Sage-grouse Restoration Project

 

Please Note: This program has been replaced by the NRCS Restoration Initiative

Restoration Project

The USDA-NRCS/USU Sage-grouse Restoration Project (SGRP) was a cooperative effort involving private landowners, public and private conservation agencies and organizations, and universities in a process to integrate, evaluate, and document the effects of 2002 Farm Bill conservation practices in restoring sagebrush-steppe ecosystems to benefit sage-grouse and other sagebrush obligates.

Partners in this venture included U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS); Utah State University (USU); USU, College of Natural Resources; USU Extension Services; Jack H. Berryman Institute; Western Governors’ Association; WAFWA, Western States Sage and Columbian Sharp-tailed Grouse Technical Committee; North American Grouse Partnership; and Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

NRCS had the lead role in establishing and overseeing the NRCS Sage-grouse Restoration Project. NRCS coordinated with USU to implement the program.

Purpose

The purpose of SGRP was the identification, integration, evaluation, and documentation of effects of 2002 Farm Bill conservation technologies and strategies on sage-grouse and other sagebrush-steppe obligates. This information has been used to assist NRCS, SCDs, state wildlife agency field staff, and private landowners in the planning and implementation of habitat projects and practices on private lands to benefit sage-grouse and other sagebrush-steppe obligate species. The projects contributed to range-wide sage-grouse conservation efforts. This project provided current information on the role of existing conservation practices and technologies relative to conserving sage-grouse and other sagebrush obligate species. The information gained from the multi-state experiments also assisted local sage-grouse working groups in complying with the conservation plan reporting requirements set forth in the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Policy for Evaluation of Conservation Efforts (PECE) When Making Listing Decisions.

Additionally, the SGRP will result in the development of a web-based library that will provide farmers and ranchers with visual information and real-time data regarding the role of NRCS conservation practices in increasing their productivity and natural resource conservation. This information will allow them to optimize the benefits of conservation planning.

Lastly, the SGRP  identified private lands conservation planning needs to a much wider research audience. This ultimately will increase the awareness and involvement of the best researchers in the field to address field-level technology needs.

To address this need, the SGRP included a grants-in-aid program that will provide funds for the design and implementation of research and demonstration projects that will evaluate and communicate the effectiveness of 2002 Farm Bill conservation practices and technology in restoring or enhancing sage-grouse habitat on private lands.

Terry Messmer , Project Principal Investigator

Pete Heard, Director, USDA-NRCS Agricultural Wildlife Conservation Center