USING AN INTEGRATED POPULATION MODEL FRAMEWORK TO EVALUATE IMPACTS OF GEOTHERMAL ACTIVITY ON SAGE-GROUSE POPULATIONS AND GUIDE ENERGY AND CONSERVATION PLANNING.
Peter S. Coates; U.S. Geological Survey, Western Ecological Research Center; 800 Business Park, Road, Dixon, CA, 95620; (530) 669-5073; pcoates@usgs.gov; Brian G. Prochazka, Mark A. Ricca, Shawn T. O'Neil, John D. Boone, Elisabeth M. Ammon, David J. Delehanty
Geothermal power is a fast-growing sector of renewable energy, and a greater understanding of its mechanistic effects on wildlife population dynamics is needed as the nation seeks more clean energy sources. We constructed an integrated population model (IPM) for greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) using lek counts and demographic data from two geothermal sites (n female sage-grouse = 159) within the Great Basin to estimate factors related to annual population rate of change (lamda) as a function of individual vital rates while accounting for potential confounding environmental factors. We sought to disentangle indirect (e.g., avian predation) from direct (e.g., noise pollution) effects associated with geothermal activities across each vital rate. Findings indicate that reproductive life stages limited lamda, and were strongly associated with increased common raven (Corvus corax) abundance and distance from geothermal infrastructure. We also provide a spatially-explicit example application of the IPM to design existing or planned energy development projects with the goal of mitigating adverse impacts to local sage-grouse populations. These findings are preliminary and provided to meet the need for timely best science.
Poster Session