The BLM and Sage-grouse Conservation
As the wide open spaces of the West continue to shrink, people increasingly seek access to public lands for all types of commercial and recreational uses. Wildlife species, such as the sage-grouse, depend on these undeveloped spaces too. This puts the BLM at the center of a precarious balancing act, as managers must decide what lands can accommodate which combination of uses while also protecting habitat for a wide range of wildlife species. >>More
The fundamental question-- "where are the sage-grouse?" -- has never before been answered on a range-wide scale. BLM is leading the first cooperative federal-state-private effort that looks at sage-grouse densities in a consistent way across the West using a peer-reviewed scientific methodology, and mapping the results. >>More
Historically, sagebrush--the main habitat for sage-grouse--survived less intense wildfires that occurred infrequently, and the native grasses re-sprouted. But fire cycles have intensified and native plant communities cannot compete with cheatgrass, which spreads rapidly after a fire. Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service considers wildland fire one of the most serious threats to sage-grouse habitat. BLM's policy is aimed at protecting sage-grouse habitat, instructing fire managers to use habitat maps and a set of "best management practices" in making decisions about managing wildfires. >>More
A key to understanding the sage-grouse is knowing where they spend time during different times of the year and tracking the paths they take to get to and from those places. The BLM and western states are using a suite of high-tech tools to locate and track sage-grouse use of the public lands. >>More
For more information on sage-grouse habitat and sagebrush conservation, including details on BLM guidance and land use plans, select this link.