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New partnership allows NRCS to provide free fence markers for sage grouse


Thanks to a new partnership with several agencies including Bureau of Land Management and Montana Association of Conservation Districts, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will now be able to offer free fence markers to interested landowners. Fence markers are used to reduce the risk of sage grouse collision with fences. NRCS can assist landowners in determining high risk areas where fence markers would be most useful in preventing collisions.

In some parts of the greater sage-grouse range fence strikes occur with about 1 fence collision per mile in the breeding season. Over 90% of fence collisions for this species take place within 1 mile of their breeding grounds, called leks. Terrain can also influence the risk of fence collisions for the grouse.

With this fence marking partnership the NRCS can provide assistance to landowners in determining where these high-risk areas are. Marking fences in these high risk areas can reduce collisions by 80%. The fence markers are pieces of vinyl siding that are placed every 3 feet on the top wire of a fence. This makes the fence more visible to the birds as they fly into the lek in the early dawn. Often collisions are not noticed as they occur in areas of dense sage brush and predators will remove downed birds quickly.

For anyone interested in additional information on sage grouse conservation please visit the Sage Grouse Initiative website at Landowners who are interested in obtaining fence markers or assistance in placing them can contact Kelsey Molloy at the local NRCS office at 406-654-1334 or simply stop by the office.


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