McDermitt, Ore. (AP) — Katie Fite crouched behind sagebrush in early April, peak mating season for sage grouse on part of the Oregon-Nevada border.
Fite could see male grouse issuing their signature zip-popping mating call.
Oregon Public Broadcasting reports around the area were also stakes marking where mining companies may scrape away the crucial habitat to get at the minerals contained in the McDermitt Caldera.
The McDermitt Caldera used to be off-limits to new mining claims to protect sage grouse. But it’s laced with some of the highest concentrations of lithium in the United States, making it desirable for prospectors looking to mine it for batteries to store renewable energy and power electric vehicles.