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Birds have nothing to "grouse" about in Douglas County

Highlights in Conservation icon

Birds have nothing to "grouse" about in Douglas County

Greater Sage-Grouse

Location icon
Douglas County, City of Waterville

Project Summary icon
Increase, improve, and maintain habitat for Greater Sage-Grouse in Douglas County

Conservation Partners icon
NRCS, FSA, Foster Creek CD, WDFW

Resource Challenges icon
Potential loss of food and cover for sage grouse and other wildlife with the expiration of CRP contracts and the conversion of sagebrush and grassland habitat back into crop production. The conversion of habitat to cropland will increase wind erosion events throughout the county resulting in soil loss and decreased air quality.

Conservation Program Used icon

Innovations and Highlights icon
The synergy of several agencies' programs to protect habitat for the state threatened greater sage grouse. The EQIP SGI was unique because it paid producers to maintain the grass cover of their expired CRP contracts for a three year period, providing them time to enroll into a longer-term conservation program and preventing unnecessary field work.

Results and Accomplishments icon
EQIP - 74 contracts, 19,000 acres; SAFE - 200 contracts, 38,000 acres; CRP - 175 contracts, 23,000 acres; WHIP - 2 contracts, 2,500 acres. Land enrolled into EQIP maintains wildlife habitat on ground that would most likely have been converted to crop production. SAFE required landowners to plant the best suited native grasses, forbs, legumes, and shrubs for sage grouse improving wildlife habitat in the county. Using CRP, ground that is likely to erode is otherwise being planted or maintained in mostly native grasses providing environmental and wildlife benefits. Under the WHIP contracts, 2,500 acres of rangeland will be rested for a full year, which will increase and improve wildlife habitat, especially for sage grouse, by allowing native grasses to reach their full maturity and vigor, produce seed, and replenish their root stocks. In addition WHIP is enabling the removal of 4 miles of unnecessary fence to prevent sage grouse and other wildlife from colliding and entangling with old barbed wire on the range.

Contact icon
Mark Bareither, NRCS District Conservationist, Waterville (509) 745-8758

NRCS, Winter 2010

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