Sage-Grouse Conservation Partnership (SageCon)

Stay up to date with the SageCon Partnership through the official website: https://oregonexplorer.info/topics/sage-grouse?ptopic=179

For meeting agendas, presentations, summaries and related materials; please visit the SageCon Google Drive Folder

Wrapped up in the name “sage-grouse” are a host of complex issues related to public lands, the settlement of the American West, roles and layers of government, rural communities, energy and economic development, wildfire, outdoor recreation and vast ecosystems supporting unique and important wildlife. While often expressed shorthand in the name of this particular bird species, these deeper, ongoing threads and conversations continue to shape Oregon and the West as a whole. Oregon is home to over 15 million acres of sage-grouse habitat spanning private and public lands across eight counties in Eastern Oregon. The sagebrush steppe ecosystem serves the needs of hundreds of plant and animal species from the declining pygmy rabbit to flowering plants, shrubs and grasses. Sage-Grouse represent an umbrella species in the sagebrush sea as it has disappeared from most of its historic range and faces threats from fire, invasive species and habitat fragmentation.

The SageCon Partnership’s overarching goal is to advance policies and actions that reduce threats to sage-grouse and Oregon’s sagebrush ecosystem as well as promote rural community and economic health, according to the goals, approaches and strategies adopted in the Sage-Grouse State Action Plan in 2015. 

The Sage-Grouse State Action Report to fulfill Executive Order 15-18 has been updated to detail state-funded implementation activities from 2016-June 2018. Thanks to staff from ODFW, DLCD, ODF, DSL, ODOT, OWEB, ODOE as well as local implementation partners for all of your efforts and helping to document the range and scale of conservation efforts in Oregon. The State Action Report is prepared for the Governor’s Office and legislature to document progress to date as well as make a case for ongoing investments.

The 2019 SageCon Summit
Thanks to the more than sixty-five partners who gathered around the field and table in Burns, Oregon, for the 4th Annual Sage-Grouse Conservation Partnership Summit, highlights included:
  • Forty-five participants scanned the sagebrush sea along the Miller Homestead Fire Field Tour. Special thanks to our speakers for sharing their lessons learned from the fire’s progression, reseeding and replanting efforts, research and capacity investments to reduce future fire risks and restore sagebrush landscapes. From Burns BLM District (Autumn Toelle-Jackson, Casey O’Connor and Jamie McCormack), ARS (Chad Boyd), The Nature Conservancy (Jay Kerby), ODFW (Lee Foster) and RFPA volunteer/rancher Gary Miller.
  • Welcome from the Burns Paiute Tribe and Representative Witt (Senate Environment and Natural Resource Committee) with reflections around the value of proactive, landscape-scale investments for sagebush communities to reduce fire and invasive threats and restore  habitat.
  • Oregon’s Sage-Grouse and Sagebrush Status, Trends, and Efforts Presentation (link to presentation) from Megan Creutzburg, INR; Lee Foster, ODFW; and Molly Anthony, BLM.
  • Sara Greenberger (former U.S. DOI staff under the Obama Administration) and Cally Younger (current DOI staff under the Trump Administration) discussion of collaboration under different administrations and how Oregon has stood out for its locally-led initiatives to address threats such as CCAA’s and RFPA’s.
  • Reflections from foundational leaders of the SageCon partnership: retired Harney County Judge Steve Grasty and retired BLM Deputy Director Mike Haske on why building the SageCon Partnership was the right thing to do and the responsibilities of partners to stay at the table and continue bridging capacity and resource needs across the urban-rural divide.
  • Report out from the Harney Wildifire Collaborative and its work testing proactive approaches from fuel breaks to outcome-based grazing to restoration under the first ever agreement in a Wildnerness Study Area to alter fuel structures (summit presentation link).

Objectives

The Sage Grouse Conservation Partnership formed out of discussions beginning in Oregon in 2010 and represents a broad base of stakeholders in order to:

  • Provide a forum for coordination of federal, state, local, NGO, and private efforts to conserve sage grouse and advance sage-steppe habitat and rural community health in Oregon, including matters related to funding, policy, and implementation;
  • Implement, coordinate and monitor conservation, regulatory, and voluntary strategies across public and private lands where relevant to habitat, species, economic and community health; and
  • Coordinate with other state, regional, or federal efforts relevant to sage-grouse in order to provide timely and relevant input on Oregon’s strategies/approaches, including those related to future ESA listing or federal land management reviews.

For more information about the SageCon Partnership see:  https://orsolutions.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/SageCon_OverviewFactSheet_2013.pdf

 

2018 SageCon Summit Recordings Day 1 (October 25) and Day 2 (October 26)