Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced today that the greater sage-grouse will not be listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
The finding of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) concludes a process that began in 2011, when the service agreed to reach a decision to determine whether the bird was entitled to protections under the ESA by Sept. 30, 2015.
Concerted conservation efforts have been undertaken by Western Governors since 2010 across the western states where the bird lives -- California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. In all, its range stretches across 257,000 square miles, including two Canadian provinces.
The decision does not conclude conservation efforts. States now must work with the BLM and FWS on the federal agencies’ greater sage-grouse management plans. Western Governors have submitted Consistency Reviews to BLM and U.S. Forest Service on the federal agencies’ greater sage-grouse proposed management plans.
In their comments the governors identify inconsistencies between federal plans and state and local government plans, policies or programs. They also recommend solutions for resolving those inconsistencies.
The Western Governors' Association has worked to highlight the sage-grouse conservation efforts of western states. Among other things, this work has involved annual publication of the Western Governors’ Sage-Grouse Inventory, which illustrates how states and counties – as well as federal agencies, conservation districts, industry and nonprofits – have taken proactive, voluntary steps to preclude the need for a listing.