Fire Patterns in the Range of the Greater Sage-Grouse, 1984-2013

usgs-logoOAKHURST, Calif. -- Overall fire threats to greater sage-grouse habitat are much higher in the western part of the species’ range than in the eastern part, according to a U.S. Geological Survey fire threats assessment study published today. 

The USGS report provides a scientific assessment of a 30-year-period of comprehensive fire data (1984-2013) across sage-grouse management zones (see map) and vegetation types that include sagebrush as a major component. Researchers evaluated the implications of these findings for conservation and management of the greater sage-grouse in wildland areas across the species’ range.

BLM Announces Availability of Great Basin Science Tool

BLM LogoBOISE, ID - In opening remarks today at the conference, "The Next Steppe: Sage Grouse and Wildland Fire," Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Director Neil Kornze announced the release of the Northern Great Basin Rapid Ecoregional Assessment (REA), a next-generation tool for looking at the ecological health of this important geographic region.

"The BLM is using these regional assessments to identify the key challenges and opportunities that exist across the West," Kornze said. "By providing good, current science and looking across broad landscapes we can help ensure that decisions are being made with the best available information."

Collaboration the key to Sage Grouse success

BLM logoRENO, Nev.  In an effort to find common ground to preserve sage brush ecosystem in Nevada, federal and state agencies and key stakeholders have agreed to form working groups to identify regulatory flexibility and improve communication and outreach between themselves and the public.

The agreement came from a workshop held in Reno in early December that focused on collaboration. The workshop, which was attended by about 80 people, was organized by the Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service and the State of Nevada. The primary focus of the workshop was teaching participants how to work with each other in order to find common ground, respect others’ point of view, and effectively manage conflict when dealing with issues related to conservation of the sagebrush ecosystem.

Collaborative Conservation Effort for Greater Sage Grouse Celebrated

doi logoReport on One Year Anniversary Highlights Actions Taken to Implement Greater Sage-Grouse Conservation

DENVER – U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper today marked the one year anniversary of the historic decision not to list the greater sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act by celebrating the ongoing unprecedented collaborative conservation effort to conserve the sagebrush ecosystem with stakeholders at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge.

The Administration, in partnership with the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA), today also released a report highlighting recent actions to conserve the sagebrush ecosystem, including efforts to minimize further habitat disturbance, restore the health of fire-impacted landscapes, reduce invasive grasses and provide opportunities for landowners and ranchers to invest in conservation actions that benefit the greater sage-grouse and the success of their own operations.

Interior Works with Partners to Improve 600,000 Acres of Sage-Grouse Habitat in Southwest Idaho

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Excellent example of collaboration between federal and local governments to protect and improve working landscape

WASHINGTON – In an effort to improve the habitat for Greater Sage-Grouse in the West, the U.S. Department of the Interior today issued a Record of Decision for the treatment of 617,000 acres of land in Owyhee County, Idaho. The decision is supported by the Bruneau-Owyhee Sage-Grouse Habitat (BOSH) Project Final Environmental Impact Statement, which analyzes the effects of removing encroaching Western juniper on approximately 617,000 acres of public land within a 1.67 million-acre area of sagebrush-steppe habitat in Owyhee County.

Nevada Rancher: Helping Sage-Grouse Helps Us All

Sage GrouseAUSTIN, Nev. - Private landowners and conservationists in Nevada and several other Western states continue to work together to try to prevent the sage-grouse from being listed as an endangered species.

Duane Coombs, manager of the 250,000-acre Smith Creek Ranch near Austin, Nevada, is among those working to improve sage-grouse habitat on the public and private lands he ranches.

New Research Provides Insights into Sage Grouse DNA

sage grouse aThe greater sage grouse is an iconic bird that lives in the American West’s sagebrush landscape. It’s also a species at the center of a nationwide debate focused on how best to manage its habitat to balance multiple uses and ensure the bird’s long-term survival.

And the dialogue has just been informed by new information from a genetics study that has validated the primary target locations of current conservation efforts.

Though sage grouse were once numerous, their populations have dwindled drastically from historic numbers. Their range is still impressively large, though. Sage grouse are spread across a staggering 258,000 square miles.

Proposed Amendments to Greater Sage Grouse Land Management Plans Released

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(WASHINGTON – August 1, 2019) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Forest Service proposed changes to how the agency manages greater sage grouse in Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Wyoming, and Utah after hearing concerns from states and land users. The changes strive to improve the clarity, efficiency, and implementation of the current sage grouse plans.

Sage grouse chick production at its highest in 10 years

Sage grouseCHEYENNE – New data on the Wyoming sage grouse population reveals bird numbers should continue to grow in the coming year based on an analysis of sage grouse wings provided by hunters. There were 1.7 chicks per hen in 2015, the same as 2014. This ratio is the highest documented since 2005, and more than double the recent low of 0.8 chicks per hen noted in 2012. The 10-year average, from 2005-2014, was 1.3 chicks per hen. Grouse numbers declined in most of those years.

Sage Grouse Conservation: The Proven Successful Approach

Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (http://www.fws.gov/greatersagegrouse/maps.php)The Department of the Interior is engaged in what it describes as “the largest and most complex landscape-scale land management planning effort in US history—and the most ambitious conservation experiment under the ESA [Endangered Species Act]." The object of this extraordinary attention is the greater sage grouse, a large ground-dwelling bird that inhabits 165 million acres in 11 western states.

The Interior Department has a September 30, 2015 deadline to decide whether to propose listing the greater sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act.

Sage grouse management plans based on inaccurate science

One year after the announcement by the Department of Interior that a listing under the Endangered Species Act was not warranted for the greater sage grouse and the implementation of restrictive resource management plans for the species, the Public Lands Council and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association submitted a report to the agencies citing concerns with the methodology used.

Significant Progress Made in Landscape-Scale Management Efforts in 2015

BLM LogoProgress on Greater Sage-Grouse, Wildfire Prevention, and Responsible Energy Development

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in 2015 made major strides toward addressing challenges that require action, analysis and planning across broad landscapes. The Bureau’s accomplishments over the past year include unprecedented efforts to conserve Greater Sage-Grouse; to devise new approaches to prevent and respond to wildfire; to make land- use planning efforts more timely, science-driven and adaptable; and to protect sensitive resources while enabling responsible energy development.  These actions exemplify how the BLM is addressing broad challenges to more effectively meet national, state, and local needs on the national public lands.

USDA Unveils New Strategy to Conserve Sage Grouse Habitat on Private Lands

usda-mastheadDepartment to Invest Additional $211 Million to Help Ranchers Adopt Proven Conservation Methods

PORTLAND, Ore., August 27, 2015 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced a four-year strategy that will invest approximately $211 million through 2018 in conservation efforts to benefit the greater sage grouse. The strategy, known as Sage Grouse Initiative 2.0, will build on successful public and private conservation efforts made since 2010 to improve sage grouse habitat. The new plan will provide additional assistance for ranchers to make conservation improvements to their land, which mutually benefits the iconic bird and agricultural operations in 11 Western states.

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