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Related Publications

  • A Blueprint for Sage-grouse Conservation and Recovery

    The distribution of greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) has declined by at least 44% while overall abundance has decreased by up to 93% from presumed historic levels. These decreases are the result of habitat loss, fragmentation, and degradation. Federal and state public land management agencies currently are responsible for about 70% of the remaining sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) steppe, with the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service managing most of these lands for multiple uses. The goals of strategies outlined here are to improve sagebrush habitats to increase greater sage-grouse abundance by at least 33% by 2015, and overall distribution of greater sage-grouse by at least 20% by 2030. The abundance goal is [...] (Read More)

  • A Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy for Wyoming

    The Wyoming State Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy (CWCS) was produced to provide a long-range conservation plan to conserve Wyoming’s Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) and meet the requirements of the Congressionally-authorized State Wildlife Grants (SWG) Program. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) served as the lead agency in the development of this strategy, but many other partners and major stakeholders were invited to participate. The CWCS identifies 279 SGCN in Wyoming, along with key habitats for these species. Of these species, 44 have been included because of specific known conservation needs. The remaining 235 have been included primarily due to a lack of key data necessary to assess their [...] (Read More)

  • A Conservation Plan for Bats in Wyoming

    Bat conservation is a relatively new phenomenon in Wyoming. Before 1994, bats were not legally protected in the state. In 1994, the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission approved a nongame wildlife regulation protecting several wildlife species, including bats. In 1998, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) joined efforts with other western states to develop the Species Conservation Assessment and Conservation Strategy for the Townsend’s Big-eared Bat (Pierson and others 1999). The resulting document has served as the foundation and the guiding force behind bat conservation efforts in Wyoming. The development of the Western Bat Working Group soon followed this unprecedented proactive conservation initiative. The participating states [...] (Read More)

  • A Spatial Model to Prioritize Sagebrush Landscapes in the Intermountain West (U.S.A.) for Restoration

    The ecological integrity of Sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) ecosystems in the Intermountain West (U.S.A.) has been diminished by synergistic relationships among human activities, spread of invasive plants, and altered disturbance regimes. An aggressive effort to restore Sagebrush habitats is necessary if we are to stabilize or improve current habitat trajectories and reverse declining population trends of dependent wildlife. Existing economic resources, technical impediments, and logistic difficulties limit our efforts to a fraction of the extensive area undergoing fragmentation, degradation, and loss. We prioritized landscapes for restoring Sagebrush habitats within the intermountain western region of the United States using geographic [...] (Read More)

  • Atlas of birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles in Wyoming

    In 1979, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (Department) and the Bighorn Audubon Society compiled a working draft of the Wyoming Avian Atlas. The first edition of the Wyoming Avian Atlas was published in 1982 under the authorship of Bob Oakleaf, Helen Downing, Bert Raynes, Meg Raynes, and Oliver K. Scott. Updates were provided each year in the Threatened, Endangered, and Nongame Bird and Mammal Investigations Annual Completion Reports. In 1981, Scott Findholt, Bob Oakleaf, and Bill Long published a Working Draft of the Wyoming Mammal Atlas. Updates were provided in some Annual Completion Reports. In 1991, the Department published a revision of both atlases, titled the Draft Distribution and Status of Wyoming Birds and Mammals. [...] (Read More)

  • Black gold : patterns in the development of Wyoming's oil industry

    Black Gold is a collection of nine articles looking at specific individuals, oil fields, issues, and oil companies in the history of Wyoming's oil industry. Individually, each chapter focuses on an important item or incident in that history; together they illustrate patterns in the development of Wyoming's oil industry. The reader will come to see the important roll played by big business and the federal government in Wyoming's oil history. This roll at times contributed to, and at other times retarded, the development of Wyoming's oil industry. (Read More)

