Sage Grouse, Jean Bjerke
© Jean Bjerke

Sage-Grouse

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.