Proposed Sage-Grouse Protections May Impact Mining Along the California-Nevada Border

On October 28, 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“USFWS”) proposed to list the Bi-State distinct population segment (“Bi-State DPS”) of greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) and to designate critical habitat for the Bi-State DPS.  

For further details of the proposed listing and designation of critical habitat, see their ESA Law Alert

The Bi-State DPS of greater sage-grouse occur in the Mono Basin area of California (Alpine, Mono and Inyo Counties) and Nevada (Carson City, Lyon, Douglas, Mineral and Esmeralda Counties).  According to the USFWS, mining in these areas does not currently pose a significant threat to the Bi-State DPS; however, mining may become a significant threat based on potential mining projects and the proximity of existing operations to the two largest (core) populations in the South Mono and Bodie population management units (in Mono County, California).  

Comments on the proposed listing and critical habitat designation are due by December 27, 2013.