September 23, 2015
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced the much-anticipated decision on Twitter Tuesday morning, using the hashtag #WildlifeWin. “Because of an unprecedented effort by dozens of partners across 11 western states," says Sec. Jewell in a video, "the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that the greater sage grouse does not require protection under the Endangered Species Act.” Jewell and other federal leaders congratulated groups that usually don’t see eye-to-eye, but have set aside
September 22, 2015
The U.S. Interior Department says the greater sage grouse does not need federal protections across its 11-state Western range after some limits were put on energy development and other activities. Tuesday's announcement signals that the Obama administration believes it has struck a balance to save the widespread, ground-dwelling birds from extinction without crippling the West's economy. It follows a costly conservation effort, and could help defuse a potential political liability for Democrats
September 17, 2015
On September 16, 2015 KBSX hosted four panelists and a room full of community members for a discussion on the possible Endangered Species Listing of the greater sage grouse. Experts shared their favorite facts about the bird, reasons for the population decline in the last century and the methods and strategies behind the collaborative efforts of state groups and agencies to protect the species. Panelists included State Rep. and Leadore cattle-rancher Merrill Beyeler , state biologist for the
September 11, 2015
Alarm bells echoed across the West in 2010 when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service warned that the greater sage grouse could be put on the Endangered Species List. The end of this month is the deadline for a final decision. In the interim, there has been an enormous amount of work done to protect the bird – enough to suggest a threat is sometimes big enough to get the job done. Could this have been the intent all along? To make the threat big enough so that an actual listing might be avoided?
September 10, 2015
The federal government will decide whether or not to list the greater sage grouse on the Endangered Species List later this month. Another sage grouse species, the Gunnison sage grouse, has been on that list since last November. The government followed a distinct and separate process for the Gunnison grouse, classifying it as “threatened”. It’s not the strictest classification under the Endangered Species Act, and it was an attempt to recognize efforts to protect the bird in Colorado's Gunnison
September 10, 2015
About 170 greater sage grouse gather on Wes McStay’s ranch in northwestern Colorado. They're here to mate in an open field of recently-planted rye. Biologists call such a gathering a lek , where male grouse perform an elaborate mating dance that involves inflating two yellow air sacs in their chests and then releasing the air with a bubbling pop. The national sage grouse coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service watches the spectacle, her gloved hands holding binoculars tightly to her
September 9, 2015
In May, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell stepped up to the podium at a press conference in Boise. The smell of damp sagebrush was in the air, and the foothills in the background were green – a rare sight in the high desert. Jewell then cut to the chase: “Fire is the number one threat to this ecosystem in the Great Basin states,” said the Obama administration cabinet member. The ecosystem Jewell is talking about is the sagebrush steppe , and the greater sage grouse is its most famous – and fragile
September 8, 2015
Brian Maxfield is a wildlife conservation biologist for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. And he's a bit of a voyeur. Back in the spring, Maxfield strapped transmitters to about a dozen greater sage grouse in northeastern Utah. His goal? To spy on them. Each bird’s every move is now a mosaic of color-coded dots on a clipboard he keeps in his pickup. Today, he’s honing in on the blue dot. And he’s worried. “You can see where she hung out up here, that’s where her nest was,” he says,
September 4, 2015
Over the last few months you’ve heard a number of reports about a species of bird that lives in Idaho and 10 other western states. The greater sage grouse is in the spotlight as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decides whether the bird merits listing under the Endangered Species Act. If the grouse is listed, it could have devastating effects on the regional economy. The animal will be the focus of a KBSX series next week called “Saving The Sage Grouse.” Reporter Frankie Barnhill spoke with
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