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Dec. 2007 Newspaper Editorial Pages Favor Federal Court Ruling, Condemn Bush Administration's "Not Warranted" Listing Decision for Greater Sage-Grouse.
The New York Times wrote that '[i]n the case of the sage grouse, the Fish and Wildlife Service appears to have done a better job serving industry than the public or the grouse." The Oregonian waxed poetically that the Sagebrush Sea and attendant human communities "are places that husband the soul of the American West. They deserve better from their government than lies." And the Baker City Herald hopes that "President Bush understands, in the wake of the sage grouse debacle, how ridiculous it is to try to rein in scientists who work for federal agencies by assigning as their boss a politically reliable, but scientifically ignorant, figurehead."
Dec. 11, 2007 Federal Court Overturns Bush Administration's "Not Warranted" Listing Decision for Greater Sage-Grouse
A federal court reversed and remanded the Fish and Wildlife Service's 12-month "not warranted" listing decision issued in 2005.
Sept. 14, 2007 Industry Front Group Misrepresents Wyoming Governor's Position on Energy Development. Former Bush Administration official Jim Sims has launched yet another industry front group to advocate for increased energy development in the West. However, in promoting the new organization, Americans for American Energy, Sims mispresented Governor Freudenthal's views on energy development by suggesting that the governor supported AAE's positions on controversial energy development projects in Wyoming. News/Media Governor Freudenthal responded quickly and forcefully to AAE's blunder by withdrawing his support for AAE and "ending any relationship between the State of Wyoming and AAE."

Sims also directs the Western Business Roundtable, which wines and dines and lobbies politicians to prioritize energy development in the West
and Partnership for the West, which opposes protecting greater and Gunnison sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act.
Aug. 28, 2007 Energy Industry Spokesman Falsifies Sage-grouse, Energy Development Facts. Dave Galt, Executive Director of the Montana Petroleum Association, falsely claimed in a guest editorial that a federal court denied listing for greater sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act and that conservation organizations, "not satisfied with the court's decision, ...have been filing frivolous lawsuits, costing taxpayers millions." No federal court has ruled on any listing decision for greater sage-grouse. It was the Bush Administration, servant of big oil and gas, that denied listing for sage-grouse in 2005. There is also evidence that former Deputy Assistant Secretary Julie MacDonald and other political appointees manipulated the listing process to deny protection to sage-grouse. Mr. Galt also claimed in a previous opinion-editorial that sage-grouse numbers in developed oil and gas fields "mirror the population trends seen in undeveloped areas" and that the state of Montana has increased the bag limit for sage-grouse. Both statements are untrue. Research submitted for publication this summer confirms previous findings that sage-grouse populations in coalbed methane development fields suffer signficant negative impacts from gas development compared to sage-grouse in undeveloped areas. And, while the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Parks Commission had raised the bag limit for sage grouse to four, it recently reduced it to two.
Aug. 15, 2007 BLM to Consider Sage-grouse Research in Powder River Basin Energy
Development.
The BLM has (finally!) announced that it will account for the latest studies indicating that oil and gas development harms sage-grouse in new development projects in the Powder River Basin. BLM News Release The BLM Wyoming state director stated that BLM's "goal is to maintain viable sage grouse populations in Wyoming while continuing to allow oil and natural gas development on public lands and the public mineral estate." The problem is, the latest research indicates that very little, if any, oil and gas extraction is compatible with sage-grouse conservation. Furthermore, the BLM has not proposed to prohibit energy development in sage-grouse habitat, but merely incorporate the latest scientific findings in associated NEPA documents and, in some cases, delay processing some development permits that may affect "high quality sage-grouse habitat areas." News/Media
May 2 , 2007 Energy Companies Offer Trade: Mitigation for Less Regulation. Some energy companies are annoyed by even the most minor area and seasonal restrictions on natural gas development on public lands (e.g., no drilling within 2-miles of sage-grouse leks in spring). Three energy companies have now offered a sort of bribe to BLM to allow year-round drilling in sensitive wildlife habitat in Wyoming in exchange for $36 million dollars to mitigate for development by “improving” habitat elsewhere. The problem with such a proposal is that there are key habitats and migration corridors that cannot be replaced through mitigation. As these areas are developed, wildlife populations will decline. News/Media
Apr. 23, 2007 Coyotes May Help Maintain Sage-Grouse Populations. New research by Mezquida et al. (2006) indicates that coyotes may indirectly benefit sage-grouse by preying on mid-level predators (foxes, badgers, ravens, etc.) that prey on sage-grouse eggs and chicks. This finding is contrary to the traditional and widely held belief that coyote control (i.e., killing coyotes) increases sage-grouse productivity. Indeed, the authors report that killing coyotes allows jackrabbit populations to increase, which may then lead to an increase in golden eagles, which are an important predator of adult sage-grouse. Erin Robertson of the Center for Native Ecosystems has written of the significance of this new research.
Mar. 30, 2007 DOI Inspector General Confirms Political Interference in Greater Sage-grouse, Other ESA Listing Decisions

