Sage Grouse Will Not Go On Endangered List
U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell says the plan to protect the greater sage grouse is the "largest, most complex land-conservation effort" in the United States.
Jewell on Tuesday officially announced the federal government's decision not to list the bird as endangered or threatened. She shared the stage with the governors of Colorado, Wyoming and Montana at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge outside Denver.
Jewell says the decision stems from states, ranchers and the energy industry successfully working with the federal government to protect grouse habitat spanning 11 Western states.
She says that besides providing a brighter future for an "amazing, scrappy bird," the decision gives communities and landowners certainty about where development can proceed. She also says the plan will protect an entire landscape, benefiting other wildlife, ranchers and outdoor enthusiasts.
The governor of the state with more sage grouse than any other says a decision not to recommend federal protection for the bird reaffirms more than a decade of state efforts.
Gov. Matt Mead said Tuesday sage grouse can thrive while Wyoming continues to provide energy to the rest of the nation. Wyoming has more coal and uranium mining than any other state and is a top producer of oil and natural gas — much of it in sage grouse habitat.
The federal government and other states have copied Wyoming's approach of restricting development in sage grouse habitat.
Mead says diverse interests worked together ahead of Tuesday's Interior Department announcement that endangered species protections for sage grouse aren't needed.
Wyoming is home to as many as 500,000 greater sage grouse.