Trump Admin Looks At Sage Grouse Conservation

According to multiple reports, the Interior Department under the Trump administration is considering changes to federal greater sage grouse protection. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is said to be thinking about changing the conservation for sage grouse management in the U.S. from focusing on habitat preservation, to a focus on maintaining a set number of sage grouse. The current management plan, which focuses on maintaining sage grouse habitat across a Texas sized area encompassing ten states, was established over a five year period, as an alternative to listing the sage grouse on the endangered species list. In anticipation of the possible changes, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and Wyoming Governor Matt Mead sent letters to Zinke opposing the shift from the habitat based management model. Their fear is if the habitat management model were removed, environmental groups would again push to have the sage grouse listed on the endangered species list. Other proponents of the habitat management model say that changing it to a population based model would create greater uncertainty for grazers, oil and gas companies and those that make capital investments in the western states.

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