The U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) Office of Inspector General (IG) has published a report of its investigation of Julie MacDonald, a political appointee who serves as DOI Deputy Assistant Secretary of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. The IG's report confirms media accounts and evidence in the public record that MacDonald "has been heavily involved with editing, commenting on, and reshaping scientific reports" (IG Report, p. 2) used by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Endangered Species Program in Endangered Species Act (ESA) listing decisions. The Sagebrush Sea Campaign and partners have previously reported that MacDonald interfered in FWS listing decisions for greater and Gunnison sage-grouse. The IG also found that MacDonald violated federal regulations by providing nonpublic information concerning species listings and critical habitat to industry lobbyists and other private individuals. The New York Times and Washington Post reported on the IG's findings this week.

The IG interviewed DOI and FWS officials who described MacDonald as "angry" (p. 5), intimidating (p. 6), "demeaning" (p. 8), "disrespectful, rude, and unprofessional" (p. 12), a "pain in the butt" (p. 6) and an "attack dog" (p. 15). While her management style by itself may not warrant investigation (these attributes could simply describe a determined political appointee zealously carrying out her orders from the Bush Administration), the IG also discovered that MacDonald "did not want to accept petitions to list species as endangered" (p. 4), "did not want to designate critical habitats" (p. 4), involved herself at the field level (p. 4), "would not accept the field's scientific findings" (p. 5), and "would apply science from alternative sources" (p. 5), claiming these outside sources to be "the best science," and then "insist [that] field employees revise their findings to fit what she wanted" (p. 5). One official noted that the cumulative effect of MacDonald's involvement in species listing decisions "was to minimize the Endangered Species Act as much as possible or ensnare it in court litigation, which happened often" (p. 5).

The greater sage-grouse listing decision was among the first to attract MacDonald's attention after she joined DOI in 2002. The IG report offers new details about MacDonald's involvement in the FWS determination. MacDonald extensively edited a Sage Grouse Risk Analysis (p. 4) (and later admitted that some of her edits were unsupported by science ) and flatly rejected analysis by three FWS regional offices that western states' plans to conserve sage-grouse did not meet minimum standards for conserving an imperiled species. An official familiar with MacDonald's involvement with the issue reported that "once MacDonald was informed, she claimed that FWS came up with the wrong conclusions and instructed them to go back and do the review again" (p. 12). He termed MacDonald's behavior as "the most brazen case of political meddling" he had seen (p. 12). Another DOI official allied with MacDonald admitted to their interference in FWS decisionmaking and was quoted saying that "FWS has received inadequate supervision (relating to Sage Grouse and [Policy for Evaluation for Conservation Efforts] policy) and that it's time for us to start 'meddling' in their work" (p. 12).
Feb. 7 , 2007 Sagebrush Listed Among Most Threatened Bird Habitats in U.S. The American Bird Conservancy has ranked sagebrush third among the twenty most threatened bird habitats in the United States. The ABC report identifies livestock grazing, invasive species and fire as continuing threats to sagebrush steppe (pp. 42-43). ABC. "Top 20 Most Threatened Bird Habitats in the United States" (4.3 mb)
Feb. 5, 2007 Bush Administration Proposes "Healthy Lands Initiative." The President's FY 2008 budget proposes to spend $15 million on a "Healthy Lands Initiative" (HLI) to restore abused landscapes managed by BLM, including sagebrush steppe. The Administration admits that one goal of the initiative is to prevent the listing of greater sage-grouse under the ESA. But the Administration's proposal, if approved by Congress, would not restore near enough habitat to prevent the further decline of sage grouse in the West, particularly since livestock grazing, oil and gas extraction, off-road vehicle use and other harmful activities will continue on public lands. For example, the HLI would commit $1.9 million to the "Oregon-Idaho-Nevada Shrub-Steppe Restoration Partnership" (OINSSRP) that would "treat" up to 23,000 acres of public land for flamable invasive species (cheatgrass) -- in a project area that encompasses 37,170,276 acres of BLM land. Weeds spread at a rate of 4,600 acres per day on public lands, meaning that all efforts to restore 23,000 acres under the OINSSRP could be negated by continued weed invasion in ten days. The federal government recognized this dilemma eight years ago with the formation of the Great Basin Restoration Initiative (GBRI) -- but Congress never appropriated funds to the GBRI to begin addressing the catastrophic grazing-weeds-fire cycle that exists today in the Great Basin. Other HLI projects are proposed for southeast Idaho , Utah , the Green River Basin in Wyoming , and in southwestern Colorado , home of the Gunnison sage-grouse. News/Media: "Interior Secretary unveils 'Healthy Lands' Initiative"
January 2007 "How the Sage Grouse Can Save the West" The title of the cover story in the January 2007 Audubon magazine.

