Increase in Domestic Energy Production Contributing to Sage-grouse Population Declines

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Flying Greater Sage-grouse. Photo by T. Gettleman, USGS.

A new study used the annual counts of male sage-grouse at communal breeding sites in Wyoming to measure population size over time in relation to the density of oil and gas wells. These data determined that Greater Sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) populations in the state declined 2.5 percent annually between 1984 and 2008, with the rise in domestic energy production contributing to the decline. Populations were stable when no wells were present near a lek and began declining with the addition of the first well. On Tuesday, October 18, 2016, the Fort Collins Science Center's Ecosystem Dynamics Branch in cooperation with Colorado State University issued a press release on a newly released paper published in the Journal of Wildlife Management, available at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/wol1/doi/10.1002/jwmg.21179/full. The press release is available at https://www.usgs.gov/news/increase-domestic-energy-production-contributing-sage-grouse-population-declines.

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Michael O'Donnell