Action timeline

November 10, 2005 – The Center, Sagebrush Sea Campaign, Western Watersheds Project and Desert Survivors petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to recognize the bi-state sage grouse as a distinct population segment and list the population as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

December 19, 2006 – The Service acknowledged that bi-state sage grouse were genetically distinct from other populations but improperly found that the petition did not sufficiently demonstrate that the species may be in danger of extinction. The Service refused to conduct a status review of whether or not to list the population.

August 23, 2007 – The Center and other petitioners filed suit against the Service challenging the 2006 decision.

February 26, 2008 – The Service agreed to voluntarily remand the 2006 decision and issue a new 90-day finding.

April 29, 2008 – The Service announced it would consider listing the bi-state sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act as a distinct population segment.

March 5, 2010 – The Service declared that the sage grouse warrants protection as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. At the same time, the agency announced it was putting off listing the species due to a lack of resources.

March 29, 2010 – The Center, Desert Survivors and the Western Watersheds Project filed notice of a lawsuit against the Service for unlawfully delaying protection of both the bi-state population of greater sage grouse and the greater sage grouse as a whole.

June 28, 2010 – The Center, Western Watersheds Project and WildEarth Guardians filed suit against the Fish and Wildlife Service for delaying Endangered Species Act protection for the greater sage grouse, as well as two distinct populations of the bird — the Mono Basin (bi-state) population and the Columbia Basin population (found in Washington).

September 2010 – Despite the greater sage grouse's status as warranting Endangered Species Act protection, the state of Nevada opened an ill-advised hunting season for the bird in parts of eight counties.

July 12, 2011 – The Center reached a landmark agreement with the Fish and Wildlife Service compelling the agency to move forward in the protection process for 757 species, including the bi-state sage grouse and greater sage grouse.

October 25, 2013 – As the result of our settlement, the Service proposed Endangered Species Act protection for the bi-state population of the greater sage grouse found in the Mono Basin of California and Nevada. The agency also proposed designating 1,868,017 acres of protected “critical habitat” to help the population, which had declined by up to 70 percent.

December 10, 2014 – The final omnibus appropriations bill that would fund the federal government in 2015 included a rider that would prohibit any funds from being used to save three species of sage grouse that federal scientists agree are in danger of going extinct in the near future.

April 21, 2015 – The Service abandoned its plan to give Endangered Species Act protection to bi-state sage grouse.

March 9, 2016 – A coalition of conservation groups including the Center filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the Service's failure to protect the imperiled bi-state sage grouse population under the Endangered Species Act.

June 8, 2017 – Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced plans for a “review” threatening to undermine efforts to protect the greater sage grouse across 11 western states, therebygiving big oil companies and other polluters potential new access to vital grouse habitat.

Greater sage grouse photo by Dave Menke, USFWS