Forest Service proposes changes to sage grouse protections

June 20, 2018 - 1:57 pm
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BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The U.S. Forest Service is proposing changes to sage grouse protections in six Western states by eliminating special designations for crucial habitat as well as keeping areas open for mining.

The agency in documents made public Wednesday also says restrictions on water development for livestock will be removed as will other requirements that could limit livestock grazing.

The plans cover 9,500 square miles (24,500 square kilometers) of greater sage grouse habitat in Idaho, Colorado, Nevada, Wyoming, Utah and Montana.

Public comments are being taken until July 20.

The Obama administration in 2015 didn't list sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act but imposed land-use restrictions.

The Forest Service says the proposed changes to the 2015 plan are intended to be neutral or improve habitat for sage grouse.

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