February 02, 2005

Crapo Reacts To Sage Grouse Plans

New review could eventually lead to more protection under ESA

Coeur dâ??Alene - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo, chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works subcommittee with jurisdiction over the Endangered Species Act, says todayâ??s announcement by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to initiate a status review of the greater sage grouse population had been expected for several months. Crapo notes the agencyâ??s initiation of a so-called â??90-day findingâ?? could be followed this December with a proposal to add the bird to the list of endangered species. But he adds Idahoans and those in other Western states have already been hard at work at measures to assist the sage grouse population.â??I have been expecting and preparing for today's announcement from the Fish and Wildlife Service since December. It is a routine and predictable step in the old way of doing ESA business,â?? Crapo said. â??Fortunately, however, Idaho and other Western states have already begun to open a new way forward for sage grouse so we need not simply wait for the routine process to play out. â??Instead, as we have already done with slickspot peppergrass and southern Idaho ground squirrels, many Idahoans and their neighbors have already begun putting forward their own effort to conserve sage grouse. Building on this hard work, I have been in contact with wildlife managers, the Service, the Department of Interior, and with our neighboring states regarding management plans. With more hard work we can create an alternative to a routine ESA listing that does more for sage grouse and works better for people,â?? Crapo concluded.# # #