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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Feds bypass protection for Sierra sage grouse

Scott Sonner Associated Press

RENO, Nev. – Interior Secretary Sally Jewell reversed the government’s proposed federal protection for a type of sage grouse specific to California and Nevada on Tuesday, and said it shows it’s still possible to head off a bigger, looming listing decision for the greater sage grouse across 11 Western states.

Jewell joined Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and others in announcing she’s withdrawing the government’s 2013 proposal to declare the bistate, Mono Basin sage grouse a threatened species along the California-Nevada line.

The bird found only along the Sierra’s eastern front no longer faces the threat of extinction thanks to voluntary conservation efforts and range improvements initiated by ranchers, local governments, private land owners and public land managers, she said.

“What this has shown is that despite the stresses we feel on the landscape here – particularly around drought and wildfire and other stresses that impact this part of the world – we can still create and find habitat that supports sage grouse,” Jewell said outside Nevada Department of Wildlife headquarters in Reno.

“There’s no reason you can’t have a healthy state with a healthy economy and a healthy ecosystem. By working together, you can have it all,” she said.

The bistate bird is a genetically distinct population of the greater sage grouse species, which is under consideration for protection in Nevada, California and nine other states stretching from Oregon to the Dakotas.

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