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Results Based Agreements

Results based agreements are a new type of agreement being piloted in the South of the Divide area! They work on the premise of “if you build it, they will come!” – focusing on rewarding producers for supplying habitat, rather than the number of species present on their land.

These projects focus on providing habitat for a specific target species – sage grouse or sprague’s pipit for example. We use data collected over the years about the specific habitat requirements for the target species then work with individual producers to help them meet those requirements. We measure things such as grass height, sage brush density and litter cover, and if the requirements are met, then the producer receives a payment for that year. “Results” refers to a quantifiable habitat target that a producer can manage for, over and above the current normal industry standards for livestock production. These types of agreements are non-prescriptive, meaning that the producer is the decision makers. In this area, grass management skills have historically been passed from one generation to the next on the ranch, and each operation is unique. These agreements are a way of encouraging producers to manage their land and make management decisions that support species at risk habitat.

Agreements are structured so that the producer is rewarded financially upon achieving the results. The failure to meet desired results does not constitute destruction of habitat, it simply means a financial incentive is not triggered.

For example, in a Sage Grouse targeted Results Based Agreement, we look for a forb cover of at least 7% because the young sage grouse chicks rely heavy on certain forbs for food. We look for an average grass height of at least 18 cm and average sagebrush cover of 20 cm on overflow sites. This cover is very important because without it sage grouse are easy prey to a variety of predators. They rely of good cover to blend into and to hide their nests. In the fall we will also measure the amount of bare, exposed soil and the remaining litter load, as they relate to suitable range health.

Funding for these projects are provided by: