Findings for Petitions to List the Greater Sage-Grouse Released

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Findings for Petitions to List the Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) as Threatened or Endangered

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SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce three 12-month findings on petitions to list three entities of the greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act).

We find that listing the greater sage-grouse (rangewide) is warranted, but precluded by higher priority listing actions. We will develop a proposed rule to list the greater sage-grouse as our priorities allow.

We find that listing the western subspecies of the greater sage-grouse is not warranted, based on determining that the western subspecies is not a valid taxon and thus is not a listable entity under the Act. We note, however, that greater sage-grouse in the area covered by the putative western subspecies (except those in the Bi-State area (Mono Basin), which are covered by a separate finding) are encompassed by our finding that listing the species is warranted but precluded rangewide.

We find that listing the Bi-State population (previously referred to as the Mono Basin area population), which meets our criteria as a distinct population segment (DPS) of the greater sage-grouse, is warranted but precluded by higher priority listing actions. We will develop a proposed rule to list the Bi-State DPS of the greater sage-grouse as our priorities allow, possibly in conjunction with a proposed rule to list the greater sage-grouse rangewide.

DATES: The finding announced in the document was made on March 23, 2010.

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