Natural Resource Management

Sagebrush Ecosystem

​With declines in greater sage-grouse (GRSG) populations in recent decades, the State of Nevada started a Sagebrush Ecosystem Program (SEP) under the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to work toward further conserving sagebrush habitats and addressing their threats. Established in 2013-14, the SEP was made up of a Governor-appointed Sagebrush Ecosystem Council (SEC) and the Sagebrush Ecosystem Technical Team (SETT), an interdisciplinary team with employees provided by multiple agencies including Nevada Division of Forestry.

To date, the SEP has developed and implements the Conservation Credit System (CCS), a mitigation program to be used by project proponents when large-scale human disturbances such as mines, roads, and energy infrastructure, among others, impact GRSG habitats.


The Conservation Credit System

The CCS allows the actions upon which the economy relies to move forward with an effort to minimize impacts and apply consistent and adequate mitigation, relative to impacts. The CCS involves measuring the quantity and quality of habitat impacted by these large-scale disturbances using a Habitat Quantification Tool (HQT) to determine mitigation requirements and ensure a commensurate amount of conservation takes place to offset the impacts. Debits represent the negative impacts, which are offset by credits. Credits can be generated on private or public lands through running the HQT to determine habitat qualitycredits, developing and committing to a CCS management plan featuring actions to improve habitat, and annually monitoring and reporting. Credits can be sold or transferred to offset a disturbance through private agreement in exchange for extending the commitment to the CCS to at least 30 years or the term of disturbance, if longer.

Credit projects represent an opportunity for landowners and managers to run ranching operations and benefit from the long-term protection and improvement of GRSG habitat. Protecting and improving these intact high quality habitats in areas still important and occupied by GRSG also make sense as a priority for GRSG conservation. Habitats most valuable to GRSG (including meadows) generate the most credits and incentivize the best conservation actions.

For a Credit Project to be considered eligible it must:

  • Be located within GRSG Management Category Areas (PHMA, GHMA, or OHMA);
  • Have intact high quality GRSG habitat;
  • Be willing to create and follow a CCS management plan that features improvement actions;
  • Be willing to conduct annual monitoring and reporting;
  • Be willing to consider selling credits in exchange for extension of CCS commitments;
  • Be willing to set aside financial assurances to ensure funding for future commitments;
  • Have a minimum of 500-1,000 acres; and
  • Be private deeded lands or involved with a debit project proponent if on public lands.

Additional Information

Use the links below to access additional documents, geospatial data, web applications, and external websites related to the Sagebrush Ecosystem Program.

Sagebrush Ecosystem Program Website

Highlighted Projects

Western Region
Spooner Landscape Resilience Project
The Spooner Landscape Resilience Project is a 300-acre environmental improvement initiative, spearheaded by the Nevada Tahoe Resource Team and the Nevada Division of Forestry.
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Western Region
Lot X Fuels Reduction and Forest Restoration Project
The Lot X Fuels Reduction and Forest Reforestation Project was funded through a US Forest Service Hazardous Fuels Grant, to improve forest and riparian health in Lot X...
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Northern Region
Ruby Lake Estates Project
In partnership with the United States Forest Service, Conservation Crews from Wells and Carlin began work on the Ruby Lake Estates project in October of 2020. Located on the Southeast side of the Ruby Mountains...
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