USDA to provide $30M for sage grouse protection

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture is boosting funding to protect sage grouse and sage grouse habitat in 11 Western states.This will be the second year of the Natural Resources Conservation Service Sage Grouse Initiative. Up to $30 million will go to the states where sage grouse are found, an increase from $18.5 million in 2010.Sage grouse are a mottled brown, football-sized bird found in Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Nevada, California, Colorado, Utah, Washington, Oregon, South Dakota, North Dakota and Canada.The Casper Star Tribune reports the next round of funding includes $3.75 million for projects in Wyoming.Sage grouse numbers have declined by 99 percent over the past century. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declined earlier this year to protect the bird as endangered.

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