Greater Sage Grouse - USGS PhotoAs discussed in Bloomberg Business Week, the oil and gas industry, ranchers and others are eagerly anticipating the Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision whether to list the greater sage grouse.  In January 2005, the Service made a finding (PDF) that listing the greater sage grouse was not warranted.  The Western Watershed Project sued the Service in federal district in Idaho, and in December 2007, the court reversed (PDF) the Service’s listing decision. 

In May 2009, Western Watershed Project and the Service then stipulated (PDF) that the Service would submit a new 12-month finding on the greater sage grouse by February 26, 2010.  Due to the death of the Service’s Director, Sam Hamilton, the Service requested an extension (PDF) until March 5, 2010 to submit its new finding.  The finding to list the greater sage grouse could have implications for those in the oil and gas, wind energy and livestock industries, making their business more difficult across much of the West.

While half of the North American population of the greater sage grouse is believed to be in Wyoming, it also inhabits parts of California.  According to the California Department of Fish and Game, the sage grouse  "is a permanent resident in northeastern California, ranging from the Oregon border along the east side of the Cascade Range and Sierra Nevada to northern Inyo County.  Lassen and Mono counties have the most stable populations."