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Bi-State Sage Grouse Won't Be Listed As Endangered


The bi-state sage grouse, found only in Nevada and California, will not be listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reports.

All of the stakeholders involved in saving the Mono Basin sage grouse from extinction offered the same message at Tuesday's press conference in Reno on how the bird has avoided the need for federal protection:

"This collaborative partnership is a model for effective, long-term conservation," said Tony Wasley, director of the Nevada Department of Wildlife.

"You are all part of epic collaboration," said Sally Jewel, head of the Department of Interior. "Collaboration that's going to change the face of our landscapes for generations to come."

"We've all worked together on it now, and through a lot of common sense, we've got it done," said Bryan Masini, a Northern Nevada rancher.

Back in 2013, there was a call to list the bi-state sage grouse as endangered but because of collaborative efforts like conservation easements with ranchers, the bird's population has stabilized since then.  

Even though it, ultimately, won't be listed under the Endangered Species Act, Sally Jewel says the law is a critical safety net.

"It is why we still have the bald eagle," she explained, "and why we still have the American alligator and why we will still have the bi-state population of the greater sage grouse."

Tuesday's announcement comes mere months before the department of interior must decide whether the greater sage grouse, which lives in 11 Western states, should be listed.

Governor Brian Sandoval says he hopes there will be a similar outcome with that species.

"Working together, I'm hoping that we can preclude the need to list the greater sage grouse," he said, "just as we have done with the bi-state."

The decision on that listing is required by late September and could impact many industries, including mining and agriculture.

Michelle Billman is a former news director at KUNR Public Radio.
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