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Sage-Grouse

SageCon Decision Support Web Tools and Maps

The SageCon partnership is developing a suite of web tools to provide information, data and maps for SageCon partners planning activities in sage-grouse habitat in Oregon. Below is a list of the SageCon tools currently available and in development designed to help with sage-grouse planning.

WEB TOOLS FOR CONSERVATION Planning DECISION SUPPORT 

Image of sage-grouse data viewer

The Sage-Grouse Data Viewer is a web-based interactive map that allows anyone to view, explore and download spatial data related to sage-grouse habitat and threats in Oregon. The Viewer includes a suite of theme-based scores that rate areas across eastern Oregon by their habitat viability, fire and invasives threat, biodiversity significance, and energy development potential. Each theme consists of multiple indicator datasets which are also included in the Viewer. Supplemental data layers are included in the Viewer such as vegetation condition, previous wildfire perimeters, seasonal sage-grouse habitat, and sage-grouse habitat management boundaries. Data layers will be updated in summer 2018.

Ongoing work in summer and fall of 2018 will add customized querying and reporting functions to the Viewer, which will be renamed as the Conservation Planning Tool. The new tool will allow users to identify areas that meet user-defined criteria - for example, areas that are within core habitat, contain early phase juniper, and represent important connectivity corridors. This will allow partners to better target their work and take advantage of spatial data, even if they don't have advanced GIS skills. The Cosnervaiton Planning Tool will is expected to be launched in early 2019.

WEB TOOLS FOR DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS IN SAGE-GROUSE HABITAT

The SageCon Partnership has also built tools to aid developers, county planning departments, and state agencies in minimizing impacts of development in sage-grouse habitat and complying with new sage-grouse rules relating to development and mitigation. The state of Oregon has committed to limiting human development disturbance within sage-grouse Priority Areas for Conservation (PACs or core areas). Oregon Administrative Rule (OAR) 660-023-0115 sets development thresholds for each PAC: developed area is limited to 3% overall per PAC, and new development must not exceed 1% per decade. OARs 660-023-0115 and 635-140-0000 also outline a mitigation hierarchy designed to steer development away from areas important for sage-grouse and provide a net conservation benefit to the species through compensatory mitigation.

Image of sage-grouse development registry toolThe Sage-Grouse Development Registry is a web mapping application to track the amount of development present within sage-grouse PACs, including a report of the amounts and types of development in each PAC. It also allows authorized county and state agency staff to add new proposed and permitted development projects into the Registry as a central repository for all new development in sage-grouse habitat.

The Sage-Grouse Development Siting Tool (currently in beta form) is designed to help developers avoid impacts to sage-grouse while also minimizing mitigation costs. By using this tool early in the process of development siting, developers and agency staff can avoid spending time and resources on sites that will be highly impactful to sage-grouse, with extensive mitigation requirements. This tool provides information about the mitigation hierarchy - including avoidance, minimization and compensatory mitigation - and how that may apply to a new development in the selected location. This includes information about the indirect area of impact, habitat designations, common minimization measures for your development type, and a relative mitigation estimate score. This estimate will not replace a consultation with ODFW or collection of field data, but will allow developers to anticipate mitigation requirements early in the process and compare potential sites to reduce both the cost to the developer and impact to sage-grouse. Ongoing work in 2018 will improve the Siting Tool and provide more information specific to county and state agency development permits.

Authored by Megan Creutzburg, Institute for Natural Resources (2017)

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