USA and Utah
Three environmental groups filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the federal government for its failure to immediately enact protections for the greater sage grouse ..."Delay in protecting the sage grouse is a recipe for extinction for these magnificent birds," said Jon Marvel, executive director of Western Watersheds Project.
The purpose of the nocturnal sojourns in the hilly terrain of cedar-juniper trees and sagebrush is capturing the greater sage grouse and outfitting them with radio collars. What biologists learn about the birds' habitat use and range will be used for environmental assessments or studies required when companies apply to lease land to build projects such as wind farms for generating electricity in Iron and Beaver counties.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources are launching a study of the chicken-sized bird across more than 300 square miles in Iron and Beaver counties.
The study area has a "high potential" for wind development but no projects have been launched yet, according to Christine Pontarolo, a biologist with the BLM's field office in Cedar City.
In a lawsuit filed this week in federal court in San Francisco, the groups -- including the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance -- allege agencies that mapped the 6,000 miles of energy-corridor rights of way failed to analyze renewable-source locations and numerous federal and local land-use plans.