  • Canada lynx conservation assessment and strategy

    Purpose of this Document The Lynx Conservation Assessment and Strategy was developed to provide a consistent and effective approach to conserve Canada lynx on federal lands in the conterminous United States. The USDA Forest Service, USDI Bureau of Land Management, and USDI Fish and Wildlife Service initiated the Lynx Conservation Strategy Action Plan in spring of 1998. The lynx was proposed for listing as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act on July 8, 1998 (Federal Register Volume 63, No. 130). The final rule listing the contiguous United States Distinct Population Segment (DPS) was published on March 24, 2000 (Federal Register Volume 65, No. 58). In the final rule, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concluded [...] (Read More)

  • Characteristics of American marten den sites in Wyoming

    We examined characteristics of den structures and den sites used by female American marten (Martes americana) for natal and maternal dens in the Sierra Madre Range, Wyoming. During 1988-95, we located 18 natal dens (parturition sites) and 97 maternal dens (sites where kits were present exclusive of parturition) used by 10 female marten. Important den structures included rock crevices (28%), snags (25%), red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) middens (19%), and logs (16%). Resource selection function (RSF) analysis showed that an individual selection model provided a significantly better fit than a null model or pooled selection model, indicating that the sample of marten selected maternal den sites that differed from random sites, [...] (Read More)

  • Colony Characteristics and Vertebrate Associates of White-Tailed and Black-Tailed Prairie Dogs in Wyoming

    Some ecological characteristics of 25 white-tailed (Cynomys leucurus) and 21 black-tailed (Cynomys ludovicianus) prairie dog colinies in Wyoming were compared. The size of the colonies and density of burrow openings were similar for the two species, but the number of white-tailed prairie dogs per 100 km2 and the number of hectares occupied by white-tails per 100 km 2 were 3.7 and 4.6 times greater, respectively, than for black-tails. Sixty-four vertebrate species (22 mammals, 33 birds, five reptiles, and four amphibians) were found on prairie dog colonies. The ecological relationships between prairie dogs and associated vertebrate predator species and the history of prairie dog control in Wyoming are discussed. (Read More)

  • Common Raven Density and Greater Sage-Grouse Nesting Success in Southwest Wyoming: Potential Conservation and Management Implications (dissertation)

    A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Wildlife Biology Utah State University, Logan, Utah Abstract: "Declines in the distribution and abundance of greater sage-grouse ( Centrocercus urophasianus ; hereafter “sage - grouse” ) in western North America over the past century have been severe. The goal of my research was to increase the understanding of factors influencing where sage-grouse hens placed their nests, how common ravens ( Corvus corax : hereafter “raven” ) impacted sage-grouse nest success, and whether high raptor densities negatively impacted hen survival of sage-grouse. I compared raven and raptor densities at sage-grouse nest and brood locations [...] (Read More)

  • Conservation Assessment of Greater Sage-grouse and Sagebrush Habitats

    Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) once occupied parts of 12 states within the western United States and 3 Canadian provinces. Populations of greater sage-grouse have undergone long-term population declines. The sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) habitats on which sage-grouse depend have experienced extensive alteration and loss. Consequently, concerns raised for the conservation and management of greater sage-grouse and their habitats have resulted in petitions to list greater sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act. In this report, we assessed the ecological status and potential factors that influenced greater sage-grouse and sagebrush habitats across their entire distribution. We used a large-scale approach to identify [...] (Read More)

  • Conservation of Sagebrush Ecosystems and Wildlife

    Sagebrush ecosystems are diverse habitats found throughout western North America that support a variety of flora and fauna. Home to unique wildlife such as Sage-grouse, Sage Thrashers, Brewer's Sparrows, Ferruginous Hawks, and pygmy rabbits, these ecosystems have undergone intense changes since the time when millions of bison roamed the plains. European settlement and intense agricultural practices resulted in the loss of over half of the sagebrush ecosystem. Today, sagebrush habitats continue to be threatened by a variety of influences. Conversion of these native landscapes to agriculture, invasion by non-native plant species, energy extraction activities and associated developments, rural expansion, and intense grazing pressures [...] (Read More)

