DOI Completes Sage-Grouse Habitat Map

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The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) completed a breeding bird density map for the greater sage-grouse by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in coordination with the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

The map identifies areas having high-density occurrences of greater sage-grouse, a ground-dwelling bird that inhabits much of the West, including Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, eastern California, Nevada, Utah, western Colorado, South Dakota and Wyoming as well as the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

According to the DOI, these areas were determined by estimating the male's attendance on leks, the communal breeding grounds of the bird. The BLM will work with the state fish and wildlife agencies to further refine the map by incorporating more specific state-level data.

The mapping effort was needed when Secretary of the Interior Salazar announced in March the FWS' finding that the greater sage-grouse warranted protection under the Endangered Species Act.

The NRCS will use the map in implementing its Sage-Grouse Initiative. WAFWA agencies are also ready to begin using the management tool.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of the Interior

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