“In the Interior West, where sagebrush covers the landscape like a sea-blue haze, sage grouse are driving the conversation around oil and gas development. The Bureau of Land Management projections show that nearly 96,000 new oil and gas wells will be drilled over the next twenty years in six states: Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. Oil wells could fragment 11.8 million acres of sagebrush and grassland habitat, an area larger than the state of New Hampshire. Development, as planned, could affect the greater sage grouse populations by 19 percent. Historic populations of sage grouse once numbered 16 million. Today, the population may be half a million, and many local populations in the vicinity of oil fields are being drawn down to extinction.”
- Terry Tempest Williams, Orion Magazine (Full Article)
- Quit Your Grousing! Debunking Industry Objections to Sage-Grouse Conservation Measures
- Saving Utah’s Sage-grouse opinion-editorial, Salt Lake Tribune (May 11, 2013)
Height/Length: Adult males are 26-30 inches in length and may be as much as two feet tall. Adult females range from 19-23 inches. Sage-grouse are larger than domestic chickens, to which they are often compared in the news media.
Weight: Males average 6 lbs; females half as much.
Lifespan: The average lifespan is 1-3 years, although sage-grouse have been known to live up to 10 years.