conservation

We provide scientific reports, project profiles, technical tools, videos, photos, field guides, and links that tell the story of how cooperative conservation is making a difference for working lands and wildlife across the West.

New science incorporates genetics and connectivity into sage grouse conservation
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New science incorporates genetics and connectivity into sage grouse conservation

New research adds connectivity to sage grouse conservation strategies, opening new opportunities for conserving travel pathways that facilitate gene flow among sage grouse ...
New Year, New Connections, New Opportunities
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New Year, New Connections, New Opportunities

With two Frameworks for Conservation Action addressing the most pressing threats facing the sagebrush and Great Plains grassland biomes, 2022 promises to be a big year for ...
Great Plains Grasslands Framework in Focus: Wildlife Conservation Through Sustainable Ranching
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Great Plains Grasslands Framework in Focus: Wildlife Conservation Through Sustainable Ranching

Dig into the Framework for Conservation Action in the Great Plains Grasslands ...
USDA-NRCS Press Release: New Frameworks Guide Conservation Action on America’s Working Rangelands
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USDA-NRCS Press Release: New Frameworks Guide Conservation Action on America’s Working Rangelands

Learn about the new Framework for Conservation Action in the Sagebrush Biome through this post and a webinar on April 8th, ...
Working Lands Snapshot | WILDFLOWERS
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Working Lands Snapshot | WILDFLOWERS

Learn all about wildflowers, also called forbs, in this Western Working Lands ...
A Conservation Dream Come True
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A Conservation Dream Come True

This story originally appeared in Nebraskaland Magazine, the magazine of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Reposted here with permission.
A Landowner’s Journey to Using Prescribed Fire – Repost – Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
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A Landowner’s Journey to Using Prescribed Fire – Repost – Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

Jim Jenkins worked to remove eastern redcedar trees from his Nebraska ranch for years, with limited success. Then he learned about how prescribed fire could do the work for ...
Ask an Expert | Mitch Faulkner, 2020 Rangeland Management Specialist of the Year, Talks Partnerships and More
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Ask an Expert | Mitch Faulkner, 2020 Rangeland Management Specialist of the Year, Talks Partnerships and More

Mitch Faulkner, 2020 NRCS Rangeland Management Specialist of the Year, talks about the partnerships that have advanced rangeland conservation across boundaries in South ...
Western Working Lands Snapshot | The Great Basin
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Western Working Lands Snapshot | The Great Basin

Learn about the fascinating topography, natural history, and conservation challenges within the Great Basin, a huge swath of western rangeland in Nevada, Idaho, California, ...
Ask an Expert | When it comes to sage grouse habitat: Don’t sweat the small stuff
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Ask an Expert | When it comes to sage grouse habitat: Don’t sweat the small stuff

Ask a Expert | When it Comes to Sage Grouse Habitat, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff: A Conversation with Joe Smith, Working Lands for Wildlife ...
Conserving prairies for chickens helps millions of songbirds too
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Conserving prairies for chickens helps millions of songbirds too

Science to Solutions | New research shows that implementing conservation practices like prescribed grazing increases songbird populations in the southern Great Plains, while ...
Western Working Lands for Wildlife 2019 Workshop – Rangeland Resiliency
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Western Working Lands for Wildlife 2019 Workshop – Rangeland Resiliency

Read about the workshop and conference in Twin Falls, Idaho and follow along with the second-day field tour across Idaho and ...
Sustainable Ranching in Utah: A Boon For Wildlife And Livestock
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Sustainable Ranching in Utah: A Boon For Wildlife And Livestock

Sustainable Ranching in Utah: A Boon for Wildlife and Livestock | Read how Stephen and Kris Ellis keep their family tradition alive and strong on the Circle Bar ...
Sage Grouse Populations Grow When Conifers are Removed
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Sage Grouse Populations Grow When Conifers are Removed

