Close up of greater sage grouse. Photo by Bob Wick, BLM.

Greater Sage-grouse

The BLM manages the largest single share of greater sage-grouse habitat in the United States nearly 67 million of 145 million acres total. These same lands sustain Western rural economies built on outdoor recreation, ranching, farming, energy development and small businesses, and are critical for more than 350 other wildlife species  including pronghorn, mule deer and the pygmy rabbit. They are also the headwaters for the West's major river systems. 

For decades, federal, state and private land managers have worked to conserve and restore the sagebrush ecosystem, with federal agencies managing habitat on the lands whose surface they administer and states managing and monitoring wildlife populations.

Moving forward to conserve habitat 

The greater sage-grouse is in sharp decline. Populations once in the millions now number fewer than 800,000, largely due to habitat loss exacerbated by climate change effects, such as drought, increasing wildfires and the spread of invasive species

We have announced a proposal to strengthen greater sage-grouse protections on public lands, informed by the best-available science and input from local, state and federal partners. Alternatives for updating our sage-grouse habitat management plans build on the most successful components of the plans that were adopted in 2015 and revised in 2019

The draft environmental impact statement which analyzes the potential effects of six proposed alternatives opened for public comment on March 15, 2024. The comment period will end on June 13, 2024. 

Read and comment on the Draft EIS 

Even as we engage in planning, the BLM continues to invest in habitat treatments, to restore critical areas and make remaining habitat more resilient to various stressors and threats. 

In addition, we continue analyzing the environmental effects of withdrawing sagebrush focal areas (SFAs) from mineral location and entry using continued engagement with stakeholders and the best available science. 


Male sharptail grouse in a mating dance on the lek. As viewed through a spotting scope.
BLM staff members set out early one morning to photograph greater sage-grouse displaying on a lek. Although they weren't successful, the trip was definitely not wasted.
A wildlife specialist carefully cradles a greater sage-grouse hen
The draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for greater sage-grouse habitat management evaluates proposals to designate some sagebrush lands as areas of critical environmental concern (ACECs).
An overhead view of a sage-grouse lek in northwest Colorado
Greater sage-grouse move from leks to more densely vegetated areas during nesting season. Migratory birds also use sagebrush lands for nesting.
a graphic showing the seasonal relationship between sage-grouse life activities and sagebrush growth cycle
Greater sage-grouse rely completely on sagebrush lands for all aspects of their life cycle. Sagebrush leaves are a year-round food source. Mature sagebrush provides cover...
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Authorizing renewable energy development is a priority for the Department of the Interior, and recently announced rules on permitting solar and wind energy along with...

Habitat in Season 

healthy sagebrush habitat with Big sagebrush, native grasses and flowering plants

Sage-grouse move to more thickly covered habitat after breeding on the leks. Hens need protection while they nest and a more varied mix of sagebrush and grasses to eat.