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a. Develop a regional map showing the highest probability pathways of wildfire spread under current conditions.b. Design regional networks of fuel breaks to reduce future wildfire size in large remnant tracts of priority GSG habitat. Networks will be designed by modeling fire spread with fuel breaks using Circuitscape (http://www.Circuitscape.org/), a wildlife connectivity software based on electrical circuit theory applied to a raster map, and consulting with agencies and tribes about regional priority habitats in southern ID and OR, northern NV,and northwestern UT.c. Deliver GIS layers and maps showing suggested networks of fuel breaks to federal and state agencies, and tribes. This will allow fire managers to...
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Invasive annual grasses are a primary, severe, and challenging threat to habitat conservation and restoration for sage-dependent wildlife across federal, state and private lands. Successful management solutions for sagebrush rangelands are likely to be multiphasic, involving some sequence of interventions such as herbicides, seeding of competitive natives that also create habitat, and temporarily altering land use, in an adaptive-management approach. The proposed work tests different herbicides and options for applying them with different seeding and land uses, across a gradient of climate and soils in Interior Regions 5 and 7.This research will examine the efficacy of management options for controlling cheatgrass...
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Conifer encroachment is one of the most significant threats to sagebrush habitats and the species that rely on them. Removal of encroaching conifers is beneficial for Greater Sage-Grouse, but impacts on other sagebrush-obligate species are not well understood. This project aims to quantify the impact of conifer removal on sagebrush songbird abundance and reproductive success. Work has been initiated through a previously-supported (by IR5/7 SA) Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit project across six conifer-removal and six conifer-remaining (control) plots of ca. 55 ha each. Initial results suggest that conifer removal benefits both abundance and nesting success of sagebrush-obligate species (Brewers Sparrows...
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The Wind River Reservation in Wyoming contains over 2 million acres of the best and most diverse and intact habitats in the contiguous US. It is home to the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribes. In collaboration with Tribal Fish and Game, the USFWS Lander Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office and the USGS Wyoming Cooperative Research Unit, partners have been conducting an investigation of the migration patterns of 113 GPS-collared mule deer that began in 2018. As part of our SA diversity and inclusion efforts with a $60,500 investment, this project will extend the ongoing work and engage various segments of the tribal community in the research as a means to further understanding of fish and wildlife management...
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To better inform conservation efforts targeted at reversing grassland bird declines and ensure self-sustaining populations of at-risk species such as the lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus), a better understanding of broad-scale habitat availability for grassland birds is needed. his project will evaluate the utility of NDVI and phenology-based metrics in estimating lesser prairie-chicken reproductive habitat quality remotely over broad spatial scales.1. Evaluate the influence of grazing, fire, and precipitation on NDVI-related metrics in the Central and Southern Great Plains.2. Identify NDVI-related metrics that best distinguish lesser prairie-chicken reproductive habitat from non-habitat. 3. Relate...
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The US Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) has experienced some of the highest rates of grassland loss in North America over a time that coincides with dramatic declines in grassland songbird populations yet increasing abundance of most grassland-nesting duck species except for northern pintail. To provide more insight into this contradiction, we propose to capitalize on long-term databases to evaluate how a key population driver nest survival for North American ducks has responded to system changes in the region including landscape and climatic factors. Outcomes of these analyses will contribute to testing primary conservation planning assumptions for the PPJV a vital component of the PPJV Strategic Habitat Conservation...
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Using a solutions-oriented, multi-agency collaboration, we propose to pilot a large-scale assessment of an alternative (herding, electric- and virtual-fence) grazing strategy designed to mimic pre-colonial grazing patterns by bison, to ascertain their value for local- and regional-scale assemblages ofsagebrush- and grassland-associated birds in Montana. A fundamental goal of most wildlife-based grazing programs is to foster a mosaic of patches that represent the broadest possible spectrum of habitat types that benefits different sagebrush- and grassland-associated birds in different parts of the landscape (for example, western meadowlarks, vesper sparrows, and thick-billed longspur in open, heavily grazed areas;...
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Grassland loss to woody encroachment is widespread and ongoing. Mechanical removal of Eastern Red Cedar (ERC) is the most cost-shared practice to address this threat. Cost-share is provided based on acres with different levels of infestation. Delineation of the different levels of infestation is time consuming butrequired to ensure the appropriate amount of cost-share is provided and contractors are not over/under compensated. The Rangeland Brush Estimation Toolbox(RaBET) is geospatial tool that can accurately automate this process. Unfortunately,wet-meadows and other wetland features cause the tool to overestimate woody cover. This project will provide funds to finish the National Wetlands Inventory (NWI). This...
