- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 27, 2015

DENVER (AP) - Five Democratic senators are asking colleagues to fund preservation efforts for the imperiled greater sage grouse and Gunnison sage grouse.

The senators on Tuesday urged the Appropriations Committee to fund programs that include cooperative efforts with landowners.

The greater sage grouse lives across the West. The Gunnison grouse is found in Colorado and Utah.

In November, federal officials designated the Gunnison grouse a threatened species, the less restrictive of two categories under the Endangered Species Act.

They face a September deadline to decided whether to protect the greater sage grouse. State and federal agencies hope voluntary efforts will avoid a listing because of the restrictions it would bring.

The senators are Michael Bennet of Colorado, Dianne Feinstein of California, Jon Tester of Montana and Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden of Oregon.

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