Sage Grouse Initiative – Conservation Through Sustainable Ranching

The Sage Grouse Initiative (SGI) is an innovative way to conserve wildlife, specifically the two sage grouses: Greater Sage-Grouse and Gunnison Sage-Grouse. SGI partners with ranchers, making use of the farm bill to generate conservation-based ranching, improving the landscape for all kinds of wildlife.

Greater Sage Grouse
Photo Courtesy of USFWS Public Domain

SGI has “partnered with 1,856 ranchers to conserve more than 7 million acres across 11 western states.” Their process is science driven, using current, top science and technology to make the best use of resources. Their goal is to not simply focus on acres conserved, but the quality of those acres and their benefit.

The Sage Grouse Initiative does a lot of proactive conservation projects. These include removing invasive grasses and reducing conifers to improve the sage brush habitat. SGI also encourages intact ranches over “ranchettes”, as habitat fragmentation is the number one threat to sage grouse.

SGI works to make a healthy range for ranchers, improve wet areas, and reduce grouse fence collisions.

The Sage Grouse Initiative is part of the NRCS Working Lands for Wildlife, network of projects that span across the United States.

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