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Judge Reinstates Proposed Listing Of Bi-State Sage Grouse

RENO, Nev. (AP) — A U.S. judge who ruled earlier federal wildlife officials illegally denied Endangered Species Act protection for a population of bi-state sage grouse in California and Nevada in 2015 has reinstated the proposed listing of the bird as threatened until a new review determines if it's on the brink of extinction.

In the meantime, Chief Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero in San Francisco also ordered reinstatement of the proposed designation of more than 2,800 square miles of critical habitat along the Sierra's eastern front.

Conservationists who sued to protect the ground-welling bird says it's an important victory for numerous species with subgroups isolated from larger populations due to development. Bi-state grouse are related to, but distinct from, the greater sage grouse found in 12 western states.

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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials say they're pondering their next step.