|Abstract or Summary
- Research evaluating effects of livestock grazing on greater sage-grouse nest survival
suggests that a variety of locally-appropriate range management strategies support grouse
populations. A new Montana study comparing effects of specialized grazing systems on
ranches enrolled in the NRCS-led Sage Grouse Initiative (SGI) to ranches not enrolled in SGI
grazing programs found no difference in nest survival: in both cases, long-term nest success
(40-49%) was consistent with the rangewide survival rates of a stable sage grouse population.
Researchers also reported heights of live and senesced grasses that were within a half-inch
of each other on SGI-enrolled ranches versus non-enrolled ranches. The take-home message
is that, done sustainably, grazing is a highly compatible land use for maintaining sage grouse
populations, and is wholly preferred over habitat-destroying alternatives like cropland
cultivation or subdivision development. Farm Bill-funded assistance through SGI to enhance
grazing practices may contribute to protecting habitat by keeping ranching operations
profitable and sustainable.