Forest Service Weighs Sage Grouse Protection Changes

November 22, 2017
Photo: Greater Sage Grouse | In silhouette - USFWS
A greater sage grouse stands in silhouette at the Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge in Wyoming.

The U.S. Forest Service is rethinking protection plans for sage grouse in six Western states after a U.S. court agreed with mining companies that the agency illegally created some safeguards in Nevada.

The agency announced Tuesday that it's working with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which also is reviewing its plans for the struggling bird following an order by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

Forest Service spokesman John Shivik says the coordinated review makes sense two years after federal officials decided the chicken-sized bird shouldn't receive endangered-species protections. But the government did impose restrictions on land use.

The agency is taking public comments in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and Wyoming through Jan. 5. It says it will review the input before deciding if changes are needed to its plans.

Read More: Hickenlooper, Wyoming’s Mead, Warn Against Big Changes To Sage Grouse Plan

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