Sage grouse populations decline

by Jackson Hole Radio News

A new report issued by the US Geological Service shows there has been a steep 80% decline in sage grouse populations in the western United States since 1966, with nearly a 40% decline since 2002.

Sage grouse numbers are a barometer for the overall health of the sagebrush ecosystem, which is home to 350 species of wildlife. The report does not list causes for the decline, but scientists say that impacts from climate change, wildfires, invasive species such as cheat grass, and oil and gas development all play a role.

Earlier this month, in a separate Sagebrush Conservation Strategy report, USGS concluded that sagebrush habitat has been shrinking rapidly because of wildfire, invasive grasses and human development.

 

photo wgfd