The Idaho Department of Lands has proposed conservation practices to protect sage grouse from mining as well as oil and gas development. According to a department press release, the draft plan works with Gov. Butch Otter's outline for sage grouse protection.
The Idaho plan was created after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service asked the 11 states with sage grouse habitat to develop individual guides. Federal officials are aiming to save eight million acres of sage grouse habitat.
Gov. Otter recommended setting aside $750,000 to sage grouse conservation measures during his state of the state address last month. Otter hopes to avoid having the bird receive federal protection under the Endangered Species Act. He created the Sage Grouse Task Force in 2012 to address the problem of diminished habitat.
The Department of Lands is accepting public comment on its draft plan until March 2. Later next month, the state's land board will vote on the plan's oil, gas and mining rules. After that, federal officials will look at Idaho's and the other 10 sage grouse states' plans and make a decision about listing the bird.
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