Sage Grouse

Use the Library of Technical Articles

Here are some helpful articles that explain the issues and provide more information on habitat protection and restoration of Sage Grouse populations

Playing with Fire: Recreating Safely with Invasives in Sagebrush Country
By: Intermountain West Joint Venture
If you’re recreating on public lands in the American West, you’ve probably already felt the impacts of the invasive annual grasses and wildfires that ruin habitat for wildlife and our outdoor activities.
Up In Smoke: Fire and Invasives on Western Rangelands
By: Intermountain West Joint Venture
Sagebrush rangelands once covered nearly 250 million acres in western North America. Today, this landscape has been reduced to half its original size and is rapidly shrinking.
Understanding Rural Attitudes Toward the Environment and Conservation in America
By: Robert Bonnie, Emily Pechar Diamond, and Elizabeth Rowe
Rural Americans matter—a lot—to the fate of U.S. environmental policy. Not only do farmers, ranchers, and forest owners manage huge portions of American lands and watersheds, but rural voters also have an outsized impact on national policy.
Using Existing Tools to Expand Cooperative Conservation for Candidate Species Across Federal and Non-Federal Lands
By: US Fish and Wildlife Service
For many years the Service has worked with partners to help them develop Candidate Conservation Agreements (CCAs). CCAs primarily have been developed by Federal agencies to cover Federal lands, and several have resulted in conservation efforts that made listing unnecessary.
Donate a conservation easement: How federal benefits put money in your pocket!
By: Tax Credit Connection, Inc.
In addition to the Colorado credit, landowners can receive an extra reward for conserving their land with a conservation easement. The current rules are not yet permanent, so please keep that in mind as you and your advisors make plans for your taxes.
A step-by-step guide to donating a conservation easement
By: Tax Credit Connection, Inc.
This guide is meant to help you understand the steps that must be completed to conserve your property and the typical costs that are involved.
Partnering to Conserve Sagebrush Rangelands
By: Intermountain West Joint Venture
The purpose of our Partnering to Conserve Sagebrush Rangelands effort is to catalyze proactive, voluntary, and community-led sagebrush rangeland conservation – expanding success across private and public lands.
Reducing Conflict with Grizzly Bears, Wolves and Elk A Western Landowners’ Guide
By: Western Landowners Alliance
This guide has been produced by and for landowners and practitioners constructively engaged in one of the greatest conservation challenges of our time—how to share and manage a wild, working landscape that sustains both people and wildlife.
Cooperative Conservation - Determinants of Landowner Engagement in Conserving Endangered Species
By: Megan E. Hansen
This paper analyzes surveys of private landowners to identify factors that determine landowner engagement in the conservation of endangered species.
Grazed Rangelands Produce Sage Grouse Chicks’ Preferred Food
By: Sage Grouse Initiative
This study comparing insect communities in grazed, rested, and idled pastures in Montana found that the types of insects that provide a critical food source for sage grouse chicks and other shrub- and grassland-dependent birds were 13 percent more prevalent on managed versus idled rangelands.& ...
Establishing Conservation Easements
By: Sage Grouse Initiative
Ranchers & Sage Grouse Find the Elbow Room They Need to Make A Living Why are record-breaking numbers of ranchers signing up for conservation easements in high-abundance sage grouse areas? Rangewide, a quarter-million acres will remain as working ranches without threat of subdivision.
Middle Ground Found On The Range
By: Sage Grouse Initiative
Grazing access to public lands important for sustainable ranching  New research reveals a clear link between the economic health of ranches and their ability to maintain habitat for iconic wildlife.
Western Governors’ Species Conservation and Endangered Species Act Initiative
By: Western Governors' Association
The Western Governors’ Species Conservation and Endangered Species Act Initiative was launched by WGA Chairman and Wyoming Gov.
Greater Sage-Grouse Range-Wide Mitigation Framework
By: US Fish and Wildlife Service
The purpose of this document is to help states, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and other partners develop and implement coordinated and robust mitigation processes across the range to reduce threats and the potential need to list the species under the Endangered Species Act.