  • Contribution of Roads to Forest Fragmentation in the Rocky Mountains

    The contribution of roads to forest fragmentation has not been adequately analyzed. We quantified fragmentation due to roads in a 30,213-ha section of the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest in sout heastern Wyoming with several indices of landscape structure using a geographic information system. The number of patches, mean patch area, mean interior area, mean area of edge influence, mean patch perimeter, total perimeter, and mean patch shape identified patch- and edge-related landscape changes. Shannon-Wiener diversity, dominance, contagion, contrast, and angular second moment indicated effects on landscape diversity and texture. Roads added to forest fragmentation more than clearcuts by dissecting large patches into smaller pieces [...] (Read More)

  • Energy development affects populations of sagebrush songbirds in Wyoming

    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 [...] (Read More)

  • Fire Effects Information System

    FEIS summarizes and synthesizes research about living organisms in the United States—their biology, ecology, and relationship to fire. (Read More)

  • Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) population response to natural gas field development in western Wyoming.

    Sage-grouse (Centrocercus spp.) populations have declined dramatically throughout the western United States since the 1960s. Increased gas and oil development during this time has potentially contributed to the declines. I investigated impacts of development of natural gas fields on greater sage- grouse (C. urophasianus) breeding behavior, seasonal habitat selection, and population growth in the upper Green River Basin of western Wyoming. Greater sage-grouse in western Wyoming appeared to be excluded from attending leks situated within or near the development boundaries of natural gas fields. Declines in the number of displaying males were positively correlated with decreased distance from leks to gas-field-related sources of disturbance, [...] (Read More)

  • Greater Sage-Grouse Population Response to Energy Development and Habitat Loss

    Modification of landscapes due to energy development may alter both habitat use and vital rates of sensitive wildlife species. Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) in the Powder River Basin (PRB) of Wyoming and Montana, USA, have experienced rapid, widespread changes to their habitat due to recent coal-bed natural gas (CBNG) development. We analyzed lek-count, habitat, and infrastructure data to assess how CBNG development and other landscape features influenced trends in the numbers of male sage-grouse observed and persistence of leks in the PRB. From 2001 to 2005, the number of males observed on leks in CBNG fields declined more rapidly than leks outside of CBNG. Of leks active in 1997 or later, only 38% of 26 leks in [...] (Read More)

  • Guidelines to manage sage grouse populations and their habitats

    The status of sage grouse populations and habitats has been a concern to sportsmen and biologists for >80 years. Despite management and research efforts that date to the 1930s, breeding populations of this species have declined throughout much of its range. In May 1999, the western sage grouse (C. urophasianus phaios) in Washington was petitioned for listing under the Endangered Species Act because of population and habitat declines (C. Warren, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, personal communication). Sage grouse populations are allied closely with sagebrush (Artemisia spp.). Despite the well-known importance of this habitat to sage grouse and other sagebrush obligates, the quality and quantity of sagebrush habitats have declined [...] (Read More)

  • Invasive species and coal bed methane development in the Powder River Basin, Wyoming

    One of the fastest growing areas of natural gas production is coal bed methane (CBM) due to the large monetary returns and increased demand for energy from consumers. The Powder River Basin, Wyoming is one of the most rapidly expanding areas of CBM development with projections of the establishment of up to 50,000 wells. CBM disturbances may make the native ecosystem more susceptible to invasion by non-native species, but there are few studies that have been conducted on the environmental impacts of this type of resource extraction. To evaluate the potential effects of CBM development on native plant species distribution and patterns of non-native plant invasion, 36 modified Forest Inventory and Analysis plots (each comprised of four [...] (Read More)

  • Linking occurrence and fitness to persistence: habitat-based approach for endangered greater sage-grouse.