Jan. 7 , 2005 Sage Grouse Denied Protection under the Endangered Species Act. The U.S. Department of the Interior announced today that, despite strong scientific evidence that the greater sage grouse may be facing extinction, it will not protect the western icon under the Endangered Species Act. News Release
Jan. 2 , 2005 New York Times urges protection for the Sagebrush Sea. Author Peter Kaminsky calls for "preserving the majesty" of the poetically named Sagebrush Sea. News/Media
Dec. 5, 2004 Leaked FWS Analysis Indicates Sage Grouse Decision Tainted by Politics
Dec. 3, 2004 Fish and Wildlife Service Recommends Against Protecting Sage Grouse. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has recommended that the Bush Administration deny protection to the greater sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act. News Release
Nov. 2004 Sage grouse listed on Canadian endangered species list. The sage grouse is extirpated from British Columbia; very small remnant populations still persist in the grasslands of southeast Alberta and southwest Saskatchewan. News/Media
Sep. 9, 2004

New report documents sagebrush species decline. The Oregon Natural Desert Association has released a new report by the High Desert Ecological Research Institute that documents widespread declines in a suite of Sagebrush Sea species. News Release  The report, titled "Shrubsteppe Landscapes in Jeopardy: Distributions, Abundances, and the Uncertain Future of Birds and Small Mammals in the Intermountain West," confirms conservationist's fears that the sagebrush steppe ecosystem is in such poor health that it cannot sustain native species. News/Media Dr. David Dobkin of HDERI summarized the report: "based on the information presented in our report, we find no basis for optimism about the future prospects in the Intermountain West of any of the 61 species we examined.” Sagebrush Steppe Species Report (huge file!)

The sage grouse is an indicator species for the Sagebrush Sea and an umbrella species for many of the wildlife listed in the shrub-steppe report. We have sent a copy of the report to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remind agency decisionmakers that, while deciding whether to list the sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act, the purpose of the ESA is to "provide a means whereby the ecosystems upon which endangered species and threatened species depend may be conserved." Listing the sage grouse would benefit a suite of other species that live in the Sagebrush Sea.

Aug. 9, 2004
Conservation organizations and drillers agree to protect sage grouse from energy development. As a recent agreement between conservation organizations and an energy company concerning coalbed methane development in the Thunder Basin Grasslands proves, the technology exists to reduce impacts from CBM development on sage grouse and other wildlife, if only the will exists in energy developers to use the technology. Casper Star Tribune editorial
Aug. 2004
Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA) organizes greater sage grouse coalition. The Rocky Mountain Oil Journal (RMOJ) has announced a new effort spearheaded by COGA through the Partnership for the West to oppose sage grouse listing. Partners include the Petroleum Association of Wyoming, Independent Petroleum Association of Mountain States, Independent Petroleum Association of America, New Mexico Oil and Gas Association, the American Farm Bureau, and other groups "concerned about the devastating economic impact of a listing decision." COGA has identified a budget of $300,000 to oppose listing.

