Conservation groups are welcoming a federal report spelling out how sage grouse should be managed in 11 Western states to avoid new federal protections.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's draft report advises the states and federal land management agencies to act immediately to stop the loss of sage grouse habitat and populations.
The Fish and Wildlife Service announced in 2010 that sage grouse deserved protection under the Endangered Species Act. The agency pledged to make a final listing decision by late 2015.
Western states are concerned that listing sage grouse would result in federal restrictions on energy development and other activities.
Brian Rutledge is with the Rocky Mountain region of the Audubon Society. He says the report gives important advice on how to avoid federal protections for the bird.