Using Genetic Information to Assess Implications of Gunnison Sage-grouse Translocations

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Gunnison Sage-grouse. USGS photo.
Two male Gunnison Sage-grouse. USGS photo.

In an attempt to augment dwindling population sizes of Gunnison Sage-grouse in small, satellite populations, Colorado Parks and Wildlife began translocating birds captured in the Gunnison Basin to each of the western satellite populations beginning in 2005. The ultimate fate of translocated individuals remains unknown. We are using range-wide genetic samples collected before and after the translocations began to inform the effectiveness of translocations. Findings from this study will aid managers in identifying conservation approaches and allocating resources to the most promising conservation and management efforts for a species listed as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act. This research is in collaboration with Colorado Parks and Wildlife.