Feds to give states more flexibility in protecting wild bird

The greater sage-grouse has ruffled feathers in recent years as populations have declined. New management proposals for federal sagebrush landscapes aim to keep the birds healthy, while preserving traditional land uses. Photo credit U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Interior Department has unveiled a plan to protect the threatened sage grouse that gives Western states greater flexibility to allow mining, logging and other economic development where it now is prohibited.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced the strategy Monday for the ground-dwelling bird that has suffered a dramatic population decline across its 11-state range. Zinke insists that the federal government and the states can work together to protect the sage grouse and its habitat while not slowing economic growth and job creation.

States affected by the plan are California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

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