Program

Purpose – To provide an on-going forum for information transfer and continued dialogue to better engage management agencies, scientists, private landowners, industry, Utah’s local working groups, and others in actions to sustain healthy sagebrush ecosystems across all boundaries for multiple-use benefits.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019
1:00 PM Introduction
Mike Styler, Executive Director, Utah Department of Natural Resources

Welcome Comments
The Honorable Spencer J. Cox, Lt. Governor, State of Utah
1:15 PM Session I - National and State Sage-grouse Policy Updates

In 2013, the State of Utah published the “Conservation plan for greater sage-grouse in Utah.” The 2013 Plan was revised in 2018 to reflect updated conservation policies such as the implementation of the Utah Compensatory Mitigation Program. Each plan iteration has incorporated new information gained from research completed to better understand sage-grouse ecology and population responses to management. The Utah Plan was completed in accordance with the Utah Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy, the Utah Local Working Group Plans, range wide conservation strategies and assessments, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) National Sage-grouse Habitat Conservation Strategy, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Greater Sage-grouse Conservation Objectives Final Report. In October 2015, the BLM and the U.S. Forest Service signed the Record of Decision amending Resource Management and Land Use Plans to incorporate actions to migrate sage-grouse conservation threats on public lands. On June 7, 2017, Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke signed Secretarial Order (SO) 3353 “Greater Sage-grouse Conservation and Cooperation with Western States.” The SO directed the BLM and USFS to improve sage-grouse conservation by increasing communication and collaboration between the states and federal government. The order directed the agencies to review the 2015 plan amendments to address issues identified in SO 3353. The speakers in this session will summarize the actions implemented by the partners to enhance sage-grouse and sagebrush conservation in Utah under the federal and state plans.

Status and Trends of Utah’s Sage-grouse Populations
Jason Robinson, Upland Game Coordinator, Utah Division of Wildlife

State and Federal Panel

State of Utah
Ben Nadolski, Policy Analyst and Legislative Liaison, Director's Office,
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Braden Sheppard, Legal Counsel,
Public Lands Policy Coordinating Office

Bureau of Land Management
Quincy Bahr, Branch Chief- Planning and Environmental Coordination,
Utah BLM Office

U.S. Forest Service
John Shivik, National Sage-Grouse Coordinator, Forest Service,
Intermountain Region

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Pat Diebert, Sagebrush Ecosystem Science Coordinator

2:45 PM Break w/ Refreshments
3:00 PM Session II: Regional and State Updates

At no time in the recorded annals of wildlife management, have so many devoted so much to the management and conservation of a single species - the greater sage-grouse. The species is indicative of the health of the sagebrush ecosystem which many depend. At the core of this national movement are the regional and local working groups. These groups fully engaged local communities, landowners, county and city planners, energy industry environmental organization representatives, and local government officials from throughout the West to interact and dialogue with federal, regional, state sage-grouse conservation decision makers, wildlife managers, and biologists to further advance sage-grouse conservation through science, management and local community involvement. The speakers in this session will highlight the magnitude, resolve, and successes on-going range wide species and sagebrush conservation partnerships.

Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) Sagebrush Conservation
Strategy – Sagebrush – It’s Not Just for Sage-grouse Anymore

San Stiver, Sagebrush Initiative Coordinator, WAFWA

The NvCCN - Supporting and Incentivizing Locally-led Conservation Efforts
Laura Van Riper, Conflict Resolution & Collaboration Specialist, BLM

Wyoming Local Working Groups
Leslie Schreiber, Sage-grouse Program Manager, Wyoming Game and Fish Department

Colorado Sage-grouse Conservation Actions
Kathy Griffin, Sage-grouse Conservation Program Manager, Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Idaho Sage-grouse Local Working Groups
Donna Bennett and Karen Steenhof, Owyhee Sage-grouse Local Working Group

4:30 PM Session III – U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Forest Service Science Updates

