Greater Sage-Grouse Granted Emergency Protection Order in Canada

GreaterSageGrouse 256x204
By Pacific Southwest Region U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from Sacramento, US (Greater Sage GrouseUploaded by Snowmanradio) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

This story was brought to my attention through a post on the BCVIBIRDS forum.

Earlier this month the Greater Sage-Grouse, now almost extirpated from Canada, was granted a first ever emergency protection order by the federal government.  One direct effect of this order is that a number of existing and planned oil and gas projects will be either curtailed or preventing on some 1700 square kilometers of provincial and federal crown land in both Alberta and Saskatchewan.

While an important precedent for species protection, it is not clear that this order will be in time to save the Canadian populations of Sage-Grouse.  The numbers in Canada are currently estimated at around 100 birds, down by as many as 25 from the year before.

In the US there is still a significant population but, at least in some areas, local populations are decreasing rapidly mostly due to habitat loss.  The US government is considering listing the Greater Sage Grouse as endangered in both Nevada and California.

References and Further Reading

Nature Canada, Endangered Species, Species Spotlight: Greater Sage-Grouse.

Nature Canada, Newsroom, 2013-12-04: Nature conservation organizations across Canada applaud emergency order protecting endangered species, caution more action is neededNature conservation organizations across Canada applaud emergency order protecting endangered species, caution more action is needed.

gazette.gc.ca, 2013-12-04:  Federal Government Gazette with original order.

Associated Press, foxnews.com, 2013-10-25:  Feds propose listing sage grouse sub-population as threatened, angering energy developers.

Schroeder, M. A., J. R. Young and C. E. Braun. 1999. Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/425; doi:10.2173/bna.425

Bob Weber, globalnews.ca, 2013-12-04: Sage grouse protection plan released.

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