U.S. judge: delisting bistate grouse was illegal

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A federal judge has ruled that the Trump administration illegally withdrew an earlier proposal to list the bistate sage-grouse as an endangered species along the California-Nevada line in 2020.

This is the latest development in the sage grouse cousin’s recurring protection under the Endangered Species Act over the past two decades.

A male greater sage-grouse struts across Bureau of Land Management land in this April 21, 2012 photo.

Courtesy of US Bureau of Land Management

The sage-grouse lives in 12 western states, including Oregon, California, and Nevada. Bistate grouse are only found along the eastern front of the Sierra. Threats to the survival of both include urbanization, cattle grazing, and forest fires.

U.S. District Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley in San Francisco said Monday the agency erroneously concluded in 2020 that the landbird “is not likely to become an endangered species for 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 population of the bird is estimated at around 3,300 individuals. It stretches from Carson City to Yosemite National Park.

“We’ve observed for over a decade that these sage-grouse have continued to decline,” said Ileene Anderson of the Center for Biological Diversity. “Without the legal protection of the Endangered Species Act, multiple threats will continue to push these grouse towards extinction.”

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