Greater Sage-Grouse are a unique species - generally elusive for most of the year, these birds save it all up for breeding time. The males strut their stuff in flashy, booming courtship rituals that are a sight to behold. Unfortunately their charisma isn't enough to maintain their population in the face of invasive species, habitat fragmentation, depredation, and competing interests regarding land uses and conservation.
Recognizing that the Greater Sage-Grouse was in serious trouble and potentially headed for the federal Endangered Species list, the Bureau of Land Management, in collaboration with other federal and state agencies, got to work updating conservation measures for our feathered friends. Making changes to land use and management practices on public lands in order to protect the birds means making decisions that affect ranchers, mineral and energy developers, recreationists and many others. The best way to make meaningful changes is to base them on the best available science. The BLM knew they had to work quickly to gather the best scientists and land managers in the business to develop new conservation measures. They hired EnviroIssues to facilitate the effort and help quickly deliver science-supported conservation measures and policy recommendations for federal lands.
EnviroIssues supported the BLM National Technical Team throughout the process in multiple ways. We facilitated and documented two multi-day workshops focused on developing science-based conservation measures and policy recommendations. We assisted with all meeting and workshop preparation and prepared meeting summaries for the team. Using various technological tools, we prepared and coordinated team editing of the final report (A Report on National Greater Sage-Grouse Conservation Measures/Planning Strategy), a document that is informing changes to land use plans across the range of the Greater Sage-Grouse.
BLM was so pleased with our work that they asked us to facilitate a meeting with governors of states where Greater Sage-Grouse habitat exists. But the biggest mark of success is the potential for perpetuating this charismatic and important species, so that we can watch them dance for generations to come!