Greater Sage-Grouse

Conserving America's Future

Greater Sage-Grouse.  Credit: USFWS.

Why care about sagebrush?

Sagebrush country may look empty, but it's home to important wildlife and other natural resources. Learn more.

Greater Sage-Grouse in field. Credit: USFWS.

Conservation Partners

Sage-grouse conservation happens on the ground. Learn more about what our partners are doing here.

Greater Sage-Grouse distribution map. Credit: USFWS.


Explore grouse research, maps, fact sheets, official documents and links.

Another 2.3 million acres in Oregon eligible for CCAAs

Friday, March 27, 2015

BEND, Ore. - Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell joined Oregon Governor Kate Brown and U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Under Secretary Ann Mills to announce that all landowners in the eight Eastern and Central Oregon counties with greater sage-grouse habitat are now eligible to enroll their property in a voluntary conservation program that would benefit the large prairie grouse and provide assurances that no additional regulatory measures will be required if the bird is protected under the Endangered Species Act. Read more »

First Greater Sage-Grouse Conservation Bank Launched

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

CHEYENNE, WY - Senior officials from the U.S. Department of the Interior and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service joined Wyoming Governor Matt Mead today in announcing the launch of the nation’s first conservation bank for greater sage-grouse. The Sweetwater River Conservancy will manage a vast expanse of central Wyoming for sage-grouse, mule deer and other wildlife, allowing energy development and other economic activities to proceed on lands elsewhere in the state. Read more »

SGI Report Highlights Five Years of Conservation Success

Thursday, February 12, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) today issued a report showing that since 2010 USDA and its partners in the Sage Grouse Initiative (SGI) have worked with private landowners to restore 4.4 million acres of habitat for sage-grouse while maintaining working landscapes across the West.

"American ranchers are working with us to help sage-grouse because they know they are helping an at-risk bird while also improving the food available for their livestock," said Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Robert Bonnie said.. "As the saying goes, 'What's good for the bird is good for the herd.'" USDA also announced that,it will commit another $200 million to sage-grouse conservation work over the next four years.Read more»

Protecting Sage-Grouse in Harney County, Oregon

Thursday, February 12, 2015

HARNEY COUNTY, OR- In 2014, ranchers in Harney County, Oregon, signed a Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA) with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to preserve more than one million acres of private rangelands to protect the greater sage-grouse and its sagebrush habitat. Two more upcoming agreements will put all non-federal sage-grouse habitat in Oregon into voluntary protection that will offer protections for both the bird and ranchers.Watch video »

WAFWA: Fire, Fuels Key To Grouse Conservation

Friday, January 29, 2015

CHEYENNE, WY- Feedback cycles between invasive species and large intense wildfires effectively fragment habitats, reduce sagebrush cover, and create fire-prone landscape conditions detrimental to sage-grouse. Because fire knows no political boundaries, its management is a coordinated effort among federal, state, tribal and local agencies. A new WAFWA report examines the type and responsiveness of efforts at the federal, state and local level, and presents a series of recommendations to inform future policy and allocation decisions. Read more »

Oregon Cattlemen Back "Salt Tax" For Grouse Conservation

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

ONTARIO, OR- The Oregon Cattlemen's Association is lending its support to an innovative way to raise money to conserve habitat for sagebrush species, including the greater sage-grouse. The Argus Observer reports that the Cattlemen recently agreed to back legislation that would establish a tax on salt, with the proceeds dedicated to sagebrush conservation. Incoming president John O'Keeffe of Adel explained the suggested salt tax would be 1.75 cents per pound of salt content in animal feeds and would raise about $400,000 dollars. The paper reported that the Audubon Society is working on a bird seed tax, which would go to the same dedicated fund.
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Interior Secretary Announces Rangeland Fire Strategy

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

WASHINGTON, DC - Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell has issued a Secretarial Order calling for a comprehensive science-based strategy to address the more frequent and intense wildfires that are damaging vital sagebrush landscapes and productive rangelands, particularly in the Great Basin region of Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Oregon and California.The order establishes a Task Force to work with federal agencies, states, tribes and other partners to protect and restore sagebrush threatened by rangeland fires.
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Service: Grouse Conservation Data Needed

