Agencies seek to restore Powder River Basin sage grouse habitat

Jun 17, 2013

A project to restore sage grouse habitat in the Powder River Basin is moving forward.

The Bureau of Land Management, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and other agencies are participating. Their goal is to focus on areas with abandoned gas wells and make those areas hospitable for sage grouse again, by planting sage brush and removing roads and power lines.

The BLM’s Bill Ostheimer says many landowners and local groups have been receptive to the idea. But he says it could be years before sage grouse move back into areas they were displaced from.

“It takes three to five years to actually see a decline in lek attendance after impacts to an area occur, so we’re anticipating that we should see a time lag associated with restoration efforts as well – that it’s not going to happen overnight,” Ostheimer said.

Ostheimer says he hopes that within the next year or two, they’ll be able to see a noticeable difference in the vegetation in certain areas, and that within a decade, sage grouse could start to return.