The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is changing the status of the greater sage grouse from threatened to endangered.

Conservation Section Assessment Manager Taylor Cotten says there were multiple reasons for the uplisting.

"There's the continued population decline, but also new information around the effective population size which is basically the number of individual birds that are contributing to the population genetically."

He also noted that fires damaged a lot of the national habitation for the sage grouse in North Central Washington.

Cotten says the numbers have been decreasing dramatically to around 700 total population, but only 120 in the effective population.

"Most of the levers that are pulled for a threatened species are the same as for an endangered species, so not much has changed. The biggest thing is waving a bigger flag, so to speak, for the conservation of the species."

He does not expect the change in listing to make much of an impact on home and landowners in the area, but he hopes it brings awareness to the challenges.

There are programs available through NRCS and others that can help anyone interested in making changes to their property to help the greater sage grouse. You can contact WDFW for more information.

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