Thanks to the largest land conservation effort in American history, the United Sates Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) made the decision in September not to add the greater sage grouse to the endangered species list. Collaboration between federal and state agencies as well as private landowners has significantly reduced threats to the greater sage grouse across 90 percent of the species’ breeding habitat.
As noted in a press release from the USFWS, this determination was reached after evaluating the bird’s population status, and the collective efforts by the BLM and U.S. Forest Service, state agencies, private landowners and other partners to conserve its habitat. Despite long-term population declines, sage-grouse remain relatively abundant and well-distributed across the species’ 173-million-acre range. After a thorough analysis of the best available scientific information and taking into account ongoing key conservation efforts and their projected benefits, the USFWS has determined the bird does not face the risk of extinction now or in the foreseeable future and therefore does not need protection under the Endangered Species Act.