Endangered Species
Mountain-Prairie Region
GREATER SAGE-GROUSE
 
     greater sage-grouse


 

Conservation Objectives Team

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is making available a final report that is designed to help guide the efforts of the States and other partners to conserve the greater sage-grouse with a landscape level strategy. The report, prepared by state and federal scientists and sage-grouse experts, identifies the conservation status of the sage-grouse, the nature of the threats facing the species, and objectives to ensure its long-term conservation.

To view the report, please click HERE

 

The greater sage-grouse is a large, rounded-winged, ground-dwelling bird, up to 30 inches long and two feet tall, weighing from two to seven pounds.  It has a long, pointed tail with legs feathered to the base of the toes. Females are a mottled brown, black, and white. Males are larger and have a large white ruff around their neck and bright yellow air sacks on their breasts, which they inflate during their mating display.  The birds are found at elevations ranging from 4,000 to over 9,000 feet and are highly dependent on sagebrush for cover and food.

Currently, greater sage-grouse are found in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, eastern California, Nevada, Utah, western Colorado, South Dakota and Wyoming and the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan and occupy approximately 56 percent of their historical range.

After a thorough analysis of the best available scientific information, the Fish and Wildlife Service has concluded that the greater sage-grouse warrants protection under the Endangered Species Act. However, the Service has determined that proposing the species for protection is precluded by the need to take action on other species facing more immediate and severe extinction threats.

As a result, the greater sage-grouse will be placed on the list of species that are candidates for Endangered Species Act Protection. The Service will review the status of the species annually, as it does with all candidate species, and will propose the species for protection when funding and workload priorities for other listing actions allow.

Evidence suggests that habitat fragmentation and destruction across much of the species’ range has contributed to significant population declines over the past century. If current trends persist, many local populations may disappear in the next several decades, with the remaining fragmented population vulnerable to extinction.

However, the sage-grouse population as a whole remains large enough and is distributed across such a large portion of the western United States that the needs of other species facing more immediate and severe threat of extinction must take priority.

Recent Actions: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is making available a draft Environmental Assessment (EA) and a draft umbrella conservation agreement to augment ongoing efforts to enhance the abundance and distribution of the greater sage-grouse throughout its historical range in Wyoming. The purpose of the umbrella conservation agreement, known as a Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA), is to encourage landowners to voluntarily implement conservation measures to conserve, restore, or enhance habitat for the greater sage-grouse on non-Federal lands in Wyoming. In return, participating landowners and land managers would receive regulatory assurances concerning land use restrictions that might otherwise apply to them should the greater sage-grouse become protected under the ESA.

Background Information on Greater Sage-Grouse Conservation

Also included in this finding are two additional and related actions: (1) whether there is a western subspecies of greater sage-grouse; and (2) if the sage-grouse populations in the Bi-State area of California and Nevada quality as Distinct Population Segments (DPS) and if they warrant listing.

For more information:

Video clips of male breeding behavior

Archives

More information can be found at the Service's ECOS webpage

Last updated: June 25, 2014