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Pentagon Steps In To Help Sage Grouse

By Pacific Southwest Region U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from Sacramento, US (Greater Sage Grouse Uploaded by Snowmanradio) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

The greater sage grouse roams throughout most of the western U.S., but its habitat has been encroached upon by development and industry. The efforts to protect it have caused controversy.

State and federal land managers announced Wednesday they had secured a grant from the Pentagon to help protect the greater sage grouse.

The small bird has caused big trouble in the West with some people wanting to protect it with an endangered species designation, while others have worked to keep it off the list so the rules from the designation won’t interfere with mining, ranching and energy exploration efforts.

Still others have worked to balance both those interests with partnerships between conservationists and industry.

The $2 million grant from the Pentagon will help pay for habitat restoration beneath thousands of square miles of U.S. Navy training airspace in Nevada.

The money will leverage an additional $2 million in matching funds to help restore more than 11,000 acres of prime sage grouse habitat under airspace controlled by the Fallon Naval Air Station.

Gov. Brian Sandoval says the unique partnership between the military and a host of environmental partners is the first of its kind in Nevada.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)

Mark Freese, western region supervising habitat biologist, Nevada Department of Wildlife; Len Barson, The Nature Conservancy; Shawn Espinoza, sage grouse expert, Nevada Department of Wildlife

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(EDITOR'S NOTE: Carrie Kaufman no longer works for KNPR News. She left in April 2018)