    Detailed empirical models predicting both species occurrence and fitness across a landscape are necessary to understand processes related to population persistence. Failure to consider both occurrence and fitness may result in incorrect assessments of habitat importance leading to inappropriate management strategies. We took a two-stage approach to identifying critical nesting and brood-rearing habitat for the endangered Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) in Alberta at a landscape scale. First, we used logistic regression to develop spatial models predicting the relative probability of use (occurrence) for Sage-Grouse nests and broods. Secondly, we used Cox proportional hazards survival models to identify the most risky [...] (Read More)

  • NatureServe Explorer

    Welcome to NatureServe Explorer, an authoritative source for information on more than 70,000 plants, animals, and ecosystems of the United States and Canada. Explorer includes particularly in-depth coverage for rare and endangered species. (Read More)

  • Negative Secondary Impacts from Oil and Gas Development

    Oil and gas exploration and production activities can have a wide range of impacts on biodiversity, both positive and negative. These impacts, which can be defined as changes in the quality and quantity of biodiversity in a physical environment, will vary in scale and significance, depending on the activities and environmental conditions involved. Impacts to biodiversity can be broadly divided into two types: primary and secondary (see Box 1). This document focuses on the specific challenge of negative secondary impacts, beginning with a discussion of how secondary impacts differ from primary impacts and then examining the difficulties of understanding and addressing the negative effects of secondary impacts. (Read More)

  • Oil and Gas Development in Western North America: Effects on Sagebrush Steppe Avifauna with Particular Emphasis on Sage-grouse

    Sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) steppe was once a dominant feature of the landscape in western North America covering at least 243 million acres (60 million ha) (Beetle 1960, Vale 1975) in 16 states and 3 provinces. Most of this vast expanse has been altered by human activity. Estimates of complete loss of sagebrush-dominated areas exceed 50 % (Schneegas 1967, Braun et al. 1976, Braun 1998). The remaining sagebrush steppe has been markedly altered through treatments to benefit livestock grazing including livestock grazing as a treatment, fragmentation (roads, power lines and other structures, pipelines, reservoirs, fences, etc.), and degradation (Braun 1998). More recently, urban expansion as well as development of housing scattered through [...] (Read More)

  • Sage-grouse Population Response to Coal-bed Natural Gas Development in the Powder River Basin: Interim Progress Report on Region-wide Lek-count Analyses

    In this interim progress report, we report preliminary results from an analysis of region- wide lek-count data for greater sage-grouse from the Powder River Basin (PRB) in relation to coal-bed natural gas (CBNG) development. We have completed the first of four separate, but related analyses of these data. Preliminary results support previous findings that region-wide populations declined severely in 1990-1995, followed by stable trends around a lower population equilibrium from 1995-2005. However, leks with extensive CBNG development (>40% developed within 3.2 km) showed substantially lower population trends than leks with minimal CBNG or no development, even after controlling for known impacts of West Nile virus. Leks in areas adjacent [...] (Read More)

  • Teetering on the edge or too late? Conservation and research issues for avifauna of sagebrush habitats

    Degradation, fragmentation, and loss of native sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) landscapes have imperiled these habitats and their associated avifauna. Historically, this vast piece of the Western landscape has been undervalued: even though more than 70% of all remaining sagebrush habitat in the United States is publicly owned, <3% of it is protected as federal reserves or national parks. We review the threats facing birds in sagebrush habitats to emphasize the urgency for conservation and research actions, and synthesize existing information that forms the foundation for recommended research directions. Management and conservation of birds in sagebrush habitats will require more research into four major topics: (1) identification of primary [...] (Read More)

  • The Abert’s Squirrel (Sciurus aberti): A Technical Conservation Assessment

    Colorado is the only state in Region 2 in which significant populations of Abert’s squirrels (Sciurus aberti) exist. Populations of the squirrel have fluctuated widely over the past 100 years, but the species’ viability does not appear to be threatened, nor is the species in danger of extinction at a landscape or forest level anywhere in Colorado. It is normal for the abundance of Abert’s squirrels to vary greatly and frequently due to weather conditions and food supplies. Numbers change over longer periods with forest management practices that alter squirrel habitat condition. Large wildfires have eliminated squirrels and squirrel habitat over vast areas, but such losses do not threaten the species’ viability in Colorado. The species [...] (Read More)

  • The scientific basis for conserving forest carnivores: American marten, fisher, lynx, and wolverine in the western United States.

