November 22, 2014
RENO, Nev. (AP) - Officials in a rural Nevada county have approved a pilot project designed to keep sage grouse off the endangered species list by killing ravens with poisoned eggs and by reducing the wildfire threat through livestock grazing.
Elko County commissioners say the program set to begin on the 15,000-acre Devil's Gate Ranch is needed because wildfires and ravens pose the biggest threat to sage grouse.
The Idaho-based Western Watersheds Project disagrees, saying the plan actually will destroy sage grouse habitat.
Ted Koch of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Reno says his agency welcomes the county's efforts, but isn't sure how effective they'll be.
The agency has pledged to make a final decision by late 2015 on whether to list sage grouse as an endangered species.