Interior: Grouse listing warranted but precluded

Mar 05, 2010 By MEAD GRUVER , Associated Press Writer

(AP) -- The Interior Department announced Friday that it won't list sage grouse as endangered or threatened but will classify the bird among species that are candidates for federal protection.

The finding is good news for the wind energy and oil and gas industries, which will still face scrutiny in grouse habitat but will have more leeway than if the bird were listed.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a news release that listing is warranted but precluded by higher priorities - other species that are in greater danger.

The finding validates years of effort by some Western states to map the birds' sagebrush habitat and take other steps to prevent a sage grouse listing.

A chicken-sized, brown bird, sage grouse inhabit about half of their historical range. The bird inhabits large portions of Wyoming, Nevada, Montana, Oregon and Idaho, and smaller areas of Colorado, Utah, California, Washington, South Dakota, North Dakota and western .

Especially in Wyoming, large areas of sage grouse habitat also are prime spots for natural gas development that has boomed in recent years. In Nevada, the birds are challenged by an , cheatgrass, which is prone to frequent wildfires that burn up native sagebrush.

"The sage grouse's decline reflects the extent to which open land in the West has been developed in the last century," Salazar said in a release. "This development has provided important benefits, but we must find common sense ways of protecting, restoring, and reconnecting the Western lands that are most important to the species' survival."

Voluntary conservation combined with federal funding and technical help can help those efforts, he said.

The sage grouse finding results from a lawsuit filed in 2006 by an Idaho group, Western Watersheds Project. A in Boise, Idaho, ruled in 2007 that political pressure tainted an earlier decision not to list the sage grouse.

Explore further: Speckled beetle key to saving crops in Ethiopia

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Sage grouse taken off endangered list

Apr 24, 2007

The rare sage-grouse is fighting for survival in Colorado, but because of a recent spurt in numbers the birds will not be listed as an endangered species.

Sage grouse drops near drilling sites

Jan 20, 2006

A study found the population of sage grouse declined sharply in breeding habitat near oil and gas exploration fields in western Wyoming.

Report: Birds endangered by energy development

Mar 19, 2009

(AP) -- As the Obama administration pursues more homegrown energy sources, a new government report faults energy production of all types - wind, ethanol and mountaintop coal mining - for contributing to steep ...

Scientists call for trial of 'hen harrier ceiling'

Aug 12, 2008

As the grouse shooting season gets under way, two scientists involved in high-profile studies of hen harriers and red grouse at Langholm Moor in Scotland have called for field trials of a "ceiling" on harrier numbers in an ...

Recommended for you

Speckled beetle key to saving crops in Ethiopia

Aug 22, 2014

(Phys.org) —An invasive weed poses a serious and frightening threat to farming families in Ethiopia, but scientists from a Virginia Tech-led program have unleashed a new weapon in the fight against hunger: ...

New tool to assess noise impact on marine mammals

Aug 22, 2014

A new desktop tool which will allow offshore renewable energy developers to assess the likely impacts of their projects on marine mammal populations has been developed by scientists at the University of St ...

Of bees, mites, and viruses

Aug 21, 2014

Honeybee colonies are dying at alarming rates worldwide. A variety of factors have been proposed to explain their decline, but the exact cause—and how bees can be saved—remains unclear. An article published on August ...

User comments : 0