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Historical and Current Approaches to Monitoring Greater Sage-Grouse

Category: Wildlife Research and Management - Wildlife Research

Date Published:  2007

Number of Pages: 7

Author(s): John W. Connelly and Michael A. Schroeder

By the late 1940s, biologists began to develop systematic techniques for monitoring for greater sagegrouse (Centrocercus urophasianus). Early monitoring efforts were not uniform and different techniques often were employed by various agencies, making comparisons difficult. Here we review early techniques used to monitor greater sage-grouse populations, describe the development of systematic monitoring practices, describe current approaches to monitoring and discuss data sets now available for hunted and non-hunted populations. We used the literature and early state reports to obtain information on monitoring techniques and kinds of data obtained by state and provincial wildlife agencies. We also sent a detailed questionnaire to representatives from 11 western states and 2 Canadian provinces asking for information on techniques currently used, data sets obtained, and data management practices used for monitoring and evaluating populations of greater sage-grouse. Although lek data appear useful for assessing change at relatively broad scales (e.g., watershed, states) those data may not accurately reflect trends at smaller scales (e.g., lek complexes). Our results indicate that further standardization of techniques and replicate counts are necessary. Agencies should agree on a single protocol with established guidelines to allow better assessment of population trends at varying scales. Agencies also should be cautious about relating lek trends to harvest (and thus production data from wings) except at large scales.

Suggested Citation:
Connelly, J. W., and M. A. Schroeder. 2007. Historical and current approaches to monitoring to monitoring greater sage-grouse. Pages 3-9 in K. P. Reese and R. T. Bowyer, editors. Monitoring populations of sage-grouse. College of Natural Resources Experiment Station, University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho, USA.