Sage Grouse Conservation Partnership
March-May 2018 News and Updates (Sent June 4, 2018)
Federal Updates
Plan Revision--Public Comment Period  A 90-day public comment period is now underway (Federal Register notice published May 4, 2018) on revision of BLM’s 2015 Resource Management Plan Amendments for sage grouse. In Oregon, the draft plan amendment and draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) is narrowly focused. Oregon BLM proposes to make livestock grazing available in 13 key research natural areas (RNAs), which would make an additional 21,959 acres available to livestock grazing in the plan area. The 2015 Greater Sage-grouse plan previously directed that livestock grazing would be unavailable in all or portions of these 13 key RNAs.
When public meetings are set, they will be posted here.

A copy of the Oregon draft plan amendment and DEIS can be obtained via the link below to the BLM ePlanning website, along with the draft resource management plan amendments/draft environmental impact statements for the other six states proposing amendments to their Greater Sage-Grouse plans (national link).

BLM is accepting comments on the DEIS through Aug. 2, 2018. The most useful comments are specific and contain new information related to the proposed action. Comments may be submitted by mail: BLM – Greater Sage-Grouse EIS, P.O. Box 2965, Portland, Oregon, 97208-2965; or online at

Invasive Annual Grass Research--Economic Findings  A recent publication, titled Economics of Annual Grass Control in Eastern Oregon, examined economic gains and losses when treating low, moderate and high levels of annual grass infestation. The financial values are based on three levels of forage production—500;1,000; and 1,500 pounds of forage per acre. The report found that treating low infestations across all three levels of forage production yields a financial gain, ranging from 21 cents to $4.94 per acre. However, treating highly infested areas showed a financial loss of $3.76 to $5.43 per acre, despite the level of forage production. Moderate infestations showed a financial gain with treatment only on sites producing 1,000 or 1,500 pounds per acre of forage. While treatment costs, forage response, and actual numbers will vary with site specific conditions, the findings give landowners a general estimate of financial gains and losses associated with annual grass treatments. Invasive annual grass treatments can be expensive and require periodic maintenance costs to be effective. But if treated appropriately, the land can benefit from increased forage production, reduced erosion, less wildfire risk, better water infiltration, improved habitat, and more.

Outreach and Education As schools close for summer, its a great time to check out NRCS's resources for kids to learn about sage grouse. The "Seriously Sage-Grouse" activity book contains coloring pages, puzzles, and word games that tell about the history of sage-grouse in the West, and about the relationship between ranching and sage grouse today. Most of the materials are at about the fourth-grade level.


Lek Cam Live: Tune in for the spring season of life on the lek. In Partnership with The Nature Conservancy, USFWS has rebooted the Lek Cam, get in on the live-streaming, sage-grouse strutting action:
State Updates

RFPA Summit
Oregon's Rangeland Fire Protection Associations (RFPAs) held their annual fire summit over May 15-16 at the Burns Paiute Tribe's Reservation in Burns.  Oregon Dept. of Forestry (ODF) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) worked with the RFPAs to organize the gathering, which was well attended by RFPA members from across Oregon's sagebrush range, agency staff, and others from Oregon and beyond.  The gathering focused on lessons learned from last year's wildfire season--including the Cinder Butte fire--as well as firefighter safety, with inspiring presentations highlighting the human risk and common bonds inherent in fire fighting.  For more information about past and upcoming Oregon RFPA events, check out their facebook page.

State Agencies are submitting updates on activities funded through the state legislature tied to implementation of the  Oregon Sage-Grouse Action Plan and Executive Order 15-18. The State Action / Executive Order Report for FY 16-18 builds on the 2016 report and will be submitted to Governor’s Natural Resource Office this summer. A copy will be made available through a future iteration of this newsletter.
Direct link to access the State’s Sage-Grouse Action Plan:

Multimedia Communications, Reports and Research

  • WAFWA published a new gap analysis report that  identifies sagebrush conservation priorities with the following news release and AP coverage. Many of you may recognize the name of the media contact. Media Contact: Ken Mayer, 775.741.0098,
  • Recognizing that people are an integral part of the sagebrush landscape, two social science research projects have been funded through the Sagebrush Science Initiative, which is a collaborative project of WAFWA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Land Management. Check it out: Social Science to Inform Sagebrush Conservation Strategy 
  • SageWest has developed a charter, to describe how it operates and builds a network for communications. 
  • Audubon has developed an interactive, online story about sagebrush: Celebrating Sagebrush: The West's Most Important Native Plant
  • While prime lek-viewing time may have passed for this year, the Oregon Birding Association has created the following guide for folks who want to go on self-guided tours.
Sage Grouse in the News*
*Please Note, these news stories/links don’t represent the totality of sage-grouse-related articles in the news, nor do they represent endorsement of any statements or opinions made as part of the story. If you have news stories to share, please pass them along to
Upcoming Event Dates and Funding Deadlines
June 18-21, 2018: 31st Biennial Workshop: Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ Sage and Columbian Sharp-tailed Grouse (Location: Billings, MT)
June 29, 2018 Conservation Funding available through Intermountain West Joint Venture. $1.6 million has been secured from the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program-Agricultural Land Easements funding through Natural Resources Conservation Service Regional, specifically the Conservation Partnership Program project entitled, Southern Oregon and Northeastern California (SONEC) Working Wet Meadows Initiative.
July 5, 2018 pre-proposal due (August 16, 2018 full proposal due) for Sagebrush Landscapes Program 2018 National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is soliciting proposals for projects that conserve, restore and enhance sagebrush and associated habitat.
Dec. 2-5, 2018: 7th National Grazing Lands Conference (Location: Reno, NV)
Sage-Grouse Conservation Partnership Resources 
For the Oregon Explorer landing page with links to the State Action Plan, meeting calendar, technical tools and more:
For meeting agendas, presentations, summaries and related materials; please visit the SageCon Google Drive Folder
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