New Report | Sage Grouse Populations On the Rise

sage grouse - usda nrcs photo - grown by two-thirds since 2013

August 18, 2015

Great news came this week in a report released by the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies: the population of the greater sage-grouse has grown by nearly two-thirds since 2013.

The report was prepared to provide scientific information to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in advance of the upcoming Endangered Species Act listing decision on greater sage-grouse, which is expected to be made by the end of September. The population trends were determined from surveys of leks (traditional spring mating grounds) compiled from databases in 11 western states.

Lek counts date back 50 years, with information collected by state wildlife agencies, partner groups, and hundreds of volunteers. The new report analyzes this wealth of data, but does not attempt to explain the causes of sage grouse population fluctuations.

4.4M graphicAccording to Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies sage grouse coordinator San Stiver, 85,674 male sage grouse were counted on 3,559 leks this spring, up from 49,397 males counted in 2013. The report also shows that sage grouse populations vary greatly over time.

The NRCS-led Sage Grouse Initiative works proactively to conserve sage grouse and the working rangelands that provide their habitat. Our recently released report summarizes the accomplishments achieved since 2010, and highlights the people and partners who have joined together to conserve more than 6,000 square miles of habitat.

“Through collaboration, our goal is to help ensure a bright future for sage grouse and the 350 other wildlife species that call this range their home, while ensuring the nation’s working lands remain productive,” said Tim Griffiths, who helps coordinate SGI’s efforts through the NRCS’ Working Lands for Wildlife partnership.


Read the USDA Blog about the population increase.

Read the Washington Post article about the survey results.

Read the Western Assoc. of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ report.

Read the latest Sage Grouse Initiative report “Success on the Range.”


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.