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Announcing the “take a Grouse to lunch” campaign

March 5, 2010

Word on the Greater sage grouse came down from on high today.  The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service determined that the sage grouse was a “candidate species.”  That’s sort of like being just a little bit pregnant.  The symptoms are obvious, the diagnosis is definite, but treatment isn’t necessary — yet.

Whenever I hear about some poor critters being recognized as “candidates,” I get a sinking feeling and am left wondering whether it’s because of a lack of resources, or will, or both.

Anyway, here’s the FWS press release:

Date: March 5, 2010

Interior Expands Common-Sense Efforts to Conserve Sage Grouse Habitat in the WesWestern Bird Found ‘Warranted but Precluded’ from Endangered Species Act Protection

 WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Department of the Interior will expand efforts with state, local and tribal partners to map lands that are vital to the survival of the greater sagegrouse, a ground-dwelling bird that inhabits much of the West, while guiding and managing new conventional and renewable energy projects to reduce impacts on the species, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced today.

 Salazar made the announcement in conjunction with a finding by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that, based on accumulated scientific data and new peer-reviewed information and analysis, the greater sage-grouse warrants the protection of the Endangered Species Act but that listing the species at this time is precluded by the need to address higher priority species first. The greater sage-grouse will be placed on the candidate list for future action, meaning the species would not receive statutory protection under the ESA and states would continue to be responsible for managing the bird. . . .

 Greater sage-grouse are found in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, eastern California, Nevada, Utah, western Colorado, South Dakota and Wyoming and the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. They currently occupy approximately 56 percent of their historical range.  If trends since the mid-1960s persist, many local populations may disappear within the next 30 to 100 years, with remaining fragmented populations more vulnerable to extinction in the long-term. However, the sage-grouse population as a whole remains large enough and is distributed across such a large portion of the western United States that Fish and Wildlife Service biologists determined the needs of other species facing more immediate and severe threat of extinction must take priority for listing actions. . . .

[For further information, see: http://fws.gov/mountain-prairie/species/bird/sagegrouse/]

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