Sage Grouse - Idaho Governor's Office of Species Conservationlast updated: June 2015

Greater sage grouse are found in 11 western U.S. states, including Idaho. First described by Lewis and Clark in 1804, sage grouse are considered sage brush obligates, meaning they depend almost entirely on sage brush for food and protection from predators.

Concerns about long-term declines in sage grouse populations have prompted efforts to conserve the species while maintaining predictable levels of land use activity. In January 2005, the USFWS determined that sage grouse was not warranted for listing under the ESA. Each state is undertaking actions to preserve the species and its habitat, in an effort to preclude a listing under the ESA.

In March of 2010, the USFWS designated the greater sage grouse as a candidate for listing under the ESA throughout the eleven-state range of the species. Consequently, the USFWS must decide by September 30, 2015 whether or not to list the species. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is currently undertaking a process to update their Resource Management Plans to address the needs of the sage grouse.

Governor’s Sage Grouse Alternative

On March 9, 2012, Governor Otter issued an Executive Order establishing the Governor’s Sage Grouse Task Force. This was a diverse group of stake holders that included representatives from local sage grouse working groups, conservation interests, and state and local officials and industry. This group was charged with providing recommendations on actions for developing a state wide regulatory mechanism to preclude the need to list the species under the ESA. The group met eight times between March and May with each meeting open to the public. The Task Force delivered its recommendations to the Governor on June 15, 2012. The Governor then developed a set of guiding principles to help evaluate the strength of the Task Force’s recommendations.

The Governor’s Alternative, which was published on September 5, 2012, adopted the designation of a Sage Grouse Management Area with three distinct management zones: Core Habitat (CHZ), Important Habitat (IHZ), and General Habitat (GHZ). This allows for focusing the most protection on the best habitat, or the CHZ and providing greater flexibility on the IHZ. The Governor’s Alternative builds on the 2006 Sage Grouse Management Plan and focuses on the most urgent threats to the bird's habitat, which is fragmentation due to fire and invasive species. The full version of the Alternative can be found here. This plan is included as one of six alternatives in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process conducted by the Bureau of Land Management for amending 88 Resource Management Plans in Sage Grouse Habitat. The draft EIS will be available for public comment in the fall of 2013, with the Final EIS to be completed in September 2014.  More information on this process is available at BLM's website and IDFG's website.

In March, 2013, the Fish and Wildlife Service confirmed that  Idaho’s Alternative’s adaptive management strategy is good for sage grouse. Our office is currently working to ensure that the Greater Sage Grouse remains under state management through coordination with the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Land Management.

Local Working Groups

Most states including Idaho have developed Local Working Groups (LWGs) to coordinate, fund, and implement sage grouse conservation projects. In Idaho, there are currently eleven LWGs in Idaho which are either working towards developing Sage-grouse management plans (MPs) or have developed such plans.

  • West Central LWG (CCAA signed)
    • Contact: Wendy Green (facilitator) 256-4562
  • Big Desert LWG (MP implementation in-progress)
    • Contact: Wendy Green-Lowe (facilitator) 523-6668
  • Challis LWG (MP implementation in-progress)
    • Contact: Wendy Green-Lowe (facilitator) 523-6668
  • Eastern Idaho Uplands LWG (MP under development)
    • Contact: Wendy Green-Lowe (facilitator) 523-6668
  • Greater Curlew Valley LWG (MP implementation in-progress)
    • Contact: Wendy Green-Lowe (facilitator) 523-6668
  • Jarbidge LWG (MP implementation in-progress)
    • Contact: Mike Pepper (facilitator) 734-6208
  • North Magic Valley LWG (MP under development)
    • Contact: Mike Pepper (facilitator) 734-6208
  • Owyhee LWG (MP implementation in-progress)
    • Contact: Donna Bennett 834-2398
  • Shoshone Basin LWG (MP implementation in-progress)
    • Contact: Randy Smith (IDFG) 324-4350
  • South Magic Valley LWG (MP under development)
    • Contact: Mike Pepper (facilitator) 734-6208
  • Upper Snake LWG (MP implementation in-progress)
    • Contact: Wendy Green-Lowe (facilitator) 523-6668

Contact Sage Grouse - Idaho Governor's Office of Species Conservation

Contact Sage Grouse - Idaho Governor's Office of Species Conservation

Dustin Miller
304 N. 8th Street
Room 149
Boise, Idaho  83702
Phone: (208) 334-2189
Fax: (208) 334-2172


Service Area

Statewide Program in:
  • Idaho

Office Locaters

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