Sage grouse protection efforts collide with Idaho energy projects
Written byKIMBERLEE KRUESI, Twin Falls Times-News
In 2010, federal officials declared that the grouse warranted endangered species protection but held off from making a final decision. A year later, a federal district judge ruled that U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must make a final listing decision on the bird by 2015.
Since the majority of sage grouse habitat is on public land, the BLM is leading a national effort to improve its management strategy for a sustainable population of the bird.
The strategy included federal officials mapping out priority habitat locations for sage grouse in western states including Idaho. Out of the 15 million acres of sage grouse habitat in Idaho, 10 million acres — including federal, state and private land — was designated as essential to keep the bird from being listed.
Also tucked inside the agency’s strategy is permission for the BLM to delay making final decisions on permits needed to move transmission line or large wind projects forward until a final decision is made on the grouse’s fate.VIEW ORIGINAL ARTICLE