USGS Conservation Buffer Distance Estimates for Greater Sage-Grouse—A Review

 This report was prepared at the request of the U.S. Department of the Interior and is a compilation and summary of published scientific studies that evaluate the influence of anthropogenic activities and infrastructure on Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus; hereafter, sage-grouse) populations.

The purpose of this report is to provide a convenient reference for land managers and others who are working to develop biologically relevant and socioeconomically practical buffer distances around sage-grouse habitats. The framework for this summary includes (1) addressing the potential effects of anthropogenic land use and disturbances on sage-grouse populations, (2) providing ecologically based interpretations of evidence from the scientific literature, and (3) informing implementation of conservation buffers around sage-grouse communal breeding locations—known as leks.

 We do not make specific management recommendations but instead provide summarized information, citations, and interpretation of findings available in scientific literature. We also recognize that because of variation in populations, habitats, development patterns, social context, and other factors, for a particular disturbance type, there is no single distance that is an appropriate buffer for all populations and habitats across the sage-grouse range