Forest Service weighs changes to protections for sage grouse
The U.S. Forest Service is rethinking protection plans for sage grouse in six Western states after a U.S. court agreed with mining companies that the agency illegally created some safeguards in Nevada.
The agency announced Tuesday that it’s working with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which also is reviewing its plans for the struggling bird following an order by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.
Forest Service spokesman John Shivik says the coordinated review makes sense two years after federal officials decided the chicken-sized bird shouldn’t receive endangered-species protections. But the government did impose restrictions on land use.
The agency is taking public comments in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and Wyoming through Jan. 5. It says it will review the input before deciding if changes are needed to its plans.