Utah NRCS Provides 250,000 Fence Markers This Year to Prevent Sage Grouse Collisions: Volunteers Make it Happen

September 5, 2014

by Ron Francis, Utah NRCS Public Affairs Specialist
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Volunteers provided by local Boy Scouts, Utah State University-Price Wildlife Club, Utah Dedicated Hunters, private landowners, NRCS, and Utah Division of Wildlife Resources all came together to help accomplish a large-scale fence marking project for greater sage-grouse. Natasha Gruber-Hadden, a Sage Grouse Initiative biologist with NRCS and the Mule Deer Foundation, helped coordinated the efforts of 42 motivated volunteers who came together to mark 10-miles of barbed wire fence in Emma Park, just north of Price. The white vinyl markers, designed to help prevent sage-grouse collisions near leks, were provided by NRCS Utah and hunters, who are part of the Dedicated Hunter Program in Utah. Recent research has shown that these fence markers can help reduce sage-grouse fence collisions by as much as 83 percent.

NRCS Utah is making available 250,000 fence markers this year—enough to mark approximately 128 miles of fencing with a single row of markers.

These dedicated volunteers (shown in accompanying photo) added 189 volunteer hours to the total Utah effort so far.  The Utah fence-marking push is adding momentum to the 11-state, large scale, range-wide effort aimed at improving habitat and survivability for this sensitive species. This large scale effort includes federal, state, county, and local governments, private landowners, non-profit organizations, and many other entities. Learn more about this regional conservation initiative at the Sage Grouse Initiative (SGI) website.

NRCS State Biologist Casey Burns reports there are still opportunities in various locations for volunteer groups to participate in a sage-grouse fence marking service project.  Contact Casey or your local NRCS field office for more information

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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.