Idaho’s neighbors struggle with Sage-Grouse protection


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Austin Hill
Reporter, Idaho Reporter.com

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Boise, ID - August 18, 2014

Note: This is Part 1 of a two-part series examining the possibility of the Greater Sage-Grouse being listed as an endangered species and what Idaho and surrounding state are doing to head off that possibility. Part 1 looks at efforts in neighboring states to deal with the issue. Part 2, published Tuesday, will look at what Idaho is doing to deal with the Greater Sage-Grouse issue.
 
Federal officials at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a division of the U.S. Department of Interior, in 2015 may list the Greater Sage-Grouse species as officially “endangered” under the Endangered Species Act. If that happens, another type of threat would present itself: Idaho would stand to lose even more control of its land, which would likely result in further reductions in the state’s economic productivity.
 
However, Idaho Gov. Butch Otter believes the Gem State is prepared to avoid that threat. “Idaho has always been on the front lines of the Sage-Grouse issue,” said Otter last month in a guest opinion about his efforts to put together an Idaho-based plan to better protect the Greater Sage-Grouse, a large ground-dwelling bird that, according to the federal registry, inhabits about 165 million acres across 11 different states, including land in Idaho.