FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Kristina Johnson
Greater Sage Grouse Placed on Endangered Species "Candidate" List
Washington, D.C. - Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the greater sage grouse is warranted for protection under the Endangered Species Act and will be placed on a candidate list, but will not yet be protected under the ESA. Sage grouse once roamed much of the West, but populations have been declining for decades and now the birds only occupy about half of their historic range.
Statement of Sierra Club Deputy Executive Director Bruce Hamilton
We are encouraged to see the Obama administration seek protection for the greater sage grouse and take steps to restore science to wildlife management. However, the bird still needs much greater protection in order to fully recover. We'll be watching closely to make sure the Bureau of Land Management and Fish and Wildlife Service follow through with the necessary steps to recover healthy populations of this important Western bird.
Sage grouse face grave threat from oil and gas development, which has proceeded at a rampant pace across much of the West during the last decade.
Sage grouse are an indicator species. Hundreds of animals rely on the same air, land and water as this bird. If sage grouse are in decline, it means other wildlife, and the lives and livelihoods that depend on them, are at risk. Working together we can restore healthy populations of this valuable bird and help safeguard the jobs that depend on the same healthy habitat.
Open spaces, mountains and wildlife in the West don't just provide recreation. They provide good, lasting, local jobs in tourism and outdoor industries. The scales have been tipped against these outdoor industries for too long. It's time to bring back some balance.
Protecting wildlife like the sage grouse is one step towards ensuring that our Western heritage survives for future generations.