Federal sage grouse listing may go to 2010

Idaho population continues to plummet.

Sage grouse in flight, Bruneau uplands © Ken Cole 2008
Sage grouse in flight, Bruneau uplands © Ken Cole 2008

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has received more time to make their decision about whether the greater sage grouse will be listed as a endangered or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. If listing occurs there could be profound changes in how vast areas of public lands are managed.

Federal sage grouse listing may go to 2010
By Nate Poppino
Times-News writer






  1. Rick Hammel Avatar
    Rick Hammel

    Well, one can’t say the FWS didn’t have enough time to evaluate the study. It will, indeed, make major changes in how the public lands are managed. the RMPs that are out and coming out, will need to be amended, or revised, to reflect the listing, if it occurs.


  2. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    I spent a few days photographing sage grouse at an Idaho lek this spring. The lek was one I visited several times 15-20 years ago. The number of strutting males was about the same as before(20-25). The major difference was that the BLM had restricted the use of the lek as a bedding ground for domestic sheep. It was posted to keep the sheep and sheep camps off, which was an improvement from 15 years ago when I saw a large herd of sheep, Peruvian herders, their dogs, and a sheepherder’s wagon, bedded down right on top of the lek for several days.
    Because of years of trampling and fertilization by domestic sheep, the lek has grown over a lot with weeds and will take years to get back to a completely natural looking site. I crawled into my portable blind in the dark, at 4:00 each morning, and got some great photos of the strutting grouse, weeds and all. Using a digital camera and being able to set the ISO at 400-800 makes early morning photography of sage grouse much easier than when I used film.

  3. JimT Avatar

    If the extractive industries thought the spotted owl listing was a thorn in their side, listing sage grouse will be a large spear…One of the many reasons this listing has been put off and put off and put off despite the science. This might be the biggest indication of the direction of Big Hat’s tenure at Interior and Obama’s sensitivity to the Western issues, especially the growing conflict between energy/climate change advocates and those of us who believe adaptation, habitat, wildlife must be an equal consideration in any development of alternate energy sources. So far…the Obama administration and the Salazar folks, as well as some of the non profit foundations, just don’t get it, or refuse to get it.

  4. Brian Ertz Avatar

    it is frustrating that this keeps getting postponed. many heated debates.

    in the end, let’s hope that the patience that holds out for more science does not constitute a threat to sage grouse itself. who wants to bet that the next dead-line gets pushed back ? studying the birds to death is no good either.


Ken Cole is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is the interim Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project.

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Ken Cole