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One of the largest bibliographies of sage grouse literature available online

Description

The greater sage-grouse, a candidate species for listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973 has experienced population declines across its range in the sagebrush steppe ecosystems of western North America. Sage-grouse now occupy only 56% of their pre-settlement range, though they still occur in 11 western states and 2 Canadian provinces.

latest article added on August 2013

ArticleFirst AuthorPublished
Thresholds and Time Lags in Effects of Energy Development on Greater Sage-Grouse PopulationsHarju, Seth M.2010

Thresholds and Time Lags in Effects of Energy Development on Greater Sage-Grouse Populations

Keywords

Centrocercus urophasianus, energy development, greater sage-grouse, lek count, threshold

Abstract

Rapid expansion of energy development in some portions of the Intermountain West, USA, has prompted concern regarding impacts to declining greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) populations. We used retrospective analyses of public data to explicitly investigate potential thresholds in the relationship between lek attendance by male greater sage-grouse, the presence of oil or gas wells near leks (surface occupancy), and landscape-level density of well pads. We used generalized linear models and generalized estimating equations to analyze data on peak male attendance at 704 leks over 12 years in Wyoming, USA. Within this framework we also tested for time-lag effects between development activity and changes in lek attendance. Surface occupancy of oil or gas wells adjacent to leks was negatively associated with male lek attendance in 5 of 7 study areas. For example, leks that had >= 1 oil or gas well within a 0.4-km (0.25-mile) radius encircling the lek had 35-91% fewer attending males than leks with no well within this radius. In 2 of these 5 study areas, negative effects of well surface occupancy were present out to 4.8 km, the largest radius we investigated. Declining lek attendance was also associated with a higher landscape-level density of well pads; lek attendance at well-pad densities of 1.54 well pads/km(2) (4 well pads/mile(2)) ranged from 13% to 74% lower than attendance at unimpacted leks (leks with zero well pads within 8.5 km). Lek attendance at a well-pad density of 3.09 well pads/km(2) (8 well pads/mile(2)) ranged from 77% to 79% lower than attendance at leks with no well pad within 8.5 km. Further, our analysis of time-lag effects suggested that there is a delay of 2-10 years between activity associated with energy development and its measurable effects on lek attendance. These results offer new information for consideration by land managers on spatial and temporal associations between human activity and lek attendance in sage-grouse, and suggest that regional variation is an important consideration in refining existing management strategies.

Authors

Harju, Seth M.; Dzialak, Matthew R.; Taylor, Renee C.; Hayden-Wing, Larry D.; Winstead, Jeffrey B.

Year Published

2010

Publication

Journal of Wildlife Management

Locations
DOI

10.2193/2008-289

Using Statistical Population Reconstruction to Estimate Demographic Trends in Small Game PopulationsBroms, Kristin2010

Using Statistical Population Reconstruction to Estimate Demographic Trends in Small Game Populations

Keywords

age-at-harvest, Centrocercus urophasianus, hunter survey, lek count, population reconstruction, sage-grouse, wing-bee

Abstract

Statistical population reconstruction offers a robust approach to demographic assessment for harvested populations, but current methods are restricted to big-game species with multiple age classes. We extended this approach to small game and analyzed 14 years of age-at-harvest data for greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) in Oregon, USA, in conjunction with radiotelemetry data to reconstruct annual abundance levels, recruitment, and natural survival probabilities. Abundance estimates ranged from a low of 26,236 in 1995 to a high of 39,492 in 2004. Annual abundance estimates for adult males were correlated with a spring lek count index (r = 0.849, P < 0.029). We estimated the average annual harvest mortality for the population to be 0.028, ranging from 0.021 to 0.031 across years. We estimated the probability of natural survival of adult females to be 0.818 ( = 0.052), somewhat higher than that of adult males ((S) over cap = 0.609, (SE) over cap = 0.163). Our precision in reconstructing the population was hampered by low harvest rates and the few birds tagged in the radiotelemetry investigations. Despite these issues, our analysis illustrates how modern statistical reconstruction procedures offer a flexible framework for demographic assessment using commonly collected data. This approach offers a useful alternative to small-game indices and would be most appropriate for species with 5 or more years of age-at-harvest data and moderate-to-heavy harvest rates.

Authors

Broms, Kristin; Skalski, John R.; Millspaugh, Joshua J.; Hagen, Christian A.; Schulz, John H.

