(Thomas Mitchell) – Perhaps there is still hope that aggressive conservation and mitigation efforts by Nevada and the 10 other states where greater sage grouse range can stave off a listing of the ground-dwelling birds under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), a decision that would have an economic impact on mining, agriculture, logging, oil and gas exploration, rights of way, electricity transmission lines and recreation.
The latest ray of hope comes from a decision by the Interior and Agriculture departments this past week to withdraw a proposal to list the bi-state sage grouse under ESA. In October the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to designate as threatened the distinct sage grouse population found along the northern California-Nevada border.
The original plan was to set aside nearly 1.9 million acres in Carson City, Lyon, Douglas, Mineral and Esmeralda counties in Nevada, as well as land in Alpine, Mono and Inyo counties in California, as critical habitat for the remaining 5,000 or so bi-state sage grouse.
Fish and Wildlife opened a comment period and then extended it when evidence came in that the bi-state grouse population was healthier than first reported.
The deadline for a decision on the bi-state grouse was April 28. The deadline for a decision on the greater sage grouse is September of this year.
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Mr. Mitchell publishes the 4TH ST8 Blog at www.4thst8.wordpress.com.