The RMOJ story stated "hunting and outdoor recreation groups are starting to understand the severe impact such a decision would have on these industries and on tourism in general." The suggestion that sage grouse listing would degrade recreational opportunities is misleading as protecting sage grouse would necessarily require preservation of vast areas of sagebrush habitat on public lands enjoyed by westerners for fishing, hiking, hunting, camping, wildlife watching, picnicking, photography, bicycling, and beer drinking. These activities are much more enjoyable in the absence of thousands of acres of oil and gas development.

We thank COGA and RMOJ for using "sagebrush sea" to describe the subject ecosystem, a term adopted by conservationists to describe this incredible landscape.
July 31, 2004 Conservation organizations submit comments on positive 90-day finding on petition to list greater sage grouse. Fifteen conservation organizations joined comments drafted by American Land's Sagebrush Sea Project updating the administrative record on threats from energy development, West Nile virus, and public lands livestock grazing to sage grouse. 90-Day Finding Comments The Wilderness Society also submitted comments. TWS 90-Day Finding Comments
July 2004

Coalbed methane development may spread West Nile virus. The CBM extraction process requires removal of large quantities of groundwater to liberate the methane trapped underneath. The extraction process produces approximately 15,000 gallons of wastewater per day, per well, depleting underground aquifers. Because the pumped water is usually loaded with dissolved solids and sodium (and numerous other pollutants), it is often stored in surface holding ponds for indefinite periods, rather than flushed down local streams. These holding ponds (and other naturally occurring and human-made surface waters, such as agricultural irrigation and livestock waters) may serve as breeding habitat for insect vectors that transmit WNV.

The affects of WNV on sage grouse, and the potential contributions of CBM development to the spread of the disease, are not new information to BLM. Documents recently obtained from Wyoming BLM (which the agency resisted providing to requesters) indicate that BLM has known of the strong connection between WNV and CBM. One document stated that, “[i]n short, we have more mosquitos (an order of magnitude greater) in CBM than control sites and >90% of all mosquitoes regardless of capture site are Culex genus (the vector of interest).” A second document by several of the authors of the Naugle, et al. study noted that “hen survival on the CBM site (15%) was dramatically lower than that on control sites (62%), primarily due to an outbreak of West Nile Virus restricted to the CBM site." See 90-Day Finding Comments

WNV will likely continue to spread and threaten grouse across their range as there is broad overlap between known oil and gas reserves and sage grouse habitat in the Intermountain West. In Wyoming, 26,000,000 acres (66.7 percent) of the state’s remaining sage grouse habitat falls within areas of potential oil/gas development; 9,000,000 acres (28.1%) of Colorado’s sage grouse habitat falls within areas of potential oil/gas development; 3,000,000 acres (43.5%) in Utah; and 1,700,000 acres (16.2%) in Montana. See 90-Day Finding Comments

July 2004

"West Nile virus: pending crisis for sage grouse." Dr. David Naugle, et al., has confirmed sage grouse advocates' worst fears that West Nile virus is killing sage grouse in Montana, Wyoming and elsewhere, and that the bird has no known immunity to the disease. According to Dr. Naugle and his coauthors, "the spread of WNv represents a significant new stressor on sage-grouse and probably other at-risk species. While managing habitat might lessen its impact on sage-grouse populations, WNv has left wildlife and public health officials scrambling to address surface water and vector control issues in western North America." West Nile virus study

July 23, 2004 Secretary of the Interior Norton grouses about sage grouse. Over the past several months Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton has publicly worried about the potential impacts of listing sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act on economic interests in the West. News/Media The Albuquerque Tribune subsequently rebuked Secretary Norton for fretting about potential lost profits for Big Energy when the grouse is facing possible extinction. The Secretary even hinted that the species would not be listed if western states could prove that they could protect the grouse without federal intervention. News/Media We have since submitted comments that the Secretary's statements were without merit or legal standing, as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service cannot avoid listing the grouse in favor of unproven (and in some cases nonexistent) state and local conservation plans. 90-Day Finding Comments
July 6, 2004

