Landownersâ€™ voluntary efforts play crucial role.
In mid-September, the Obama administration announced its decision not to designate the greater sage-grouse as an endangered species, heralding the governmentâ€™s intention to keep a cooperative land-management plan in place. Proponents say an endangered-species designation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would have likely resulted in wide-ranging economic impacts, hampering everything from oil and gas development to the building of new homes. Instead, a unique public-private partnership has succeeded in safeguarding the birdâ€™s habitat of 165 million acres across 11 western states.
U.S. Interior Secretary Stacy Jewell cited voluntary efforts on the part of cattle ranchers to set aside conservation habitats as a key factor. Keeping cows out of known mating grounds via a network of buffer zones has proven one of the main reasons the population of these chicken-like birds has rebounded so significantly.
â€œLandowners, regional industries, and local, state, and federal governments have worked in close collaboration over many years,â€ said Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. â€œThese improvements will enhance not only sage-grouse, but also all manner of wildlife that are a crucial part of what makes Colorado and the American West the unique place that it is.â€
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