On Tuesday, the Bureau of Land Management is seeking public input on ways to protect the sage grouse habitat in Idaho.
No one has had their feathers ruffled more than the poor sage grouse lately. The rare bird has been teetering on the edge of an endangered species classification, but remains unlisted.
Populations have decreased 40 percent in about as many years. But the BLM doesn't want it to come to an endangered species listing.
"The Endangered Species Act has a very real and powerful regulatory hammer that comes along with it, and if they are listed as an endangered species, it's going to take a lot of these key decisions about public lands management and public use out of the BLM's hands," said Bureau of Land Management spokeswoman Jessica Gardetto.
The primary foe to the species is actually the sage that makes up its habitat. It can ignite very quickly, and wild fires in the Idaho sage almost every year are actually killing the birds.
Tuesday night's open house begins at 6 p.m. at the Idaho Falls Red Lion Inn. The open house aims to get input from folks who come in contact with grouse habitat on a regular basis.
"Private landowners are very key in helping BLM conserve sage grouse, cause a lot of sage grouse habitat lies on their land as well," said Gardetto. "We also want to hear from local governments, they have a key influence in conserving sage grouse."
Gardetto also said folks who graze cattle on public land, or recreate on public land also play a key role.