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Greater sage-grouse response to sagebrush management in Utah by David K. Dahlgren Renee Y. Chi Terry A. Messmer Utah State University.

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Presentation on theme: "Greater sage-grouse response to sagebrush management in Utah by David K. Dahlgren Renee Y. Chi Terry A. Messmer Utah State University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Greater sage-grouse response to sagebrush management in Utah by David K. Dahlgren Renee Y. Chi Terry A. Messmer Utah State University

2 Outline 1. Introduction 2. Study Area 3. Methods: Vegetation Treatment, Sage-grouse Use, Data Analysis 4. Results: Vegetation response and Sage-grouse Use 5. Discussion 6. Management Implications

3 Introduction MOU – WAFWA 1999 (Connelly et al. 2004 appendix 1) Objective 4: “Conduct management experiments on a sufficient scale to demonstrate that management of habitats can stabilize and enhance sage grouse distribution and abundance” ~ 30% of sagebrush lands in the Western U.S. are privately owned (Connelly et al. 2004) 50% of Utah’s remaining sage-grouse populations occur on private land, and all 4 major populations (Box Elder, Rich, Uintah, and Wayne counties) depend on large portions of non-federal land NRCS- Farm Bill and Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP)

4 Study Area: Parker Mountain Vegetation Characteristics Sage-grouse Use (elevations) Livestock Grazing Precipitation Regimes Parker Lake Pasture - Brood-rearing habitat - preliminary conditions

5 Methods: Treatment -Spike, Dixie harrow, Lawson aerator, and control -16- 40.5 ha plots (4 reps) -Plots randomly assigned treatment - 5 random 20m transects per plot - mosaic treatment pattern - Artemesia tridentata vaseyana only - treated vs. untreated transects -Shrub (all) Canopy – Line Intercept Method (Canfield 1941) with one exception - Grass and Forb cover – variation of the Point Intercept Method (Levy and Madden 1933) and post-treatment Daubenmire Frames - Seed mix in Dixie

6 Dixie Harrow Photo by Lee Rindlisbacher Photo by Larry Greenwood rcenotes/rn75.html

7 Lawson Aerator Photo by Lee Rindlisbacher

8 Methods – Use Pellet Count 40.5 ha Plot Transect - 16 total plots (D, L, S, C) -3 random transects per plot -2 samples (August 2003 and 2004) -Distance to Center -Cluster Size Estimated Distance to Edge

9 Methods – Use Birddog Survey Parker Mountain Sage Boomer…a.k.a. Parker My Little Buddy III…a.k.a. Buddy 40.5 ha plot Transect -Cover entire plot ~1.5 dog hours -2 surveys per year July and Aug 2003 and 2004 -Unkown adult, male, hen, chicks -2003 (1 of 2 dogs) and 2004 (Utah Chukar Foundation)

10 Time Line 200020012002200320042005 July-pretreatment sampling Spike and control August-pretreatment sampling Mechanicals and control Fall-Spike application July-pretreatment sampling grass and forb for mechanicals Fall-Dixie harrow and Lawson aerator application June and July-post treatment sampling all plots July and August-Birddog Surveys and Pellet counts Regular Grazing Regimes Parker Lake Pasture rested, except for incidental late fall grazing

11 Methods: Data Analysis -Vegetation Treatment -2 analyses: 1) Spike vs. Control and 2) Mechanical Treatments vs. Control -BACI (Underwood 1994) and proc MIXED (SAS Institute Inc. 2002-2003) -Change in Before to After Means -Variables -Shrub Cover (all), Grass Cover, Forb Cover -Sage-grouse Use -Pellet Counts: Program DISTANCE with Z test comparing treatments -Variables: Pellet Cluster Density -Distance to edge data: histogram format 10m increments -Dandelion cover (Daubenmire data): ANOVA with a P <0.05 comparing treatments -Birddog Surveys: ANOVA with a P <0.05 comparing treatments -Variables: Total Grouse and Total Broods

12 Results: Treatment Spike Vs. Control Grass Cover: no difference(F = 1.03, P = 0.35) Forb Cover: difference (F = 15.91, P = 0.01) Shrub Cover: no difference (F = 1.00, P =0.36) Mechanicals Vs. Control Grass Cover: no difference (F = 2.94, P = 0.10) Forb Cover: difference (F = 5.58, P = 0.03) Dixie to Control (t = -2.41, P = 0.02) Dixie to Lawson (t = 3.26, P < 0.01) Shrub Cover: difference(F = 5.42, P = 0.03) Dixie to Control(t = 2.28, P = 0.03) Lawson to Control(t = 3.20, P < 0.01) Dandelion Cover (all plots)(F = 2.60, P = 0.10) moderate

13 Results – Use – Pellet Count - Pellets found in ARNO, ARTR, ARCA, Aspen, and Treatment, but only ARNO, ARTR, and Treatment used in analysis Comparisons: P value C-S 0.01 C-D0.43 C-L0.59 S-D0.11 S-L0.03 D-L0.69

14 Results – Use Birddog Survey Comparisons: P value C-S <0.01 C-D0.14 C-L0.09 S-D0.03 S-L0.05 D-L0.79 Total Sage-grouse

15 Results – Use Birddog Survey Comparisons: P value C-S <0.01 C-D0.30 C-L0.19 S-D<0.01 S-L<0.01 D-L0.77 Brood Use

16 Results-Distance to Edge Plot typeDrop off Dixie harrow (treated)20-30m Dixie harrow (untreated)20-30m Lawson aerator (treated)>80m Lawson aerator (untreated)30-40m Tebuthiuron (treated)40-50m Tebuthiuron (untreated)20-30m Control20-30m

17 Results: Distance to Edge examples of histograms

18 Discussion - Shrub Canopy decreased to within sage-grouse brood rearing guidelines (10 – 25% ) (Connelly et al. 2000) Treatment

19 Discussion - Forb Cover increased with Spike and Dixie compared to control Treatment

20 Discussion -Lawson aerator problems -Distance to Edge data suggest sage-grouse prefer edge habitat (< 30m) while using treatment areas, and adjacent intact sagebrush -Sage-grouse in general and broods specifically preferred Spike plots…Why? -Increased forb cover, specifically dandelion cover -Partial kill of sagebrush resulting in a “feathered effect” creating increased edge -Shrub cover 15-25% and forb response

21 Management Implications All treatments can achieve shrub canopy guidelines for brood-rearing habitat if initial conditions are > 25% Shrub canopy Dixie harrow and Spike can be used to increase forb cover, which is the most important component of brood-rearing habitat

22 Management Implications >When applying spike a low rate (we used 0.3 active ingredient) should be used to have a partial sagebrush kill >We recommend when using Dixie harrow or Lawson aerator treatment should be widths not exceeding 60m, and intact sagebrush should be at least 60m, and in a mosaic design maximizing edge

23 Management Implications Caution should be exercised when conducting these management techniques at different elevations, precipitation regimes, subspecies of big sagebrush, or soil substrates Additionally, local sage-grouse seasonal habitats should be known and delineated, as these treatments may not be appropriate for winter or nesting habitat

24 Take Home Message Our results suggest a brood-rearing habitat management strategy that, when shrub canopy limits the understory, creates a mosaic of small- scale treatments that maximized edge, creating resource patches that are particularly attractive to broods

25 Acknowledgements Terry MessmerPARM UDWRCommittee members Susan DurhamRuss Norvell Lee RindlesbacherRon Daigle Terron PickettChris Perkins Kevin LabrumRenee Chi Dwayne ElmoreTrapping Team Volunteers Paper Published in The Wildlife Society Bulletin 34(4):975-985 For copies e-mail me at:

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