Strong Greater Sage-Grouse Population Growth
by Tripp Parks, Policy Analyst on August 26, 2015 - 8:47am
With a listing decision on the Greater Sage-Grouse looming in September, we received good news last week when the Western Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) released its 2015 population update. The study found a 63% increase in the population over the last two years, with a total breeding population of 424,645. WAFWA’s data are encouraging for showing that states, counties, private landowners, industries, conservation groups and others are effectively protecting sage grouse.
WAFWA also found that the population in core areas, where the highest density of sage grouse lives, is essentially unchanged over the fifty-year period beginning in 1965. WAFWA compiled the data from more than a dozen databases in the 11 western states. The population numbers based on real data are superior to the flawed modeling used in several federal reports to support land-use plan restrictions and the upcoming listing decision, which a western coalition has challenged.
Greater Sage-Grouse Distribution