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We propose to evaluate reproductive vital rates of sagebrush songbirds in relation to key aspects of local climate. To accomplish this we will leverage several large existing datasets of nesting observations from over six thousand nests across multiple years and sites, archived weather station data (temperature, precipitation, and relative humidity), and gridded climate datasets (e.g., PRISM). To further examine whether particular landscapes and/or microhabitats may confer more protection in the face of increasingly more extreme weather events (e.g., high temperatures and drought) expected with climate change, we will incorporate habitat data collected remotely and at nests into climatic response models. Finally,...
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Invasive annual grasses are a primary, serverre, and challenging threat to habitat conservation and restoration for sge-dependent wildlife across federal, state and private lands. Successful management solutions for sagebrush ranglands vary and require an integrated approach involving some sequence of interventions such as herbicides, seeding of competitive natives that also create habitat, and temporarily alter land use such as grazing, in an adaptive-management approach. The proposed work will test different herbicides and options for applying them with different seeding and land uses in differnet sites across the sagebrush landscpae within Interior Regions 5,7,9, and 10. Research outcomes will identify and demonstrate...
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This project will support the use of the Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) data to calculate current populations, population trend, and ultimately desired population objectives for the priority species outlined in the IR 5/7 SHC Plan. Benchmarks will be estimated to highlight grassland and sagebrush habitat needed to support desired populations as outlined in the Partners in Flight Plan by 2050. The BCR specific population targets provide a solid foundation to continue to build and refine the R6 SHC Teams Work towards effective planning and ultimately effective on-the-ground conservation delivery. A $55,000 investment supports conservation priorities for both Grassland and Sagebrush Ecosystems.
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The Conservation Efforts Database (CED) in a web-based monitoring and reporting tool that captures data about the conservation, restoration, and recovery actions for the imperiled sagebrush ecosystemand sage-grouse. Funding support from FWS (Science Applications and Nevada Ecological Services) have allowed the CED Team to develop a module for recording data about conservation actions, habitat condition, demography, and genetic information for Lahontan Cutthroat Trout and we propose to expand that effort to include aquatic systems in Legacy Region 6. We propose to use funding to engage with stakeholders to scope the information gaps and tool needs to record and monitor conservation actions and information focused...
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We will apply indices of sagebrush ecological integrity, developed by WAFWA, to hierarchical population models of sage-grouse population rates of change over multiple decades to facilitate comprehensive understanding of the links between sagebrush ecosystem health and sagebrush obligate species from the lens of the Conservation Design Strategy. This research will investigate application of core area habitat concepts as it relates to sage-grouse population performance to manage lands within the sagebrush biome. The analysis framework and science deliverables developed from this study can be used as a basis to investigate the population performance of additional species of concern, beyond sage-grouse, in relation...
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This funding will be used to hire 1 GS 9/11 staff member to work directly with local governments (Soil & Water Conservation Districts) to enroll landowners in priority habitats in existing Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances (CCAAs) and in Candidate Conservation Agreements (CCAs) on their adjacent BLM allotments. Once enrolled, state and other federal funding sources are available to support sagebrush habitat enhancement projects that address invasive species, fire, juniper encroachment and other threats. The additional capacity is expected to result in an additional +100 landowners enrollments.
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This funding will be used to hire 1 GS 5/7 term position based in Northeastern Wyoming, to support projects in Sage Core Areas in Northeastern Wyoming.
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The overall objective of this work is to understand how changing climate and associated ecohydrological conditions will impact the distribution of sagebrush ecosystems over the next century. This study will provide valuable insight into the vulnerability of sagebrush ecosystems to changes in climate, climate variability, and disturbance regime. This work utilizes the best currently available downscaled climate data (Maurer) and builds upon recent published results. Products from this project will provide wildlife managers with the ability to categorize and prioritize areas based on their probability of being capable of supporting sagebrush ecosystems in the future, information that is crucial for upcoming listing...
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In partnership with WAFWA MDWG and many participating western states, we propose the following three-pronged plan:1) Develop a standalone program which simplifies the technologically challenging analyses outlined in Sawyer et al. (2009b) into a user-friendly software add-on that can be implemented by biologists and managers using their own GPS collar data. 2) Work with biologists and managers of state agencies to analyze mule deer data sets. Specifically, using the program outlined in objective 1, we will assess the broad applicability of the analysis methods to identify migration corridors. This step will include the development of a list of key issues and considerations for analyzing these types of data in addition...
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In collaboration with LRs 1 and 2, LR 6 willcommit funds toUM via the Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit (CWRU) in direct support of Native American graduate education to increase the diversity of wildlife biologists with advanced degrees. Graduate research conducted by students will focus on non-hunted species in need of conservation.
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RaBET (Rangeland Brush Estimation Toolbox for Major Land Resource Areas (MLRAs)) is an online ArcGIS toolbox that generates accurate geospatial and tabular data describing canopy cover at the tract level to streamline landowner agreements (USFWS Partners for Fish and Wildlife PFW) and/or NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) contracts for brush management. Priority MLRAs cover 33.8 million acres with 20.6 million acres of grasslands. This project supports the integration of RaBET into project planning and contract development and is projected to increase the number of contracts and acres impacted by 25% (23,750 acres) in these MLRAs in Kansas and Nebraska through NRCS EQIP alone, based on 2020 enrollment....
