Idaho Wildlife
6:34 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Idaho Begins Sage Grouse Management Plan Discussions

BOISE, Idaho -- Idaho lawmakers are looking for ways to reverse the decline in the state’s dwindling sage grouse population. They’re worried that if the state doesn’t act, the federal government will impose its own plan to protect the bird under the Endangered Species Act. Aaron Kunz reports.

Sage Grouse are known to live in 11 Western states, including Idaho, Washington and Oregon. Over the past 50 years the bird population has declined - due to loss of habitat.

Since 1997, the State of Idaho’s sage grouse protection plan has relied on voluntary measures by landowners to maintain sage grouse habitat.

Administrator of the Idaho Office of Species Conservation Nate Fisher describes what could happen if the federal agencies take control of the species’ management.

Fisher: "They will swath - I like to say - the entire sage brush step with additional restrictions which will ultimately be over-bearing, broad-brushed and unnecessary in many areas.”

The Legislature would be asked to sign off on a sage grouse management plan possibly as early as next year.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network