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11 Sage Grouse Biologists Question Federal Plans To Protect Bird

Aaron Maizlish

Eleven biologists who study the greater sage grouse tell top federal officials the government isn't preparing to do enough to protect the ground-dwelling birds.

Greater sage grouse inhabit 11 states, including Idaho, and face federal protection because their numbers have declined dramatically over the past century.

In a letter Thursday to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the 11 scientists say the federal government is abandoning science-based conservation of the birds.

They say the government instead is pursuing "more elastic, subjective measures" that aren't adequate to address threats to sage grouse.

Those signing include William Baker and Jeffrey Beck at the University of Wyoming.

Interior spokeswoman Jessica Kershaw says federal agencies have adopted strong protections and are working to conserve sage grouse.

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