Science to Solutions - Sagebrush Songbirds Under the Sage Grouse Umbrella
By: Sage Grouse Initiative
Researchers examined whether benefits from sage grouse conservation extend to three species of sagebrush songbirds: Brewer's sparrow, sagebrush sparrow and sage thrasher.
Adverse Impact Reduction Handbook
By: Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission and ALL Consulting
Reducing Onshore Natural Gas and Oil Exploration and Production Impacts Using a Broad-Based Stakeholder Approach
Sage Grouse Initiative 2.0 - Investment Strategy, FY 2015-2018
By: Natural Resources Conservation Service
Sage Grouse Initiative 2.0 combines plans from 11 states into one cohesive, rangewide plan that will guide the agency's conservation efforts.
2014 Farm Bill Field Guide to Fish and Wildlife Conservation
By: North American Bird Conservation Initiative, U.S. Committee
The 2014 Farm Bill Field Guide to Fish and Wildlife Conservation was prepared as an introduction for fish and wildlife conservation providers – the on-the-ground biologists and conservation partners who help deliver Farm Bill conservation programs to landowners.
Lack of prescribed burns fuels rise of megafires, ASU fire historian says
By: Scott Seckel
Wildfire is a striking story, often filled with the drama of danger. But there's a narrative missing from many of the reports: We need more controlled fires to prevent these runaway infernos, said fire historian and Arizona State University Regents’ Professor Stephen Pyne.
Outcomes in Conservation - Sage Grouse Initiative
By: Natural Resources Conservation Service/USDA
In 2010, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) designated the greater sage-grouse a Candidate species for protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
Pocket Guide to Sagebrush Birds
By: Melissa Pitkin and Laura Quattrini
This Guide was created by staffs at Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory and at PRBO Conservation Science, describes 40 of the most common bird species in sagebrush habitats.& ...
Pocket Guide to Sagebrush
By: Leila Shultz
This Guide provides identifying characteristics and range maps for 18 species of sagebrush, encompassing 27 different kinds (including subspecies and hybrids).
Greater Sage-grouse Comprehensive Conservation Strategy
By: San J. Stiver, Anthony D. Apa, Joe Bohne, S. Dwight Bunnell, Patricia Deibert, S.C. Gardner, M.A. Hilliard, C.W. McCarthy, and M.A. Schroeder
This Strategy outlines the critical need to develop the associations among local, state, provincial, tribal, and federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, and individual citizens to design and implement cooperative actions to support robust populations of sage-grouse and the landscapes and habitats upon which they depend.
Summary of Science, Activities, Programs, and Policies That Influence the Rangewide Conservation of Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus)
By: D.J. Manier, D.J.A. Wood, Z.H. Bowen, R.M. Donovan, M.J. Holloran, L.M. Juliusson, K.S. Mayne, S.J. Oyler-McCance, F.R. Quamen, D.J. Saher, and A.J. Titolo
Sage Grouse Initiative - Success on the Range
By: Deborah Richie, Sage Grouse Initiative Communications Director
The Sage Grouse Initiative launched in 2010 and five years later is a primary catalyst for sage-steppe conservation, conserving 4.4 million acres across 11 western states.
Science to Solutions - Private Lands Vital to Conserving Wet Areas for Sage Grouse Summer Habitat
By: Christine Paige, Sage Grouse Initiative
A recent groundbreaking study reveals a strong link between sites, which are essential summer habitat for sage grouse to raise their broods, and the distribution of sage grouse breeding areas or leks.
BLM Fire and Aviation - Sage Grouse Efforts
By: BLM Director Bob Abbey
Fire is an important part of the ecology of sagebrush habitats. It’s not possible to eliminate all fire from sagebrush, nor is it advisable.
Trial by Fire - Improving Our Ability to Reduce Wildfire Impacts to Sage-Grouse and Sagebrush Ecosystems Through Accelerated Partner Collaboration
By: Tim Murphy, David E. Naugle, Randall Eardley, Jeremy D. Maestas, Tim Griffiths, Mike Pellant, and San J. Stiver
Wildfire and subsequent invasion by exotic annual grasses in the Great Basin challenge land managers and impede the success of conservation practices designed to improve habitat quality for sage-grouse.
