U.S. pushes $200 million toward protecting imperiled sage grouse

By Eric M. Johnson SEATTLE (Reuters) – The U.S. government plans to pump an additional $200 million into improving the core habitat of the beleaguered greater sage grouse, the Department of Agriculture said on Thursday, as a protracted nature-versus-industry fight in the U.S. West heads toward a climax. One of the things that’s said about sage grouse is, ‘What’s good for the bird is good for the herd,'” Department Under Secretary Robert Bonnie told reporters. The additional conservation money, funded by the 2014 Farm Bill, adds to nearly $300 million the Agriculture Department has already put toward restoring and conserving more than 4 million acres (1.62 million hectares) of sage grouse habitat over the past five years. Another agency, the Fish and Wildlife Service, is poised to announce in September whether to extend U.S. Endangered Species Act protections to the greater sage grouse.

February 13, 2015 5:01 am

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