Through a cooperative agreement between Natural Resources
Conservation Service (NRCS) and COR Enterprises of Billings, COR is
producing thousands of fence markers used to reduce fence collisions by
sage-grouse. COR is a community employment service offering people with
disabilities dignified work opportunities. They recently hit a milestone
reaching 100,000 markers; which translates into nearly 60 miles of
marked fence, the distance between Alzada and Broadus!
The fence markers are just one part of a multifaceted approach to
address threats to sage-grouse, and fence collisions are one of the
least understood or appreciated threats. Fence collisions by sage-grouse
can be widespread and a proven fence-marking method is now available to
reduce strikes by up to 83 percent (Stevens 2011). This said, fences are
very important in the management of rangelands. In properly designed
grazing systems, fences are used to assure rangeland plants have
adequate grazing and rest. The majority of fences do not present
problems for sage-grouse; however, some do in areas of sage-grouse
concentration. COR has enthusiastically answered the call to fill the
void and is manufacturing markers for NRCS’ Sage-grouse Initiative
program participants, the Bureau of Land Management, as well as other
Private landowners who are participating in NRCS’ Sage-Grouse
Initiative are marking fences identified by the program to be a
potential problem for grouse. COR Enterprises standard products are
wood, products such as stakes and laths for construction and
engineering. Their prices are competitive and every product made ensures
that a person with a disability is in a productive work environment.
Working with COR Enterprises is a great opportunity to support
Sage-grouse and people with developmental disabilities at the same time.
The program works like this: Landowners can purchase raw materials to
make the markers from suppliers of their choosing; COR will pick-up the
order and cut it at their shop for a small fee. The markers are made
using vinyl under-sill siding strips used for siding homes. The vinyl
siding is cut into three-inch pieces that easily snap on to the barbed
wire fence. The fence markers are placed on the top wire three feet
apart, creating a visual barrier for the grouse and giving them the
chance to fly over the fence instead of flying into it.
To date, Sage-Grouse Initiative participants have marked or moved 350
miles of “high risk” fence near leks, resulting in an estimated
reduction of 1,500 – 1,800 sage-grouse fence collisions.
Example of a Typical Fence Marker Placement
Source: Stevens, B.S. 2011. Impacts of Fences on
Greater Sage-grouse in Idaho: Collision, Mitigation, and Spatial
Ecology. Thesis, University of Idaho, Moscow.
White fence markers can reduce sage-grouse collision by up to 83 percent
in areas where sage-grouse concentrate.
Cut sage-grouse fence markers are boxed up for shipment.
COR Enterprises has a large order of 44,160 markers ready to be
shipped to a conservation group.