A review of fire effects on vegetation and soils in the Great Basin Region - response and ecological site characteristics
By: Richard F. Miller, Jeanne C. Chambers, David A. Pyke, Fred B. Pierson, and C. Jason Williams
Abstract This review synthesizes the state of knowledge on fire effects on vegetation and soils in semi-arid ecosystems in the Great  Basin Region, including the central and northern Great Basin and Range, Columbia River Basin, and the Snake River Plain.
Birds in a sagebrush sea - managing sagebrush habitats for bird communities
By: C. Paige and S. A. Ritter
The purpose of this document is to help anyone who is a steward of sagebrush shrublands include management practices that help support a thriving community of wild birds.
Watering Facility Wildlife Escape Ladder Design
By: Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory
Guide provides an approved design for wildlife escape ladders in watering facilities.
Science to Solutions - Conifer Removal Restores Sage Grouse Habitat
By: Christine Paige
The invasion of juniper and other conifers into sagebrush rangelands degrades habitat for sage grouse. The most effective approach is to target early encroachment stands, completely removing small trees, and thereby sustaining the existing sagebrush community.
Livestock Water Tanks and Sage-grouse - A Landowners Guide
Watering tanks installed for livestock are often used by wildlife as well, with unintended consequences. Sage-grouse are known to drown in livestock water tanks that do not have escape ramps.
Fire-Resistant Plants For Home Landscapes
By: Pacific Northwest Extension
Brochure describes homeowner strategies and fire-resistant plant species that may reduce risk from wildfire.  
Science to Solutions - Marking High-Risk Fences Saves Sage Grouse
By: Christine Paige
Marking fences for visibility can dramatically reduce sage grouse collisions. A new mapping tool can help managers and landowners target those fences that pose the highest risk for grouse strikes: fences close to leks and in flat or rolling terrain.
Who’s on the Lek A Guide to Players
By: Notes from the Lek: Greater Sage-grouse Conservation Primer Series Primer # 2
Document describes some of the key entities in the conservation of sage-grouse and sagebrush ecosystems.
Interagency Sage-grouse Conservation Implementation MOU
By: WAFWA, USDA-Forest Service, U.S. Department of Interior-BLM, U.S. Department of Interior-FWS,U.S. Department of Interior-Geological Survey, USDA-NRCS, USDA-FSA
MOU provides for cooperation among the participating State and federal land, wildlife management and science agencies in the conservation and management of Greater sage-grouse, sagebrush habitats and other sagebrush-dependent wildlife throughout the Western United States and Canada.
Overview of Greater Sage-grouse and Endangered Species Act Activities
By: Notes from the Lek: Greater Sage-grouse Conservation Primer Series Primer # 4
The Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) is a game bird managed under State authorities. Summarizes petitions to USFWS to list the species under ESA, the Services conclusions and litigation status.
Sage-grouse Mapping and Priority Habitats
By: Notes from the Lek: Greater Sage-grouse Conservation Primer Series Primer # 3
This primer displays the historic and current range of sage-grouse, sage-grouse management zones, and the breeding bird density map.
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Findings for Petitions to List the Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) as Threatened or Endangered
By: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior
Fish and Wildlife Service’s March 2010 status review provides a detailed description of seasonal habitats, sage-grouse natural history and population trend analyses.
Beginner’s Guide to Greater Sage-Grouse
By: Notes from the Lek: Greater Sage-grouse Conservation Primer Series Primer # 1
Introductory guide provides key points for a basic understanding of the greater sage-grouse, Centrocercus urophasianus and  its habitats.
Near Term Sage-Grouse Conservation Action Plan
By: Range-wide Interagency Sage-grouse Conservation Team
Plan presented to Greater Sage-grouse Executive Oversight Committee & Sage-Grouse Task Force, September 11, 2012.
Greater Sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) Conservation Objectives - Final Report
By: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
February 2013 report delineates reasonable objectives, based upon the best scientific and commercial data available at the time of its release, for the conservation and survival of greater sage-grouse.
