BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Some of the nation's top public lands officials and rangeland scientists have gathered in Boise to try to figure out what can be done to avoid an Endangered Species Act listing of sage grouse.

The three-day Sage-grouse and Rangeland Wildfire in the Great Basin Conference opened Wednesday with remarks from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe and U.S. Bureau of Land Management Director Neil Kornze. Mike Connor, Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, also attended the opening.

Early remarks focused on finding collaboration among federal, state and private entities as massive wildfires and invasive species threaten a fragmented sage grouse habitat. The conference is playing out as the Fish and Wildlife Service faces a deadline next year on whether the chicken-sized bird needs federal protection.