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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
Comparing Ecological Site Descriptions to Habitat Characteristics Influencing Greater Sage-Grouse Nest Site Occurrence and SuccessDoherty, Kevin E.2011

Comparing Ecological Site Descriptions to Habitat Characteristics Influencing Greater Sage-Grouse Nest Site Occurrence and Success

Keywords

Centrocercus urophasianus, landscape-scale habitat characteristics, local-scale habitat characteristics, nesting

Abstract

We used 119 greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) nests located in the Powder River Basin of northeastern Wyoming during 2004-2007 to assess the ability of US Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) ecological site descriptions (ESDs) to predict nest occurrence and success. We used nesting data from a regional study in the Powder River Basin that documented effects of local and landscape scale habitat characteristics on nest occurrence and success. We compared ESD metrics to these predictive local and landscape habitat variables where NRCS ESD field surveys overlapped our regional nest data set. We specifically asked three questions: 1) Are ESDs useful in predicting sage-grouse nest site occurrence and success as a univariate explanatory variable? 2) Can ESD information refine predictions of local scale nest site occurrence and success models? 3) Can ESD information refine landscape scale nest site occurrence models by serving as a surrogate for local scale information that cannot be mapped in a geographic information system (GIS)? Our results demonstrated that all models using ESD information were within +/- 2 Akaike's Information Criterion points of a constant only model (i.e., null model) for local-scale data, or a baseline model where local- and landscape-scale habitat metrics were held constant while allowing ESD models to compete for remaining variation. No ESD metrics were statistically significant at the 95% level (P < 0.05), although some were significant at the 80-90% level (P = 0.09-0.14). Our study does not support the use of ESDs to predict habitat use or base sage-grouse management decisions in the Powder River Basin, but in some instances the refutation was weak. Local and landscape based habitat metrics showed high discrimination between null models with highly significant relationships on the subset data.

Authors

Doherty, Kevin E.; Beck, Jeffrey L.; Naugle, David E.

Year Published

2011

Publication

Rangeland Ecology & Management

Locations
DOI

10.2111/REM-D-10-00120.1

Greater Sage-Grouse and Severe Winter Conditions: Identifying Habitat for ConservationDzialak, Matthew R.2013

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

Keywords

energy development, greater sage-grouse, landscape planning, resource selection, severe winter conditions, sustainability

Abstract

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 temperature averages, and that can establish an ecological bottleneck by which the landscape-level availability of critical resources becomes limited. We integrated methods to collect landscape-level animal occurrence data during severe winter conditions with estimation and validation of a resource selection function, with the larger goal of developing spatially explicit guidance for rangeland habitat conservation. The investigation involved greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) that occupy a landscape that is undergoing human modification for development of energy resources. We refined spatial predictions by exploring how reductions in the availability of sagebrush (as a consequence of increasing snow depth) may affect patterns of predicted occurrence. Occurrence of sage-grouse reflected landscape-level selection for big sagebrush, taller shrubs, and favorable thermal conditions and avoidance of bare ground and anthropogenic features. Refinement of spatial predictions showed that important severe winter habitat was distributed patchily and was constrained in spatial extent (7-18% of the landscape). The mapping tools we developed offer spatially explicit guidance for planning human activity in ways that are compatible with sustaining habitat that functions disproportionately in population persistence relative to its spatial extent or frequency of use. Increasingly, place-based, quantitative investigations that aim to develop solutions to landscape sustainability issues will be needed to keep pace with human-modification of rangeland and uncertainty associated with global climate change and its effects on animal populations.

Authors

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

Year Published

2013

Publication

Rangeland Ecology & Management

Locations
DOI

10.2111/REM-D-11-00223.1

Population genetics of Gunnison sage-grouse: Implications for managementOyler-McCance, SJ2005

Population genetics of Gunnison sage-grouse: Implications for management

Keywords

Colorado, Centrocercus minimus, gene flow, genetic diversity, Gunnison sage-grouse, microsatellites, mitochondrial DNA, Utah

