Government Scientists Predict Reduced Sage Grouse Habitat
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Government scientists say a warming climate could significantly reduce the amount of greater sage grouse habitat in portions of Wyoming, a key stronghold for the troubled bird species.
The chicken-sized grouse already has seen dramatic declines in recent decades due to disease, oil drilling, grazing and other factors. U.S. Geological Survey scientists say a warming climate could become an even greater risk, reducing nesting habitat by 12 percent by 2050. The findings were published in the journal Ecological Indicators.
Scientists analyzed past climate patterns across 3,200 square miles and compared that with precipitation projections to predict future conditions. The U.S. Interior Department is to decide this fall if the birds should be protected under the Endangered Species Act.