Science Center Objects

A GIS Database for Sage-grouse and Shrubsteppe Management in the Intermountain West

"SAGEMAP - A GIS Database for Sage-grouse and Shrubsteppe Management in the Intermountain West" was a website created to display and provide access to spatial information needed to address management of sage-grouse and sagebrush steppe habitats in the western United States. The original site was a portal for spatial data needed for research and management of sage-grouse and shrubsteppe systems. 

All the original project narratives from that site has been made available here. The USGS data can be found in the SAGEMAP folder on ScienceBase.



The SAGEMAP project was conducted by the Snake River Field Station (SRFS) of the USGS Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center and identified and collected spatial data layers needed for research and management of sage grouse and shrubsteppe systems. The datasets, which could be queried, viewed, and downloaded from an FTP site, are important for our understanding and management of shrubsteppe lands and associated wildlife. The data can be used to identify factors causing the declines of wildlife and shrubsteppe habitats, or in the decision process for listing of Greater Sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) as a Threatened or Endangered species, and to help guide restoration of habitats in the Great Basin.

The SAGEMAP project came about simply because we attended too many meetings where the same topics kept coming up again and again: "We don't know what maps are available" or "Where should we focus our efforts?" We finally suggested that we identify what data were needed and available, collect the GIS layers if possible, and build this website for others to access and use the information. Thus, SAGEMAP (the Sagebrush And Grassland Ecosystem Map Assessment Project) was born. 


map of historic and current sage-grouse range in 2000

Federal and state land and wildlife agencies need spatial data that are readily available and documented to properly address critical issues in management of shrubsteppe and associated wildlife in the western United States. Therefore, we were collecting, documenting, and making common datasets available for subsequent analyses for the sage grouse range and shrubsteppe regions in the western United States.

Data on this website were derived from a variety of sources, such as remotely sensed data, digitized from USGS or other base maps, or developed from site-specific information located by a Global Positioning System. When possible, we had ensured that data made available on this website are compliant to Federal Geographic Data Committee’s (FGDC) standards for geospatial data. Therefore, most of the data layers had an associated metadata record, but some may not be FGDC compliant.

The spatial data on this website were available to researchers, managers, and anyone interested in the shrubsteppe regions of the western United States. Our goal in collecting and making these data available was that they will be used to document current habitat and other environmental conditions, and to identify areas that have undergone significant changes in land cover and to learn about the underlying causes. As such, the databases permitted a critical analysis of large-scale and range-wide factors responsible for declines in sage grouse populations. In another example of how these data might have been used, GIS-based modeling that incorporated individual habitat layers might have been used to identify important areas for sage grouse. Using maps of predicted distributions derived from these analyses, managers could have identified regions containing high probability of use and maintain areas of sufficient size to contain viable populations, or habitat corridors for dispersal and migration. State and federal agencies responsible for management of sage grouse and their habitats, needed the information in developing responses if sage grouse were listed as a Threatened or Endangered Species. Other ongoing or proposed efforts at the time, such as the U.S. Bureau of Land Management Great Basin Restoration Initiative benefitted from identification of high-priority regions of remaining sagebrush and from an analysis of disturbance history and habitat change.