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More Than 100,000 Sage-Grouse Fence Markers Manufactured by COR Enterprises

More Than 100,000 Sage-Grouse Fence Markers Manufactured by COR Enterprises

October 2012
by Bruce Waage NRCS/BLM Sage-grouse Liaison

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 non-governmental organization.

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

diagram shows approximately 3-foot marker spacing on fence.

Source: Stevens, B.S. 2011. Impacts of Fences on Greater Sage-grouse in Idaho: Collision, Mitigation, and Spatial Ecology. Thesis, University of Idaho, Moscow.

Photo of markers on fence.
White fence markers can reduce sage-grouse collision by up to 83 percent in areas where sage-grouse concentrate.

Photo shows box filled with markers ready to ship.
Cut sage-grouse fence markers are boxed up for shipment.

Photo shows order of 44,160 markers boxed and ready to ship.
COR Enterprises has a large order of 44,160 markers ready to be shipped to a conservation group.