Ask an Expert - Andrew Olsen explains his research that shows sage grouse populations rise 12% following sustained and targeted conifer ...
Big Picture of Woodland Management in Sagebrush Country
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Big Picture of Woodland Management in Sagebrush Country

Science to Solutions - New research highlights reduction and expansion of conifer encroachment in sagebrush ...
Woody Invasion Impacts Water on Great Plains
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Woody Invasion Impacts Water on Great Plains

Science to Solutions - New research details impacts to water from encroaching eastern redcedar and other conifers on landscapes in the Great Plains. Similar impacts occur on ...
Patterns in Rangeland Productivity and Land Ownership and What They Mean for Conservation
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Patterns in Rangeland Productivity and Land Ownership and What They Mean for Conservation

Ask an Expert: Dr. Brady Allred, Associate Professor of Rangeland Ecology, University of Montana | Patterns in Rangeland Productivity and Land Ownership and What They Mean for ...
How Can Emerging Technology Help Conserve Rangeland?
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How Can Emerging Technology Help Conserve Rangeland?

Research scientist Dr. Matthew Jones explains how cloud computing and machine learning are changing the way we visualize and manage ...
Oregon Ranchers Sustain “Heart Of The Desert”
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Oregon Ranchers Sustain “Heart Of The Desert”

Maintaining an “emerald island” in the middle of the desert is no small task. Here’s how the Fitzgeralds do it on their Oregon ...
Partnering To Conserve A Sagebrush Landscape
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Partnering To Conserve A Sagebrush Landscape

Innovative partnerships with private landowners and public land managers on working rangelands in Southwest Montana are conserving sagebrush ...
NEW SCIENCE | Middle Ground Found On The Range
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NEW SCIENCE | Middle Ground Found On The Range

New research shows grazing access to public lands in the western U.S. can be good for ranching and ...
New Technology For Landowners And Resource Managers Revolutionizes Rangeland Monitoring
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New Technology For Landowners And Resource Managers Revolutionizes Rangeland Monitoring

by Justin Fritscher, NRCS | New free app provides the first-ever vegetation cover maps for rangelands from the Great Plains to the Pacific ...
What Is Low-Tech Stream Restoration?
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What Is Low-Tech Stream Restoration?

River expert Joe Wheaton explains how simple, cost-effective, hand-built structures are helping repair streams across the ...
Range Conservation Across Continents: What Australia and America Have In Common
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Range Conservation Across Continents: What Australia and America Have In Common

Field tour in Wyoming illustrates how voluntary conservation strategies working on behalf of America's sage grouse can also help Australia's ...
Combatting Cheatgrass On Private Ranch Lands In Wyoming Benefits Sage Grouse
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Combatting Cheatgrass On Private Ranch Lands In Wyoming Benefits Sage Grouse

Learn how Wyoming landowner DeWitt Morris is working with the NRCS-led Sage Grouse Initiative to create a model for other ranchers on how to thwart invasive cheatgrass on ...
Lessons & Photos from SGI’s 8th Annual Workshop: Combating Wildfire & Weeds
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Lessons & Photos from SGI’s 8th Annual Workshop: Combating Wildfire & Weeds

The 2018 SGI field tour and presentations focused on cooperative, science-based conservation that's working to thwart fire and invasives in sagebrush ...
#FridaysOnTheFarm: Restoring Sagebrush Country With ‘Modern Wildfire’
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#FridaysOnTheFarm: Restoring Sagebrush Country With ‘Modern Wildfire’

Through the Sage Grouse Initiative (SGI), private landowners across Eastern Oregon are volunteering to perform proactive conservation treatments on their rangeland to promote ...
NEW SCIENCE: Visualizing Sage Grouse Habitat As “Hubs & Spokes”
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NEW SCIENCE: Visualizing Sage Grouse Habitat As “Hubs & Spokes”

