Report Evaluates Sage Grouse Collaboration

Report Evaluates Sage Grouse Collaboration

Landowner-led organization Partners for Conservation released a report on March 12 that evaluates lessons learned during greater sage-grouse conservation efforts. The report, Perspectives on Collaborative Conservation, compiles responses from more than 40 individuals who were actively engaged in sage-grouse conservation from a variety of scales and perspectives. The interviews provide insights into things that worked and did not work during the collaborations that developed to keep the greater sage-grouse off the endangered species list.

Overall, survey respondents had a shared purpose and vision: to have healthy sage-grouse populations that would preclude the need for listing under the Endangered Species Act. While many of the stakeholders came with very different motivations and had different perspectives, several themes emerged from the respondents that crossed all scales and perspectives. These overarching themes were:

  • Building trust and the relationships that are built from this trust formed the bedrock of the collaboration
  • Building relationships takes time and some degree of risk taking. Fortunately, many key relationships already existed and participants were highly motivated to form them where they were missing
  • Diverse perspectives representing multiple interests (ecologic, economic, sociologic) were key to building trust as well as creating innovative workable solutions
  • Basic skills such as good listening, understanding and respect of perspectives other than your own, and patience as relationships were built and trust established were key
  • Open and transparent communication was critical to moving the collaborations toward workable and sustainable solutions
  • Integration of trusted science broadly shared and understood formed the sideboards of the collaborative solutions

“We found that there was a high degree of motivation to find solutions that could work for a wide range of partners – something that is critical in ensuring that conservation decisions are implemented successfully,” commented PFC Executive Director, Steve Jester. “The investment in time and effort to build the relationships, trust, and eventually effective partnerships can seem daunting and even insurmountable. However, addressing natural resource challenges in a collaborative fashion is the only way to forge lasting solutions. PFC intends to carry the lessons learned forward through a series of workshops helping partners learn how to develop effective relationships and partnerships to sustain landscapes and communities.”

March 16, 2018