New investments in sage grouse conservation

Professor Dave Naugle, who also serves as Science Advisor to the Sage Grouse Initiative, is leading the conservation partnership's newly funded strategy to protect the greater sage grouse. U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a renewed commitment to voluntary, incentive-based conservation efforts to bring back sage grouse populations. Vilsack unveiled the Sage Grouse Initiative 2.0 Investment Strategy, which includes an additional $211 million in Farm Bill funding for proactive and cooperative conservation efforts in the West.

SGI's cooperative work with private landowners and diverse partners is living proof that wildlife and agriculture can coexist and thrive together. SGI 2.0 estimates that a total of $760 million will be invested by 2018 in cooperative efforts that restore sagebrush habitat, enhance working landscapes, and protect this iconic Western bird. 

Dollars:

  • cows and birds - sgi 2.0 tw numbers$296.5 million from NRCS since 2010
  • $128 million from partners since 2010
  • $211 million from NRCS FY 2015-18
  • $124.5 million from partners FY 2015-18

$760 million in total

Results:

  • Enrolled 1,129 ranchers
  • Conserved 4.4 million acres
  • Established 451,000 acres of conservation easements
  • Implemented sustainable grazing systems on 2.4 million acres
  • Enhanced 405,241 acres of habitat by removing invading conifer trees

By 2018, SGI expects to conserve a total of eight million acres of habitat

SGI 2.0 lays out a suite of proactive conservation actions that address the primary threats to sage grouse and their habitat. The new strategy lays out a framework for objectives and priority areas to reduce the threats from:

  • Fire and Invasive Annual Grasses
  • Invasive Conifers
  • Exurban Development
  • Cultivation of Grazing Lands
  • Mesic (Wet) Area Loss and Degradation
  • Fence Collisions

Read more: SGI web site; Washington Post news story; blog post by Secretary Vilsack