Oregon A Leader In Removing Invasive Juniper To Save Sage Grouse

Mar 15, 2015

Oregon is being praised for its efforts to remove invasive juniper trees, which are harmful to the greater sage grouse.

A report issued from the Natural Resources Conservation Service says Oregon has been a leader in removing juniper and replanting native grasses and sagebrush. NRCS Agency Chief Jason Weller says sophisticated mapping has helped the State locate the invasive plant.

Sara Domek of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers helps chop down juniper on Hart Mountain in Lake County. Oregon has managed to clear an estimated 68 percent of the invasive conifers, which crowd out native sagebrush and threaten sage-grouse habitat.
Credit Nick Dobric, Oregon Backcountry Hunters and Anglers.

Weller: "Just over the last four years, we’ve cut over 200,000 acres of juniper in Oregon alone. Because of that investment in science, that then allows us to come in and really be precise and get the biggest return for the rancher’s dollar, and then also for the public’s dollar."

Ranchers have been a key component to finding and eradicating juniper, which improves grazing systems. Brian Jennings is with the Oregon Chapter of Background Hunters and Anglers.

Jennings: "Private landowners have been very cooperative because they know that what’s good for the sage-grouse is good for them. The healthier the sage-grouse, the better it is for cattle, and all the species that depend on it."

More than 100 Oregon ranches have worked with the NRCS to remove juniper and improve sage grouse habitat. A federal decision on whether to list the sage-grouse on the endangered species list is scheduled for September.

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