Abstract

The newly described Gunnison sage-grouse (Centrocercus minimus) is a species of concern for management because of marked declines in distribution and abundance due to the loss and fragmentation of sagebrush habitat. This has caused remaining populations to be unusually small and isolated. We utilized mitochondrial DNA sequence data and data from 8 nuclear microsatellites to assess the extent of population subdivision among Gunnison sage-grouse populations in southwestern Colorado and southeastern Utah, USA. We found a high degree of population structure and low amounts of gene flow among all pairs of populations except the geographically adjacent Gunnison and Curecanti populations. Population structure for Gunnison sage-grouse was significantly higher than has been reported for greater sage-grouse (C. urophasianus). Further, we documented low levels of genetic diversity in some populations (particularly Dove Creek/Monticello and Pinon Mesa with an average of only 3.00 and 2.13 alleles per locus respectively) indicating that translocations from larger, more genetically diverse populations may be warranted. Bayesian analysis identified 3 potential migrants (involving San Miguel, Dove Creek/Monticello, Crawford, and Curecanti). Further, this analysis showed that 4 individuals from Cerro/Cimarron were more closely related to birds from San Miguel than to its geographically closer neighbors Gunnison and Curecanti. This suggests the Cerro/Cimarron area may act as a stepping stone for gene flow between San Miguel and Gunnison and that habitat restoration and protection in areas between these 2 basins should be a priority in an attempt to facilitate natural movement among these populations. Conservation plans should include monitoring and maintaining genetic diversity, preventing future habitat loss and fragmentation, enhancing existing habitat, and restoring converted sagebrush communities.

Authors

Oyler-McCance, SJ; St John, J; Taylor, SE; Apa, AD; Quinn, TW

Year Published

2005

Publication

Journal of Wildlife Management

Locations
DOI

10.2193/0022-541X(2005)069[0630:PGOGSI]2.0.CO;2

Greater sage-grouse nesting habitat selection and success in WyomingHolloran, MJ2005

Greater sage-grouse nesting habitat selection and success in Wyoming

Keywords

Centrocercus urophasianus, habitat, nest, residual grass, sage-grouse, sagebrush, Wyoming

Abstract

Nesting habitat degradation and its negative effect on nesting success might contribute to the recent population and distributional declines of greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) throughout North America. We used radiotelemetry to locate greater sage-grouse nests in 7 different areas of central and southwestern Wyoming between 1994 and 2002; we studied each area for 2 to 4 years. Using binary logistic regression, we compared microsite vegetal data collected at nests (n = 457) and random (n = 563) sites and successful (n = 211) and unsuccessful (n = 238) nests to test hypotheses concerning greater sage-grouse nesting habitat selection and vegetal conditions associated with nesting success. We used Akaike's Information Criterion (AIC(c)) and model averaging to make inference about the weighted support for the importance of individual habitat variables through the comparison of sets of competing models. Selected nest sites were located in areas with increased total shrub canopy cover (relative importance [RI] = 1.00), residual grass cover (RI = 0.47), and residual grass height (RI = 0.77) compared to random sites. Successful nests had increased residual grass cover (RI = 0.43) and height (RI = 0.48) relative to unsuccessful nests. Additionally, annual nest success rates (i.e., above vs. below our study's average) were related to the preceding year's spring (Apr-May; RI = 0.44) and winter-early spring (Jan-Jun) precipitation (RI = 0.32). Correct classification rates for weighted average models that we derived through the 3 comparisons were between 60 and 70%, suggesting the variables adequately differentiated between plot types. However, high model selection uncertainty (i.e., the total number of models included in the sets of AIC(c)-selected models) suggested that nest site selection and nesting success may be influenced by factors not considered in the modeling process. Management strategies that protect dense sagebrush stands and enhance residual grass cover and height within those stands should be used to maintain nesting habitat and increase nesting success of greater sage-grouse.

Authors

Holloran, MJ; Heath, BJ; Lyon, AG; Slater, SJ; Kuipers, JL; Anderson, SH

Year Published

2005

Publication

Journal of Wildlife Management

Locations
DOI

10.2193/0022-541X(2005)069[0638:GSNHSA]2.0.CO;2

Total plasma protein and renesting by greater sage-grouseGregg, MA2006

Total plasma protein and renesting by greater sage-grouse

Keywords

age, blood chemistry, Centrocercus urophasianus, dietary protein, greater sage-grouse, maternal condition, nest initiation date, nest predation, nutrition, renesting, total plasma protein

