What is it? Oregon has a volunteer opportunity between hunting seasons in the high desert, in the state’s southeastern region. Oregon has one of the nation’s largest populations of Greater sage grouse, behind states like Wyoming and Nevada.
The bird is found throughout the Great Basin, and Intermountain west, inhabiting the Sagebrush Biome. Declines in sage grouse have led many non-profit groups and support from government agencies attempting to keep the bird from becoming listed on the Endangered Species List. The Greater sage grouse, once numbering 16 Million, has dwindled to less than 500,000 an approximately 80% decline.
The Adopt-a-Lek program trains citizen volunteers to conduct lek attendance surveys in remote areas of SE Oregon. Now in its 17th year, trained volunteers are expected to monitor more than 80 leks. The information collected by Adopt-a-Lek volunteers is entered into Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s long-term sage grouse database and are used to determine population trends and estimates that are needed for the on-going monitoring and conservation of the species.
Hunters have funded sage grouse research for decades. Including, wings from hunter-harvested birds are used to determine the ratio of hens to chicks, which provides an index to annual chick production. In conjunction with population trend counts, these data contribute to understanding the dynamics of sage-grouse populations.
What do I need? Binoculars and/or Spotting Scope. High clearance four-wheel-drive vehicle. Experience dry camping, in remote areas. A second spare tire.
When is it? Volunteers observe and count sage grouse on their mating grounds for two months during the spring. Travel reimbursement is allowed.
How do I get involved? Volunteering is easy. An email to the Adopt-A-Lek coordinator is all that’s needed: https://www.dfw.state.or.us/agency/volunteer/current_opportunities/ Or, [email protected] Or, call: 503-947-6413