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FY2014 Sage Grouse Initiative


The Sage-Grouse Initiative is designed to sustain working ranches and conserve sage-grouse populations by helping maintain livestock grazing as the prevailing land use. Several large-scale threats facing sage-grouse are identical to factors impacting the sustainability and productivity of grazing lands throughout the West. The Sage-Grouse Initiative aims to remove or reduce fragmentation threats common to sustainable ranching and sage-grouse conservation. For the most part, the same factors that negatively affect sage-grouse also negatively affect the health, productivity, and sustainability of native grazing lands. Therefore, improvements to benefit sage-grouse also benefit grazing lands and the ranches that depend on them.

The Sage-Grouse Initiative provides assistance for agricultural producers who would like to implement conservation practices that improve sage-grouse habitat, reduce threats to bird survival, and/or otherwise improve rangeland conditions. Examples of projects that have been funded through the initiative in Utah include:

  • Seeding rangeland to increase availability of sage-grouse food plants and improve livestock forage;
  • Installing new fencing and water developments to assist grazing management;
  • Removing juniper trees in key breeding, brood-rearing, and wintering sites to restore sage-grouse habitat and increase livestock forage production; and
  • Improving grazing systems to incorporate a rest period to improve sage-grouse cover during the nesting season.

General Program Information

  • Land must be in historic or currently occupied sage-grouse habitat. Applications will be ranked according to the identified priority areas in the Priority Area Map.
  • Applications are ranked and compete against other projects for funding.
  • Contracts can last from two to ten years
  • Program participants may choose to do the work themselves or contract it out.
  • Beginning, Socially Disadvantaged, and Limited Resource Farmers/Ranchers may be eligible for higher payment rates.
  • Participants will be reimbursed for part of the cost of installing conservation practices after the practices have been installed.

Eligible Practices and Payment Schedules

A complete list of eligible conservation practices and corresponding payments are listed below.

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Sage-Grouse Initiative Practice Payment Schedule (PDF) -- Coming Soon

Sage-Grouse in the brushApplication Information

Applicant Eligibility Requirements

Financial assistance for the initiative is provided through the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Therefore, applicants and their land must meet the eligibility requirements for WHIP or EQIP (EQIP Eligibility). Additionally, the land must be in historic or currently occupied sage-grouse habitat according to the Sage-Grouse in Utah map.

Application Timeframe

WHIP and EQIP applications (including Sage-Grouse Initiative applications) can be submitted to local NRCS offices at any time during the year. However, applications must be submitted by October 1st each year to be considered for funding in the following fiscal year. Deadline announcement for batching initiatives must be submitted by March 21, 2014.


All information provided to NRCS for conservation planning purposes is strictly confidential.

2014 Application Ranking

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Sage-Grouse Initiative Ranking Tool (Click Here)

Other Resources

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Fact Sheet (PDF, 2 MB)
Seriously Sage-Grouse For Kids (PDF, 1 MB)
Utah SGI Contact Offices (PDF, 539 KB)
Priority Area Map (PDF, 102 KB)
Wildlife Habitat Evaluation Guide (WHEG) (PDF, 34 KB)
Invasive Species List (PDF, 102 KB)


More Information

For more information contact your local USDA- NRCS Service Center to schedule a meeting to discuss available options. You may also contact the NRCS Utah State Office: