Technical Report


Summary of Science, Activities, Programs, and Policies That Influence the Rangewide Conservation of Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) Public Deposited

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  • This report documents and summarizes several decades of work on sage-grouse populations, sagebrush as habitat, and sagebrush community and ecosystem functions based on the recent assessment and findings of the USFWS under consideration of the Endangered Species Act. As reflected here, some of these topics receive a greater depth of discussion because of the perceived importance of the issue for sagebrush ecosystems and sage-grouse populations. Though explicit connections to effects on sage-grouse populations are attempted throughout, these connections remain elusive and difficult to document. Understanding that perfect knowledge of these species and ecosystems is impossible due to natural complexity and human limitations, drawing connections between the direct effects on sagebrush ecosystems and the effect of ecosystem condition on habitat condition, and finally the connection between habitat quality and sage-grouse population dynamics remains the lofty goal of science and management. This effort is necessary and important, and despite the perception that these complicated, indirect relations are difficult to characterize and manage, many advances in understanding and application have been documented. The distributions of habitats, species, and human land uses are notably heterogeneous across large landscapes, and understanding the relations and processes that create these patterns, including both positive and negative associations, will assist in long-term planning by helping to identify risks to habitat and resource conservation success, control and mitigate our activities to reduce impacts and insure resiliency, and protect and conserve our natural heritage and natural resources for future generations. Rather than any single source of habitat degradation, the cumulative and synergistic impact of multiple disturbances, continued spread and dominance of invasive species, and increased impacts of land use continue to have the most significant influence on the trajectory of sagebrush ecosystems and sage-grouse populations. Future patterns of land use, combined with effective restoration and management may improve, or degrade, the remaining sage-grouse ranges, but natural dynamics and unforeseen stochasticity promise to add complexity to future plans and landscapes.
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  • Manier, D.J., Wood, D.J.A., Bowen, Z.H., Donovan, R.M., Holloran, M.J., Juliusson, L.M., Mayne, K.S., Oyler-McCance, S.J., Quamen, F.R., Saher, D.J., and Titolo, A.J., 2013, Summary of science, activities, programs, and policies that influence the rangewide conservation of Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus): U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2013–1098, 170 p.,
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  • 186 pages
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  • In cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management.
  • Open-File Report 2013–1098
  • 978-1-4113-3595-0


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