Washington's 2016 Sage Grouse Initiative (SGI)
It’s good for grouse, grazers and your grazing business!
Ranchers in parts of central and eastern Washington may be eligible to receive financial assistance to help protect sage grouse habitat and improve range conditions for their livestock. Through the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Sage Grouse Initiative and the Working Lands for Wildlife (WLFW) initiative, ranchers have options available for existing grazed ranchlands and expired CRP lands. The initiative is limited to sage grouse habitat areas of central and eastern Washington.
Existing grazed ranchlands have two different grazing options. Both grazing options have cost-share available for cross-fencing, water developments, and conducting grazing management for a maximum of three years.
View the Sage Grouse Priority Zone map.
The rest-and-deferment option is to provide optimal cover for nesting hens and brood rearing. There are three components to this option – grazing management, monitoring, and rest-and-deferment. Payment is made for all pastures in grazing plans at a rate of $6.21/acre, plus an additional $7.28/acre for pastures that are rested or deferred. Payments are per year with a possible maximum of $25,000 each year.
Plant Health Option
The plant health grazing option is to improve general plant health of ranchlands. There are two components to this option – grazing management and monitoring. The payment rate is based on $2.86/acre per year. This grazing option is also available on expired CRP fields.
By deferring grazing, or not grazing certain areas at all for a year, sage grouse habitat can be protected during the critical mating and nesting period. The payments made possible through the Sage Grouse Initiative are designed to offset the costs associated with deferring grazing on that land.
Other Conservation Options
In addition, other practices to improve sage grouse habitat may be applied for with funding through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
Such practices include: Retrofitting existing fences to increase their visibility and reduce sage-grouse mortality; installing escape ramps for wildlife in watering facilities; remove structures used as predator perches; improve rangeland species diversity via seeding; riparian improvement to increase brood survival rates.
Sage Grouse Outreach Materials
Sage Grouse Initiative factsheet (PDF; 2 MB)
Sage Grouse Initiative | A non-regulatory success story
More information on other EQIP conservation options.
Contact your local USDA-NRCS Service Center Office for more information regarding the EQIP program and application process.
For more information on the Sage Grouse Initiative contact;
2145 Basin St. SW, Suite D
Ephrata, WA 98823