Federal land management plans released today spell doom for greater sage grouse in Colorado, northeastern California, Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming. Unsurprisingly, the Trump administration is proposing to roll back protections for the bird in order to allow more fossil fuel development and more livestock grazing in sagebrush areas.
Sage grouse rely on large expanses of intact sagebrush to survive and are especially sensitive to disturbance and habitat fragmentation, such as that caused by oil and gas drilling. Many other species also depend on sagebrush landscapes, among them pronghorn, elk, mule deer, golden eagles, native trout, and nearly 200 migratory and resident bird species.
In 2015, western states and federal officials approved plans to reverse the sage grouse’s decline in lieu of listing it as endangered. The proposed changes would gut those plans and would curtail wildlife agencies’ involvement in decisions of whether oil and gas development should be allowed in sage grouse habitat.
Read the press release.