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What threatens sage-grouse and their habitats?

No single factor is the cause of declining sage-grouse populations. But the WAFWA Assessment and the BLM National Strategy identify a number of factors that, since the beginning of settlement in the West, have adversely affected the number of birds and the amount, distribution and quality of sagebrush habitats:

  • habitat loss and degradation
  • sagebrush destruction
  • habitat fragmentation
  • woodland encroachment
  • drought
  • altered fire regimes
  • weed infestation
  • rehabilitation challenges
  • pesticide applications
  • built structures (water developments, fences, power lines, wind turbines, etc.)

The BLM National Sage-Grouse Habitat Conservation Strategy contains 48 actions the help maintain, enhance and restore sagebrush habitats on the public lands.  Through State-level strategies and Resource Management Plans, BLM State and Field Offices integrate these actions with other approved uses of public lands, such as livestock grazing, recreation, mining, fire management and energy development.


The Department of Interior's Healthy Lands Initiative would further support sage-grouse habitat conservation and restoration in key landscapes across the West.  The Initiative undertakes landscape-level restoration to enhance sensitive wildlife habitat and ensure continued multiple use of public lands.  Many of the factors impacting sage-grouse in the fast-changing West also adversely affect other uses of public lands.


The BLM Vegetation Treatment Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement and Programmatic Environmental Report will guide the use of herbicides to treat vegetation on approximately 932,000 acres annually in 17 western states in the United States (including Alaska), and treatment of 5.1 million acres by other means, including prescribed fire and manual, mechanical, and biological methods.  Vegetation management directly addresses a number of the conditions that adversely affect sage-grouse habitat.


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Last updated: 03-05-2010