Thursday, November 10, 2005

Faith & green groups defend rare desert wildlife

Sage grouse need Endangered Species Act protection in Mono Basin.

BISHOP CA -- Environmental and faith leaders today petitioned the Bush Interior Dept. to better protect the Mono Basin sage grouse by listing it as an endangered species in the Eastern Sierra and Great Basin Desert of Eastern California and Western Nevada.

Sage grouse are threatened by livestock grazing, off-roading, and development/loss of habitat. Mis-management public lands by BLM is especially a problem for sage grouse.

The Center for Biological Diversity, Christians Caring for Creation, Sagebrush Sea Campaign, and Western Watersheds Project submitted the scientific petition to the US Fish & Wildlife Service in Washington and Reno.

FWS has 90 days to issue a finding on the information presented in the petition. It is very likely the agency will ignore this deadline and force citizens to sue to get a finding.

This is a neat bird in a cool part of America. Saving it is the right and ethical thing to do. But expect the Bush's Interior Secretary Gale Norton to stall and fight citizens' efforts to better conserve and recover Mono Basin sage grouse and the land they live on.

Respect the desert and we respect ourselves. As goes the sage grouse and other wildlife, so goes our own quality of life.

AP article

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