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” to see what SGI accomplished this past year.
One year ago today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced an historic decision. The greater sage-grouse did not warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act, said the agency, partly due to unprecedented voluntary conservation partnerships — like the NRCS-led Sage Grouse Initiative — that are working to protect America’s vast sagebrush country.
SGI is proud to be a part of this successful cooperative conservation model. And we’re prouder still that the sagebrush model is spreading. Conservation work with private landowners is providing wins for wildlife all across the country — from birds and rabbits to turtles and fish — through NRCS’ Working Lands for Wildlife.
Last year’s decision on sage grouse doesn’t mean SGI closed up shop. Quite the opposite, in fact. We’re in this for the long haul. We renewed our commitment to conservation practices that benefit the bird and the herd. Our new sage grouse investment strategy, dubbed SGI 2.0, will protect an estimated 8 million acres by 2018 -– an area seven times larger than the Great Salt Lake.
SGI conservation practices benefit the sagebrush ecosystem, as well as the Western way of life. Since 2010, we have worked with dozens of partners and 1,300+ ranchers to conserve over 5+ million acres of prime wildlife habitat and agricultural rangeland. In the Tracking Success – 2016 Report released today, SGI details what we’ve accomplished this past year, as well as since our inception in 2010.
In addition to on-the-ground conservation outcomes, SGI spent the past year continuing to build cooperative partnerships, which are the foundation of our win-win strategy. We believe that people are the key to success on the range, and dedicate time and resources to building trust, bringing on new partners, and maintaining boots on the ground in 11 western states. We also regularly highlight the partners and ranchers who make a difference.
We also continued to fund research, applying science to guide all conservation investments and to measure the resulting outcomes. This past year, SGI provided free tools, like our newly created SGI Web App, and dozens of new resources that help everyone prioritize and plan projects that yield the best results.
Check out the Tracking Success – 2016 Report to learn more about our recent work to benefit ranchers, sage grouse, and the 350+ species who all depend on healthy sagebrush country.