Abstract

Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) population declines have been attributed to reduced productivity. Although renesting by sage-grouse may contribute significantly to annual productivity during some years, little information is available on this aspect of sage-grouse reproductive ecology. We investigated the relationship between total plasma protein, age of hen, time of first nest initiation, and time of first nest loss on occurrence of renesting. We captured, assigned age, extracted blood, and radiomarked prelaying, female sage-grouse on 4 study areas during 1999-2004. We monitored radiomarked females from mid-April through June to identify period of nest initiation (early, mid, or late), nest loss (early or late), and renesting activity. We only considered hens that were available to renest (n = 143) for analysis, and we censored those that nested successfully or died during their first nest attempt. Depredation and abandonment accounted for 85% (122/143) and 15% (21/143) of the unsuccessful first nests, respectively. The proportion of hens renesting was 34% (48/143) across all study areas and years. Akaike's Information Criterion model selection indicated that occurrence of renesting varied by age, nest initiation period, nest loss period, and total plasma protein. The best model had low predictive power for any given hen (r(2) = 0.296), but validation of the best model indicated that our predictor variables were important for distinguishing renesting status and likely explained substantial temporal and spatial variation in renesting rates. A greater proportion of adults than yearlings renested, and hens that nested early in the nesting season and lost nests early during incubation were the most likely to renest. Hens that renested had greater total plasma protein levels than non-renesting hens independent of age, nest initiation period, and nest loss period. Because sage-grouse depend on exogenous sources of protein for reproduction, land management practices that promote high-quality, prelaying hen habitat could increase dietary protein intake and sage-grouse renesting rates.

Authors

Gregg, MA; Dunbar, MR; Crawford, JA; Pope, MD

Year Published

2006

Publication

Journal of Wildlife Management

Locations
DOI

10.2193/0022-541X(2006)70[472:TPPARB]2.0.CO;2

From the field: Outbreak of West Nile virus in greater sage-grouse and guidelines for monitoring, handling, and submitting dead birdsWalker, BL2004

From the field: Outbreak of West Nile virus in greater sage-grouse and guidelines for monitoring, handling, and submitting dead birds

Keywords

Centrocercus urophasianus, emerging infectious disease, greater sage-grouse, lek count, Montana, population decline, Powder River Basin, survival, West Nile virus, Wyoming

Abstract

West Nile virus (WNV) resulted in a 25% decline in survival in four populations of radiomarked greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) across Alberta, Wyoming, and Montana in 2003. Unexpected impacts of WNV are disturbing because range-wide habitat loss and degradation already threaten sage-grouse populations. In the Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana, late-summer survival of sage-grouse was lower at a site with confirmed WNV mortalities (20%) than at two sites without (76%). Dramatic declines in both male and female lek attendance at the WNV site the following spring suggest that outbreaks may threaten some local populations with extirpation. The key to understanding broader impacts of WNV on sage-grouse is to monitor additional populations and to determine whether populations infected in 2003 are again impacted this year. To facilitate this process, we describe a strategy for monitoring WNV mortality in the field and provide information on how to handle, store, and submit dead birds for testing.

Authors

Walker, BL; Naugle, DE; Doherty, KE; Cornish, TE

Year Published

2004

Publication

Wildlife Society Bulletin

Locations
DOI

10.2193/0091-7648(2004)032[1000:FTFOOW]2.0.CO;2

Evaluation of the lek-count index for greater sage-grouseWalsh, DP2004

Evaluation of the lek-count index for greater sage-grouse

Keywords

bounded count, Centrocercus urophasianus, detection probability, greater sage-grouse, index, lek-attendance rates, lek counts, mark–resight, prairie grouse

Abstract

Counts of birds attending leks traditionally have been used as an index to the population size of greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) and, more recently, as a means to estimate population size. The relationship between this index and the actual population has not been studied. We used intensive counts of individually marked and unmarked greater sage-grouse on leks to evaluate how sex and age of birds, time of day, and time of season impact lek-attendance patterns and lek counts. These within-season sources of variation need to be considered when estimating detection probability of birds on leks and ultimately adjusting the lek-count index to estimate true population parameters. On average, 42% of marked adult males, 4% of marked hens, and 19% of yearling males were observed on leks per sighting occasion with all 15 known leks being intensively counted. We discovered that lek counts as currently conducted may be useful as an index to greater sage-grouse populations, but standardization of protocols is needed to allow for better spatial and temporal comparisons of lek-count data. Also the probability of detecting birds on leks must be estimated in order to relate lek counts to population parameters. Lastly, we evaluated use of the bounded-count methodology for correcting lek-count data. We showed large biases associated with this technique and below-nominal coverage of confidence intervals even at large numbers of counts, demonstrating the unreliability of the bounded-count method to correct lek-count data.

Authors

Walsh, DP; White, GC; Remington, TE; Bowden, DC

Year Published

2004

Publication

Wildlife Society Bulletin

Locations
DOI

10.2193/0091-7648(2004)32[56:EOTLIF]2.0.CO;2

Adaptive management of prairie grouse: how do we get there?Aldridge, CL2004

Adaptive management of prairie grouse: how do we get there?