Albuquerque Tribune: "Stop grousing, Norton, about protecting bird." The Albuquerque Tribune admonished Secretary of the Interior Norton for demagoging the sage grouse as the spotted owl of the desert. "The Rio Grande has its silvery minnow. The Pacific Northwest has its spotted owl. And now the Western prairie - including New Mexico - might have its sage grouse. * * * Imagine, the Bush administration might have to go against all those well-to-do special energy interests, those it has been so good at protecting, to preserve a bird in danger of going the way of the passenger pigeon and other once plentiful birds. Namely, extinction." Tribune editorial

June 23, 2004 Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton on sage grouse listing: Some say the grouse could become the spotted owl of the intermountain West. But the sage grouse occupies nearly 12 times as much land as the northern spotted owl. Source
June 2004 WAFWA releases sage grouse/sagebrush habitat assessment. The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies has released a 700-page report assessing the present status of sage grouse populations and sagebrush habitat. Although the authors suggest that declining grouse populations have leveled or increased in a few areas in recent years [Dr. Clait Braun, an expert in sage grouse ecology, questions evidence that populations have increased anywhere Braun's review ], the WAFWA report otherwise affirms conservationists' claims in our sage grouse petition submitted last December. The 28 authors and contributors to the WAFWA assessment found little to be hopeful about: “we are not optimistic about the future of sage-grouse because of long-term population declines coupled with continued loss and degradation of habitat and other factors.” [WAFWA Report]
May 5, 2004

Partnership for the West's anti- sage grouse listing strategy exposed! Conservationists have discovered and publicized a memorandum drafted by the so-called "Partnership for the West" mapping the organization's strategy to pressure responsible officials to not list sage grouse under the ESA. The memo describes various tactics to muddy the listing process, such as "unleash(ing) grass-roots opposition to a listing, thus providing some cover to the political leadership at (the Interior Department) and throughout the administration"; engaging "political leaders in the West and in Congress to lobby the administration against listing"; and "engag(ing) with USFWS regional directors (on listing). ... If they do not readily engage, back channel with DOI officials." News/Media

The Partnership for the West's must limit its anti-listing strategy to back channel political pressure and other such dubious tactics because they can't argue that the sage grouse doesn't deserve ESA protection on scientific grounds. Fortunately, the Fish and Wildlife Service is prohibited from considering political advice and alleged economic impacts when determining whether a species should be listed under the ESA. We are nonetheless concerned that agency decisionmakers will be affected by the political pressure that PW intends to level at them.

His strategy exposed, Partnership for the West executive director Jim Sims became defensive and struck back at conservationists in media reports, implying that they came about his memo via their own dubious methods. In fact, the memo was posted on the Partnership's website. That's where we got our copy.

Apr. 15, 2004 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces positive 90-day finding on petition to list greater sage grouse under ESA. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced that it will publish a positive 90-day finding on the petition to protect the greater sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act. The agency noted "substantial biological information" in the petition, indicating that the sage grouse may indeed deserve Endangered Species Act protection. [News Release] FWS 90-Day Finding
Mar. 23, 2004 BLM Director Kathleen Clarke on sage grouse listing: There's probably nothing that could happen on Western lands that would change the way we use those lands more than the listing of the sage grouse. Source
Feb. 2004

Industry front-group forms to oppose sage grouse listing, other purposes. A new organization called "Partnership for the West" has been established in recent months with the mission to weaken the Endangered Species Act, and prevent species such as sage grouse from being listed under the ESA.

Former Bush Administration official Jim Sims is executive director of the Partnership for the West. He previously served as Director of Communications for Vice President Cheney's secret National Energy Policy Development Group, which conceived of the current national energy policy that is ravaging western public lands. (Sims is/was also executive director of the Western Business Roundtable and a member of the Board of Directors of the Center for the New West and Center for the New American Century, both conservative think tanks.)

The Partnership for the West claims to represent a broad range of interests, including energy developers, miners, loggers, ranchers, off-road vehicle users, "freedom advocates" and others, but a quick review of their membership list exposes PW as primarily an energy industry front group (which is not surprising given director Sims background). This begs the question: as energy developers are shoving ranchers and their livestock aside to develop the publicly-owned Sagebrush Sea, how does PW reconcile conflicting interests of its purported membership (energy developers versus ranchers)?

