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UW Hosts Sage Grouse Habitat Restoration Workshop at Casper College March 26-27

March 19, 2014
Sage grouse
Sage grouse habitat restoration will be the topic of a workshop hosted by UW’s Wyoming Reclamation and Restoration Center March 26-27 at Casper College. (National Geographic Society Photo)

The University of Wyoming Reclamation and Restoration Center (WRRC) hosts a sage grouse habitat restoration workshop Wednesday, March 26, and Thursday, March 27, at Casper College.

The workshop will feature researchers, practitioners, consultants, wildlife biologists, representatives from various agencies and ranchers, who will discuss actions and methods to improve or restore sage grouse habitat. Workshop presentations will take place in Room 160 of the McMurry Career Studies Building Room.

“We’ll talk about different methods to improve existing sage grouse habitat,” says Calvin Strom, WRRC assistant director and a research scientist in the UW College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. “Some people will talk about methods they’ve used to improve existing sage grouse habitat.”

Degraded landscapes -- those sagebrush areas affected by drought, fire and cheatgrass invasion -- also will be discussed.

Wyoming is home to about 54 percent of the greater sage grouse population in the United States, according to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) website. The BLM in Wyoming manages millions of acres of potential sage grouse habitat, which is used by the ground-dwelling bird for forage and protective cover.

Because of a court-ordered settlement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has until 2015 to make a final determination on whether to list the greater sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, along with the Wyoming BLM, lead a Sage Grouse Task Force to identify and carry out high-priority conservation actions, and integrate ongoing actions necessary to preclude the need for the sage grouse to be listed under the ESA in 2015. 

“Sage grouse habitat not only affects the oil and gas industry, but also grazing if they (Fish and Wildlife) list it” as an endangered species, Strom says.

The BLM works with the state of Wyoming, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Wyoming Department of Agriculture, the energy industry, environmental groups and others to address habitat conservation and provide for environmentally responsible resource use activities on public lands.

A number of UW faculty members and one graduate student will make workshop presentations. They are:

-- Jay Norton, associate professor of soil science, presents “Soil Issues and Sage Grouse Habitat Restoration,” March 26, 9:15 a.m.

-- Kristina Hufford, assistant professor of restoration ecology, presents “Seed Issues and Seed Sourcing in Sage Grouse Habitat Restoration,” March 26, 9:45 a.m.

-- Strom presents “Planting Methods and Sage Grouse Habitat Restoration,” March 26, 2:30 p.m.

-- Jeff Beck, associate professor of wildlife habitat restoration ecology, presents “Sage Grouse Habitat Requirements,” March 27, 9:15 a.m.

-- Kurt Smith, graduate student in wildlife habitat restoration, presents “Techniques for Sage Grouse Habitat Improvement,” March 27, 1:30 p.m.

Strom says the workshop is open for up to 70 participants, with more than 50 already having signed up.

“We have a rancher speaking. We hope to get some ranchers to also attend,” Strom says.

The workshop cost is $20 and includes lunch both days. The registration deadline is Tuesday, March 25, at noon. To register or for more information, call Strom at (307) 766-5432 or email

The WRCC, an interdisciplinary program housed within the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, works closely with the UW School of Energy Resources.

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