BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The administrator of the Idaho Office of Species Conservation plans to exit the post, just as the state is trying to keep the sage grouse off the list of animals protected by the federal Endangered Species Act.

Nate Fisher is leaving the agency, with Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter confirming his final day on the job will be March 9.

Fisher didn't immediately return phone calls seeking comment on his departure.

Two years ago, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided the sage grouse merited listing as a threatened species, but wasn't as high a priority as protecting other species.

As a consequence, Fisher has been overseeing efforts to craft a state plan that's adequate to assuage the federal agency's concerns before it reconsiders the sage grouse's status in 2015.

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