Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Holding federal feet to the fire over Sage Grouse

Greater Sage-grouse image courtesy of John Carlson

Counts on Greater Sage-grouse leks are now in for both Saskatchewan and Alberta. The numbers have dropped significantly from last year (a total of fewer than 200 birds were counted) and the species seems to be rapidly headed toward extirpation in Canada. The Canadian government has done very little to protect the bird's habitat from oil and gas exploration and so environmental organizations have decided to take the Harper government to court. Here is an article from yesterday's Calgary Herald:

"Today, a lawsuit launched by a coalition of six environmental groups will be heard in a Vancouver courtroom. The suit alleges Ottawa has failed to protect sage grouse habitat in the bird's Canadian range of southeastern Alberta and southwestern Saskatchewan.

"We urgently need something to protect the last remaining little bits of habitat," said Mark Boyce, a biological sciences professor at the University of Alberta who has studied sage grouse in Canada and states such as Wyoming for 30 years.

There are fewer than 200

sage grouse left in Alberta --many feeding on the silver sagebrush around the hamlet of Manyberries--and perhaps a few more in Saskatchewan."

Here is a link to the full article.

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