The pygmy shorthorned lizard (Phrynosoma douglasii) may benefit from greater sage-grouse restoration projects. Photo courtesy of Tatiana Gettelman, Yakima Training.
The greater sage‐grouse inhabits the vast sagebrush ecosystems of western North America, including eleven U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. This ground-nesting bird benefits from millions of acres of habitat conservation and restoration that have taken place since the ﬁrst petition to federally list it under the U.S. Endangered Species Act in 2002. These conservation and restoration actions also support other inhabitants of sagebrush ecosystems, including reptiles.
Researchers from the PNW Research Station and U.S. Geological Survey investigated the prevalence of sage‐grouse treatment actions between 1990 and 2014 to determine which reptiles beneﬁt most from protecting intact sage‐grouse habitat. They also assessed the likelihood of restoration treatments to overlap with each reptile species, the likelihood of management actions to alter the range of each reptile species, and how diﬀerent reptile species might be aﬀected by restoration treatments.
They found that:
As there are species-specific differences in life history and microhabitat use, more research is needed to understand the responses of species that share habitat with the greater sage-grouse, such as those identified in this study, to the various restoration treatments. With more information land managers can maximize benefits for entire communities, which can add considerable benefits to the broad-reaching sage-grouse habitat management planning.