Sage-Grouse Initiative - Conservation Beyond Boundaries
2012 Progress Report describes the need, goals, and results/outcomes of the Initiative.
Two Win-Win Initiatives with Common Recovery Goals Lesser Prairie-Chicken and Greater Sage-Grouse
By: Christian Hagan
Lesser prairie-chickens and greater sage-grouse depend on large prairie and steppe landscapes shared by agricultural producers, primarily ranching operations.
Sage Grouse Initiative - Tracking Success
By: Tim Griffiths, David Naugle and Jeremy Maestas (eds.)
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) launched the Sage Grouse Initiative in 2010, applying the power of the Farm Bill to target lands where habitats are intact and sage grouse numbers are highest.
Guide to Environmental Markets for Farmers and Ranchers
By: Don Stuart, Dennis Canty, and Katherine Killebrew
The Guide to Environmental Markets for Farmers and Ranchers, produced by the American Farmland Trust (AFT), provides an overview of available market opportunities for environmental credits and services, how farmers and ranchers can get involved in them, and ways to encourage their continued growth.
Guidance for the Establishment, Use, and Operation of Conservation Banks
By: US Fish and Wildlife Service
This document provides guidance on the establishment, use, and operation of conservation banks for the purpose of providing a tool for offset mitigating adverse impacts to species listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended.
Greater Sage-Grouse Field Indicator Guide
By: NRCS Montana
This brochure is offered to the public to further outreach and education about sage-grouse; a species being considered for listing under the Endangered Species Program.
Working Lands for Wildlife Greater Sage-Grouse
FAQs Including CCAA and SGI Comparison
Inventory of State and Local Governments’ Conservation Initiatives for Sage-Grouse
By: Western Governors' Association
The 2014 Sage-Grouse Appendix identifies all sage-grouse conservation initiatives reported by states and counties between 2011 and 2014. &n ...
Sage-Grouse Inventory - 2014 Conservation Initiatives
By: Western Governors' Association
The fourth annual inventory produced by the Governors, through the Western Governors' Association, has expanded its focus from previous years.
How to make and install fence markers for sage grouse
Fence marking using vinyl undersill trim is an effective and practical approach to increasing wire fence visibility and reducing potential sage-grouse collisions.
Working Lands for Wildlife - Sage Grouse
By: USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Wyoming
The Working Lands for Wildlife - Sage Grouse program conserves sage-grouse and other wildlife through sustainable ranching.
Inventory of State and Local Governments' Conservation Initiatives for Sage-Grouse - 2013 Appendix
By: Western Governors’ Association
The Appendix collects all initiatives reported by the relevant states and counties between 2011 and 2013 to avoid a threatened or endangered listing of sage-grouse and Gunnison sage-grouse on the federal endangered species list.
Washington State Recovery Plan for the Greater Sage-Grouse
By: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
Maintaining sage-grouse in Washington will depend on protecting remaining habitat, restoring degraded habitat and re-establishing populations outside their current range.
BLM's Best Management Practices for Sage Grouse
By: Bureau of Land Management
In this report, produced by the Sage-grouse National Technical Team in 2011, the BLM outlines Best Management Practices for Sage-grouse in the Appendixes.
Guidelines to manage sage grouse populations and their habitats
By: John W. Connelly; Michael A. Schroeder, Alan R. Sands, and Clait E. Braun
This paper summarizes the current knowledge of the ecology of sage grouse and, based on this information, provides guidelines to manage sage grouse populations and their habitats.
Conference Report for the Natural Resource Conservation Service's Sage-grouse Initiative
By: US Fish and Wildlife Service
Report evaluates  the collective, landscape-level effects of implementing all aspects of NRCS' SGI and related planning process on two species of sage grouse and their habitats.
Prescribed Fire As a Management Tool In Xeric Sagebrush Ecosystems - is it worth the risk to Sage-Grouse?
By: Sage and Columbian Sharp-tailed Grouse Technical Committee
This white paper is prepared by the Sage and Columbian Sharp-tailed Grouse Technical Committee for the WAFWA describing the risks and benefits of prescribed burns in Sage-Grouse habitat.
Inventory of State and Local Governments’ Conservation Initiatives for Sage-Grouse 2013 Update
By: Western Governors’ Association
Western states, through the WGA and Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA), have worked collaboratively to address challenges facing sage-grouse and their habitat.