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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
Sage-Grouse and Coal-Bed Methane: Can They Coexist within the Powder River Basin?Duncan, Michael B.2010

Sage-Grouse and Coal-Bed Methane: Can They Coexist within the Powder River Basin?

Keywords

CBM, coal-bed methane; ESA, Endangered Species Act; PRB, Powder River Basin; USFWS, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Abstract

Concerns are growing regarding the availability of sustainable energy sources due to a rapidly growing human population and a better understanding of climate change. In recent years, the United States has focused much attention on developing domestic energy sources, which include coal-bed methane (CBM). There are vast deposits of the natural gas within the Powder River Basin (PRB), Wyoming. A sharp increase in exploration and development of CBM in the region has led to a decline in the surrounding greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) populations in developed areas. This case study presents the issues surrounding CBM development and sage-grouse conservation within the PRB and provides instructors with online resources and classroom activities that can be used to stimulate and develop students' active learning and critical thinking skills.

Authors

Duncan, Michael B.

Year Published

2010

Publication

Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education

Locations
DOI

10.4195/jnrlse.2009.0027

SITE AND AGE CLASS VARIATION OF HEMATOLOGIC PARAMETERS FOR FEMALE GREATER SAGE GROUSE (CENTROCERCUS UROPHASIANUS) OF NORTHERN NEVADADyer, Kathryn J.2010

SITE AND AGE CLASS VARIATION OF HEMATOLOGIC PARAMETERS FOR FEMALE GREATER SAGE GROUSE (CENTROCERCUS UROPHASIANUS) OF NORTHERN NEVADA

Keywords

Centrocercus urophasianus, hematologic parameters Nevada Sage Grouse

Abstract

Decreases in Greater Sage Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) number throughout the western United States have been attributed to declining habitat quantity and quality. Improvin gour understanding of how interannual ecologic site variability affects nutritional status and fitness of different bird age classes will lead to improved land management and conservation strategies. Greater Sage Grouse were sampled from two Population Management Units located in northern Nevada, United States: Tuscarora (TU) and Lone Willow (LW) during 15 March-11 April 2004 and 14-20 Marchh 2005. Twenty (16 yearlings, four adults) and 17 (7 yearlings, 10 adults) female Sage Grouse were captured and bled during 2004, and 12 (four yearlings, eight adults) and 14 (10 yearlings, four adults) were sampled during 2005 in TU and LW, respectively. Samples were evaluated to examine the effect of site, age, and year on specific hematologic and serum chemistry parameters. Several differences between age classes, sites, and years were detected for a number of fitness indicators; however, actual values fell within normal ranges of variation for Sage Grouse or other avian species. Differences were also detected for several parameters more closely related to reproductive fitness, including total plasma and serum proteins, and serum calcium and phosphorus. Yearlings had lower plasma protein (P<0.0001). Overall, adult females weighted more than yearlings (P=0.0004). Lower values found in yearlings, and on the TU management unit, indicate a lower production potential, particularly in unfavorable years. A lower intrinsic ability of yearlings to reproduce, combined with lower nutrition potentials and associated annual variations on certain types of habitat combinations, indicate that conservation measures must be flexible and based on local prescriptions. Fitness parameters of Sage Grouse should be used to assess effects of land management practices and conservation on Sage Grouse populations in order to provide more certainty of the outcome, whether positive, neutral, or deleterious.

Authors

Dyer, Kathryn J.; Perryman, Barry L.; Holcombe, Dale W.