Monday, December 22, 2014

DENVER, CO- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is shifting from data collection to data analysis as it proceeds toward a September 30, 2015 decision about whether the greater sage-grouse still deserves protection under the Endangered Species Act. To ensure the Service has the best available information, officials to submit documentation over the next month pertaining to the many conservation efforts that have been completed or are underway to benefit the species.
Read more »

Study: Grass Height Influences Nest Success

Saturday, December 19, 2014

DENVER, CO- Greater sage-grouse hens that nest in taller grass have better odds of success, at least in northeast Wyoming and neighboring Montana, according to a new study recently published in the journal Wildlife Biology. The study's was not designed to evaluate the relationship between grazing and successful nesting, but provided the foundation for three ongoing studies that will. Findings apply to the study area of northeastern Wyoming and adjacent Montana.
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"Full Steam Ahead" With Sage-Grouse Conservation

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

WASHINGTON DC - An appropriations rider that prohibits the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from proposing an endangered species listing will not interfere with other ongoing sage-grouse conservation efforts, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell Landowners said today. “We are more determined than ever to work with the states, ranchers, energy developers and other stakeholders who are putting effective conservation measures in place with the shared goal of reaching a ‘not warranted’ determination by the end of the fiscal year.”
Read more »

Oregon Landowners Can protect Grouse, Livelihoods

Tuesday, December 3, 2014

PORTLAND, OR - Landowners in Oregon counties with greater sage-grouse will soon have the opportunity to proactively protect their agricultural operations while furthering conservation for this flagship sagebrush species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a multi-county agreement in the Federal Register that could protect more than two million acres of sage-grouse habitat in eastern Oregon. More than 40 landowners have already expressed an interest in enrolling.
Read more »

Masini Ranch an Oasis for Sage-Grouse

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

YERINGTON, NV - South of the Lake Tahoe region in Nevada, the Masini Family raises 2,000 yearlings on an irrigated cattle ranch under the shadow of the Sweetwater Mountains. Their property is literally an oasis in the desert, surrounded by hundreds of square miles of rangeland, meaning it’s a big draw for wildlife and sage grouse.

Read more »

Nature gives Pyron that "little kid" feeling

Thursday, November 5, 2014

BOISE, ID - Jason Pyron, Sage-Grouse Coordinator for the Idaho Fish & Wildlife Office in Boise, found inspiration for working with young people close to home. Pyron's mother was a teacher and education administrator and she passed on the joy of watching youngsters experience something spectacular in nature for the first time. "The future of our wild landscapes and the wildlife that inhabits them depends on young people caring," he says. "

Read more »

What's Good For The Bird Is Also Good For Hunters

Sunday, November 2, 2014

PORTLAND, OR- While the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works to determine if the greater sage grouse should be listed under the Endangered Species Act, it's important to recognize that this decision is about much more than protecting the bird. It's about protecting both an iconic landscape and a way of life in the West, including jobs, businesses and recreational opportunities.
Read more »

Secretary Jewell Commends Ranchers for Conservation

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

PINEDALE, WY - Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell joined Wyoming Governor Matt Mead, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe and local officials on Oct. 15 to recognize the efforts of private Wyoming landowners in conserving the landscape of the American West at a ceremonial signing of nine long-term protection plans for sagebrush habitat – the first of their kind in Wyoming.The ceremony in the Upper Green River Valley, highlighted the leadership of the ranching community and the state of Wyoming in advancing sagebrush protection that benefits both wildlife and future generations of ranchers.
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Greater Sage-Grouse Decision Framework

Thursday, October 2, 2014

DENVER, CO - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Mountain-Prairie Region hosted a webinar today to help federal and state partners and other interested groups better understand the Endangered Species Act and the decision framework for the greater sage-grouse status review process. Presentations on Section 4 of the Act, on the Distinct Population Segment policy, the revised Significant Portion of Range policy, the Policy for Evaluating Conservation Efforts and the overview of the status review are posted under the Endangered Species Act section of our Resources page.
Read more »

