For the imperiled Gunnison sage-grouse, the farther away the better, according to a joint study between Colorado State University (CSU), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and the National Park Service just published in the Journal of Wildlife Management. Loss and fragmentation of sagebrush landscapes has resulted in a drastic contraction of the birdís range and population numbers over the years. Only seven disconnected populations of this unique grouse remain in Colorado and Utah, mostly in Coloradoís Gunnison Basin, and the bird is listed as a candidate species under the federal Endangered Species Act. For the species to survive on the current landscape as development increases, natural resource managers need scientific information about which habitats are critical. The new study describes models developed to identify crucial nesting habitat for the species. Testing showed that the models accurately predicted locations of existing nest sites, which were characterized by large, uninterrupted tracts of sagebrush several miles from roads and human structures. Read the full press release at Grouseís top-flight nest sites are high, wide, and lonesome.
For more information contact: Cameron Aldridge
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