Citing Conservation Plan and $45 Million in Funding, FWS Concludes Listing for Bi-State Population of Greater Sage Grouse is Unnecessary

While the larger controversy is far from over, for the California and Nevada populations of the greater sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus), the controversy does appear to be put to rest.  In 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a proposed rule to list the bi-state population as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  In the proposed rule, the Service stated that the bi-state population was genetically distinct and geographically isolated from other greater sage grouse populations, and warranted protection under the ESA primarily because of impacts to habitat from a variety of sources, including urban and energy development.  (For a further discussion of the listing proposal and controversy, see our prior posts on October 29, 2013 and January 9, 2014.)  On April 21, 2015, the Service announced that it had withdrawn its proposal to list the bi-state population, citing a conservation plan developed by the Bi-State Local Area Working Group, which has secured approximately $45 million in funding, as a "key factor" in the decision.  Along with the listing proposal, the Service withdrew its proposed section 4(d) rule and proposed designation of critical habitat.

As for the greater sage-grouse populations in other states, the announcement notes that a listing determination will likely be issued in September 30, 2015.

  • Benjamin Z. Rubin

    Ben Rubin is chair of Nossaman’s Environment & Land Use Group. Ben assists developers, public agencies, landowners and corporate clients on a variety of complex land use and environmental matters. He counsels clients on matters ...

Nossaman’s Endangered Species Law & Policy blog focuses on news, events, and policies affecting endangered species issues in California and throughout the United States. Topics include listing and critical habitat decisions, conservation and recovery planning, inter-agency consultation, and related developments in law, policy, and science. We also inform readers about regulatory and legislative developments, as well as key court decisions.

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