Idaho Gov. Butch Otter issued a five-page executive order today implementing his greater sage grouse conservation plan, which is aimed at conserving the bird and its habitat to avoid a listing under the federal Endangered Species Act. Otter said the move “demonstrates Idaho’s commitment to maintaining a viable and healthy population of greater sage-grouse and the habitat they need to thrive in a balanced and sustainable way while maintaining predictable levels of use on our public lands.”
In a statement, he said, “Our fish and wildlife belong to the people of Idaho. We’re not waiting for a federal designation to do the right thing by the species, but at the same time I have an obligation to protect Idaho’s sovereignty and self-determination.”
The plan was developed by a task force Otter appointed in 2012; it covers 15 million acres in southern Idaho and includes measures to conserve the sage grouse and its habitat against threats from wildfire, invasive species, infrastructure construction, livestock grazing practices and more. You can read the executive order here.