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Oilmen Join Naturalists as Unlikely Partners to Save Grouse

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An unlikely alliance of oilmen, cattle ranchers and environmentalists is trying to save a flamboyant bird the size of a chicken that is at risk of extinction in part because of fossil-fuel riches under its habitat.

Rather than wait for a government endangered-species declaration, the group hopes to establish a system in which development rights would be swapped for land set aside in areas where the greater sage-grouse nests. Supporters hope this sort of habitat exchange could become a model for places where energy needs conflict with wildlife conservation.