The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife commission voted Friday to move sage grouse onto the state endangered species list.
Sage grouse had been listed as threatened since 1998 but following a devastating fire season in 2020 state biologists now believe the number of birds left in the state warrant a higher level of protection.
Prior to the 2020 fires, the birds were already in a precarious situation. The statewide population was estimated at 770 birds, living in only 8% of their historic range. WDFW biologists believe the fires destroyed half of the sage grouse’s remaining range.
The higher state listing will make it easer for WDFW to get some types of federal funding and raises awareness of the bird’s plight.
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