A group of state and private scientists are working on a new plan to increase the population of the spruce grouse in Vermont.
The spruce grouse is considered to be endangered in the state.
State Natural Resources Secretary Deb Markowitz says the grouse’s health is an indicator of the health of the spruce-fir forest, which is a unique habitat that other wildlife rely on for survival.
Although considered common in Canada, Alaska and Maine, the grouse is near the southern edge of its range in Vermont. Extensive timber cutting since the 1800s has resulted in the removal of much of their breeding habitat and drops in their numbers.
The current breeding population is in northern Essex County. Scientists say to recover fully, the grouse will need to grow its population in northern and southern parts of the county.