Year Published

2010

Publication

Journal of Wildlife Diseases

Locations
Sage-grouse Habitat in Idaho: A Practical Guide For Land Owners and ManagersGillan, Jeffrey K.2010

Sage-grouse Habitat in Idaho: A Practical Guide For Land Owners and Managers

Keywords

No keywords available

Abstract

The greater sage-grouse is a species in decline across the western United States, including Idaho. As implied by the name, greater sage-grouse depend on sagebrush dominated landscapes for their forage, cover, nesting habitat, and ultimate survival. The deterioration of sagebrush landscapes in the West has been crucial factor in the decline of the greater sage-grouse, which is currently a candidate species under the federal Endangered Species Act. State and federal government land managers, researchers, private landowners, and concerned citizens are leading efforts to conserve this species in Idaho. This book is largely an illustrated synthesis of the 2006 Conservation Plan for Greater Sage-grouse in Idaho, produced by the Idaho Sage-grouse Advisory Committee. Although the information in the 2006 Conservation is based on scientific research, the guidebook is meant to extend what is known about sage-grouse and their habitat to land owners and managers but is not meant to be cited as a science document itself. The intent of this guidebook is to help land owners and managers recognize characteristics of productive and unfavorable sage-grouse habitat throughout the different life stages, prompting better informed approaches to management and conservation. The focus is clearly on ranching, as opposed to other land use activities, because livestock grazing is the major land use that occurs on sage-grouse habitat. The guidebook provides information to recognize and evaluate sage-grouse habitat, but does not recommend specific grazing or land management practices. Those who manage and live within sagebrush landscapes can play a significant role in conserving sage-grouse and the habitat the depend on. This book is just a small part of the larger commitment that is being made to conserve this species.

Authors

Gillan, Jeffrey K. and Strand, Eva K.

Year Published

2010

Publication

Idaho College of Natural Resources

Locations
Additional Information:

http://www.webpages.uidaho.edu/range/pubs/sage-grouse_guide.pdf

Energy development affects populations of sagebrush songbirds in Wyoming.Gilbert, Michelle M.2011

Energy development affects populations of sagebrush songbirds in Wyoming.

Keywords

avian abundance;Brewer's sparrow;natural gas;oil;sage sparrow;sage thrasher;shrubsteppe;species richness

Abstract

Oil and natural gas development in the Intermountain West region of North America has expanded over the last 2 decades, primarily within sagebrush dominated landscapes. Although the effects of energy development on high-profile game species such as the greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) have been documented, studies examining responses of non-game birds are lacking. Simultaneously, many songbirds that breed within sagebrush steppe habitats have shown range-wide population declines that are likely due to widespread habitat loss and alteration. We evaluated songbird abundance and species richness across gradients of oil and natural gas development intensity, as indexed by well density, at 3 energy fields (2 natural gas and 1 oil) in the Upper Green River Basin, Wyoming, USA during 2008-2009. While simultaneously accounting for important habitat attributes, increased well density was associated with significant decreases in Brewer's sparrow (Spizella breweri) and sage sparrow (Amphispiza belli) abundance, particularly in the Jonah natural gas field. Vesper sparrows (Pooecetes gramineus) were also negatively influenced by increased well density. Horned larks (Eremophila alpestris) increased with well density in the Pinedale Anticline natural gas field, and sage thrashers (Oreoscoptes montanus) showed no response to energy development. Species richness was not significantly affected by well density. Results suggest that regional declines of some songbird species, especially sagebrush-obligates, may be exacerbated by increased energy development. Understanding the specific mechanisms underlying responses to energy development is an important next step and will aid land managers in the development of effective mitigation and management strategies for the maintenance of stable bird communities in sagebrush habitat. © 2011 The Wildlife Society.

Authors

Gilbert, Michelle M. and Anna D. Chalfoun.

