Guidelines to manage sage grouse populations and their habitats
Clait E Braun
John W Connelly
Alan R Sands
Michael A Schroeder
Tags: Widlife Society Bulletin, WLCI Related Publication
The status of sage grouse populations and habitats has been a concern to sportsmen and biologists for >80 years. Despite management and research efforts that date to the 1930s, breeding populations of this species have declined throughout much of its range. In May 1999, the western sage grouse (C. urophasianus phaios) in Washington was petitioned for listing under the Endangered Species Act because of population and habitat declines (C. Warren, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, personal communication). Sage grouse populations are allied closely with sagebrush (Artemisia spp.). Despite the well-known importance of this habitat to sage grouse and other sagebrush obligates, the quality and quantity of sagebrush habitats have declined for at least the last 50 years. Braun et al. (1977) provided guidelines for maintenance of sage grouse habitats. Since publication of those guidelines, much more information has been obtained on sage grouse. Because of continued concern about sage grouse and their habitats and a significant amount of new information, the Western States Sage and Columbian Sharp-tailed Grouse Technical Committee, under the direction of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, requested a revision and expansion of the guidelines originally published by Braun et al. (1977). This paper summarizes the current knowledge of the ecology of sage grouse and, based on this information, provides guidelines to manage sage grouse populations and their habitats.