For nearly a century, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have studied sagebrush ecosystems and for decades have focused on sagebrush ecology, genetics and habitat use by sage-grouse. Forest Service scientists have identified research and science-based management needs of the National Forest System where lands are important for breeding and brood-rearing habitats for sage-grouse. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) sagebrush ecosystem research program focuses on providing a scientific foundation to inform and support land and resource managers at the Federal, State, Tribal, and local level as they work to maintain and restore sagebrush landscapes for the uses critical to stakeholders in the Western United States. USGS scientists are currently working to address the priority needs outlined in the “Integrated Rangeland Fire Management Strategy Actionable Science Plan” with a focus on five themes: fire; invasive species; restoration; sagebrush, sage-grouse, and other sagebrush-associated species; and weather and climate. These presentations will provide an overview of the USGS and USFS programs and the ongoing research that continue to support science-informed management decisions in the sagebrush ecosystem. This new research work will help meet continuing widespread concerns and calls for science-based conservation to mitigate threats to sagebrush ecosystems, conserve populations of sage-grouse and other sagebrush-obligate species, and restore sagebrush ecosystems throughout the western United States.

Overview of the USGS Sagebrush Ecosystem Research Program
Steven E. Hanser, Sagebrush Ecosystem Specialist, U.S. Geological Survey

Science to Inform Management of Bi-State Sage-Grouse: Past, Present, and Future
Peter S. Coates, Ph.D., Research Wildlife Biologist, U.S. Geological Survey,
Western Ecological Research Center

Review of USDA Forest Service's Research in the Sagebrush Biome
Deborah M. Finch, Biological Scientist and Program Manager, Grassland, Shrubland and
Desert Ecosystems Science, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station,
Albuquerque, NM.

5:30 PM Announcements
Wednesday, February 6, 2019
7:00-8:00 AM Continental Breakfast
8:00 AM Session IV: The Cow, Plow, and Axe of Sagebrush and Sage-grouse Management

In 1933, Aldo Leopold, recognized as the father of modern game management, published the book “Game Management.” His central thesis of game management was that game can be restored by the creative use of the same tools which have destroyed it—axe, plow, cow, fire and gun. Of these, the cow has become one of the more controversial in the management of working sagebrush landscapes. In the case of the sage-grouse, and estimated 87% of the sagebrush habitat is grazed by domestic livestock. To provide better forage for livestock, the sagebrush on which sage-grouse and other wildlife species depend, has been historically removed from this landscape. This session will synthesis the science regarding the role of the cow, plow, and axe in the management of the sagebrush working landscape and sage-grouse.

Introduction – Why all the Fuss about Sagebrush?
Terry Messmer, Director, Utah Community-based Conservation Program

Sage-Grouse and Livestock Grazing Research Review
Eric Thacker, Range Extension Specialist, Utah State University

Outline of New BLM Grazing Regulation
Alan Bass, Range Program Lead, Utah BLM State Office

Outline of New USFS Grazing Regulations
Terry Pedia, Range Program Lead, Region 8, USFS

Natural Resources Conservation Service Programs, Livestock Grazing, and Sage-grouse
Shane Green, State Rangeland Management Specialist, Utah NRCS

Utah Department of Agriculture Grazing Improvement Programs, Livestock Grazing, and Sage-grouse
Troy Forrest GIP Program Management, Utah Department of Agriculture and Food

Watershed Restoration Initiative Projects and Livestock Grazing
Tyler Thompson, Watershed Program Director, Utah Department of Natural Resources

Panel Discussion

10:15 AM Break w/ Refreshments
10:30 AM Session IV: Continued

Sagebrush Communities and Ecology
Eric Thacker, Range Extension Specialist, Utah State University

Sagebrush Treatments and Sage-grouse
Dave Dahlgren, Assistant Professor, Wildlife and Rangeland Habitat Extension Specialist, Jack H. Berryman Institute, Utah State University

Sagebrush Treatment Project Evaluation Process
Danny Summers, Habitat Restoration Coordinator, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Panel Discussion

12:00-1:00 PM Lunch
1:00 PM Session V: The New War for the West: Earth, Weeds, and Fire