Jan. 4, 2004 Salt Lake Tribune supports listing sage grouse under ESA. News/Media
Dec. 22, 2003 Conservationists submit petition to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list greater sage grouse submitted under ESA. Twenty-one conservation organizations, including the Sierra Club, submitted a petition to the Fish and Wildlife Service today to list the Greater Sage Grouse as “threatened” or “endangered” under the Endangered Species Act. [News Release] [Petition]

The sage-grouse mating ritual is fascinating to observe, and often described as among the most stirring and colorful natural history pageants in the West. In early spring, at dawn and often at dusk, males congregate on "leks" -- ancestral strutting grounds to which the birds return year after year. Leks vary in size from one to forty acres and may be up to fifty miles from wintering areas. To attract a hen, cocks strut, fan their tail feathers and swell their breasts to reveal bright yellow air sacs. The combination of wing movements and inflating and deflating air sacs make an utterly unique "swish-swish-coo-oopoink!"

An indicator species for the sagebrush biome, sage-grouse have inhabited the western United States and southern Canada since the Pleistocene epoch. Described by Lewis and Clark in 1806, nineteenth century travelers and settlers reported huge flocks of sage-grouse that darkened the sky.

The historic range of sage-grouse closely conformed to the distribution of sagebrush in what became thirteen western states and three Canadian provinces. But since 1900 sage-grouse populations have declined. The grouse no longer occur in British Columbia, Arizona and Nebraska. Over the past 20 years, sage-grouse populations have been reduced as much as 45-80 percent across the remainder of their range due to habitat destruction, degradation and fragmentation. The current sage-grouse population may represent only about seven percent of historic numbers.

Human activities in the Sagebrush Sea have decimated sage-grouse populations in the past decades. Livestock grazing, agricultural conversion, application of herbicides and pesticides, unnatural fire, oil and gas development, urban sprawl, mining, off-road vehicle use, and the placement and construction of utility corridors, roads and fences have fragmented, degraded and eliminated sage grouse habitat throughout its range. Sage-grouse are also hunted in most states where they occur.

 Status Review and Petition to List the Greater Sage Grouse (2 MB)
  Bibliography - Status Review and Petition to List the Greater Sage Grouse (3 MB)
  Greater Sage Grouse Petitioning Organizations



Interior Secretary unveils "Healthy Lands" Initiative Oregon Considered March 21, 2007. Oregon Public Broadcasting Radio

No Love for the Shrub Fall Creek Productions (2006) [Posted with permission]

The Sage Grouse Living on Earth June 14, 2002. National Public Radio

  Sage Grouse Images

Greater Sage Grouse Factsheet
Sage Grouse: A Primer on Sage Grouse Taxonomy
SSC Comments on Remanded Listing Decision for Sage Grouse (2008)
SSC Comments on FWS Positive 90-Day Finding/Sage Grouse Status Review (2004)
Braun, C. E. Review of: Connelly, J. W., S. T. Knick, M. A. Schroeder, and S. J. Stiver. 2004. Conservation Assessment of Greater Sage-grouse and Sagebrush Habitats. Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. Unpublished Report. Cheyenne, Wyoming. (July 22, 2004).
Braun, C. E. Review of: Western Governor's Association. Conserving the Greater Sage Grouse: A Compilation of Efforts Underway on State, Tribal, Provincial and Private Lands. (July 25, 2004).
The Wilderness Society · Positive 90-Day finding/FWS sage grouse status
review comments
FWS Positive 90-day Finding on Petitions to List the Greater Sage Grouse as Threatened or Endangered (2004)
Published Literature
Clark, L., J. Hall, R. McLean, M. Dunbar, et al. 2006. Susceptibility of greater sage-grouse to experimental infection with West Nile virus. J. Wildl. Diseases 42(1): 14-22. [abstract]
Naugle, D. E., C. L. Aldridge, B. L. Walker, T. E. Cornish, et al. 2004. West Nile virus: pending crisis for greater sage-grouse. Ecol. Letters 7: 704-713.
Rich, T. D., M. J. Wisdom, V. A. Saab. 2005. Conservation of priority birds in sagebrush ecosystems. Pages 589-606 in C. J. Ralph and T. D. Rich (eds.). Proc. of the Third International Partners in Flight Conference; March 20-24, 2002; Asilomar, CA.Vol. 1. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-191. Albany, CA: USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station. Albany, CA.
Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. Range-wide conservation assessment of Greater Sage-grouse and sagebrush habitats (huge file! 11 MB)
Western Governors' Association. Conserving Greater Sage Grouse: A compilation of efforts underway on state, tribal, provincial, and private lands (6 MB)
Table of Contents
Executive Summary
Appendix: Examples of Partnerships and Strategies at Work Across the West
Knick, S. T., D. S. Dobkin, J. T. Rotenberry, M. A. Schroeder, et al. 2003. Teetering on the edge or too late? Conservation and research issues for avifauna of sagebrush habitats. Condor 105(4) [abstract]
Connelly, J. W., M. A. Schroeder, A. R. Sands, C. E. Braun. 2000. Guidelines to manage sage grouse populations and their habitats. Wildlife Soc'y Bulletin 28(4): 967-985.


