The Utah State University Extension Community-based Conservation Program recently released a new app, “Sage-grouse Habitat in Utah: A Guide for Landowners and Managers.”
The app is the first of its kind, and although developed in Utah, is applicable throughout the sage-grouse range, which includes 11 western states and two Canadian provinces. The app provides managers and landowners with immediate and pertinent information about sagebrush management and sage-grouse habitat needs and can be accessed from anywhere in the field. It can assist in planning management actions to help conserve the sage-grouse population.
According to Terry Messmer, USU Extension wildlife specialist and director of the Utah Community-based Conservation Program which developed the app, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has designated the greater sage-grouse as a candidate species for listing for protection under the Endangered Species Act. Federal, state and private partners are implementing conservation actions to avert the need for a listing. Having an understanding of the habitat associations of a species and how habitats are used by wildlife across landscapes and seasons is a basic tenet of wildlife management.
“Greater sage-grouse populations have declined because of habitat loss, and it is estimated that they currently occupy only half their original range,” he said. “They depend on sagebrush landscapes that often overlap jurisdictional boundaries, land ownerships and land uses. Sage-grouse management efforts focused on protecting and enhancing the best habitats remain an essential part of an integrated range-wide species conservation strategy.”
Messmer said the app will help landowners, federal and state partners better recognize characteristics of favorable sage-grouse habitat and assist them in developing projects to benefit species conservation across its range.
“Sage-grouse Habitat in Utah” is free of charge and is available in Android and iOS formats. The Android version is available at Google Play (playgoogle.com) and the iOS version can be accessed through the iTunes App Store.