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News Release

Private lands sage grouse conservation goes beyond the bird

Funding now available to help Oregon ranchers save water, reduce wildfire risk and improve rangeland health

AUDIO DOWNLOAD: 30 second radio PSA, released Feb. 12, 2018 (mp3, size: 732 KB)


Release No. 2018-02-022

Contact: Lars Santana, Rangeland Management Specialist
541-923-4358 x131,

Tracy Robillard, Public Affairs Officer

REDMOND, Ore. — (Feb. 12, 2018) — Funding is now available to help Oregon ranchers bolster the health and vigor of their privately-owned rangelands while improving habitat for sage grouse and other wildlife.

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications for financial assistance from eligible ranchers as part of the Sage Grouse Initiative, or SGI.

SGI offers financial incentives and science-based conservation planning to help ranchers perform conservation activities such as removing invasive juniper trees, treating invasive annual grasses, developing a grazing strategies, installing wildlife-friendly livestock watering structures, and more.

These types of conservation activities can provide multiple benefits to the land, such as improved water infiltration, reduced wildfire risk, enhanced wildlife habitat, improved rangeland health, and more.

The next application deadline for funding is March 16.

For more information and to apply, contact the NRCS District Conservationist in your county:

About the Sage Grouse Initiative:

The Sage Grouse Initiative is a partnership of ranchers, agencies, universities, nonprofit groups and businesses that embrace a common vision: Wildlife Conservation through Sustainable Ranching.

It started in 2010 in response to increasing threats to sage grouse habitat across the West. To avoid a potential endangered species listing, partners came together through SGI to implement voluntary conservation activities across the bird’s habitat range. Six years later, the partnership has evolved to encompass a wider breadth.

Today, SGI isn’t just about the bird—it’s about sustaining overall rangeland health. That means improving the diversity, health and vigor of rangeland ecosystems which provides multiple benefits to the landscape—benefits such as reduced wildfire risk, improved water quality, and enhanced habitat for over 350 species of birds and mammals that depend on the sagebrush steppe.

Since SGI began in 2010, NRCS Oregon has invested $27.9 million to help 261 ranchers perform conservation practices on more than 435,000 acres of privately-owned rangelands. Learn more at


The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service provides financial and technical assistance to voluntary farmers, ranchers and forest landowners to implement conservation practices on private lands. By working collectively with partners and stakeholders, NRCS helps maintain healthy and productive working landscapes, benefitting both environmental and agricultural needs. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).