Progress Report: Mountain Goat Research in the Washington Cascade Mountains

Category: Wildlife Research

Published: December 10, 2003

Pages: 16

Author(s): Clifford G. Rice

Introduction

In 2002, the Department of Fish and Wildlife initiated a mountain goat research project. Cooperators in this project include the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service, the Sauk-Suiattle Tribe, the Stilliguamish Tribe, and Western Washington University.

This study has short and long-term objectives. The short-term objectives are to evaluate habitat relations for mountain goats in the Cascade Mountain Range and to develop and refine survey protocols for mountain goats in the state of Washington. Habitat studies include habitat suitability mapping in the North Cascades based on reported sightings of mountain goats, which is nearing completion, and a similar effort based on locations recorded from mountain goats fitted with GPS tracking collars, which is in the initial stages. Collared mountain goats will also provide information for studies of habitat selection, home range, and movements. Survey protocol development will emphasize the development of a sightability bias model for use in adjusting aerial surveys of mountain goats based on survey trials with the collared mountain goats.

The long-term objective of this project is to assess the magnitude, extent, and causes for the reported declines in mountain goat populations in Washington. Work to address this objective are in the planning stages.

This report covers the capture of mountain goats and initial findings based on GPS locations acquired to date.