Dixie Forum to host lecture on sage grouse with wildlife specialist

ST. GEORGE, Utah — Dixie State University will host a presentation about the management and conservation of Utah’s sage grouse in the next installment of the institution’s weekly lecture series, Dixie Forum: A Window on the World.

Dr. Terry Messmer, professor and extension wildlife specialist in the Department of Wildland Resources at Utah State University, will present at noon on Jan. 28 in the Dunford Auditorium, located in the Browning Resource Center on the Dixie State campus. Admission is free, and the public is encouraged to attend.

In his Dixie Forum presentation, Messmer will discuss the state’s Conservation Plan for Greater Sage Grouse in Utah, which seeks to protect high-quality habitat, enhance impaired habitat and restore converted habitat by eliminating conservation threats. Because half of Utah’s sage grouse populations inhabit private lands at some time during their life, Messmer will also discuss how conservation requires support from communities and private landowners. 

Based on the historical distribution of sagebrush, pioneer records and museum specimens, sage grouse are thought to have been historically distributed in all 29 Utah counties. Today, current estimates suggest that sage grouse may occupy up to 8 million acres, or about 41 percent of the historic habitats in Utah. 

Messmer’s research, teaching and extension activities include identification, implementation and evaluation of conservation strategies, technologies and partnerships that can benefit communities, wildlife and natural resource stakeholders by reducing human-wildlife conflicts. In his role at Utah State, he holds the Quinney Professorship of Wildlife Conflict Management and is the director of the university’s Community-Based Conservation Program and the Jack H. Berryman Institute for Wildlife Damage Management.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in fisheries and wildlife management and biology from the University of North Dakota-Grand Forks, a master’s in regional and community planning and a doctorate in animal and range science from North Dakota State University-Fargo.

Dixie forum is a weekly lecture series designed to introduce the St. George and Dixie State communities to diverse ideas and personalities while widening their worldviews via a 50-minute presentation.  The next installment of Dixie Forum, set to take place at noon on Feb. 4 in the Dunford Auditorium, will feature a presentation on fake news via a video conference with Sarah Brandt, NewsGuard’s vice president of news literacy program.