A proposal to establish the Sagebrush Steppe & Continental Divide National Preserve would help protect 2.7 million acres of public land including the current Craters of the Moon National Monument. The Preserve would protect sagebrush steppe that provides essential habitat for sage grouse. Sagebrush steppe also plays an important role in the hydrologic cycle and fire in the arid West. The National Preserve designation would enable retention of hunting, grazing and recreation uses in the area. The proposal would provide economic support to local communities, and jobs through the establishment of the National Preserve headquarters and a Sagebrush Steppe Long Term Ecological Research station to study this and other sagebrush steppe habitats in the U.S. Funding for the construction and staffing of the research facility and a preserve headquarters will be included in the organic legislation for the preserve.
The Birch Creek Valley area has experienced population decline and a loss of amenities and opportunities. The communities in and around Clark County would benefit from the location of full-time jobs at the Preserve Headquarters and research station, and other tourism-supported businesses.