Year Published

2010

Publication

Journal of Wildlife Management

Locations
DOI

10.2193/2008-469

Effectiveness of Raptor Perch Deterrents on an Electrical Transmission Line in Southwestern WyomingSlater, Steven J.2010

Effectiveness of Raptor Perch Deterrents on an Electrical Transmission Line in Southwestern Wyoming

Keywords

Aquila chrysaetos, behavior, Centrocercus urophasianus, golden eagle, greater sage-grouse, perch deterrents, power lines, raptors, Wyoming

Abstract

In sagebrush steppe and other open habitats, power lines can provide perches for raptors and other birds in areas where few natural perches previously existed, with potential negative impacts for nearby prey species, such as greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus). Between September 2006 and August 2007, we used driving surveys, behavioral-observation surveys, and prey-remains surveys to assess the ability of perch-deterrent devices to minimize raptor and common raven (Corvus corax) activity on a recently constructed transmission line in southwestern Wyoming. All survey methods demonstrated that activity was significantly lower on the deterrent line compared with a nearby control line; however, deterrent devices did not entirely prevent perching. Considering use of cross-arms or pole-tops alone, we sighted 42 raptors and ravens on the deterrent line and 551 on the control line during 192 driving surveys of each line. Golden eagles (Aquila chrysaelos) and ravens were the species most commonly observed successfully overcoming deterrent devices. Smaller rough-legged hawks (Buteo lagopus) regularly avoided deterrents by perching on conductors (i.e., wires). We documented much off-line activity near both survey lines and suggest that fewer birds near the deterrent line likely reflected reduced availability of nearby alternate perches. There was a pronounced winter peak in on-line perch use, with the effect more evident on the control line. Behavior surveys corroborated our driving-survey results but were otherwise unproductive. During 549 prey-remains surveys of each line, we found 9 single and 60 grouped prey items near deterrent-line poles, compared with 277 single and 467 grouped items near control-line poles. We observed few sage-grouse in the study area but did witness a likely power line related, raptor-caused sage-grouse mortality. Overall, our results suggest that perch-deterrent devices can reduce raptor and raven activity on power-line structures, but to determine their utility on entire power-line segments, we suggest managers consider 1) what level of reduction in perch activity is worth the cost, and 2) the availability of alternate perches in the surrounding landscape.

Authors

Slater, Steven J.; Smith, Jeff P.

Year Published

2010

Publication

Journal of Wildlife Management

Locations
DOI

10.2193/2008-525

Greater Sage-Grouse Nesting Habitat: The Importance of Managing at Multiple ScalesDoherty, Kevin E.2010

Greater Sage-Grouse Nesting Habitat: The Importance of Managing at Multiple Scales

Keywords

Centrocercus urophasianus, habitat selection, landscape, nesting, resource selection function, sagebrush, sagegrouse,scale

Abstract

Considering habitat selection at multiple scales is essential to fully understand habitat requirements and management needs for wildlife species of concern. We used a hierarchical information-theoretic approach and variance decomposition techniques to analyze habitat selection using local-scale habitat variables measured in the field and landscape-scale variables derived with a Geographic Information System (GIS) for nesting greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) in the Powder River Basin (PRB), Montana and Wyoming, USA, 2003-2007. We investigated relationships between habitat features that can and cannot be mapped in a GIS to provide insights into interpretation of landscape-scale-only GIS models. We produced models of habitat selection at both local and landscape scales and across scales, yet multiscale models had overwhelming statistical and biological support. Variance decomposition showed that local-scale measures explained the most pure variation (50%) in sage-grouse nesting-habitat selection. Landscape-scale features explained 20% of pure variation and shared 30% with local-scale features. Both local-and landscape-scale habitat features are important in sage-grouse nesting-habitat selection because each scale explained both pure and shared variation. Our landscape-scale model was accurate in predicting priority landscapes where sage-grouse nests would occur and is, therefore, useful in providing landscape context for management decisions. It accurately predicted locations of independent sage-grouse nests (validation R(2) = 0.99) and showed good discriminatory ability with >90% of nests located within only 40% of the study area. Our landscape-scale model also accurately predicted independent lek locations. We estimated twice the amount of predicted nesting habitat within 3 km of leks compared to random locations in the PRB. Likewise we estimated 1.8 times more predicted nesting habitat within 10 km of leks compared to random locations. These results support predictions of the hotspot theory of lek placement. Local-scale habitat variables that cannot currently be mapped in a GIS strongly influence sage-grouse nest-site selection, but only within priority nesting habitats defined at the landscape scale. Our results indicate that habitat treatments for nesting sage-grouse applied in areas with an unsuitable landscape context are unlikely to achieve desired conservation results.

