Federal officials Friday released a draft plan to protect habitat for greater sage grouse in parts of the Northwest. Sage grouse numbers have been dwindling as their habitat decreases.
The Bureau of Land Management has released six options for protecting sage grouse habitat in eastern Oregon. The least restrictive option would impose no new steps to protect the sage grouse, beyond current measures, such as habitat restoration. The most restrictive option would curtail livestock grazing on millions of acres of public land. Idaho also recently released draft plans for protecting the sagebrush landscape where the birds roam there. The greater sage grouse in Washington are farther apart from other populations, so they are not a part of this plan. An agency spokesman says one goal of the new plan is to help keep the sage grouse off the Endangered Species List. The public will have 90 days to comment on the draft plans. The bureau will hold public meetings in Oregon and Idaho.
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