Cheyenne, Wy – Sage grouse may not be added to the U.S. list of protected species, according to a top Interior Department official who says an "impressive" number of steps to save the bird from extinction are working.
Assistant Interior Secretary Stephen Allred says "The
identified measures I've seen encourages me that we are doing what
we need to do."
That's despite wildfires that in recent years have reduced the
chicken-sized game bird's habitat on sagebrush plains in 11 Western
states, including Wyoming.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which rejected a listing
petition in 2005, is due to make a new decision on whether the
birds warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act.
Allred says he'll play no role in the agency's final
Meanwhile, the agency says it's still gathering information and
doesn't expect a decision soon.