Authors

Doherty, Kevin E.; Naugle, David E.; Walker, Brett L.

Year Published

2010

Publication

Journal of Wildlife Management

Locations
DOI

10.2193/2009-043

Achieving Better Estimates of Greater Sage-Grouse Chick Survival in UtahDahlgren, David K.2010

Achieving Better Estimates of Greater Sage-Grouse Chick Survival in Utah

Keywords

brood-mixing, Centrocercus urophasianus, chick survival, greater sage-grouse, productivity, radiotelemetry, suture method, Utah

Abstract

Declining sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) populations may be characterized by poor recruitment largely attributed to low chick survival. However, few published studies have explicitly examined factors that influence chick survival. We used a suture method to radiomark 1-2-day-old sage-grouse chicks (n = 150) in 2005-2006 on Parker Mountain in south-central Utah, USA, and monitored their survival to 42 days. We modeled effects of year, hatch date, chick age, brood-female age, brood-mixing, and arthropod abundance on chick survival. Our best model revealed an average survival estimate of 0.50 days to 42 days, which is the highest level ever documented for this long-lived species. Brood-mixing occurred in 21% (31/146) of chicks and 43% (18/42) of broods we studied. Moreover, yearling females had more chicks leave their broods than did adults. We found that survival may be higher among chicks that switch broods compared to those that stayed with their natal mother until fledging. Thus, brood-mixing may be an adaptive strategy leading to increased sage-grouse chick survival and higher productivity, especially among chicks born to yearling females. Our findings also indicate that arthropod abundance may be an important driver of chick survival, particularly during the early brood-rearing period and, therefore, sage-grouse populations may benefit from a management strategy that attempts to increase arthropod abundance via brood habitat management.

Authors

Dahlgren, David K.; Messmer, Terry A.; Koons, David N.

Year Published

2010

Publication

Journal of Wildlife Management

Locations
DOI

10.2193/2009-093

Fire Effects on Cover and Dietary Resources of Sage-Grouse HabitatRhodes, Edward C.2010

Fire Effects on Cover and Dietary Resources of Sage-Grouse Habitat

Keywords

arthropods; bunchgrass; forbs; Oregon; prescribed burning; sage-grouse; Wyoming big sagebrush

Abstract

We evaluated 6 years of vegetation response following prescribed fire in Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata spp. wyomingensis) steppe on vegetation cover, productivity, and nutritional quality of forbs preferred by greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus), and abundance of common arthropod orders. Habitat cover (shrubs and tall herbaceous cover [>18 cm ht]) was about 50% lower after burning compared to unburned controls because of the loss of sagebrush. Perennial grasses and an invasive annual forb, pale alyssum (Alyssum alyssoides), increased in cover or yield after fire. There were no increases in yield or nutritional quality of forb species important in diets of sage-grouse. Abundance of ants (Hymenoptera), a significant component in the diet of young sage-grouse, decreased after fire. These results suggest that prescribed fire will not improve habitat characteristics for sage-grouse in Wyoming big sagebrush steppe where the community consists of shrubs, native grasses, and native forbs.

Authors

Rhodes, Edward C.; Bates, Jonathan D.; Sharp, Robert N.; Davies, Kirk W.

Year Published

2010

Publication

Journal of Wildlife Management

Locations
DOI

10.2193/2009-143

Raptor and Corvid Response to Power Distribution Line Perch Deterrents in UtahPrather, Phoebe R.2010

Raptor and Corvid Response to Power Distribution Line Perch Deterrents in Utah

Keywords

avian predators, Centrocercus minimus, corvids, Gunnison sage-grouse, mitigation, perch deterrents, power distribution lines, raptors, Utah

