Sage Grouse Controversy Continues

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As we previously reported, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has proposed to list the Gunnison sage-grouse (Centrocercus minimus) and the Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) as endangered and threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, and to designate millions of acres of land as critical habitat for the species.  (See our prior posts on January 23, 2013 and October 29, 2013.)  Because of the controversy surrounding the proposed listings and designations, the Service has extended the comment period on the proposals to ensure that the public has an adequate opportunity to review and comment on the proposed rules.  (See our prior posts on December 19, 2013 and November 13, 2013.)  In an effort to avoid any further action by the Service, a number of State and local agencies are attempting to develop a sage grouse management plan that would avoid the need for listing either of the two species.  (See articles by Heather Sackett on January 5, 2014, post by Mack Cole on January 6, 2014, article by Glenn Oppel on January 8, 2014.)  Only time will tell whether these efforts are successful.