Feds seek threatened status for some sage grouse

first_imgSAN FRANCISCO — Federal wildlife officials on Friday proposed to list as threatened populations of greater sage grouse in Nevada and California in an effort to save the struggling species, a decision that promises to pose new challenges for ranching and energy development in the West.The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found that invasive species and energy development in the desert have had a devastating effect on the large, ground-dwelling bird’s populations, said Ted Koch, Nevada state supervisor for the service.“It’s not the 11th hour for sage grouse here, but it is maybe the 10th hour,” Koch said. “And that’s good news. It means we have some time and space to turn things around.”The service found multiple threats facing this specific sub-population of the sage grouse, a chicken-size bird whose males have a large white tuft of feathers around their necks.The service estimates there are only about 5,000 of the birds left.Non-native pinyon pine and juniper trees introduced to the habitat and power lines have given low-to-the-ground perches for raptors, which eat the grouse, Koch said.last_img

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