A federal judge has ruled that the Trump administration illegally withdrew an earlier proposal to list of the the bi-state sage grouse as a threatened species along the California-Nevada line in 2020.
It’s the latest development in the on-again, off-again protection of the cousin of the greater sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act over the past two decades.
Greater sage grouse live in 12 western states, including Oregon, California and Nevada. Bistate grouse are found only along the Sierra’s eastern front. Threats to the survival of both include urbanization, livestock grazing and wildfires.
U.S. District Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley in San Francisco said Monday the agency erroneously concluded in 2020 that the ground-dwelling bird “is not likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future."
She reinstated the Fish and Wildlife Service's original 2013 listing proposal for the bi-state grouse and ordered the agency to issue a new final listing decision.
The bird's population is estimated to total about 3,300. It stretches from Carson City to Yosemite National Park.
“We’ve watched for more than a decade as these sage grouse have continued to decline,” said Ileene Anderson of the Center for Biological Diversity. “Without the Endangered Species Act’s legal protection, multiple threats will just keep pushing these grouse toward extinction.”