New research helps prioritize sage grouse conservation by ranking the importance of leks to the species' overall genetic connectivity across the range, likening certain areas ...
Idaho Models “3 C’s”: Collaboration, Cooperation, Conservation
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Idaho Models “3 C’s”: Collaboration, Cooperation, Conservation

In Idaho, agencies and landowners are working together across boundaries to restore sagebrush ...
Harnessing Technology Improves Conservation Effectiveness
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Harnessing Technology Improves Conservation Effectiveness

Innovative Web App increases conservation effectiveness on working lands in the American West by matching the right practices to the right places using emerging science and ...
30 Videos Now Available on Science & Management in Sagebrush Country
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30 Videos Now Available on Science & Management in Sagebrush Country

View free, on-demand replays on YouTube of educational presentations about the science and management of sagebrush ...
New Online Tool Shows Songbird Abundance Across Sagebrush Country
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New Online Tool Shows Songbird Abundance Across Sagebrush Country

Check out the latest map additions to the SGI Web App, which allow users to easily visualize songbird distribution, bolstering multi-species conservation across the American ...
Bats, Butterflies, Bobwhites and More! New Videos About Working Lands For Wildlife
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Bats, Butterflies, Bobwhites and More! New Videos About Working Lands For Wildlife

Learn how NRCS has been scaling up the cooperative, science-based conservation model that's working for sagebrush wildlife to focal landscapes across ...
FAIR CHASE Magazine | The Value of Sagebrush Country
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FAIR CHASE Magazine | The Value of Sagebrush Country

by Josh Millspaugh | This feature in the December 2017 issue of Fair Chase Magazine highlights how sage grouse conservation benefits hunters and a host of wildlife ...
VIDEOS | Meet The Thomas Family, Sustainable Ranchers in Idaho
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VIDEOS | Meet The Thomas Family, Sustainable Ranchers in Idaho

Watch short videos to hear how and why two young ranchers have put in place conservation practices that benefit the bird and their ...
What’s It Like To Photograph Sage Grouse?
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What’s It Like To Photograph Sage Grouse?

Wildlife photographer, Noppadol Paothong, spent 5 years on his newly released book, Sage Grouse: Icon of the West. Learn how and why he created this beautiful book featuring ...
BUGLE Magazine | Sage Grouse + Elk = Peanut Butter & Jelly
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BUGLE Magazine | Sage Grouse + Elk = Peanut Butter & Jelly

Bugle Magazine, a publication of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, published this feature story on the value of conserving sagebrush country in its Nov/Dec 2017 ...
Introducing ‘Sagebrush Connections’, A Magazine About Proactive Conservation Partnerships
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Introducing ‘Sagebrush Connections’, A Magazine About Proactive Conservation Partnerships

by Thad Heater | The inaugural issue of our new partnership magazine focuses on conserving water resources in sagebrush ...
Local Partners Mimic Beavers To Restore Streams In Wyoming
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Local Partners Mimic Beavers To Restore Streams In Wyoming

SGI field conservationist Mandi Hirsch shares emerging "beaver dam analogue" technology with local partners, which is paying dividends for working lands and wildlife near ...
Webinar: Estimating The Economic Impact Of Sage Grouse Conservation On Ranches
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Webinar: Estimating The Economic Impact Of Sage Grouse Conservation On Ranches

When: Friday, September 29, 2017  |  10:00 AM MST Host: University of Wyoming Watch the On-Demand Replay ...
Do Elk Need Sagebrush?
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Do Elk Need Sagebrush?

