Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies

Crucial Habitat Assessment Tool

Mapping Fish and Wildlife Across the West

Sage grouse

Greater Sage Grouse

Greater Sage Grouse habitat is stretched across the terrain of 11 western states. Many of these states have developed sage grouse specific maps to depict sage grouse habitat within their borders. Given that this species-specific information is available and has been developed in great detail by a number of states, a direct link to those state's information is provided below.

California

Eastern California supports habitat for the Greater sage-grouse. Furthermore, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined that the Bi-State population of greater sage-grouse, occupying Mono and Inyo counties and surrounding counties in Nevada, is a Distinct Population Segment. Greater sage-grouse are now candidates for listing under the Endangered Species Acts.

CDFW is currently coordinating with the Nevada Department of Wildlife, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, the National Resources Conservation Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as well as many public and private stakeholders, to conserve greater sage grouse in the Bistate area. In June 2004, the Sage-Grouse Conservation Plan for Nevada and Eastern California (June 30, 2004) [PDF, 1.15mb], was released by the Bistate Planning Group. This plan identifies conservation strategies that provide an overall framework for sage grouse conservation in the Bistate area. These strategies have been used to address sage grouse population and habitat threats and guide management actions at the local planning level. This sage grouse conservation plan is an excellent example of working across multiple agencies to promote complex conservation efforts [PDF].

Colorado

The Colorado Greater Sage-grouse Conservation Plan was completed in 2008. The Colorado Department of Natural Resources (DNR) assembled information (the "Colorado Package") about progress made in implementing the conservation strategies identified in the 2008 plan. The Colorado Package was finalized in January 2013 in conjunction with relevant county, state, federal, and private entities.

Colorado chose a "bottom up" approach of developing local conservation working groups and plans prior to the development of a statewide plan. There are five local working groups in Colorado.

Idaho

On March 9, 2012, Idaho Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter promulgated Executive Order 2012-02 [PDF, 341kb] establishing a 15-member Sage-Grouse Task Force. The Task Force submitted recommendations to the Governor on June 15, 2012 that were aimed at facilitating short and long-term solutions to the primary and secondary threats to the species and its habitat in Idaho. Task Force recommendations were utilized to craft the State of Idaho's Alternative for incorporation into the National Greater Sage-Grouse Land Use Planning Strategy for the BLM and USFS.

Montana

Montana Governor Steve Bullock established by Executive Order the Greater Sage-grouse Habitat Conservation Advisory Council on February 2, 2013. The purpose of the Council is to "to gather information, furnish advice, and provide to the Governor recommendations on policies and actions for a state-wide strategy to preclude the need to list the Greater Sage-grouse under the ESA, by no later than January 31, 2014. Council members include representatives from agriculture and ranching, conservation and sportsmen, energy, mining and power transmission, tribal government, local government, and the legislature.

Nevada

Nevada's Greater Sage-grouse Habitat Categorization Map is an analysis tool that incorporates the best available data (lek observations, telemetry locations, survey and inventory reports, vegetation cover, soils information, and aerial photography) into a statewide prioritization of Greater sage-grouse (sage-grouse) habitat. This tool provides resource managers with information to guide conservation and land-use planning efforts in the context of sage-grouse management at the landscape-scale.

Oregon

Oregon adopted the state's Greater Sage-Grouse Conservation and Assessment and Strategy [PDF] in 2011. The plan was developed with the oversight of a statewide interdisciplinary team with representatives from federal and state agencies and private landowners. The Plan is intended to promote the conservation of greater sage-grouse and intact functioning sagebrush communities in Oregon. Although the plan focuses on the conservation of sage-grouse, the intent is to benefit conservation needs of other sagebrush-steppe species. Five local implementation groups work to put the plan into service on the ground.

The plan uses a core area approach to implement sage-grouse conservation. About 36% of the extant range of sage-grouse in Oregon was identified as core area [PDF] and includes about 90% of the known breeding population. An additional 29% was identified as 'low density area' habitat and includes most of the remaining sage-grouse breeding population. The goal of establishing core areas is to address greater sage-grouse management from a conservation biology perspective that identifies the most productive populations and habitat that meets all life history needs.

Over the last two years, the Governor's Office and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) have been convening meetings in response to the "Warranted but Precluded" sage-grouse listing status in order to share information about the needs and issues related to renewable energy development and habitat conservation across Eastern Oregon. These meetings led to the formation of the Sage-Grouse Conservation Partnership (SageCon).

The SageCon Partnership coordinates federal, state and local efforts (current and projected) to address the multiple threats to sage grouse across the Eastern Oregon sagebrush landscape in anticipation of the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) review of the bird's "Warranted But Precluded" status under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) (listing decision and critical habitat proposal due in September 2014). SageCon focuses on working together to pull together an "all lands, all threats" approach to sage-grouse conservation to both address USFWS's sage grouse listing decision in 2015 and support community sustainability in central and eastern Oregon into the future. By addressing identified threats to sage brush habitat, the SageCon Partnership will ensure species protection for sage-grouse, while also working with traditional ranching and farming communities, as well as emerging industries such as mining and renewable energy.

Data and maps from the ODFW Greater Sage-Grouse Conservation and Assessment and Strategy are available through the ODFW Data Clearinghouse. A detailed description of how the ODFW Sage-Grouse Core Areas are included in the Oregon Crucial Habitat Analysis is available through the Oregon State Metadata Page, within the Terrestrial Species of Concern Data Input Layer.

South Dakota

The goal for sage grouse management in South Dakota is to monitor and maintain a sage grouse population and habitats consistent with the ecological, social, and aesthetics values of South Dakota citizens while addressing the concerns and issues of both residents and visitors of South Dakota.

Utah

Utah's Conservation Plan for Greater Sage-grouse is designed to eliminate threats facing the Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) while balancing economic and social needs of the residents of Utah.

This Plan is anchored around efforts to conserve the species within eleven specifically identified Sage-grouse Management Areas (SGMAs). These SGMAs encompass the highest sage-grouse breeding density areas, which together currently support greater than 94% of the Utah aggregate population of greater sage-grouse. The SGMAs represent the best opportunity for high-value, focused conservation efforts for the species in Utah. Sage-grouse habitat outside the SGMAs is not required for long-term conservation of the species, therefore, no specific management actions for this habitat are recommended or required in the Plan. Private lands, county or municipally owned lands, and SITLA lands will require the acquisition of voluntarily negotiated incentive-based covenants, easements, leases, or other legal tools to achieve conservation purposes within Sage-grouse Management Areas. Go to plan now [PDF, 9.9mb].

Washington

Washington has enacted conservation measures for the sage-grouse as identified in the Washington State Recovery Plan for the Greater Sage-Grouse. Washington has also re-introduced sage-grouse into certain regions of the state.

Wyoming

Wyoming continues to implement its Sage-Grouse Executive Order (SGEO) through the regulatory authority of its state agencies, and collaboration with industry, federal land management agencies, and local sage-grouse working groups. The Sage-Grouse Implementation Team continues to provide an effective forum for coordination of sage-grouse conservation efforts among all stakeholders, statewide.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) coordinated the development of the Density Disturbance Calculation Tool (DDCT) and an online application for the DDCT process. The DDCT is a primary project evaluation tool for applying the SGEO's disturbance stipulations to projects within sage-grouse core areas. All Density Disturbance Calculations are reviewed by the WGFD for compliance with the SGEO for state and federal agencies.