CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) -- A Lander County ranch is being honored by the Bureau of Land Management for its efforts to improve sage grouse habitat on public lands used for grazing.

Owners and managers of the Smith Creek Ranch outside of Austin were named the winner of the agency's 2010 Rangeland Stewardship Award.

The ranch is owned by Ray Hendrix and managed by Duane Coombs.

BLM Deputy Director Marcilynn presented the award Tuesday during a meeting of the Public Lands Council in Pendleton, Ore.

She praised the ranching outfit for its innovative livestock management practices to enhance sagebrush, aspen and riparian habitat.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in March declared that listing the greater sage grouse as an endangered species is warranted but precluded because other species have priority.

Copyright 2010 The AP.

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