Wildlife Research and Management - Wildlife Research
Date Published: 2005
Number of Pages: 52
Author(s): W. Matthew Vander Haegen, Michael A. Schroeder, Stephen S. Germaine, Steven D. West and Robert A. Gitzen
The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is currently the only large-scale effort to restore habitat that may be used by grassland and shrubsteppe wildlife in the Columbia River Basin. Administered by the US Department of Agriculture, this voluntary program pays farmers to take agricultural lands out of production to achieve conservation objectives including reducing soil erosion and providing wildlife habitat. In Washington, over 1 million acres (405,000 ha) of converted farmland has been planted to non-native grasses and to native grasses, forbs and shrubs under the CRP. In 2003 we began a study to evaluate the potential role of CRP in the long-term conservation of obligate grassland and shrubsteppe wildlife in the Columbia River Basin. We established 48 study sites in CRP fields of varying age and landscape contexts and in extant shrubsteppe communities. In 2004, we repeated surveys of birds, herptiles, and small mammals and we examined reproductive parameters of selected bird species. In addition, we characterized the vegetation on all sites and we added two new components to the study: a survey of the mosses and lichens that make up the biological soil crusts and pellet surveys to document use by lagomorphs, deer, and prairie grouse. Plans for 2005 include continued bird and small mammal surveys, pellet sampling, and sampling of the remaining sites for biological soil crusts.
Vander Haegen, W. M., M. A. Schroeder, S. S. Germaine, S. D. West, and R. A. Gitzen . 2005. Wildlife on Conservation Reserve Program lands and native shrubsteppe in Washington: Progress Report for 2004. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Olympia. 51pp.