    This cooperative effort by USDA Forest Service Research and the National Forest System assesses the state of knowledge related to the conservation status of four forest carnivores in the western United States: American marten, fisher, lynx, and wolverine. The conservation assessment reviews the biology and ecology of these species. It also discusses management considerations stemming from what is known and identifies information needed. Overall, we found huge knowledge gaps that make it difficult to evaluate the species' conservation status. In the western United States, the forest carnivores in this assessment are limited to boreal forest ecosystems. These forests are characterized by extensive landscapes with a component of structurally [...] (Read More)

  • The Status, Habitat, and Response to Grazing of Water Vole Populations in the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming, U.S.A.

    Microtus richardsoni, the water vole, was listed as a sensitive species in Region 2 of the USDA Forest Service in 1994. Historical records indicate water voles were found in the Big Horn Mountains, but little was known about their current status. The purpose of this study was to locate water voles in the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming, develop a habitat profile, and evaluate the extent to which livestock grazing affects them. Accessible creeks with habitat requirements for water voles were surveyed. Water voles were not captured below 2440 m. Grazed and ungrazed sites occupied by water voles were matched and analyzed for percent plant cover, dry weight biomass, riparian classification, mean stream depth, channel type, elevation, precipitation, [...] (Read More)

  • Winter Habitat Selection of Mule Deer Before and During Development of a Natural Gas Field

    Increased levels of natural gas exploration, development, and production across the Intermountain West have created a variety of concerns for mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) populations, including direct habitat loss to road and well-pad construction and indirect habitat losses that may occur if deer use declines near roads or well pads. We examined winter habitat selection patterns of adult female mule deer before and during the first 3 years of development in a natural gas field in western Wyoming. We used global positioning system (GPS) locations collected from a sample of adult female mule deer to model relative frequency or probability of use as a function of habitat variables. Model coefficients and predictive maps suggested [...] (Read More)

  • Wolverines in western Wyoming

    New records of the wolverine (Gulo gulo) from western Wyoming during the past two decades suggest a population increase for this region. (Read More)

  • Wyoming Greater Sage-Grouse Conservation Plan

    In the second half of the 20th Century, numbers of greater sage-grouse (Centrocerucus urophasianus), referred to as sage-grouse throughout this plan, have declined throughout their range. The causes of the decline have not been quantified. In 2000, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) designated the Upper Columbia populations (Washington State) of the western greater sage-grouse (Centrocerucus urophasianus phaios) as candidates for listing under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act), 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq., due to their limited distribution and population numbers. The candidate designation means that listing is warranted, but is precluded by higher priority actions. In March 2003, the Service determined that [...] (Read More)

  • Wyoming Partners in Flight: Wyoming Bird Conservation Plan

    Justification Continental and local declines in numerous bird populations have led to concern for the future of migratory and resident bird species. The reasons for declines are complex. Habitat loss, habitat modification and fragmentation, loss of wintering and migratory habitat, and nest parasitism have been implicated. In 1990, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation brought together federal, state, and local government agencies, foundations, conservation groups, industry, and the academic community to form a program to address the problem. Thus, Partners In Flight was conceived as a voluntary, international coalition dedicated to “keeping common birds common” and reversing the downward trends of declining species. Participants [...] (Read More)

  • Wyoming Vascular Plant Atlas

    Contains ca 9000 points representing Wyoming collection sites for plant specimens in the collections of the Rocky Mountain Herbarium (RM). The point coverage is tied to a database of about 190,000 records representing about 1/4 of the holdings of the RM. Collection dates for these records range from the 1860's to 1997, and collections sites are located in general to the nearest section, although the locations of most sites are at best approximate. (Read More)