Ecology of Focal Wildlife
Southwest Wyoming encompasses vast areas of high-quality critical wildlife habitat for many high profile game and non-game species. Enhancing the quality and quantity of aquatic and terrestrial habitats in southwest Wyoming while facilitating responsible development is at the heart of the WLCI mission. Wildlife species that range over large areas may be vulnerable, even when their populations are stable elsewhere in the surrounding landscape. 
 
WLCI partners have identified five focal species/species assemblages that are priorities─pygmy rabbits, large ungulates (mule deer, elk, and pronghorn), sage-grouse, and fish and songbird communities. USGS research on ecology of focal wildlife species gathers information on habitat use, seasonal movements, population trends, and drivers of change specific to the WLCI study area. To support these habitat and movement analyses, USGS scientists are developing new methods to use remotely-sensed data to provide information on vegetation distribution and monitoring and to track seasonal greening of vegetation. The results of these studies have many practical applications, such as prioritization of areas for conservation, restoration, and mitigation, and forecasting the future extent and condition of wildlife habitat. Currently, we are using these baseline data to move forward with studies of potential effects of energy development on focal wildlife and their habitats.
 
Tools and products resulting from these research activities may include: 
  • seasonal habitat use models
  • population trend analyses
  • population viability analyses
  • Wyoming Migration Atlas
  • fact sheets
  • professional papers