PERSISTENCE OF GREATER SAGE-GROUSE FOLLOWING WILDFIRE.
Ian F. Dudley; Idaho State University; 921 S 8th Ave, Pocatello, ID, 83209; (530) 902-9080; dudlian@isu.edu; Peter S. Coates , Mark A. Ricca , Dawn M. Davis, Scott C. Gardner, David J. Delehanty
Loss and degradation of sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) ecosystems has resulted in concordant declines of the Greater Sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus), a sagebrush obligate species. In the Great Basin, increased fire frequency and intensity and progressive expansion of invasive annual grasses are predicted to further reduce sage-grouse populations through habitat loss and by nullifying positive effects of favorable weather cycles. Following the 126,000-hectare Rush Fire in northeastern California and northwestern Nevada, we used radio telemetry to locate, monitor, and measure 80 sage-grouse nests and 219 sage-grouse brood locations during 2015-2018 to compare sage-grouse micro-habitat selection and survival within and outside the burned area. We further quantified sage-grouse disproportionate habitat use relative to availability at multiple spatial scales in burned and unburned areas both before, using fortuitously collected historic data, and after the fire event. Using information-theoretic modeling, we report factors that influenced sage-grouse nest-site and brood-site selection, and survival to better understand the capacity for sage-grouse to persist, at least temporarily, in severely altered sagebrush habitat. In doing so, we provide wildlife managers with context for adaptive management of sage-grouse under prevailing fire regimes. These findings are preliminary and provided to meet the need for timely best science.
Poster Session   Student Paper