Abstract

Increased raptor and corvid abundance has been documented in landscapes fragmented by man-made structures, such as fence posts and power lines. These vertical structures may enhance raptor and corvid foraging and predation efficiency because of increased availability of perch, nesting, and roosting sites. Concomitantly, vertical structures, in particular power distribution lines, have been identified as a threat to sage-grouse (Centrocercus spp.) conservation. To mitigate potential impacts of power distribution lines on sage-grouse and other avian species, the electrical power industry has retrofitted support poles with perch deterrents to discourage raptor and corvid use. No published information is available regarding efficacy of contemporary perch deterrents on avian predator use of lower-voltage power distribution lines. We evaluated efficacy of 5 perch deterrents mounted on support poles of an 11-km section of a 12.5-kV distribution line that bisected occupied Gunnison sage-grouse (Centrocercus minimus) habitat in southeastern Utah, USA. Perch deterrents were mounted on the line in November-December 2006 following a random replicated block design that included controls. During 168 hours and 84 hours of direct observation in 2007 and 2008, respectively, we recorded 276 and 139 perching events of 7 potential avian predators of sage-grouse. Golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) were the dominant species we recorded during both years. We did not detect any difference in perching events by perch deterrent we evaluated and controls (P < 0.05). Perch deterrents we evaluated were not effective because of inherent design and placement flaws. Additionally, previous pole modifications that mitigated avian electrocutions provided alternative perches. We did not record any raptor or corvid electrocutions or direct predation on Gunnison sage-grouse. The conclusions of this study can be applied by conservation groups and power companies to future management of power distribution lines within areas inhabited by species sensitive to man-made vertical structures.

Authors

Prather, Phoebe R.; Messmer, Terry A.

Year Published

2010

Publication

Journal of Wildlife Management

Locations
DOI

10.2193/2009-204

Landscape-Level Assessment of Brood Rearing Habitat for Greater Sage-Grouse in NevadaAtamian, Michael T.2010

Landscape-Level Assessment of Brood Rearing Habitat for Greater Sage-Grouse in Nevada

Keywords

brood rearing habitat; Centrocercus urophasianus; ecological niche factor analysis; greater sage-grouse; habitat suitability; landscape management; Nevada

Abstract

Loss of quality brood rearing habitat, resulting in reduced chick growth and poor recruitment, is one mechanism associated with decline of greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) populations. Low chick survival rates are typically attributed to poor-quality brood rearing habitat. Models that delineate suitability of sage-grouse nesting or brood rearing habitat at the landscape scale can provide key insights into the relationship between sage-grouse and the environment, allowing managers to identify and prioritize habitats for protection or restoration. We used Southwest Regional Gap landcover types to identify early and late greater sage-grouse brood rearing in east-central Nevada. We conducted an Ecological Niche Factor Analysis to 1) examine the effect these landcover types and other ecogeographical variables have on sage-grouse selection of brood rearing habitat, and 2) generate landscape-scale suitability maps. We also evaluated if incorporating a fitness component (brood survival) in landscape spatial analyses of habitat quality influenced our assessment of habitat suitability. Because 36% of our 6,500-km(2) study area was identified as early brood rearing habitat, we believe this habitat may not be limiting greater sage-grouse populations in east-central Nevada, USA, at least in wet years. We found strong selection for particular landcover types (e. g., higher elevation, moist sites with riparian shrubs or montane sagebrush) during late brood rearing. Late brood rearing habitat on which broods were successfully reared represented only 2.8% of the study area and had a restricted distribution, suggesting the potential that such habitat could limit sage-grouse populations in east-central Nevada.

Authors

Atamian, Michael T.; Sedinger, James S.; Heaton, Jill S.; Blomberg, Erik J.

Year Published

2010

Publication

Journal of Wildlife Management

Locations
DOI

10.2193/2009-226

Population Estimation Techniques for Lekking SpeciesWalsh, Daniel P.2010

Population Estimation Techniques for Lekking Species

Keywords

Bowden's estimator, grouse, lekking species, mark–resight, mixed logit-normal mark–resight model, population estimation

Abstract

With the decline of many lekking species, the need to develop a rigorous population estimation technique is critical for successful conservation and management. We employed mark-resight methods to estimate population size for 2 lekking species: greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) and Gunnison sage-grouse (Centrocercus minimus). We evaluated 2 different estimators: Bowden's estimator and the mixed logit-normal mark-resight model. We captured and marked 75 greater sage-grouse. We counted marked and unmarked birds as they attended 15 known leks. We used 36 and 37 marked Gunnison sage-grouse to estimate population size in 2003 and 2004, respectively. We observed marked and unmarked Gunnison sage-grouse daily as they attended 6 leks in 2003 and 3 leks in 2004. Based on our examination of the assumptions of each mark-resight estimator, relative to behavior and biology of these species, we concluded the mixed logit-normal mark-resight model is preferred. We recommend wildlife managers employ mark-resight approaches when statistically rigorous population estimates are required for management and conservation of lekking species.

