Signup Open for Sage-grouse Habitat Improvement Projects

The NRCS recently announced that there will be an increase in funding available this year to help Idaho’s farmers and ranchers protect sage-grouse habitat. This is part of the Sage-grouse initiative, which helps farmers and ranchers implement specific conservation practices that will improve sage-grouse habitat and may also improve rangeland conditions.

Producers can signup now and those applications received before April 15 will be ranked in fiscal year 2011.

“The Sage-grouse Initiative supports both sustainable ranching and healthy sage-grouse populations by focusing on improving rangeland conditions,” said Jeff Burwell, Idaho NRCS State Conservationist.  “Some of the practices used to improve sage-grouse habitat are the same practices required to maintain healthy grazing land for livestock.”

Last year, NRCS helped to fund projects such as:

  • Seeding rangeland to increase availability of sage-grouse food plants and improve livestock forage
  • Installing new fencing and water developments to assist grazing management
  • Removing juniper trees in key breeding, brood-rearing and wintering sites to restore sage-grouse habitat and increase livestock forage production
  • Improving grazing systems to incorporate a rest period to improve sage-grouse cover during the nesting season.

For more information on the initiative visit the NRCS website. To apply for funding, contact Kevin Davidson in the Shoshone field office.

Sagebrush Steppe Restoration

Here’s an interesting presentation on a sagebrush steppe restoration project at a profitable livestock operation in northern Utah. The Deseret Land & Livestock operation wanted to increase certain populations of wildlife, such as sage grouse and mule deer, and generally improve sagebrush habitat by using a proactive grazing management plan matched with several innovative landscape improvement techniques. The presentation shows a number of interesting results – check it out here.