Realizing “The True Potential” For Working Lands And Wildlife In Sagebrush Country
November 2, 2016
Photo: The beautiful IL Ranch, one of five conservation ranches owned by Newmont Mining, was the beautiful backdrop for the SGI Science Business Meeting, where we brainstormed the most strategic path forward for upcoming and ongoing research projects in sage grouse country.
The NRCS-led Sage Grouse Initiative is a model for science-based, landscape-scale habitat conservation — and we strive to be a model for the future of benefiting both working lands and wildlife. The initiative represents a landmark step in leveraging partnerships with the state, federal, and private organizations to address many of the bottlenecks that have prevented Farm Bill conservation programs from realizing their true potential for wildlife habitat conservation in the West.
Each quarter, SGI releases a report detailing our progress conserving vital sagebrush country. In addition to the highlights below, we are proud to announce that NRCS launched its next round of funding for SGI 2.0 last quarter. With this new funding, we will maintain our commitment to using science to target sage grouse conservation projects and practices. SGI continues to build field capacity, expand our science team, and strengthen partnerships across the western sagebrush landscape.
People & Partnerships:
>> Welcomed Michael Brown as our new Field Capacity Coordinator, and added Dr. Jason Tack (Wildlife Biologist and Spatial Ecologist) and Dr. Matthew Jones (Terrestrial Systems Ecologist and Remote Sensing Ecologist) to the SGI science team.
>> Celebrated a new five-year agreement signed by the Bureau of Land Management and the Intermountain West Joint Venture that will promote win-win solutions for people and wildlife across public and private lands across the range.
Science & Technology:
>> Hosted the 2016 SGI Science Business Meeting, held on the Newmont-owned IL Ranch outside of Elko, NV, where all cross-disciplinary scientists under contract with SGI gathered together to discuss their sagebrush-related research topics. Huge thanks to the hosts from Newmont Mining, Jerry Pfarr and Jeff White!
>> Organized a three-day SGI-sponsored workshop exploring beaver ecology and ways to mimic beavers to restore and improve wet meadows and riparian habitat on western rangelands. Enhancing mesic habitat resilience is an important focus of SGI 2.0.
Communications & Outreach:
>> Published SGI’s “Tracking Success 2016 Report,” along with a host of success stories from SGI-enrolled ranchers and SGI partners.
>> Released a new Science to Solutions on how maintaining wide-open, conifer-free sagebrush landscapes helps maintain water resources (as well as sage grouse!).
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.