Case study

Preserving the habitat of at-risk species

Remote Monitoring

Sagebrush steppe ecosystems in the western United States are home to hundreds of plant and animal species, including sage-grouse. These birds have a memorable look and mating dance, but unfortunately their populations are declining as suitable habitat dwindles. This site in Idaho demonstrates two common risks to sagebrush steppe plant communities: cheatgrass and western Juniper.

Cheatgrass is an annual grass that sets seed earlier in the year and spreads rapidly, outcompeting native vegetation and increasing the risk of fire. Western juniper encroachment is another risk, and removing these conifers is a common management tactic to protect sage-grouse habitat. We can monitor for these plant species in Lens and make note of areas where they're spreading rapidly, so that they can be flagged for removal.