Fed sage grouse decision could come next week

Sage Grouse

Lots of folks on both sides of the issue are waiting with bated breath for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision on the status of the sage grouse . . .

A decision by the U.S. government on whether to propose protections for the greater sage grouse in 11 Western states could come next week, the chairman of a committee overseeing Montana’s conservation plan said Friday.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has until the end of the month to decide whether to propose designating the ground-dwelling bird as a threatened or endangered species. Congress has prohibited the agency from acting on that decision through at least September 2016.

The agency could decide that federal protections aren’t warranted, or that the measures are warranted but precluded by higher priorities.

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See also: Sage grouse is at center of national, state debates (Missoulian)