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Wildlife experts concluded in 2015 that the Greater Sage-Grouse, an iconic bird of the West, did not require listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), thanks to then-new federal management plans with added conservation requirements. Many conservation groups, including American Bird Conservancy, supported the monumental process leading up to these plans—and the decision not to list this species under these circumstances.
As it turned out, had the beleaguered bird been listed in 2015, we wouldn’t now be watching years of effort to save the Greater Sage-Grouse be washed away almost overnight. The many promises to conserve the grouse and its habitat are now purposefully being abandoned as the federal agencies are on the verge of finalizing new plans that remove essential safeguards.