Good for the bird, good for the (deer) herd

Monday, September 29, 2014

LANDER, WY - New research reveals that sage-grouse conservation has effectively doubled protection of mule deer migration corridors in the Green River Basin. This is the first study to quantify how migratory mule deer benefit from grouse conservation measures, including Wyoming’s sage grouse “core area” policy and conservation easements.The research was funded in large part by the Natural Resources Conservation Service's Sage Grouse Initiative, with additional funding from the Knobloch Family Foundation, Kaplan Family Foundation and Mule Deer Foundation.
Read more »

Private Lands Key to Sage-Grouse Success

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

MISSOULA, MT - A new study by top sage-grouse researchers underscores the importance of wet meadows and riparian areas on private lands to the success of breeding sage-grouse. Analyzing 28 years of data, lead researcher Patrick Donnelly, a researcher with with Intermountain West Joint Venture, found that while 80 percent of upland nesting sites are on public land, 80 percent of critical summer brood habitat is on private land. Wet meadows provide the cover and insects grouse chicks need to mature.
Read more »

Montana Gov. Bullock Signs Sage-Grouse Order

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

HELENA, MT - Gov. Steve Bullock today signed an executive order establishing a state program to protect sage-grouse habitat while respecting Montanans' private property rights. Bullock also said his budget will include a proposal for a Sage Grouse Stewardship and Conservation Fund to support voluntary, inventive-based private land practices to conserve sage-grouse habitat.
Read more »

Sage-Grouse Mitigation Guidance Now Available

Thursday, September 4, 2014

DENVER, CO- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released a new tool to help ensure that mitigation plans developed by agencies and others pursuing development near greater sage-grouse are consistent and effective in protecting the ground-dwelling bird’s sagebrush habitat. The Framework provides recommendations on mitigation standards and sideboards that can be used to guide the development of compensatory mitigation practices and programs.
Read more »

Service Seeking Greater Sage-Grouse Data

Monday, August 11, 2014

DENVER, CO- The Service is initiating its formal status review of the greater sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act by requesting information from a broad array of state and federal agencies and tribes, along with industry and local conservation partners, about the ground-dwelling bird’s population and efforts to protect its sagebrush habitat.
Read more »

Service Reopens Bi-State DPS Comment Period

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Service has reopened the public comment period for the proposed rule to list the Bi-State Distinct Population Segment of the greater sage-grouse as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. New information on population trends and recent funding commitments from state and federal agencies prompted the decision to seek additional input.
Read more »

Webinar: Mapping Wet Meadows for Grouse

Friday, July 25, 2014

Wet meadows and other moist sites account for less than 2 percent of the landscape, but they're critically important seasonal habitats for sage-grouse. To better help managers manage these important habitats, Sage Grouse Initiative and the Intermountain West Joint Venture have mapped these "mesic" resources. A webinar on August 6 will explain how to apply this new tool.
Read more »

BLM Puts Focus on Fire

Monday July 18, 2014

The Bureau of Land Management is making sage-grouse habitat protection a high natural resource priority, focusing its hazardous fuels program on areas where fire management for sage-grouse habitat protection is most critical. These areas are primarily located in priority habitat in the Great Basin states with the highest probability of wildfire occurrence.
Read more »

Sex, Leks and Videotape

Weds, July 9, 2014

Perhaps the most scrutinized love live since Don Juan's is getting a closer look from a researcher who married robotic technology to some feathery primping and thrown in a wireless video camera. The hen-bot was created by Gail Patricelli, an associate processor in the Department of Evolution and Ecology at the University of California Davis, whose work is profiled in this Grand Junction Daily Sentinel article by reporter Gary Harmon.
Read more »


Shed feathers promise new insights into sage-grouse populations

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Feathers fly each spring when male greater sage-grouse square off on the lek. The lost plumage matters little to the males, but the genetic material in their feathers will give researchers new insights into the secret lives of these iconic sagebrush dwellers. This spring, researchers began collecting feathers from more than 7,000 leks spread across 11 Western states and two Canadian provinces. The data will greatly improve our knowledge of sage-grouse genetics across the bird's 259,000 square-mile range. Movement patterns and population structures revealed by the study will help land use managers identify critically important habitat and promising areas for restoration.
Read more »


