Sage grouse

Grants have been awarded in Eastern Oregon to help sage grouse habitat.

SALEM — The Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board awarded four grants for sage grouse recovery at the agency’s board meeting April 16-17 in Salem.

To date, OWEB — which receives funding for grants from the Oregon Lottery and salmon license plate revenue — has invested more than $7 million toward helping sage grouse in Central and Eastern Oregon, including the latest grants to the Malheur and Owyhee watershed districts.

Thanks in part to conservation agreements with ranchers in seven Western states, the federal government opted not to list sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act in 2015. The same year, OWEB adopted a policy to make at least $10 million available over the next decade to support local habitat projects.

“This project is a great investment of the state’s Lottery dollars,” said Meta Loftsgaarden, OWEB executive director. “This investment benefits Oregon’s greater sage grouse habitat, while also supporting natural resource jobs in local communities.”

The Malheur Watershed District received three of the four grants, totaling $219,250. The money will go toward developing new water sources, establishing fire breaks, reducing invasive weeds and enhancing wet meadows in areas where sage grouse raise their young, including

The Owyhee Watershed District received another $20,797 to help ranchers improve grazing practices on their land at Mahogany Mountain on the Oregon-Idaho border.

A full list of technical grants awarded by OWEB can be found online at www.oregon.gov/oweb.

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