Re-introduction of Sage-grouse to Lincoln County, Washington: 2009 Progress Report

Category: Non-Game Management and Conservation

Published: December 2009

Pages: 28

Author(s): Mike Schroeder, Mike Atamian, Howard Ferguson, Mike Finch and Derek Stinson


The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, in cooperation with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, initiated a project in 2008 to reintroduce greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) to the Swanson Lakes Wildlife Area in Lincoln County, Washington. The project was designed to establish a third population in the state in an area with more than 200 km2 of shrubsteppe habitat on public lands. Prior to the first translocation in 2008 there were occasional observations of sage-grouse in the release area. It was not clear whether these observations were birds dispersing from the closest population in Douglas County or whether these birds were ‘remnants’ from an endemic population known to occupy the area through the mid-1980s. From spring 2008 to spring 2009, 69 greater sage-grouse were translocated from southern Oregon to the Washington release site and their movements, productivity, habitat use, and survival have been monitored. In general, birds released in the fall fared poorly when compared with birds released in the spring. As of 16 November 2009 7 female and 4 male sage-grouse are being monitored with telemetry and a few other sage-grouse are also likely present, either with malfunctioning radio transmitters or no radio transmitters. We propose an additional translocation of about 50 sage-grouse in spring 2010.