BLM adopts temporary sage grouse strategy

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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has adopted a temporary strategy to protect the greater sage grouse in 10 Western states until it implements a long-term policy for the mainly ground-dwelling bird in a couple years.

The BLM on Tuesday issued guidance to employees on how to manage sage grouse habitat.

One memo covers vegetation management, oil and gas leasing, grazing and other common activities on public land. The other says the BLM must consider all applicable conservation measures in long-range planning for sage grouse habitat.

Sage grouse are in regulatory limbo. A recent court settlement set a 2015 deadline for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to decide the birds’ status under the Endangered Species Act.

Sage grouse numbers are down about 90 percent from a century ago.