Historically, elk were found in all but five states in the U.S. However, due to over-hunting, elk populations declined from more than 10 million to less than 100,000 by the ...
Inmates Are Growing Sagebrush in Western Prisons for Wildlife Conservation
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Inmates Are Growing Sagebrush in Western Prisons for Wildlife Conservation

By Ben Long in Outdoor Life | People incarcerated in state prisons in the West are working to help secure the future of the native big game and game birds of the American ...
Grazing Management In Perspective: A Compatible Tool For Sage Grouse Conservation
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Grazing Management In Perspective: A Compatible Tool For Sage Grouse Conservation

New research shows that — done right — livestock grazing may help conserve sage grouse habitat by keeping working ranches profitable and ...
New State of the Birds Report: Farm Bill Pays Off For People & Birds
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New State of the Birds Report: Farm Bill Pays Off For People & Birds

The Farm Bill is America’s single largest source of conservation funding for private lands. The 2017 'State of the Birds' report shows the many benefits its programs have ...
Meet Greg: A Sagebush Habitat Hero
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Meet Greg: A Sagebush Habitat Hero

by Jodi Stemler | Check out this multimedia story about how an SGI-enrolled rancher is leading the way in stewarding working lands and wildlife on his ranch in Colorado's ...
Stewardship With Vision | David Spicer Conserves Habitat In Nevada
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Stewardship With Vision | David Spicer Conserves Habitat In Nevada

Nevada rancher and miner shares his story of why he believes in conserving Nevada's Oasis Valley in a new video produced by the Western Landowners ...
“Ranching Gone Right,” Thanks To Partners Like The Nature Conservancy
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“Ranching Gone Right,” Thanks To Partners Like The Nature Conservancy

As a valued partner in the Sage Grouse Initiative, The Nature Conservancy works with landowners across the range on innovative grazing systems, conservation easements, and ...
Chords For Conservation: Music Inspired By The Sagebrush Sea
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Chords For Conservation: Music Inspired By The Sagebrush Sea

Listen to this just-released song by the River Whyless -- featuring a new instrument created in honor of the sage grouse -- which was inspired by the band's experiences in the ...
A New Approach For Turning Science Into Action
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A New Approach For Turning Science Into Action

Learn more about the "coproduction of actionable science." At the Sage Grouse Initiative, it means a lot of phone calls, coffee chats, field tours, and honest conversations ...
Realizing “The True Potential” For Working Lands And Wildlife In Sagebrush Country
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Realizing “The True Potential” For Working Lands And Wildlife In Sagebrush Country

The NRCS-led Sage Grouse Initiative continues to build field capacity, expand our science team, and strengthen partnerships across the sagebrush landscape. Read our latest ...
New Research Provides Insights into Sage Grouse DNA
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New Research Provides Insights into Sage Grouse DNA

by Jennifer Hayes and Brianna Randall | New SGI research finds five genetic subpopulations of sage grouse in Montana and the Dakotas, which are synonymous with the existing ...
Tracking Success – 2016 Report | Maintaining Momentum To Conserve Sagebrush Country
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Tracking Success – 2016 Report | Maintaining Momentum To Conserve Sagebrush Country

As the Sage Grouse Initiative finishes our 6th year, we are proud to be a model for how to enhance working lands and wildlife. Check out our "Tracking Success - 2016 Report" ...
A Special Recipe For Saving Sage Grouse | Wildlife Photographic Magazine Feature
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A Special Recipe For Saving Sage Grouse | Wildlife Photographic Magazine Feature

by Brianna Randall | This multi-media story about the Sage Grouse Initiative is the feature in the new issue of Wildlife Photographic Magazine. Learn more about SGI's ...
Report: Maintaining Sagebrush-Covered Landscapes Keeps Water on the Land for Ranchers and Wildlife
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Report: Maintaining Sagebrush-Covered Landscapes Keeps Water on the Land for Ranchers and Wildlife

by Justin Fritscher | Removing invading conifer trees improves the health of sagebrush ecosystems, providing better habitat for wildlife and better forage for livestock. And ...
Helmick Family Conserves Vital Habitat For Sage Grouse In Idaho
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Helmick Family Conserves Vital Habitat For Sage Grouse In Idaho

To this multi-generational family, conservation and ranching are one and the same. Learn how they've worked with SGI to increase carrying capacity and grass production for the ...
BREAKING NEWS: BLM Signs Agreement To Expand Collaborative Sagebrush Conservation Model
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BREAKING NEWS: BLM Signs Agreement To Expand Collaborative Sagebrush Conservation Model