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This project will develop demographic and population data from existing databases, including state creel surveys, annual sampling efforts, and state Natural Heritage programs for a suite of species (aquatic, terrestrial, pollinator) that inhabit the sagebrush-steppe and grassland ecosystem. Collecting this information is a vital first step toward understanding these species response to climate change, including changes in water quality/quantity, flooding recurrence, and persistence of instream and riparian habitats in sagebrush and grassland systems over time. Support for this foundational work will enable the FWSIR5/7 Sagebrush Ecosystem Team to develop population models and associated threat-based models to inform...


map background search result map search result map Assessing the future of sagebrush ecosystems: a decision support tool for planning sage grouse conservation Designing Regional Fuel Breaks to Protect Large Remnant Tracts of Greater Sage-Grouse Habitat in Southern ID and OR, Northern and Central NV, and Northwestern UT (TNC) Identifying and prioritizing mule deer migration corridors across sagebrush ecosystems of the Western U.S. The influence of climatic conditions on reproduction of sagebrush-dependent birds: Implications for climate vulnerability assessments and habitat prioritization efforts US FWS  UM Collaboration to Support Native American Graduate Students in Wildlife Biology Assessing annual grass management effectiveness in the sagebrush biome Patterns of greenness (NDVI) in the Southern Great Plains and their influence on the habitat quality and reproduction of a declining prairie grouse Amplifying Brush Management for the Birds - RaBET tool development in collaboration with NRCS and ARS Dedicated individual to develop and refine the BBS trend data by state portion of Bird Conservation Regions (11, 17, 18, 19) to develop population objectives Impacts of Conifer Removal on Sagebrush Songbirds Assessment of fuel break performance  fire risk, ecology, and economy Wind River Tribal Engagement/Mule Deer Migration Develop demographic and population data from existing databases, including state creel surveys, annual sampling efforts and state Natural Heritage programs for a suite of species that inhabit the sagebrush-steppe and grassland ecosystem Evaluating patterns of long-term system change and demographic response for grassland nesting ducks in the US Prairie Pothole Region Conservation Efforts Database: Rocky Mountain Cutthroat Trout Module Scoping Wetland Mask to Improve Woody Cover Mapping Assessing Traditional and Emerging Grazing Strategies for Creating a Mosaic of Diverse Habitat Patches for Grassland- and Sagebrush Associated Birds Understanding greater sage-grouse population trends from the lens of the WAFWA Conservation Design Strategy: implications for management of impacted, core, and growth opportunity areas within the sagebrush biome Partnerships Coordinator- Oregon Project Implementation Support US FWS  UM Collaboration to Support Native American Graduate Students in Wildlife Biology Wind River Tribal Engagement/Mule Deer Migration Impacts of Conifer Removal on Sagebrush Songbirds Wetland Mask to Improve Woody Cover Mapping Project Implementation Support Partnerships Coordinator- Oregon Amplifying Brush Management for the Birds - RaBET tool development in collaboration with NRCS and ARS Assessing Traditional and Emerging Grazing Strategies for Creating a Mosaic of Diverse Habitat Patches for Grassland- and Sagebrush Associated Birds Patterns of greenness (NDVI) in the Southern Great Plains and their influence on the habitat quality and reproduction of a declining prairie grouse Designing Regional Fuel Breaks to Protect Large Remnant Tracts of Greater Sage-Grouse Habitat in Southern ID and OR, Northern and Central NV, and Northwestern UT (TNC) Evaluating patterns of long-term system change and demographic response for grassland nesting ducks in the US Prairie Pothole Region Conservation Efforts Database: Rocky Mountain Cutthroat Trout Module Scoping Assessment of fuel break performance  fire risk, ecology, and economy Assessing the future of sagebrush ecosystems: a decision support tool for planning sage grouse conservation Identifying and prioritizing mule deer migration corridors across sagebrush ecosystems of the Western U.S. The influence of climatic conditions on reproduction of sagebrush-dependent birds: Implications for climate vulnerability assessments and habitat prioritization efforts Assessing annual grass management effectiveness in the sagebrush biome Understanding greater sage-grouse population trends from the lens of the WAFWA Conservation Design Strategy: implications for management of impacted, core, and growth opportunity areas within the sagebrush biome Dedicated individual to develop and refine the BBS trend data by state portion of Bird Conservation Regions (11, 17, 18, 19) to develop population objectives Develop demographic and population data from existing databases, including state creel surveys, annual sampling efforts and state Natural Heritage programs for a suite of species that inhabit the sagebrush-steppe and grassland ecosystem