Idaho officials have released a draft management plan to bolster a struggling species once considered the most abundant upland game bird in the Pacific Northwest.
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game says the Columbian sharp-tailed grouse occupies less than 5 percent of its historic range in the U.S., with 60 percent of the remaining population in Idaho.
The agency also filed a request with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to add 20,000 acres to a program that in Idaho pays farmers to convert fields into sharp-tailed grouse habitat.
But Idaho is competing with other states for a shrinking national land conservation pie limiting how many acres are eligible.
Sharp-tailed grouse have twice been petitioned for Endangered Species Act protections, but federal officials have determined such protections aren't needed.