A new partnership between the Bureau of Land Management and the Intermountain West Joint Venture will build on the successful model pioneered by the NRCS-led Sage Grouse ...
New Web-Based Tool Helps Save Sage Grouse From Fence Collisions
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New Web-Based Tool Helps Save Sage Grouse From Fence Collisions

SGI's interactive web app now features a map layer that helps land managers prioritize where to mark high-risk fences to protect birds. This user-friendly tool allows ranchers ...
SGI Introduces New Resources That Show Why Roots Matter in the Sage-Steppe
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SGI Introduces New Resources That Show Why Roots Matter in the Sage-Steppe

In the West's sagebrush sea, most of the plant matter grows below your feet -- just like an upside-down forest. SGI is releasing a new poster and postcard that show the ...
Conservation Integral At O’Tooles’ Ladder Ranch in Wyoming
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Conservation Integral At O’Tooles’ Ladder Ranch in Wyoming

Pat and Sharon O’Toole make their living by ranching on the sagebrush sea along the Wyoming-Colorado border. They raise sheep and cattle, sage grouse and trout, as well as ...
Montana Outdoors Magazine | “Ranching the Best Hope for Grassland Songbirds”
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Montana Outdoors Magazine | “Ranching the Best Hope for Grassland Songbirds”

by Catherine Wightman | Ranchers manage their land to sustain grass production, which benefits bovines and birds on Montana's agricultural ...
Growing Spirit of Collaboration, Partnership & Innovation is “The West at its Best”
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Growing Spirit of Collaboration, Partnership & Innovation is “The West at its Best”

By Jason Weller and Larry Selzer | This opinion article by USDA-NRCS Chief Weller and The Conservation Fund President and CEO, Larry Selzer describes how the Sage Grouse ...
CSU Researcher’s Work Boosts Sage Grouse Conservation Project
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CSU Researcher’s Work Boosts Sage Grouse Conservation Project

by Mary Guiden | “The new web app and map make sure people on the ground have the best science," says Dave Naugle, SGI Science ...
Partnerships on the Range Continue to Accelerate Conservation
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Partnerships on the Range Continue to Accelerate Conservation

Our team of dedicated and enthusiastic range conservationists, wildlife biologists, and natural resource specialists make a difference for landowners and for wildlife across ...
A Game-Changing Approach to Conservation in the West
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A Game-Changing Approach to Conservation in the West

“My neighbors have all been getting on board one by one, now that they are seeing how well it’s working,” says Oregon rancher John O’Keeffe. Read this opinion piece by ...
Human Connections Drive Habitat Conservation
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Human Connections Drive Habitat Conservation

By Tiffany Russell | This blog is about connecting people to talk about how wildlife and humans can thrive together. It describes a recent Ranch Conservation Tour, co-hosted ...
Saving Sage Grouse | Conserving Montana’s Largest Game Bird
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Saving Sage Grouse | Conserving Montana’s Largest Game Bird

By Brianna Randall. Stamping my feet on the frozen ground, I waited impatiently for an elusive football-sized bird to appear in the murky pre-dawn light. A spotting scope ...
Building Bridges | Ranchers Are Stewards of the Land
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Building Bridges | Ranchers Are Stewards of the Land

In recent years, a new appreciation is taking hold in the West about the role and benefits of sustainable ranching. The article below captures the essence of why we believe ...
Ranchers and Conservationists Combine to Help Sage Grouse
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Ranchers and Conservationists Combine to Help Sage Grouse

Two national conservation leaders from the USDA-NRCS and the National Audubon Society co-wrote this recent editorial about how targeted, proactive conservation on agricultural ...
Sage Grouse Conservation Leaders Recognized in California & Nevada
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Sage Grouse Conservation Leaders Recognized in California & Nevada

