Greater sage-grouse

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

In February 2013, Gov. Gary R. Herbert authorized the Conservation Plan for Greater Sage-Grouse in Utah. It was a detailed, scientifically based plan that established goals and measurable objectives for the conservation of greater sage-grouse in Utah. As a result of that plan and other ongoing conservation efforts — including similar state-led efforts across the West — the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced on Oct. 2, 2015 that greater sage-grouse are "not warranted" for listing under the Endangered Species Act.

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Gov. Herbert ordered state officials to coordinate with stakeholders in 2017 to review that 2013 plan, and to ensure that Utah's conservation efforts continue to incorporate new and best-available science, data and knowledge. This Utah Conservation Plan for Greater Sage-Grouse (Plan) is the revised and updated outcome of that stakeholder review process. It effectively:

  • Builds upon the progress made during past planning processes.
  • Improves implementation of future actions by incorporating important lessons learned.
  • Seeks to clarify the State of Utah's conservation approach to its stakeholders.
  • Provides a proven conservation framework to ensure that greater sage-grouse will remain "not warranted" for listing under the Endangered Species Act.

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The management plan

The goal of this Plan is to protect, maintain and increase sage-grouse populations and habitats within Sage-Grouse Management Areas (SGMAs). That goal will be accomplished by meeting the two primary objectives of this plan, which are to:

  • Maintain and increase sage-grouse populations statewide, and within each SGMA.
  • Maintain, protect and increase sage-grouse seasonal habitats within SGMAs.

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To meet those objectives, this Plan identifies strategies to address localized threats to sage-grouse populations in Utah. Those strategies include — but are not limited to — the following:

  • Identify the highest-priority sage-grouse habitats and migration corridors, and protect at least 5,000 of those acres annually through conservation easements, or other mechanisms.
  • Improve and increase sage-grouse seasonal habitats by 75,000 acres each year, including riparian and mesic habitats.
  • Monitor sage-grouse population trends annually and, if necessary, implement adaptive management responses to ensure that priority populations remain viable and stable.
  • Coordinate with local, state and federal firefighting jurisdictions to include sage-grouse habitats as a priority during pre-fire attack planning and suppression, second only to the protection of human life and property.
  • Fund, support and implement critical research that supports the implementation of this Plan.

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With the ongoing commitment, innovation and collaboration of the State of Utah and its many conservation partners, this Plan will continue to conserve sage-grouse and the habitats upon which they depend, while still balancing the socioeconomic needs of the people of Utah.

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