Sage-grouse Conservation

Wes and his helpers cutting the siding
Wes and his helpers cutting the siding
placing the stickers on the siding
Wes placing the stickers on the siding

Eagle Scout Project Helps Sage-grouse

It’s no surprise that the BLM is working hard to help sage-grouse; their numbers have declined rapidly in recent years, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has identified the bird as “warranted but precluded” for listing under the Endangered Species Act. BLM employees aren’t the only people working to save these important birds; local community members are involved as well. 

After attending an Eagle Court of Honor, Wes Burgener contacted the Idaho Department of Fish and Game with the idea of helping to protect this unique species of bird. After further consultation, the IDFG had Wes contact Devin Englestead, wildlife biologist for the BLM’s Upper Snake Field Office. Fortunately for Wes, Devin had a project already lined up and just needed some manpower to get it going. After a few meetings, Wes began his project of placing reflectors on barbed wire fences. “It was interesting to learn about the birds and the measures the BLM is taking to ensure their survival,” said Burgener. “Devin was able to teach me a lot and it was cool to know that just a little reflector strip could make a difference in the birds survival.”

Livestock fences can be an important tool in managing rangeland by assisting ranchers in completing rest rotation periods and protecting critical riparian areas. Unfortunately, in some locations, fences can pose a problem for other wildlife species, including sage-grouse. While normally not an issue, in some locations (areas with a high sage-grouse concentration, near leks or travel corridors), installation of fences has resulted in fence collisions. Grouse fly to their leks before sunrise and the darkness, combined with the bird’s low flight pattern, make the birds highly susceptible to fence collisions. In addition, predators can also flush the bird into the fence while patrolling their lek areas. In attempts to reduce the death collision rates, the Upper Snake Field Office started marking fences with three-inch strips of vinyl siding and reflective tape in 2010.

Devin had previously identified fences that needed to be marked and thought that an Eagle Scout project would assist this project. So, Wes went to work sending out flyers and coordinating work parties with people in his troop. The BLM supplied the materials and Wes supplied the people. “It took about three days and seven of my friends to build and cut the reflectors for two miles of fence,” said Burgener. “After that, it just took us one day to mark the fence.”

Burgener contacted the private land owner to get permission to place reflectors on land that bordered the BLM's. With the owner’s permission, on August 15, 19 people (15 youth) swarmed the desert in Dubois, Idaho and completed his eagle project.  Over 129 volunteer hours later, Wes and his crew had constructed the reflectors and marked over two miles of fence. When asked what his favorite thing about the project, Burgener replied, “I liked being outdoors and doing something to help nature and improve the future.”

 Wes and his helpers placing stickers on the siding
Wes and his helpers placing stickers on 
the siding 
 A box of completed reflectors
A box of completed reflectors

 Hanging reflectors on the fence
Hanging the reflectors
 Helping hang the reflectors
Helping to hang the reflectors 
 Lots of help!
Wes had a lot of help! 
 Finished!
Wes and his helpers after they finished
hanging the reflectors. 


Environmental Education:
Wildlife Species 


 

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Herbivore Mammals

Jackrabbit
Pygmy rabbit
Desert cottontail
Beaver
Eastern gray squirrel
Red squirrel
Chipmunk
Deer mouse
Kangaroo rat
Meadow vole
Mule deer
Elk
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American pronghorn
Moose


Carnivore Mammals

Bobcat
American badger
River otter
Red fox
Long-tailed weasel
Coyote
Grizzly bear
Mountain lion


Amphibians

Salamanders

Long-toed salamander
Idaho giant salamander
Coeur d'Alene salamander

Frogs and Toads

American bullfrog
Columbia spotted frog
Western toad
Northern leopard frog
Pacific tree frog
Great Basin spadefoot

Reptiles

Snakes

Painted turtle
Northern alligator lizard
Mohave black-collared lizard
Short-horned lizard
Desert horned lizard
Sagebrush lizard
Western fence lizard
Western skink
Side-blotched lizard
Longnosed leopard lizard
Western whiptail


Bats

Western pipistrelle
Western small-footed myotis
Little brown bat
Yuma myotis
Townsend's big-eared bat
Hoary bat
Silver-haired bat
Fringed myotis
Pallid bat

Sensitive Species (not a complete list)

Greater sage-grouse
Pygmy rabbit
No. Idaho ground squirrel
So. Idaho ground squirrel
Canada lynx
Grizzly bear
Selkirk Mtns. woodland caribou
Kootenai White River sturgeon
Bull trout
Sockeye salmon
Chinook salmon
Steelhead trout
Yellow-billed cuckoo


Birds

Waterfowl
Raptors
Songbirds

Fish