ONTARIO, Ore. (AP) — Inmates at the Snake River Correctional Institution are growing sagebrush, 20,000 containers of it in the prison greenhouse.

Their work is part of a project aimed at restoring habitat for the greater sage grouse and staving off a potential federal government decision to list it as endangered. That could mean ranchers will get less access to government grazing lands, a blow to local economies.

The bird depends on sagebrush for food and shelter. Sagebrush can't resist the hot fires that invasive cheatgrass touches off.

The Ontario Argus Observer (http://bit.ly/1sUFZYP ) reports the U.S. Bureau of Land Management paid for the seedlings. Then bureau manages public grazing land.

A staff member at the Corvallis-based Institute of Applied Ecology has been teaching the inmates how to grow the plants.


Information from: Argus Observer, http://www.argusobserver.com