The War of the Worlds, H.G. Wells’ 1898 novel, provided the fuel for the infamous 1938 Halloween radio broadcasts, where Orson Welles reported that Martians – emerged from objects that fall to the Earth were using heats rays to attack humans and devastate the landscape across the United States and the world. Although the incidents were fictitious, in reality, since 1898, the United States and other countries are now trying to cope with literally thousands of invaders and catastrophic consequences that even H.G. Wells could not have predicted. Invasive alien species are the second most significant threat to biodiversity, and in the west constitute a major threat to the sagebrush working landscape. In this session, the presenters will discuss the new war for the west: earth, weeds and fire, and more importantly what is being done to preempt, prepare for, fight, and win the battle.

Moderator – Terry Messmer, Director, Utah Community-based Conservation Program

Citizens and Managers Perspectives on Fire
Mark Brunson, Professor, Department of Environment and Society, Utah State University

A Utah Fire Atlas and Institute - A Historical, Practical, and Proactive Perspective on Wildfire in Utah and the West
Jim Lutz, Associate Professor, Utah State University Director, Utah Forest Institute

Panel: Federal and State Fire and Fuel Managers
Nathan Barrons, Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands
Sue Stewart, Director of Fire and Aviation, USFS
Jessica Wade, State Fire Management Officer, BLM State Office

3:00 PM Break w/ refreshments
3:15 PM Session V: Continued

Utah's Watershed Restoration Program on Fire
Daniel Eddington, Habitat Conservation Coordinator, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Restoring Sagebrush - Fires and much more
Kevin Gunnell, Great Basin Research Center Coordinator, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

New Fuel Treatment Research and Partnerships
Larissa Yocom, Assistant Professor, Wildland Resources Department, Utah State University

Seed Selection Tools to Enhance Sagebrush Restoration
Adrienne Pilmanis, Ecologist/ Coordinator, Colorado Plateau Native Plant Program,
Bureau of Land Management

4:30 PM Session VI: Communications

Presently, the proportion of Baby Boomers (those born between 1946-64) in the U.S. population is now approximately 80 million. The Millenials (those born between 1981-2000) come in second at 75 million. Those born between 1965-1980 (Generation X), come in a distant third at 51 million. Currently, the U.S. workforce is now the most age-diverse it has ever been. Although Baby Boomers will remain part of the professional demographic for some time, for conservation communication strategies and messages to be effective into the future, managers will need to recognize and embrace the values, needs and communication preferences of each of these age cohorts. This session will provide a synthesis of how these age cohorts are presently communicating and the types of messages that resonate with them. Our conservation messages will be more successful when we strategically combine communication platforms appropriately with the information needs of the public. This session will highlight the role of interagency, stakeholder, legislative, and university communication and partnerships in managing for multiple-uses. The presenters will also unveil an emerging process to increase the effectiveness in managing public and private land uses and implementing restoration projects to optimize multiple-use benefits and incorporate the best available science.

Sagebrush Communication Strategies – A Situational Analysis
Nicki Frey, Associate Professor and Extension Wildlife Specialist, Utah State
University Extension, Jack H. Berryman Institute

Utah Lands Management Evaluation and Assessment Network
Jordan W. Smith, Director, Institute of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism,
Assistant Professor, Department of Environment and Society

Questions and Answers

5:30 PM Announcements
Thursday, February 7, 2019
7:00-8:00 AM Continental breakfast
8:00 AM Session VII: The Science Says - On-going Research Presentations

The State of Utah has a long history and tradition of successful wildlife management and conservation. Utah Code Title 23 establishes and defines the State’s legal wildlife management authority within the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR). In the case of the greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus; sage-grouse), and other wildlife populations, significant contributions to the science, management, and conservation of the species have been achieved under state management authority This session synthesizes the research completed and on-going in Utah and other areas that was used to inform state and federal strategies to guide the management and conservation of sage-grouse, other wildlife, and the sagebrush landscape in Utah. The 2018 Utah Plan and the revised BLM and USFS plans seek to protect high-quality habitat, enhance impaired habitat, and restore converted habitat for the portion of the range-wide sage-grouse population inhabiting Utah by eliminating the species conservation threats. These plans have converged around the science accumulated over the past 70 years and reflect the ecology of sage-grouse in Utah.

