Greater Sage-grouse Decision Moves Protection for Iconic Bird In Right Direction

Mar 5, 2010

WASHINGTON D.C.- Today the United States Fish and Wildlife Service announced a warranted but precluded listing for the greater sage-grouse, adding the species to the candidate list under the Endangered Species Act. In response to this announcement, The Wilderness Society issued the following statements:

Nada Culver, Director of The Wilderness Society’s BLM Action Center in Denver, Colorado.

“Management of our public land needs to be based on science, not politics. Through fair and responsible management, we can restore balance to the Western landscape and conserve greater sage-grouse for generations to come. We are counting on the BLM to take steps now to ensure greater sage-grouse protection is included in the resource management plans being revised and developed in the numerous communities where the grouse once thrived. This isn’t about one bird. It is about the entire ecosystem that shares the same habitat and is impacted by continued over development and a lack of plans to protect the greater sage-grouse.”

Suzanne Jones, Central Rockies Regional Director, The Wilderness Society

“Once widespread throughout the American West, greater sage-grouse have disappeared from nearly half their historic range. This dramatic decline is a red flag that the sagebrush ecosystem of the West—including the roughly 350 big game and other species that depend on it, along with the heritage and economies of rural communities reliant on hunting, fishing and healthy grasslands—are also in trouble. The USFWS’s decision today is a good first step in ensuring that balance is restored to these invaluable American landscapes. We look forward to working with everyone—from ranchers and sportsmen, to the oil and gas industry and our state and federal agencies—to implement sound management plans and habitat conservation measures to protect this iconic western species and to promote the health of our rural communities as well.”