This month, SGI and SWAT staff gathered together on the California-Nevada border to share notes, and learn from the unprecedented conservation efforts centered around the ...
New Sage Grouse Strategy Unveiled: $760 Million Invested by 2018
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New Sage Grouse Strategy Unveiled: $760 Million Invested by 2018

The Sage Grouse Initiative has enrolled 1,129 ranchers to conserve 4.4 million acres. We plan to double those numbers by 2018 with a new investment strategy that invests ...
Where the Sage Grouse Roam: Ranching for Conservation in Colorado
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Where the Sage Grouse Roam: Ranching for Conservation in Colorado

This story on Colorado rancher Wes McStay's conservation practices comes from "Where the sage grouse roam" by Lauren Blair. This 3-part series appeared in the Craig Daily ...
National Geographic Story: Can Sage-Grouse Be Saved Without Shutting Down the West?
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National Geographic Story: Can Sage-Grouse Be Saved Without Shutting Down the West?

Last week, National Geographic Magazine featured an in-depth story on sage grouse, including SGI's conservation efforts centered around these dwindling upland ...
New SGI Science to Solutions Report: Sage Grouse Conservation Benefits Migratory Mule Deer
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New SGI Science to Solutions Report: Sage Grouse Conservation Benefits Migratory Mule Deer

Sage grouse habitat conservation protects critical habitat for mule deer, according to a study highlighted in the newest Sage Grouse Initiative Science to Solutions ...
Sage Grouse Conservation Benefits Migratory Mule Deer
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Sage Grouse Conservation Benefits Migratory Mule Deer

This report shows how habitat conservation for sage grouse, considered an umbrella species, can also protect critical habitat for mule deer. Scientists found that sage grouse ...
SGI “Outcomes in Conservation” Report Demonstrates Positive Impact of $300 Million Investment in West
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SGI “Outcomes in Conservation” Report Demonstrates Positive Impact of $300 Million Investment in West

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) today issued a report showing that since 2010 USDA and its partners in the Sage Grouse Initiative (SGI) have worked with ...
SGI Webinar: Intro to Greater Sage-Grouse Conservation in the U.S.
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SGI Webinar: Intro to Greater Sage-Grouse Conservation in the U.S.

Listen as Sage Grouse Initiative range conservationist Kelsey Molloy explains how partners work to conserve the Greater Sage-Grouse in the Western ...
Webinar on Sage Grouse Conservation from 2010-2015
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Webinar on Sage Grouse Conservation from 2010-2015

This webinar from NRCS Chief Jason Weller shows maps and metrics detailing the remarkable conservation success story of the Sage Grouse Initiative to ...
USDA Sage-Grouse Conservation Efforts to Continue and Grow
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USDA Sage-Grouse Conservation Efforts to Continue and Grow

The NRCS Chief explains how the Sage Grouse Initiative has become a model for voluntary, incentive-based conservation at its best over the past 5 ...
Private Lands Vital to Conserving Wet Areas for Sage Grouse Summer Habitat
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Private Lands Vital to Conserving Wet Areas for Sage Grouse Summer Habitat

An impressive 85% of leks (sage grouse breeding areas) cluster within six miles of wet summer habitats. Successful sage grouse conservation will hinge on cooperative ...
Predicting the Outcome of Wyoming’s Sage Grouse Conservation Strategy
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Predicting the Outcome of Wyoming’s Sage Grouse Conservation Strategy

This recent study by The Nature Conservancy, University of Wyoming and the Sage Grouse Initiative finds that Wyoming’s strategy, combined with targeted conservation ...
Predicting the Outcome of Wyoming’s Sage Grouse Conservation Strategy
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Predicting the Outcome of Wyoming’s Sage Grouse Conservation Strategy

Read the Press Release here. Download the PDF of the Science to Solutions report “Predicting the Outcome of Wyoming’s Sage Grouse ...