Science to Solutions Series: Predicting the Outcome of Wyoming's Sage Grouse Conservation Strategy

Wyoming supports nearly 40% of the world’s sage-grouse population, yet much of the state’s sagebrush habitat is undergoing rapid transformation for energy and residential development. In 2008, the state enacted a proactive “core area” strategy to balance conservation with development. Will this strategy protect grouse? A recent study by The Nature Conservancy (TNC), University of Wyoming and the Sage Grouse Initiative (SGI) analyzed potential levels of residential and energy development to measure how well the policy can sustain sage grouse over the long term. The findings suggest that Wyoming’s strategy, combined with targeted conservation easements on private lands, could cut anticipated sage grouse losses by half statewide, and by nearly two thirds within core habitat areas.