Year Published

2011

Publication

Journal of Wildlife Management

Locations
DOI

10.1002/jwmg.123

Are There Benefits to Mowing Wyoming Big Sagebrush Plant Communities? An Evaluation in Southeastern OregonDavies, Kirk W.2011

Are There Benefits to Mowing Wyoming Big Sagebrush Plant Communities? An Evaluation in Southeastern Oregon

Keywords

Annual grass Artemisia tridentata Bromus tectorum Brush control Brush management Sage-grouse

Abstract

Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis Beetle & Young) communities frequently are mowed in an attempt to increase perennial herbaceous vegetation. However, there is limited information as to whether expected benefits of mowing are realized when applied to Wyoming big sagebrush communities with intact understory vegetation. We compared vegetation and soil nutrient concentrations in mowed and undisturbed reference plots in Wyoming big sagebrush plant communities at eight sites for three years post-treatment. Mowing generally did not increase perennial herbaceous vegetation cover, density, or biomass production (P > 0.05). Annual forbs and exotic annual grasses were generally greater in the mowed compared to the reference treatment (P < 0.05). By the third year post-treatment annual forb and annual grass biomass production was more than nine and sevenfold higher in the mowed than reference treatment, respectively. Our results imply that the application of mowing treatments in Wyoming big sagebrush plant communities does not increase perennial herbaceous vegetation, but may increase the risk that exotic annual grasses will dominate the herbaceous vegetation. We suggest that mowing Wyoming big sagebrush communities with intact understories does not produce the expected benefits. However, the applicability of our results to Wyoming big sagebrush communities with greater sagebrush cover and/or degraded understories needs to be evaluated.

Authors

Davies, Kirk W.; Bates, Jon D.; Nafus, Aleta M.

Year Published

2011

Publication

Environmental Management

Locations
DOI

10.1007/s00267-011-9715-3

The Importance of Within-Year Repeated Counts and the Influence of Scale on Long-Term Monitoring of Sage-GrouseFedy, Bradley C.2011

The Importance of Within-Year Repeated Counts and the Influence of Scale on Long-Term Monitoring of Sage-Grouse

Keywords

Centrocercus urophasianus; generalized additive models; greater sage-grouse; lek; monitoring; population trends; Wyoming

Abstract

Long-term population monitoring is the cornerstone of animal conservation and management. The accuracy and precision of models developed using monitoring data can be influenced by the protocols guiding data collection. The greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) is a species of concern that has been monitored over decades, primarily, by counting the number of males that attend lek (breeding) sites. These lek count data have been used to assess long-term population trends and for multiple mechanistic studies. However, some studies have questioned the efficacy of lek counts to accurately identify population trends. In response, monitoring protocols were changed to have a goal of counting lek sites multiple times within a season. We assessed the influence of this change in monitoring protocols on model accuracy and precision applying generalized additive models to describe trends over time. We found that at large spatial scales including > 50 leks, the absence of repeated counts within a year did not significantly alter population trend estimates or interpretation. Increasing sample size decreased the model confidence intervals. We developed a population trend model for Wyoming greater sage-grouse from 1965 to 2008, identifying significant changes in the population indices and capturing the cyclic nature of this species. Most sage-grouse declines in Wyoming occurred between 1965 and the 1990s and lek count numbers generally increased from the mid-1990s to 2008. Our results validate the combination of monitoring data collected under different protocols in past and future studies-provided those studies are addressing large-scale questions. We suggest that a larger sample of individual leks is preferable to multiple counts of a smaller sample of leks. (C) 2011 The Wildlife Society.

Authors

Fedy, Bradley C.; Aldridge, Cameron L.

Year Published

2011

Publication

Journal of Wildlife Management

Locations
DOI

10.1002/jwmg.155

Survival and Detectability Bias of Avian Fence Collision Surveys in Sagebrush SteppeStevens, Bryan S.2011

Survival and Detectability Bias of Avian Fence Collision Surveys in Sagebrush Steppe

Keywords

carcass survival; Centrocercus urophasianus; detectability; fence collisions; Idaho; sagebrush; sage-grouse; scavenging

