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Department of Agriculture Revamps Sage Grouse Initiative

Cara J

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced plans last week to fund greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) conservation programs for $211 million dollars through 2018. Known as “Sage Grouse Initiative 2.0”, this Farm Bill-funded plan will allow the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to expand efforts to conserve the species, whose main threats include invasive plants and wildfires. Key components of this plan include improving the efforts of the original Sage Grouse Initiative through actions such as increasing the seeding of native grasses by 40%, increasing prescribed grazing efforts by 50%, building an additional 216 miles of breaks to prevent wildfires, and expanding the removal of invasive species such as cheat grasses, pinyon pines, and juniper trees. This announcement comes at the conclusion of five years of work through the original Sage Grouse Initiative. In that time, $296 million of Farm Bill investments have brought in more than $198 million in outside grants and conserved 4.4 million acres of sage-grouse habitat. This updated initiative will continue to rely on public-private partnerships as a primary way of reaching conservation goals. Through the public-private partnership of conservation easements – voluntary agreements in which landowners pledge to not disturb and potentially conduct conservation [...]


Read more: http://wildlife.org/department-of-agriculture-revamps-sage-grouse-initiative/

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