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News Release

USDA Funding Available to Improve Sage-grouse Habitat in Idaho

Ron Brooks, Resources Conservationist (Program Contact)
(208) 378-5724

Signup ends April 19, 2013

For More Information:
Ron Brooks, Resource Conservationist (Program contact): 208.378.5724
Karen Fullen, NRCS State Biologist (Technical contact): 208.378.5725 
Alexis Collins, Public Affairs Specialist: 208.685.6978

A photo of a Sage-grouseBoise, Idaho, March 14, 2013 –The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is looking to help farmers and ranchers improve the sage-grouse population in Idaho so that it will not need protection under the Endangered Species Act. The agency’s Sage-grouse Initiative (SGI) helps pay for putting specific conservation practices in place that will enhance habitat or reduce threats to bird survival.

“This initiative focuses on improving rangeland conditions which support both sustainable ranching and healthy sage-grouse populations,” said Jeff Burwell, Idaho NRCS State Conservationist. “It provides an extra incentive to landowners that want to restore habitat through specific conservation measures.”

Typical habitat improvement practices include seeding rangeland to increase availability of sage-grouse food plants; removing juniper trees in key breeding, brood-rearing and wintering sites to restore sage-grouse habitat; and, including a rest period to improve sage-grouse cover during the nesting season.

“Restoring sage-grouse habitat can prove beneficial to rangeland conditions and sustainable ranching. Some of the practices used to improve sage-grouse habitat are the same practices required to maintain healthy grazing land for livestock,” said Burwell.

In the past three years, Idaho NRCS has obligated over $5 million to landowners to help a variety of rangeland improvement projects like the ones mentioned, as well as installing or removing fence, developing water sources, and developing prescribed grazing plans. An additional $16 million was obligated to acquire conservations easements to keep rangeland intact in key sage-grouse habitat areas.

Applications received before April 19, 2013 will be ranked for funding in fiscal year 2013.

For more information on the initiative, contact your local NRCS office or visit our Web site


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