This week Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Department of the Interior, declined to place a sub-population of the Greater Sage Grouse on the Endangered Species, stating that cooperative, voluntary, conservation actions by advocates, state governments and the private sector had increased the bird's population. It is also a signal that similar activities could head off a larger listing decision for the greater sage grouse across 11 western states.
NAR has expressed concern about listing the Greater Sage Grouse as endangered because of the vast amount of property that would be impacted.
Jewell joined Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and others in announcing she's withdrawing the government's 2013 proposal to declare the Mono Basin sage grouse a threatened species along the California-Nevada line.
"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 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is under a court order to make a listing decision on the greater sage grouse by Sept. 30 in a legal battle with conservationists that spans more than 15 years.
Jewell said the decision not to list the bi-state grouse should be "real encouraging" for other western states pursuing similar voluntary measures to ward off listing of the greater sage grouse in the plains states.