Landmark Agreement Yields Sage Grouse Habitat Protection


Sage Grouse
By Pacific Southwest Region U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from Sacramento, US (Greater Sage Grouse Uploaded by Snowmanradio)

A new deal among the government, Barrick Gold Corp. and a conservation group hopes to protect the habitat of the sage grouse.

For such a quiet animal, the greater sage grouse has made some awfully big noise in the state of Nevada.

The most recent rousing has been over an agreement reached between Bureau of Land Management, the Nature Conservancy, Fish and Wildlife Services and, last but not least, Barrick Gold Corp. How it works is that each time Barrick improves the sage grouse habitat on its existing private ranch lands, it gets a credit in a conservation bank. Those credits can then be traded out for the expansion of gold mining on federal lands.

An unlikely matchup to be sure - federal wildlife organizations and the largest gold mining company in the world. But the compromise may benefit not only further mining operations - but also save the habitats of the sage grouse.

Conservationists have long been concerned with a significant decline in the sage grouse population, which can be attributed to wild fires, invasive species and the development of mining and drilling. The sage-brush dwelling bird has been considered a candidate for the Endangered Species List for several years now. Should such a move occur, it would significantly impact mining and drilling in western states.



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Patrick Malone, assistant U.S. General Counsel, Barrick Gold; Michael Cameron, associate state director, The Nature Conservancy, Nevada Chapter

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