Rocky Mountain Rangelands Program
Working closely and on a voluntary basis with private landowners, the Rocky Mountain Rangelands Program conserves and restores habitat for wildlife adapted to harsh climates that often require large open spaces to sustain their populations.
The Rocky Mountain Rangelands Program seeks to grant more than $56 million over the next 10 years across three major conservation strategies:
- Improve management and restoration of sagebrush rangelands to benefit sagebrush-obligate and other associated species
- Secure important ungulate migrations across the landscape with specific focus on transportation conflicts, winter range and stopover sites
- Restore habitat and expand occupancy of wetland birds and native fish
The Rocky Mountain Rangelands is increasingly under threat from fragmentation, invasive species and limited water. Wildfires have converted large areas from perennial shrub cover to annual grasslands, impacting greater sage-grouse and other sage-dependent species. Suites of waterfowl, waterbirds and shorebirds rely on irrigated agricultural lands during migration and breeding season. The arid nature of the region has also led to endemic fish that are found only in small river systems and nowhere else.
The region is also one of the fastest-growing of the country, with Idaho, Nevada, Utah and Colorado all in the top 10 fastest-growing states between 2017 and 2018. Impacts from energy development, residential housing and recreation affect mule deer and pronghorn, which complete several of the longest known ungulate migrations in North America to reach scarce resources in different seasons.