BLM finalizes Lander Resource Management Plan

Thursday June 26, 2014

CHEYENNE, WY- Director of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Neil Kornze and Wyoming Governor Matt Mead today announced the final approval of a comprehensive management plan for public lands in central Wyoming. The Lander Resource Management Plan updates a nearly 30-year old document and is the first of the BLM’s resource management plans to address management of important greater sage-grouse habitat. Ninety-nine percent of the Lander area is habitat for the species and 70 percent of the planning area is identified as priority habitat warranting special protection.

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USDA announces $25 million commitment for Bi-State grouse conservation

Friday June 20, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a groundbreaking new commitment from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to accelerate and focus conservation efforts for the Bi-State population of greater sage-grouse that will help landowners implement a range of conservation actions in California and Nevada over the next five to 10 years that are designed to avert a listing of this distinct population segment. The Bureau of Land Management also announced a 10-year, $6.5 million commitment to improve grouse habitat on land that it manages.

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Science on parade as sage-grouse researchers flock to Elko

Thursday June 19, 2014

ELKO, NV- Fearscapes, hen-bots, cryogenically cooled thermal imagers and a host of other state-of-the-art research projects drew the nation's top greater sage-grouse experts to northeastern Nevada for the 29th Western Agencies Sage and Columbian Sharp-tailed Grouse Workshop June 16-19. The conference featured two days of presentations on the latest developments in grouse conservation sandwiched around a tour of northeastern Nevada's sagebrush country.

Read more »

Forest Service adapts to save North Dakota sage-grouse

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The U.S. Forest Service will prepare an environmental impact statement that evaluates changes to the land and resource management plan for the Little Missouri National Grassland in western North Dakota. At just over 1 million acres, the Little Missouri National Grassland is the largest in the federal system and contains some of North Dakota's best remaining sage-grouse habitat. The agency expects to complete a draft EIS by November and the final EIS by June 2015.

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Oregon ranchers embrace opportunity to conserve grouse

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

PORTLAND, OR – Oregon ranchers are embracing an opportunity to further conservation for the greater sage-grouse while working together with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Harney Soil and Water Conservation District.

Read more »

Workshop touts benefits of partnerships in grouse conservation

Monday, May 12th, 2014

TWIN FALLS, ID – A workshop hosted by the Sage Grouse Initiative gave state ranchers an opportunity to learn how working together to protect sage-grouse produces results for their bottom lines.

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State study finds more grouse on grazed lands

Wednesday, May 8th, 2014

A four-year study by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has found that sage-grouse survival increased on study plots occupied by cattle compared with empty sagebrush. The study found nesting success and brood survival was higher in pastures with livestock. The study was conducted in southeast Montana, where many traditional landowners have maintained large expanses of intact sagebrush habitat.

Read more »

Sage-grouse conservation efforts huge

Wednesday, May 8th, 2014

Knowing that the 1993 listing of the spotted owl as a threatened species hurt the logging industry, ranchers are getting aboard efforts to head off a potential Endangered Species Act listing of the greater sage-grouse.

The chicken-sized bird found in 11 Western states has been in decline over the past century because of the loss of sagebrush.

Read more »

Western Governors Defend Their Efforts to Protect the Sage-Grouse

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

In a recent letter to Interior Department Secretary Sally Jewell, the governors offered their third inventory of programs and initiatives that the states are undertaking to preserve the potentially threatened birds.

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Feds spent $77 million to protect sage-grouse in Wyoming since 2010

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

CASPER, WY — Wyoming landowners received nearly $77 million in federal funding during the last three years in exchange for conserving more than 1 million acres to protect greater sage-grouse, recently released government figures show. Under the initiative, the NRCS distributes funding to landowners through a variety of conservation programs. Landowners, in return, agree to place conservation easements or implement environmentally responsible land management practices on their properties.

The release of the NRCS figures came at the request of the Western Governors’ Association, a nonpartisan organization that advocates on behalf of governors in 19 western states.

