Wyoming Ranchers are among those who are pleased with the U.S. Department of the Interior’s decision not to list the Greater Sage Grouse as an endangered species.
Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said in her announcement that one of the main reasons the bird wasn’t listed was the cooperation among individuals, industry, and government in conservation efforts.
Pat O’toole runs the Ladder Ranch in Savery, Wyoming. He says his ranch took several steps to help Sage Grouse – from putting land in conservation easements to creating more sage brush habitat.
"You know I have this saying, there’s no inherent distinction between production and conservation if you’re smart enough to figure it out. And that what I think we’re all trying to do here," says O'toole.
O’toole says he and other ranchers are happy their efforts paid off and relieved they won’t be facing any federal regulations that come with an endangered species listing. Their celebration may be short lived, though. Wildlife conservation groups are planning to protest the decision in court.