Plan to Save the Greater Sage-Grouse a Breakthrough for the Wild American West

WASHINGTON (September 22, 2015) -- The Interior Department today announced a final plan to protect and preserve the habitat of the greater sage-grouse, an iconic species of the West that is threatened by commercial development and energy projects.

The following is a statement by Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council:

"Protecting the sage-grouse does more than save this beautiful bird species; it saves what's left of the wild American West.

"The conservation plan announced today marks a massive shift in the way our nation thinks about how to defend and protect wild animals and landscapes. It's all hands on deck, with states and private landowners as essential partners with the federal government working together for a plan that protects millions of acres across the western states to be successful.

"For forty years, protections for the sage-grouse have languished. It's time to give this bird -– and its habitat -- a chance to thrive. While the plan should be seen as a floor, not the ceiling for sage-grouse protections, it ushers in a new era of landscape-scale conservation gains in the future.

"Ultimately, the sage-grouse conservation plan is a promise to future generations that our iconic American sagebrush seas forever will remain a defining landscape and thriving habitat for creatures large and small."