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Sage-grouse counts remain low

Monday, April 28th, 2014

BISMARK, ND - Results from North Dakota’s spring sage-grouse survey indicate the number of strutting males remains well below management objectives. Therefore, the sage-grouse hunting season will remain closed in 2014. North Dakota Game and Fish Department biologists counted a record low 31 males on six active strutting grounds. Last year, 50 males were counted on 11 active leks in the southwest.

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Carbon County Ranch receives 2014 Leopold Award

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

CHEYENNE, WY - Since 1881, six generations of one Wyoming family have operated the Ladder Ranch in the shadow of Battle Mountain. The ranch raises cattle and sheep on holdings that extend south into Colorado, and provides a home for abundant populations of native trout, big game and sage-grouse. "We have always believed there is no inherent contradiction between production and conservation," said rancher Pat O'Toole. The Ladder Ranch is this year's recipient of the Sand County Foundation's Leopold Award for 2014.
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Comment period extended for bi-state population of greater sage-grouse

April, 7th, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC - The US Fish & Wildlife Service has announced a 60-day extension of the public comment period on the proposal to protect the Bi-State Distinct Population Segment of the greater sage-grouse as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.  The listing proposal designates approximately 1.86 million acres of critical habitat for the species and includes a special rule that would provide increased flexibility for land management practices that are intended to benefit the sage-grouse.

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Funding to help Washington ranchers rest pastures for grouse

Friday, March 21st, 2014

Ranchers in parts of central and eastern Washington may be eligible to receive financial assistance to help protect sage-grouse habitat and improve range conditions for their livestock. Through the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Sage Grouse Initiative and the Working Lands for Wildlife (WLFW) initiative, ranchers have options available for existing grazed ranchlands and expired CRP lands. The initiative is limited to sage-grouse habitat areas of central and eastern Washington.

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New WGA Sage-Grouse Inventory details conservation work in 11 Western states

March, 18th, 2014

In a recent letter to Interior Department Secretary Sally Jewell, western governors offered their third inventory of programs and initiatives that the states are undertaking to preserve greater sage-grouse populations.

Related Content

Letter from Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper
Inventory of State and Local Governments’ Conservation Initiatives for Sage-Grouse
Special Report to the Western Governors

State submits comments to BLM and Forest Service

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

PORTLAND, OR - Governor John Kitzhaber’s top natural resource official urged the Bureau of Land Management to strengthen protections for greater sage-grouse in the final Resource Management Plan to help keep the bird off of the Endangered Species List in comments submitted to the federal agency.

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Fish & Wildlife Service comments on Oregon RMP

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

PORTLAND, OR - The Bureau of Land Management’s preferred alternative for updating protections for greater sage-grouse in its draft Resource Management Plan represents a “meaningful improvement” over current management plans, said Paul Henson, supervisor of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Portland office. However, Henson encouraged his federal counterparts strengthen protections in several areas and clarify how much disturbance the agency would allow in the 70 percent of state-occupied sage-grouse range that the BLM manages.

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Governor urges BLM to consider Colorado grouse plan

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

DENVER, CO - Governor John Hickenlooper has asked the Bureau of Land management to consider an alternative state-based approach to protecting greater sage-grouse as the federal agency finalizes its Resource Management Plan for northwestern Colorado. The Governor asked the BLM to factor in progress made by public and private partnerships on state and private lands as it considers new protections for grouse on federal land administered by the agency. A copy of the letter can be found here.

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South Dakota rancher improves prime sage-grouse habitat

Wednesday, October 1st, 2013

BUFFALO, SD – Rancher Joe Painter credits his grandfather’s love of wildlife as the inspiration for Painter’s decision to improve habitat for sage-grouse on more than 13,000 acres of his wind-swept ranch in recent years. With assistance from the Sage Grouse Initiative, a partnership funded by Natural Resources Conservation Service, Painter joined more than 700 ranchers who have voluntarily enrolled in grazing improvements, conservation easements and conifer removal projects across 11 western states. All are part of the SGI partnership, launched in 2010 to proactively conserve a species that has lost half its historic range.

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