Montana Outdoors: Last Stand of the Sage-Grouse
November 7, 2013
Where Can Sage-Grouse Live?
Why good grazing practices and more state and federal land-use regulations are essential for keeping these beleaguered birds off the endangered species list.
by Tom Dickson, Editor, Montana Outdoors
November/December 2013 Issue
“I just received my brand new Montana Outdoors magazine and was extremely impressed with your Sage Grouse article. You brilliantly weaved a very complex situation into a fabulous easy to understand story that will certainly yield increased awareness and support for the cause. Along with the great story, the photos, layout and cover are striking. Hats off!” – Tim Griffiths, SGI national coordinator, NRCS
On a gravel county road 40 miles northeast of Roundup, a sea of rolling sagebrush “steppe,” or grasslands, extends to the horizon in every direction. This vast landscape I am driving through is a stronghold of Montana’s sage-grouse population, the nation’s second largest.
Lorelle Berkeley, a Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks research biologist heading a long-term study on sage-grouse, leads me into a tract of sagebrush she says is ideal nesting habitat for the large grasslands bird. The silvery-green sagebrush plants here are densely scattered across miles of shortgrass prairie. They create what biologists sometimes call a prairie “forest,” the 3-foot sagebrush acting as trees. READ MORE
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.