Idaho Statesman Blog: Sage grouse reports shows Obama administration's challenge in the West
   (01/20/09)
AP (multiple) Interior official: sage grouse may avoid listing (12/11/08)
New York Times The Board: The latest environmental victims: the polar bear and the sage grouse
   (01/18/08)
AP (multiple) Cheney praises hunters as wildlife habitat champs (10/3-4/08)
New York Times EDITORIAL: Bird in the brush (12/15/07)
Casper Star-Tribune Gathering 'round the grouse (12/10/07)
Casper Star-Tribune 'Serious' on sage grouse (12/6/07)
Oregonian EDITORIAL: Wanted: some sage advice (12/6/07)
Times-News Future of grouse up in air (12/6/07)
Land Letter Judge orders FWS to reconsider rejection of sage grouse (12/5/07)
Los Angeles Times/New York Times Judge rebukes agency over species ruling (12/5/07)
Casper Star-Tribune Judge: study grouse again (12/5/07)
Rocky Mountain News Judge: reconsider bird ruling (12/5/07)
Billings Gazette Judge orders grouse listing reconsidered (12/5/07)
Idaho Statesman Judge: government must reconsider sage grouse protections (12/4/07)
Denver Post Interior to reopen probe of decisions on species (12/4/07)
Times-News Grouse season takes hit (9/10/07)
Billings Gazette Researcher pins blame for grouse on drought (8/28/07)
Capitol Press Interior Dept. official says action must be taken on sage grouse (8/27/07)
Billings Gazette Panel looks at detail of species law (8/26/07)
Billings Gazette Gov tells oil industry to back wildlife efforts (8/23/07)
Casper Star-Tribune Freudenthal urges sage grouse actions (8/23/07)
Casper Star-Tribune BLM sets bar higher for grouse (8/16/07)
Idaho Statesman Fires, West Nile virus move sage grouse closer to listing (8/16/07)
Times-News Fish and Game may curb hunting in burned areas (7/30/07)
Gillette News-Record CBM industry paid for part of sage grouse study (7/22/07)
Casper Star-Tribune BLM pulls leases over wildlife concerns (7/20/07)
Seattle Post-Intelligencer Judge urged to toss ruling that denied sage grouse protection (7/9/07)
Craig Daily Press Resources director calls for drilling ban (7/6/07)
Casper Star-Tribune Studies: Drilling imperils grouse (7/4/07)
Casper Star-Tribune EDITORIAL: State needs to develop sage grouse standards (7/2/07)
Casper Star-Tribune Grouse summit: status quo won't do (6/28/07)
Jackson Hole News & Guide Grouse, drilling pose threat to each other (6/26/07)
CNN Energy, wealth and wildlife: Wyoming looks for harmony (6/25/07)
Billings Gazette Energy companies find their future tied to declining bird (6/25/07)
Casper Star-Tribune Sage grouse summit seeks elusive nature, energy balance (6/25/07)
Jackson Hole Star-Tribune Western states develop energy, ask for help (6/11/07)
Billings Gazette To south, Montana sees cationary tale on energy (5/12/07)
Jackson Hole News and Guide Report: grouse data skewed (5/9/07)
Santa Fe New Mexican Struggling towns open backyards to ecotourism (5/6/07)
OPB Interior Secretary Kempthorne unveils 'Healthy Lands' Initiative (3/21/07)
New West Grousing about sagebrush (2/16/07)
Casper Star-Tribune Ranchers band together (12/06/06)
Wyoming Wildlife Gas fields and wildlife (October 2006)
Casper Star-Tribune Grouse data could prompt petition (10/10/06)
Wyoming Tribune-Eagle No room for strutting (10/8/06)
Casper Star-Tribune West Nile hits grouse again (9/7/06)
Boise Weekly Sage grouse prefer sage, not "stuff" (8/10/06)
Laramie Boomerang Sage grouse population is in a decline, according to UW study (1/26/06)
AP (multiple) Study: Gas development harms sage grouse (1/19-20/06)
Billings Gazette Cattlemen ask hunters to shoot fewer grouse (9/8/05)
AP (multiple) Oregon adopts sage grouse plan relying on volunteers (8/5/05)
Billings Gazette Sage grouse advocates criticize BLM plan (2/27/05)
New York Times Here's to a year of preserving the majesty (1/2/05)
New York Times Sage grouse doesn't merit protected lists, U.S. finds (1/8/05)
TIME Magazine Payback time for the Cock of the Prairie (12/13/04)
New York Times Interior Official and Federal Biologists Clash on Danger to Bird (12/5/04)
Emagazine (Commentary) Sacrificing the Sage Grouse (Dec. 04)
New York Times U.S. panel recommends no protection for grouse (12/3/04)
Idaho Statesman Panel says keep sage grouse off endangered list (12/4/04)
AP (multiple) BLM releases plan to boost sage grouse population (11/17/04)
New York Times Plan may keep bird off endangered list (11/10/04)
AP (multiple) Norton sees grouse as possibly disruptive (11/9/04)
Seattle Post-Intelligencer National policy struggle plays out in Wyoming gas fields (11/01/04)
Seattle Post-Intelligencer Sage grouse listing may curb natural gas (9/24/04)
Reuters Rare sage grouse might not get U.S. protection (7/23/04)
USA Today Battle brewing over sage grouse protection (7/12/04)
Albuquerque Tribune EDITORIAL: Stop grousing, Norton, about protecting bird (7/06/04)
Reuters Western governors say wait on sage grouse listing (7/06/04)
Elko Daily Free Press Sage grouse a hot topic in D.C. (6/28/04)
Wall Street Journal Flamboyant bird could have big impact on gas, mining companies (6/24/04)
Christian Science Monitor Sage grouse of Western plains seen as next "spotted owl" (6/23/04)
Billings Gazette Norton: Sage grouse listing would hurt energy production (6/23/04)
Baltimore Sun Rare bird's fate tied to drilling (6/20/04)
Los Angeles Times Bird's fate tied to future of drilling (6/10/04)
Forbes Rocky Mts. energy groups to fight bird protection (5/09/04)
Las Vegas Sun Industry coalition's internal sage grouse memo causes flap (5/06/04)
Reno Gazette Journal Nevada officials work to keep bird off endangered list (3/23/04)
Salt Lake Tribune EDITORIAL: Common Enemies (1/04/04)

