Re-introduction of Sage-grouse to Lincoln County, Washington: 2011 Progress Report
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Re-introduction of Sage-grouse to Lincoln County, Washington: 2011 Progress Report

Category: Wildlife Research and Management - Non-Game Management and Conservation

Date Published: November 2011

Number of Pages: 26

Author(s): Mike Schroeder, Mike Atamian, Howard Ferguson, Mike Finch, and Derek Stinson

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, in cooperation with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, initiated a project in 2008 to reintroduce greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) to the Swanson Lakes Wildlife Area in Lincoln County, Washington. The project was designed to establish a third population in the state in an area with more than 200 km2 of shrubsteppe habitat on public lands. Prior to the first translocation in 2008 there were rare observations of sage-grouse in the release area. It was not clear whether these observations were birds dispersing from the closest population in Douglas County or whether these birds were ‘remnants’ from an endemic population known to occupy the area through the mid-1980s. From spring 2008 to spring 2011, 144 greater sage-grouse were translocated from southern Oregon to the Washington release site and their movements, productivity, habitat use, and survival have been monitored. In general, birds released in the fall fared poorly when compared with birds released in the spring. As of 21 October 2011, 18 female and 24 male sage-grouse are being monitored with telemetry and several other sage-grouse are also likely present, either with malfunctioning radio transmitters or no radio transmitters. The overall population in Washington was estimated to be 1165 in 2011, including the birds in the translocated population. We propose an additional translocation of 50 sage-grouse in spring 2012.