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Conservation and management is a top priority for Utah wildlife managers.

Utah has made the health of the greater sage-grouse a priority, creating a scientifically based plan built on decades of research. Utah's sage-grouse are responding positively under the plan. The year to year population numbers for sage-grouse typically cycle up and down over time. Utah's population has been cycling up over the last three years. In fact, the 10-year rolling average number of males counted shows an increasing population trend since the mid-1990s. Learn more in the videos and infographics below.

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Collaborative efforts

One reason Utah's plan is proving successful is the support and collaboration from government agencies, private landowners and businesses, biologists and cross-discipline working groups facilitated by USU Extension's Community-Based Conservation Program, as seen in the videos at the right.

One-third of sage-grouse habitat and 55 percent of sage-grouse leks are on private property, so the efforts of private landowners are essential for the conservation of the species. Public and private partners have improved or restored 1.2 million acres of habitat in Utah since 2006; over 500,000 acres of that work as directly benefited sage-grouse.

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The management plan

Utah's Greater Sage-grouse Management Plan conserves more than 90 percent of the state's greater sage-grouse habitat, totaling 7.5 million acres.

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Each of the plan's objectives are currently being met, including:
  • Maintaining an average of at least 4,100 male sage-grouse on a minimum of 200 leks (breeding areas). (Currently, the ten-year rolling population average is 101 percent of the plan objectives.)
  • Increase habitat by 50,000 acres per year, and improve an average of 25,000 acres of habitat each year. (In fiscal year 2014, 240,000 acres of conservation projects were completed that benefited sage-grouse.
  • Protect 10,000 acres of habitat on private and School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) lands>
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DWR's GIS mapping team recently completed an in-depth statewide study of threats facing greater sage-grouse, revealing that 77 percent of Utah's SGMA habitat is unaffected by common landscape threats. The remaining 23 percent of SGMA acreage could be under threat from habitat encroachment, wildfires or other disturbance. Of the threats, only three percent is due to oil and gas development or urbanization. Utah's management plan addresses each of these threats.

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