Abstract

We used female ring-necked pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) carcasses as surrogates for greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) to study factors influencing survival and detection bias associated with avian fence collision surveys in southern Idaho, USA, during spring 2009. We randomly placed 50 pheasant carcasses on each of 2 study areas, estimated detection probability during fence-line surveys, and monitored survival and retention of carcasses and their associated sign over a 31-day period. Survival modeling suggested site and habitat features had little impact on carcass survival, and constant survival models were most supported by the data. Model averaged carcass daily survival probability was low on both study areas and ranged from 0.776 to 0.812. Survival of all carcass sign varied strongly by location, and the top sign survival model included a site effect parameter. Model averaged daily survival probability for collision sign on the 2 study sites ranged from 0.863 to 0.988 and varied between sites. Logistic regression modeling indicated detection probability of carcasses during fence-line surveys for avian collision victims was influenced by habitat type and microsite shrub height at the carcass location. Carcasses located in big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) habitats were detected at a lower rate (0.36) than carcasses in little (A. arbuscula) and black sagebrush (A. nova) habitats (0.71). Increasing shrub height at the carcass location from the little sagebrush mean of 16.5 cm to the big sagebrush mean of 36.0 cm reduced detection probability by approximately 30%. Avian fence collision surveys in sagebrush-steppe habitats should be conducted at <= 2-week sampling intervals to reduce the impact of survival bias on collision rate estimates. Two-week sampling intervals may be too long in areas with low carcass and sign survival, therefore survival rates should be estimated on all study areas to determine the appropriate sampling interval duration. Researchers should be aware of the effects of local vegetation on detection probabilities, and methods to correct detection probabilities based on collision site attributes should be applied to ensure more accurate collision rate estimates. Additionally, caution should be used when aggregating or comparing uncorrected collision data from areas with differing vegetation, as detection probabilities are likely different between sites. (C) 2011 The Wildlife Society.

Authors

Stevens, Bryan S.; Reese, Kerry P.; Connelly, John W.

Year Published

2011

Publication

Journal of Wildlife Management

Locations
DOI

10.1002/jwmg.53

Population cycles are highly correlated over long time series and large spatial scales in two unrelated species: greater sage-grouse and cottontail rabbitsFedy, Bradley C.2011

Population cycles are highly correlated over long time series and large spatial scales in two unrelated species: greater sage-grouse and cottontail rabbits

Keywords

Centrocercus urophasianus – Sylvilagus sp. – Indices – Generalized additive models – Conservation

Abstract

Animal species across multiple taxa demonstrate multi-annual population cycles, which have long been of interest to ecologists. Correlated population cycles between species that do not share a predator-prey relationship are particularly intriguing and challenging to explain. We investigated annual population trends of greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) and cottontail rabbits (Sylvilagus sp.) across Wyoming to explore the possibility of correlations between unrelated species, over multiple cycles, very large spatial areas, and relatively southern latitudes in terms of cycling species. We analyzed sage-grouse lek counts and annual hunter harvest indices from 1982 to 2007. We show that greater sage-grouse, currently listed as warranted but precluded under the US Endangered Species Act, and cottontails have highly correlated cycles (r = 0.77). We explore possible mechanistic hypotheses to explain the synchronous population cycles. Our research highlights the importance of control populations in both adaptive management and impact studies. Furthermore, we demonstrate the functional value of these indices (lek counts and hunter harvest) for tracking broad-scale fluctuations in the species. This level of highly correlated long-term cycling has not previously been documented between two non-related species, over a long time-series, very large spatial scale, and within more southern latitudes.

Authors

Fedy, Bradley C.; Doherty, Kevin E.

