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Mono Basin sage-grouse Centrocercus urophasianus
ESA status: none
The Mono Basin sage-grouse are loners among sage-grouse in the West. Sage-grouse are a widely distributed but sparsely populated species that occur in eleven western states and two Canadian provinces. Some populations are isolated from others due to distance, geographical features, and other factors. The Mono Basin sage-grouse is the most unique of these isolated groups.
The Mono Basin sage-grouse is a genetically distinct population of greater sage-grouse that occurs on the border of California and Nevada. Recent research found that they have “a unique history of isolation distinct from all other populations.” Geneticists even noted that the Mono Basin population may warrant consideration as a new subspecies of sage-grouse.
Aside from their unique genetic traits, Mono Basin sage-grouse appear and behave as other sage-grouse, including engaging in a fascinating mating ritual each spring. Unfortunately, like other sage-grouse, the Mono Basin population has experienced significant declines from historic numbers and only about 3,000 birds remain.
Mono Basin sage-grouse distribution is limited to an area approximately 18,310 square kilometers (7,069 square miles) in size, including and extending north, east and south of the Mono Basin in southeast California and southwestern Nevada. The Mono Basin population itself is fragmented into more than 15 subpopulations, many of which are isolated from each other. The total population of Mono Basin sage-grouse was estimated between 2,712-3,048 in 2010.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined that the genetically distinct and geographically isolated Mono Basin sage-grouse qualifies for separate consideration for protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The agency declared the Mono Basin population, now known as the “Bi-State Distinct Population Segment of greater sage-grouse,” a candidate for listing in 2010. Unfortunately, the population was denied listing in 2015.
In addition to pressing for listing under the ESA, WildEarth Guardians is working to prevent harmful livestock grazing in Mono Basin sage-grouse range, rein in destructive off-road vehicle use in key habitats, and prevent industrial development in breeding and nesting areas in order to protect the unique evolutionary heritage of this isolated population.
- Significant Actions
- November 2005 - WildEarth Guardians petitions to list Mono Basin area sage-grouse
- March 2010 - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finds the Mono Basin sage-grouse “warranted but precluded” for listing, placing it on the ESA candidate list
- October 2010 - WildEarth Guardians challenges the Bureau of Land Management’s grazing decisions for the Bodie Hills Allotments
- May 2011 - Mono Basin sage-grouse included in landmark settlement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- October 2013 - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to list the Mono Basin sage-grouse as "threatened"
- October 2013 - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes critical habitat for the Mono Basin sage-grouse
- March 2015 - WildEarth Guardians’ Protest of Carson City BLM Bi-State Plan Amendment
- April 2015 - Final Rule Denying Endangered Species Act Protections to Bi-State Sage Grouse Population
- April 2015 - WildEarth Guardians’ formal Objection to the Bi-State Sage Grouse Forest Plan Amendment
- September 2015 - WildEarth Guardians BiState Forest Plan Objection Settlement Agreement
- March 2016 - Lawsuit challenging failure to list the Bi-State sage grouse population
- May 2016 - BLM’s Response to WildEarth Guardians’ Carson City BLM Bi-State Plan Amendment Protest
- Press Releases
- November 10, 2005 - "Diverse Coalition Presents Case For Mono Basin Sage Grouse Protection"
- April 29, 2008 - "Mono Basin Sage Grouse Move Closer to ESA Protection"
- March 20, 2009 - "State of the Birds' Report Further Evidence of Need to Protect Western Grouse"
- November 24, 2009 - “Presidential Pardon Requested for Endangered Western Grouse”
- March 5, 2010 - "Mono Basin Area Sage Grouse Need Federal Protection"
- November 4, 2010 - "Conservationists Challenge Grazing in Bodie Hills to Protect Mono Basin Sage-grouse"
- November 24, 2009 - “Presidential Pardon Requested for Endangered Western Grouse"
- May 10, 2011- “Hope for Endangered Species Act Candidates”
- September 9, 2011 - “Federal Court Approves Historic Species Agreement”
- February 11, 2014 - “Nevada Sagebrush Bill: Not Enough for Grouse Conservation”
- November 4, 2013 - "California-Nevada Sage Grouse Plan Amednments Get Mixed Review"
- July 7, 2014 - "Amended Nevada-California Forest Plan for Imperiled Grouse Released"
- February 6, 2015 - "Humboldt-Toiyabe Sage Grouse Plan Mixes Strong Protections, Loopholes"
- April 7, 2015 - "Forest Plan Challenged for Inadequate Mono Basin Sage Grouse Protections"
- April 21, 2015 - "Feds Backtrack on Protecting Bi-State Sage Grouse"
- March 9, 2016 - "Lawsuit Seeks Endangered Species Act Protections for Imperiled Bi-state Sage Grouse"
- Species Factsheet
- Related Campaigns