Re-introduction of Sage-grouse to Lincoln County, Washington: 2012 Progress Report


Published: December 2012

Pages: 26

Author(s): Mike Schroeder, Mike Atamian, Howard Ferguson, Mike Finch, Kourtney Stonehouse, 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 rare 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 2012, 182 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. The overall population in Washington was estimated to be 1047 in 2012, including the birds in the translocated population. We propose an additional translocation of sage-grouse in spring 2013.