Threats to Sage-Grouse
The historic range of sage-grouse closely conformed to the occurrence of sagebrush steppe in what became thirteen western states and three Canadian provinces. However, the species’ range has been reduced by almost half since the 1900s, and the current population may represent less than ten percent of historic numbers.
Unfortunately, much of the Sagebrush Sea suffers from a tragedy of the commons. Accessible, irrigable, and rich in minerals, the Sagebrush Sea has been a working landscape since ranchers, miners and homesteaders first laid claim to it 200 years ago. Millions of acres have been lost to agriculture and development. Remaining sagebrush habitat is fragmented and degraded by oil and gas drilling, livestock grazing, mining, unnatural fire, invasive weeds, off-road vehicles, roads, fences, pipelines and utility corridors.
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.