In the “Old West”, barbed wire fences were often cut to allow trailing droves of cattle through. In the “New West,” livestock fencing is being marked to help reduce collisions for sage grouse and other wildlife.
Sage grouse are especially at risk of hitting fences that are close to established leks, spring courtship dancing grounds, where males usually fly in the dark to gather. The flatter the landscape, the harder it is for the grouse to see the fences. In the most at-risk landscapes, biologists estimate an average of one collision for every mile of fence.
Through the Sage Grouse Initiative (SGI), USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is working with ranchers to improve habitat for sage grouse, an at-risk bird considered for listing under the federal Endangered Species Act. To date, NRCS has funded $296.5 million nationwide to restore and conserve sage grouse habitat.
In Utah, sage grouse efforts are being amplified even further through partnerships. NRCS encourages a variety of conservation practices to improve habitat for sage grouse, including marking fences.
Read the rest of this post on the NRCS blog here.