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USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

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Over the last several decades, biologists have grown increasingly concerned about declines in populations of two species of sage-grouse (Centrocercus spp.), a bird whose range covers a vast portion of eleven western U.S. states and two Canadian provinces (Stiver et al. 2006). This chicken-sized bird inhabits sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) habitats on public and private land across its range. Recent declines in population numbers of this bird across its range have generated concern among landowners and state wildlife officials that the bird may be listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Sage-grouse local working groups (LWGs) have emerged as a centerpiece of a voluntary effort to address declines in sage-grouse populations in the Intermountain West. As of 2008, over 60 LWGs had been established across the western United States. The majority of these groups have written local sage-grouse management plans and many have begun to implement these plans by seeking funding, coordinating management actions, and designing research to address knowledge gaps.