Year Published

2011

Publication

Oecologia

Locations
DOI

10.1007/s00442-010-1768-0

Population structure and genetic diversity of greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) in fragmented landscapes at the northern edge of their rangeBush, Krista L.2011

Population structure and genetic diversity of greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) in fragmented landscapes at the northern edge of their range

Keywords

Sage-grouse Genetic structure Decliningpopulation Genetic diversity Periphery

Abstract

Range-edge dynamics and anthropogenic fragmentation are expected to impact patterns of genetic diversity, and understanding the influence of both factors is important for effective conservation of threatened wildlife species. To examine these factors, we sampled greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) from a declining, fragmented region at the northern periphery of the species' range and from a stable, contiguous core region. We genotyped 2,519 individuals at 13 microsatellite loci from 104 leks in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Montana, and Wyoming. Birds from northern Montana, Alberta, and Saskatchewan were identified as a single population that exhibited significant isolation by distance, with the Milk River demarcating two subpopulations. Both subpopulations exhibited high genetic diversity with no evidence that peripheral regions were genetically depauperate or highly structured. However, river valleys and a large agricultural region were significant barriers to dispersal. Leks were also composed primarily of non-kin, rejecting the idea that leks form because of male kin association. Northern Montana sage-grouse are maintaining genetic connectivity in fragmented and northern peripheral habitats via dispersal through and around various forms of fragmentation.

Authors

Bush, Krista L.; Dyte, Christopher K.; Moynahan, Brendan J.; Aldridge, Cameron L.; Sauls, Heather S.; Battazzo, Angela M.; Walker, Brett L.; Doherty, Kevin E.; Tack, Jason; Carlson, John; Eslinger, Dale; Nicholson, Joel; Boyce, Mark S.; Naugle, David E.; Paszkowski, Cynthia A.; Coltman, David W.

Year Published

2011

Publication

Conservation Genetics

Locations
DOI

10.1007/s10592-010-0159-8

Identifying and Prioritizing Greater Sage-Grouse Nesting and Brood-Rearing Habitat for Conservation in Human-Modified LandscapesDzialak, Matthew R.2011

Identifying and Prioritizing Greater Sage-Grouse Nesting and Brood-Rearing Habitat for Conservation in Human-Modified Landscapes

Keywords

No keywords available

Abstract

Background: Balancing animal conservation and human use of the landscape is an ongoing scientific and practical challenge throughout the world. We investigated reproductive success in female greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) relative to seasonal patterns of resource selection, with the larger goal of developing a spatially-explicit framework for managing human activity and sage-grouse conservation at the landscape level.Methodology/Principal Findings: We integrated field-observation, Global Positioning Systems telemetry, and statistical modeling to quantify the spatial pattern of occurrence and risk during nesting and brood-rearing. We linked occurrence and risk models to provide spatially-explicit indices of habitat-performance relationships. As part of the analysis, we offer novel biological information on resource selection during egg-laying, incubation, and night. The spatial pattern of occurrence during all reproductive phases was driven largely by selection or avoidance of terrain features and vegetation, with little variation explained by anthropogenic features. Specifically, sage-grouse consistently avoided rough terrain, selected for moderate shrub cover at the patch level (within 90 m(2)), and selected for mesic habitat in mid and late brood-rearing phases. In contrast, risk of nest and brood failure was structured by proximity to anthropogenic features including natural gas wells and human-created mesic areas, as well as vegetation features such as shrub cover.Conclusions/Significance: Risk in this and perhaps other human-modified landscapes is a top-down (i.e., human-mediated) process that would most effectively be minimized by developing a better understanding of specific mechanisms (e.g., predator subsidization) driving observed patterns, and using habitat-performance indices such as those developed herein for spatially-explicit guidance of conservation intervention. Working under the hypothesis that industrial activity structures risk by enhancing predator abundance or effectiveness, we offer specific recommendations for maintaining high-performance habitat and reducing low-performance habitat, particularly relative to the nesting phase, by managing key high-risk anthropogenic features such as industrial infrastructure and water developments.

Authors

Dzialak, Matthew R.; Olson, Chad V.; Harju, Seth M.; Webb, Stephen L.; Mudd, James P.; Winstead, Jeffrey B.; Hayden-Wing, L. D.

Year Published

2011

Publication

PLOS One

Locations
DOI

10.1371/journal.pone.0026273

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