LINCOLN, Neb. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture is unveiling new action-based frameworks – designed to benefit both agriculture and wildlife in sagebrush and grassland landscapes of the West – to increase conservation work to address threats facing America’s working rangelands.
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service partnered with state-level organizations from across the West to develop the new frameworks to combat the most severe and large-scale threats: woody encroachment, land-use conversion, exotic annual grass invasion, and riparian and wet meadow degradation.
More than a million acres of rangelands are lost annually to invading non-native grasses, plows or land development. The frameworks will help guide voluntary conservation work over the next five years, and will contribute to USDA’s efforts to make the U.S. a leader on climate change mitigation, adaptation and resilience.
In 2020, a multi-state planning effort produced the first biome-scale frameworks for wildlife conservation on working rangelands in grassland and sagebrush biomes. This joint effort builds on past achievements of the Lesser Prairie-Chicken and Sage Grouse Initiatives that together have partnered with more than 3,261 ranchers and conserved 10,309,950 acres of working rangelands – an area more than four times the size of Yellowstone National Park that supports working agricultural operations while providing critical wildlife habitat and valuable carbon sequestration.
NRCS will share more information on the new frameworks during a Thursday, April 8, webinar from 10-11 a.m. MDT. The webinar is open to the public. For webinar information or to learn more about the frameworks, go online to wlfw.rangelands.app.