Authors

Walsh, Daniel P.; Stiver, Julie R.; White, Gary C.; Remington, Thomas E.; Apa, Anthony D.

Year Published

2010

Publication

Journal of Wildlife Management

Locations
DOI

10.2193/2009-353

EVALUATION OF BROOD DETECTION TECHNIQUES: RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ESTIMATING GREATER SAGE-GROUSE PRODUCTIVITYDahlgren, David K.2010

EVALUATION OF BROOD DETECTION TECHNIQUES: RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ESTIMATING GREATER SAGE-GROUSE PRODUCTIVITY

Keywords

brood counts, Centrocercus urophasianus, Greater Sage-Grouse, pointing dogs, spotlighting, walking surveys, Utah

Abstract

Obtaining timely and accurate assessment of sage-grouse (Centrocercus spp.) chick survival and recruitment is an important component of species management and conservation. We compared the effectiveness of walking, spotlight, and pointing-dog surveys to detect radio-marked and unmarked chicks within broods of radio-marked hens in Utah. Walking surveys detected 72% of marked chicks, while spotlight and pointing-dog surveys detected 100% and 96%, respectively. We found no difference between spotlight and pointing-dog counts in number of marked and unmarked chicks detected (P = 0.57). Spotlight counts were slightly inure time efficient than pointing-dog surveys. However, spotlight surveys were nocturnal searches and perceived to be more technically arduous than diurnal pointing-dog surveys. Pointing-dog surveys may offer greater utility in terms of area searched per unit effort and an increased ability to detect unmarked hens and broods.

Authors

Dahlgren, David K.; Messmer, Terry A.; Thacker, Eric T.; Gutter, Michael R.

Year Published

2010

Publication

Western North American Naturalist

Locations
DOI

10.3398/064.070.0210

Recent Articles

The Secret Sex Lives of Sage-Grouse: Multiple Paternity and Intraspecific Nest Parasitism Revealed Through Genetic Analysis

by Bird, Krista, Aldridge, Cameron, Carpenter, Jennifer, Paszkowski, Cynthia, Boyce, Mark and Coltman, David

In lek-based mating systems only a few males are expected to obtain the majority of matings in a single breeding season and multiple mating is believed to be rare. We used 13 microsatellites to genotype greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) samples from 604 adults and 1206 offspring from 191 clutches (1999-2006) from Alberta, Canada, to determine paternity and polygamy (males and fema...

published 2013 in Behavioral Ecology

Seasonal Reproductive Costs Contribute to Reduced Survival of Female Greater Sage-grouse

by Blomberg, Erik, Sedinger, James, Nonne, Daniel and Atamian, Michael

Tradeoffs among demographic traits are a central component of life history theory. We investigated tradeoffs between reproductive effort and survival in female greater sage-grouse breeding in the American Great Basin, while also considering reproductive heterogeneity by examining covariance among current and future reproductive success. We analyzed survival and reproductive histories from 328 i...

published 2013 in Journal of Avian Biology


Greater Sage-Grouse and Severe Winter Conditions: Identifying Habitat for Conservation

by Dzialak, Matthew, Webb, Stephen, Harju, Seth, Olson, Chad, Winstead, Jeffrey and Hayden Wing, Larry

d Developing sustainable rangeland management strategies requires solution-driven research that addresses ecological issues within the context of regionally important socioeconomic concerns. A key sustainability issue in many regions of the world is conserving habitat that buffers animal populations from climatic variability, including seasonal deviation from long-term precipitation or temperat...

published 2013 in Rangeland Ecology & Management

Using Spatial Statistics and Point-Pattern Simulations to Assess the Spatial Dependency Between Greater Sage-Grouse and Anthropogenic Features

by Gillan, Jeffrey K., Strand, Eva K., Karl, Jason W., Reese, Kerry P. and Laninga, Tamara

The greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus; hereafter, sage-grouse), a candidate species for listing under the Endangered Species Act, has experienced population declines across its range in the sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) steppe ecosystems of western North America. One factor contributing to the loss of habitat is the expanding human population with associated development and infrast...

published 2013 in Wildlife Society Bulletin