Integrating Climate and Biological Data into Management Decisions for the Greater Sage-­Grouse and their Habitats

Ute Langner, Claudine Tobalske, Linda Vance
Posted on: 7/18/2022 - Updated on: 7/14/2023

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Climate affects both the demographics of the Greater sage-grouse bird and the condition and long-term viability of their habitats, including sage-steppe communities.

This project builds on collaboration among federal land managers, state wildlife biologists, scientists, and other organizations to create a long-term framework for implementing adaptive management for the sage-grouse. The study examined factors that might be limiting grouse numbers and will investigate components of weather patterns in relation to projected climate change models. Precipitation and temperature, as well as variables such as evaporation and soil moisture, will be considered. Overall, the project focused on (1) providing workshops to foster collaboration and interpretation of climate information, (2) developing a sage-steppe habitat map, and (3) suggesting recommendations for an adaptive management framework.

This study had two objectives: first, to generate a landcover map for the Charles M. Russell Wildlife Refuge (CMR) emphasizing the distribution of land cover types in relation to greater sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) habitat needs, and second, to provide data that would allow a determination of whether results were better with SPOT imagery or Landsat 8 imagery. SPOT imagery is provided at a 10 m pixel resolution, while Landsat 8 is at 30m.

Results from this classification will allow managers to determine which resolution provides the accuracy needed for habitat planning and management.

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