Management and Policy

Helping Sage-grouse and Land Managers See the Forest for the Trees
Justin Small, PhD Student, Jack H. Berryman Institute, Department of Wildland
Resources, Utah State University

The Effects of Electric Power Lines on the Breeding Ecology of Greater Sage-grouse
Terry Messmer, Professor, and Wildlife Extension Specialist, Director, Jack H. Berryman
Institute, Utah State University.

Utah Sage-grouse Habitat Guidelines
Dave Dahlgren, Assistant Professor, Wildlife and Rangeland Habitat Extension Specialist,
Jack H. Berryman Institute, Utah State University

Recreational ATVs in Sage-grouse Country
Jordan W. Smith, Director, Institute of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism, Assistant
Professor, Department of Environment and Society

Quantifying the Impacts of Habitat Treatment Projects for Mule Deer
Kent Hersey, Big Game Project Leader, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Questions and Answers

Managing the Mesic

Monitoring the Response of Groundwater, Surface Water, and Vegetation to Large-Scale Pinyon-Juniper Treatments
Hugh Hurlow, Senior Scientist, Utah Geological Survey

Beaver Dam Analogs to Improve Sagebrush Habitat
Joe Wheaton, Associate Professor, Watershed Sciences, Utah State University

Monitoring Sagebrush Habitats in the Space Age: What Satellite Imagery can do for Ranchers, Land Managers, and Decision Makers
Dave Stoner, Research Assistant Professor, Department of Wildland Resources,
Utah State University

Risk versus Reward: Aspen may not have the Sample Implications as Juniper in Sage-grouse Habitat
Charles Sandford, Biologist, Jack H. Berryman Institute, Department of Wildland
Resources, Utah State University

Sage-grouse Movements in a Grazing Landscape
Hailey Wayment, MS student, Jack H. Berryman Institute, Department of Wildland
Resources, Utah State University

Questions and Answers

Movement, Migrations, and Space Use

Greater Sage-grouse Movements on the Southern Fringe of their Distribution
Aiden Beers, PhD Candidate, Department of Wildland Resources, Utah State University

Using a Multi-scale Tool to Delineate Seasonal Habitat for Sage-grouse in Utah
Michel Kohl, Utah Sage-Grouse Habitat Assessment Framework Coordinator,
Department of Wildland Resources, Jack H. Berryman Institute, Utah State University

Five Important Considerations for Sage-grouse Translocations: A Case Study from Utah's West Desert
Melissa Chelak, PhD candidate, Department of Wildland Resources, Jack H. Berryman
Institute, Utah State University

Influence of Translocation on Greater Sage-grouse in Strawberry Valley, Utah: Has Genetic Diversity Increased Following Augmentation?
Suzanne Dunken, MS student, Brigham Young University

Prairie Grouse of the Forest: Dusky Grouse Populations in Utah and Nevada
Stephanie Landry, PhD student, Department of Wildland Resources, Utah State University

Questions and Answers

11:00 AM Session VIII: Local Working Group Brown Bag Forum

Moderators - Lorien Belton, Collaborative Group Facilitator, Community-Based Conservation Program, Jack H. Berryman Institute, Utah State University and Nicky Frey, Associate Professor and Extension Wildlife Specialist, Utah State University Extension, Jack H. Berryman Institute

In this session we will highlight the collaborative process of the local working groups. We will present success stories of partners working together to address and overcome challenges to sagebrush habitat management. We’ve selected a story from 4 regions of Utah, each with their own unique assembly of local working group members, landscape management challenges, and public and private lands user groups. Each presenter will share their obstacles, what worked, and what didn't. Our goal is to inspire attendees to think outside the box, extend their collaborative efforts, learn from others' mistakes and successes, and take pride in our local working groups.

12:30 PM Concluding Comments
Terry A. Messmer, Director, Utah Community-Based Conservation Program
Brown Bag Lunch Provided