Sage Grouse Denied Protection under the Endangered Species Act

January 7, 2005 The U.S. Department of the Interior announced today that, despite strong scientific evidence that the greater sage grouse may be facing extinction, it will not protect the western icon under the Endangered Species Act. ....News Release....

Leaked FWS Analysis Indicates Sage Grouse Decision Tainted by Politics

December 5, 2004 Edits and comments by a Bush Administration official on a leaked draft sage grouse biological analysis challenge data that indicate significant declines in grouse populations or habitat, denigrate many studies as mere "opinion" and seek to include industry comments in the final draft. ....More....

Fish and Wildlife Service Recommends Against Protecting Sage Grouse

December 3 , 2004 The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has recommended that the Bush Administration deny protection to the greater sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act. ....News Release....

Fish and Wildlife Service to Publish Positive Finding on Sage Grouse Endangered Species Petition

April 15, 2004 The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced that it will publish a positive 90-day finding on the petition to protect the greater sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act. The agency noted "substantial biological information" in the petition, indicating that the sage grouse may indeed deserve Endangered Species Act protection. ....News Release....

Conservation Organizations Petition to List Greater Sage Grouse under Endangered Species Act

December 22, 2003 Twenty-one conservation organizations, including the Sierra Club, submitted a petition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today to list the Greater Sage Grouse as “threatened” or “endangered” under the Endangered Species Act.
....News Release....