The U.S. Department of Interior decided that public-private conservation efforts have successfully eliminated the need to list the greater sage grouse as endangered. The announcement is a victory for the off-roading community since an Endangered Species Act (ESA) listing would have led to road and trail closures on the bird’s 165-million-acre habitat across 11 western states.
In recent years, federal and state governments have worked with local communities, private landowners and industry to develop comprehensive voluntary efforts to protect the habitat. SEMA welcomes an approach that focuses on establishing small recovery zones in cooperation with private and public landowners. The traditional ESA listing focuses on closing large tracks of land rather than protective management, which then leads to lawsuits. This marks the second such victory this year.
In April, the Interior Department determined that voluntary conservation efforts were enough to protect the California and Nevada based bi-state sage grouse and removed the bird from the ESA’s “threatened” list.