Project Phases

The central repository for the data is located and maintained on a server at the USGS Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center, Snake River Field Station (SRFS), in Boise, Idaho. The project consists of 4 phases: 

  1. Identify and Collect Relevant Spatial Data (BLM Dataset Matrix This link opens in a new window)

    Sources include state and federal agencies, universities, non-profit organizations, and privately-owned data. 

  2. Assemble, Document, and Archive Spatial Data in a GIS

    Emphasis is placed on maps of current vegetation, habitat change, and other datasets important for understanding processes that influence sage grouse populations and sagebrush steppe habitats. We emphasize maps that cover the entire sage grouse range. SAGEMAP will not create new maps, but will collect existing information. When the data set is not readily accessible or may be proprietary, we identify the sources and established the appropriate links.

  3. Develop the Web Site and File Transfer Protocol

    Spatial data on this site are in ARC/INFO or GRID ASCII format. Each layer has an associated description that includes the geographical coverage, date of the coverage, source of the data, and description of the data attributes. Appropriate links are established to proprietary data sources not in the public domain or to very large datasets that are impractical or unnecessary to duplicate on this site.

  4. Develop Interactive Viewing Capabilities

    Users will be able to query and view spatial datasets before downloading. ArcIMS, an ArcGIS component, is used to develop the interactive capability.

SAGEMAP Background

Desert landscape near Arco, ID.
Desert landscape near Arco, ID.

The SAGEMAP project, conducted by the Snake River Field Station (SRFS) of the USGS Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center, is identifying and collecting spatial data layers needed for research and management of sage grouse and shrubsteppe systems. The datasets, which can be queried, viewed, and downloaded from our 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.


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 are collecting, documenting, and making common datasets available for subsequent analyses for the sage grouse range and shrubsteppe regions in the western United States (see map) This link opens in a new window.

Data on this website are 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 have 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 will have an associated metadata record, but some may not be FGDC compliant.

The spatial data on this website are 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 is 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 permit 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 be used, GIS-based modeling that incorporates individual habitat layers might be used to identify important areas for sage grouse. Using maps of predicted distributions derived from these analyses, managers can identify regions containing high probability of use and maintain areas of sufficient size to contain viable populations, or to identify habitat corridors for dispersal and migration. State and federal agencies responsible for management of sage grouse and their habitats, need the information in developing responses if sage grouse are listed as a Threatened or Endangered Species. Other ongoing or proposed efforts, such as the U.S. Bureau of Land Management Great Basin Restoration Initiative (U.S. Bur. Land Manage. 1999) benefit from identification of high-priority regions of remaining sagebrush and from an analysis of disturbance history and habitat change.


Bureau of Land Management. 1999.  Out of Ashes, an opportunity.  National Office of Fire and Aviation.  Boise, Idaho.  28 pp.

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