Keywords

adaptive management, Alberta, Centrocercus urophasianus, conservation plans, grazing, greater sage-grouse, habitat, Manitoba, policy planning, prairie sharp-tailed grouse, Tympanuchus phasianellus

Abstract

Managing prairie grouse has been largely a reactive process without any "true" management experiments being implemented, thereby limiting our ability to learn from management and enhance conservation efforts for declining prairie grouse populations. In a few cases where the potential existed for a passive or active adaptive approach, monitoring was insufficient to detect effects of changes in management practices. Similar problems appear to occur at planning stages in attempts to implement adaptive management for prairie grouse populations, preventing proper consideration of sound adaptive experiments that advance learning. Successful adaptive management begins with stakeholder gatherings following a policy planning process, which includes many steps, beginning with goal identification and understanding of uncertainties and culminating in model simulations to understand potential management policies. By following this process, the opportunity to implement successful management experiments can be enhanced. We discuss the successes and failures of prairie grouse management using 2 case studies, 1 for prairie sharp-tailcd grouse (Tympanuchus phasianellus) in Manitoba and 1 for greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) in southern Alberta. We describe ways in which active adaptive management could improve our understanding of prairie grouse population declines and outline a policy planning process that, if followed, will allow adaptive management to be successfully implemented, enhancing prairie grouse management and conservation.

Authors

Aldridge, CL; Boyce, MS; Baydack, RK

Year Published

2004

Publication

Wildlife Society Bulletin

Locations
DOI

10.2193/0091-7648(2004)32[92:AMOPGH]2.0.CO;2

Husbandry of wild-caught greater sage-grouseOesterle, P2005

Husbandry of wild-caught greater sage-grouse

Keywords

Artemisia, Centrocercus urophasianus, husbandry, sage-grouse, West Nile virus

Abstract

This study reports the first successful husbandry and breeding in captivity of wild-caught greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus). In October 2003, 21 hatch-year greater sage-grouse were trapped in northwestern Nevada and transported to Fort Collins, Colorado. We held grouse in pens at the United States Department of Agriculture's National Wildlife Research Center for 8 months. We offered a varied diet, including native food items such as sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata and A. tripartita) and yarrow (Achillea millefolium). We housed grouse in a large flight pen and allowed to them free-range as one flock. Mortality rate was 16.7%. Several of the grouse exhibited breeding behavior, and 13 eggs were laid. We describe the techniques used to house and feed wild-caught sage-grouse. This study has conservation implications for captive breeding of this species of concern.

Authors

Oesterle, P; McLean, R; Dunbar, M; Clark, L

Year Published

2005

Publication

Wildlife Society Bulletin

Locations
DOI

10.2193/0091-7648(2005)33[1055:HOWGS]2.0.CO;2

West Nile virus and sage-grouse: What more have we learned?Naugle, DE2005

West Nile virus and sage-grouse: What more have we learned?

Keywords

Centrocercus urophasianus; emerging infectious disease; monitoring; population decline; sage-grouse; survival; West Nile virus

Abstract

West Nile virus (WNv) has emerged as a new issue in the conservation of native avifauna in North America. Mortality associated with WNv infection decreased survival of female greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) by 25% across 4 populations in Wyoming and Montana, USA, and Alberta, Canada, in 2003. In 2004 WNv spread to populations in Colorado and California, and female survival in late summer was 10% lower at 4 sites with confirmed WNv mortalities (86% survival) than at 8 sites without (96%). We still have no evidence that sage-grouse show resistance to the virus. The 2004 WNv season was not the catastrophe that many had predicted, and the decrease in prevalence of infection and mortality in sage-grouse, humans, and horses (except in California) has left many wondering if the worst has past. Evidence suggests that risk of infection was low in 2004 because unseasonably cool summer temperatures delayed or reduced mosquito production. Moreover, mortalities occurred 2-3 weeks later in 2004 than in 2003, and the shift to later timing was consistent between years at sites where WNv reduced survival both years. Mosquito surveillance data indicated a sharp decline in prevalence and infection rate of adult C. tarsalis in southeast Alberta, the most northern latitude where WNv reduced survival, in 2003 but not in 2004. A full understanding of the implications of WNv for sage-grouse requires a long-term, coordinated monitoring strategy among researchers and a sensitivity analysis to evaluate the role of WNv in population viability. Epidemiological research examining the prevalence and ecology of the virus among reservoir hosts is crucial.

Authors

Naugle, DE; Aldridge, CL; Walker, BL; Doherty, KE; Matchett, MR; McIntosh, J; Cornish, TE; Boyce, MS

Year Published

2005

Publication

Wildlife Society Bulletin

Locations
DOI

10.2193/0091-7648(2005)33[616:WNVASW]2.0.CO;2

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