Funding Available to Improve Sage Grouse Habitat in Idaho
Kris Berg, Assistant State Conservationist for Programs
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Ron Brooks, Resource Conservationist, 208.378.5724
Boise, Idaho, June 13, 2014–The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service has funding available to help farmers and ranchers protect declining sage-grouse populations and habitat in Idaho. Applications received before July 18, 2014, will be ranked for fiscal year 2014 funding.
Financial assistance from the Sage Grouse Initiative (SGI) helps put specific conservation practices in place to improve sage-grouse habitat or reduce threats to bird survival. These practices may also improve rangeland conditions.
“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.”
Since the first year of the initiative in 2010, producers across southern Idaho have enhanced sage grouse habitat and improved range condition by:
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; and
Improving grazing systems to incorporate a rest period to improve sage-grouse cover during the nesting season.
“Sage grouse are found at elevations ranging from 4,000 to over 9,000 feet and depend on sagebrush for cover and food,” said Burwell. Declining sage-grouse habitat and populations across the west generated interest in helping the species so that it will not need protection under the Endangered Species Act.
For more information on the initiative, contact your local NRCS office or visit our Web site http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/site/id/home/and click on the Sage Grouse Initiativelink under the Programs heading.
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