Cooperative Effort to Save Sage Grouse Working
September 23, 2016

A broad effort to save the greater sage grouse across the West without resorting to the Endangered Species Act is making progress, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said Wednesday.

"There's some really good work going on," Jewell said during a visit to a national wildlife refuge outside Denver, where she announced a year ago that the rare bird wouldn't be listed as endangered or protected.

Instead, conservation agencies are relying on cooperation among federal, state and local governments as well as help from oil and gas companies and ranchers. Greater sage grouse live in 11 Western states.

The Interior Department released a report Wednesday - www.doi.gov/sites/doi.gov/files/uploads/greatersagegrouseconservation2016doi.pdf - listing steps taken so far to save the birds, whose habitat often overlaps with oil and gas fields and ranches. The report includes a study by the federal Bureau of Land Management and the University of California-Davis on the effects of the noise of oil and gas exploration and wells on the birds.

Other steps include restoring and protecting sagebrush ecosystems, protecting sage grouse habitat from wildfires and allowing habitat exchanges that let energy companies and others offset damage to sage grouse habitat by financing improvements elsewhere.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to review how effective the sage grouse efforts are in 2020.

Reprinted in part from abcnews.go.com