U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes Listing the Greater Sage Grouse under the Endangered Species Act

On October 28, 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a proposed rule (pdf) to list the California and Nevada populations of the greater sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). According to the Service, this bi-state population is genetically distinct and geographically isolated from other greater sage grouse populations, and warrants protection under the ESA.

Primary threats to the species include degradation of habitat by livestock grazing and invasive plant species, fragmentation of habitat caused by urban and energy development, motorized recreation in courtship and nesting areas, and loss of habitat due to drought and wildfires.

In addition, the Service published a proposed rule (pdf) to designate over 1.8 million acres of critical habitat for the species in Storey, Carson, Douglas, Mineral, and Esmeralda counties in Nevada and Mono, Alpine, and Inyo counties in California.

Comments on the proposed rules must be submitted by December 27, 2013.

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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