Sage-grouse (Centrocercus spp.) were abundant in all of Utah's 29 counties at the time of European settlement wherever sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) occurred. Greater Sage-Grouse (C. urophasianus) inhabited areas north and west of the Colorado River, and Gunnison Sage-Grouse (C. minimus) occupied suitable habitat south and east of the Colorado River. The largest Greater Sage-Grouse populations in Utah are currently restricted to suitable habitats in Box Elder, Garfield, Rich, Uintah, and Wayne Counties. A remnant breeding population of Gunnison Sage-Grouse occurs in eastern San Juan County. We stratified Greater Sage-Grouse populations (1971–2000) by counties where the 1996 to 2000 moving average for estimated spring breeding populations was >500 (GT500) or <500 (LT500). Males per lek declined in all populations from 1971 to 2000; however, there were consistently more males observed on GT500 than on LT500 leks. Juveniles per adult hen (including yearling hens) Greater Sage-Grouse in the 1973–2000 fall harvest in Box Elder, Rich, and Wayne Counties did not differ from 2.25, a ratio suggesting sustainable or increasing sage-grouse populations. Declines are attributed to loss, fragmentation, and degradation of sagebrush habitat. Sage-grouse conservation ultimately depends on management and enhancement of remaining sagebrush rangelands in Utah.
Beck, Jeffrey L.; Mitchell, Dean L.; and Maxfield, Brian D.
"Changes in the distribution and status of sage-grouse in Utah,"
Western North American Naturalist: Vol. 63
, Article 6.
Available at: http://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/wnan/vol63/iss2/6