SALEM, Ore.—The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife today released a five-year update to the greater sage-grouse conservation plan for public review. The revision of the document, Greater Sage-Grouse Conservation Assessment and Strategy for Oregon, builds on the original 2005 plan and includes accomplishments to date, refined population estimates, core-area mapping and mitigation recommendations.
“The new mapping effort lets us take a strategic look at priority habitats,” said Christian Hagen, ODFW Sage-Grouse Conservation Coordinator and lead author of the plan. “We now have solid data to use as a benchmark going forward.”
An important addition to the plan is categorization of sagebrush habitat based on sage-grouse lek (breeding ground) density and habitat connectivity. Category one habitats are proposed as “no development;” category two habitats are recommended as limited development with “no net loss with net benefit.”
The draft plan is available to view on ODFW’s website. Request a print copy from the Wildlife Division, ODFW Headquarters, 3406 Cherry Avenue NE, Salem, OR 97303.
Written comments will be accepted through Oct. 1, but to be included in the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission information briefing materials, comments must be received by Aug. 17. They can be mailed to the headquarters’ address or e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A briefing on the updated draft plan will be presented to the Commission at its Sept. 2 meeting in Hillsboro. The public is invited to attend the meeting and comment on the plan. After considering public comment, the plan is scheduled for presentation and proposed for adoption at the Commission’s Oct. 1 meeting in Bend.
In addition to ODFW staff, editors and contributors include staff from Oregon State University, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Natural Resource Conservation Service, US Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service and Oregon Department of State Lands as well as individuals representing private landowners and the John Day-Snake and Southeast Oregon Resource Advisory Councils.
In March 2010, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined that protection of the greater sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act was warranted. However, listing the greater sage-grouse was precluded at the time by the need to address other species listings facing greater risk of extinction. The sage-grouse is now a candidate species for listing. The primary threats to the sage-grouse across its range are: habitat loss and fragmentation (including wildfire); invasive plants; energy development; urbanization and agricultural conversion and grazing.
The Oregon Conservation Strategy identifies the greater sage-grouse as a species in need of conservation. Learn more about its critical habitats—sagebrush steppe and shrublands—in the habitat section of the Strategy.
Find the greater sage-grouse plan on ODFW’s website
Find greater sage-grouse photos on Flickr