conservation efforts further expand Newmont’s existing approach to sustainable mining and land management. As an example, over 20 years of sustained partnership with Trout Unlimited and others led to the rehabilitation of Lahontan cutthroat trout habitat in the Maggie Creek Watershed near Carlin, Nevada. To date, this cooperative effort among mine and ranch landowners and managers, conservation organizations and agencies has resulted in 82 miles of stream recovery, some 2,000 acres of riparian habitat improvement and 40,000 acres of upland habitat – including Greater Sage-Grouse habitat – enhancement. We have also created alternatives to avoid impacts to a Greater Sage-Grouse breeding ground while constructing facilities at our Long Canyon project.

Our commitment to environmental sustainability is not just evident in the United States. Globally, Newmont continues to pursue our enduring commitment to environmentally sustainable mining. In 2014, we implemented a new Biodiversity Management Standard across our global operations to reinforce ongoing sustainability efforts. At our Boddington operations in Australia, we are implementing a Black Cockatoo Management Plan to avoid, minimize and offset potential impacts to three species of Black Cockatoos (Carnaby’s, Forest Red-Tailed and Baudin’s) found around our mining operation. Furthermore, in order to enhance the mule deer winter habitat, we have rehabilitated and reestablished more than 8,000 acres of critical mule deer habitat within the Dunphy Hills around our Carlin Operations in Nevada.

Like our other conservation efforts, the Sagebrush Ecosystem Conservation Plan and Conservation Bank Program are being developed and implemented in collaboration with public and private entities.

Read our brochure on the topic or our annual sustainability report for more details.