Ranchers and conservationists are each breathing a sigh of relief after a population of birds straddling the California-Nevada border is declared not to be in danger of extinction.
To protect the Bi-State Sage-Grouse, the federal government paid $18 million for easements on almost 12,000 acres. That allowed nine ranchers in California and Nevada to continue operating. It gave conservation agencies control over the land and scientists confidence the bird is no longer in danger of extinction.
"One of the lessons here is that people here in this area have been at this for 15 years, working collaboratively," says U.S. Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell. "This is a long term proposition and it is something that we need to continue to stay vigilant on if these landscapes are going to stay intact for future generations."
Agencies are trying the same approach with another species that could be in danger of extinction. A decision on the status of the Greater Sage Grouse is expected in September.