#350Species – Autumn In The Sagebrush Ecosystem

October 31, 2016

Photo: Monarch butterfly and pollinators on yellow flowers by Nancy Patterson, BLM.

Greater sage-grouse, 350+ other species, and millions of people depend on the iconic sagebrush ecosystem for their survival

by Nancy Patterson, BLM Rocky Mountain Region, via mypubliclands.tumblr.com

The NRCS-led Sage Grouse Initiative is proud to work with the BLM across boundaries to benefit working lands and wildlife on both private and public land.  Learn more >>

Like Greater sage-grouse, more than 350 species depend on the sagebrush ecosystem for their survival. People are one of them. BLM will be sharing an ongoing series that highlights the #350species  such as the many animals, plants, and insects that live on the range — that weaves our human stories and sense of place into this complex landscape.

Autumn in the sagebrush ecosystem is a time of transition for the millions of animals and birds migrating through and preparing for winter. Once spanning almost 300 million acres of North America (an area larger than Texas and California combined), habitat fragmentation, development, agricultural conversion, tree encroachment, invasive species like cheatgrass and resulting wildfires have caused the sagebrush ecosystem to shrink to approximately half its original size. As this crucial habitat shrinks and fragments, it becomes increasingly difficult for Greater sage-grouse and other sagebrush-dependent species to travel and survive on the range.

Greater sage-grouse, 350+ other species, and millions of people depend on the iconic sagebrush ecosystem for their survival. The BLM manages about 67 million acres of the remaining Greater sage-grouse habitat. These public lands connect to private, state, and federal lands across the range. Conserving such a large ecosystem and key species like the Greater sage-grouse truly requires an all hands, all lands approach. With this in mind, the BLM and partners are working together and with the Greater sage-grouse plans on efforts that sustain the sagebrush landscape and the many species who call it home.


Check out the 2016 BLM Rocky Mountain Region Annual Report for stories highlighting sage grouse and sagebrush conservation projects in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, eastern Utah, and the Dakotas on our public rangelands!


The Sage Grouse Initiative is a partnership-based, science-driven effort that uses voluntary incentives to proactively conserve America’s western rangelands, wildlife, and rural way of life. This initiative is part of Working Lands For Wildlife, which is led by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.