The Jackson Sage Grouse Project seeks to improve grouse population parameter estimates through baseline field research involving capture, marking, radio-tracking sage grouse, and the documentation of nests and broods . Marked birds allow for estimation of survival, causes of mortality, and inter-lek movements, productivity, and survival. Bird locations are also being used to identify important seasonal habitat use patterns in Jackson Hole and the Gros Ventre drainage.
Concurrent with the sage grouse work, ravens (a potential nest predator) are captured, marked, followed, and observed to quantify the interactions and potential interactions between ravens and sage grouse. Point counts of all potential predators at selected observation sites will also be used to provide additional information on use patterns of predators in sage grouse habitat. Resultant information will be used to provide a better understanding of the limiting factors in the Upper Snake River Basin grouse population and more informed decision-making regarding management guidelines for this region.
To read the 2007-2009 Report on the study click here.
The overall objectives of this project are to characterize the demographics of the sage grouse population in Jackson Hole and surrounding areas and describe their seasonal use of habitat. For a three-year period, 2007 through 2009, sage grouse will be marked and tracked to accomplish the demographic and habitat objectives of the study. To more intensively study the potential role of predation in sage grouse demographics, we will concurrently document the movements and densities of scavengers, such as ravens, in the same area. Further, genetic samples from the Jackson Hole and surrounding grouse populations are being collected and will be analyzed to determine the genetic isolation of Jackson Hole and the Gros Ventre populations.
Specifically, the following are activities and goals of the Sage Grouse project designed to meet the above objectives:
- mark and radio-track sage grouse to determine habitat use and survival.
- identify sage grouse nest locations.
- document nesting habitat, nest production, and causes of nest failure.
- monitor potential nest and adult sage grouse predators through telemetry, observation of sign, and point sampling of scavengers/predators in the area of sage grouse use.
- develop a population model of sage grouse population dynamics from the survival and production data obtained.
- develop a characterization of habitat and critical habitat in the Jackson Hole area and compare to research results in other areas of Wyoming, particularly in the Pinedale area.
- Determine the extent of genetic isolation of grouse populations in northwest Wyoming and surrounding areas.
The Sage Grouse Project directors are Derek Craighead, M.S., and Bryan Bedrosian, M.S. Project biologists Ross Crandall, Megan Ruehmann, and Trapper Haynam conduct a variety of Sage Grouse Project operations. The Craighead Beringia South staff are also aided by Grand Teton National Park and U.S. Forest Service seasonal biologists and local interns.
This study is conducted through approval, permitting, and cooperation from a variety of people, agencies, and organizations. Craighead Beringia South is indebted to all of these people and entities for their assistance. These include the Upper Snake River Sage Grouse Working Group, Wyoming Department of Game and Fish, Grand Teton National Park, the National Elk Refuge, the Buffalo and Jackson Districts of the Bridger-Teton National Forest, the Jackson Hole Airport, the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance, and many individuals, including Joe Bohne, Terry Hershey, Sue Wolff, Geneva Chong, Steve Cain, Ray Bishop, Eric Cole, and Franz Camenzind.
Funding for this effort was obtained from a variety of sources. The core work of the Jackson Hole sage grouse population is funded primarily by the Wyoming Department of Game and Fish (Upper Snake River Working Group), with additional funding by the Wyoming Wildlife Heritage Foundation, the Jackson Hole Airport, Grand Teton National Park, US Forest Service, the Charles Engelhard Foundation, and other private individuals and foundations. Expanded work on potential predators (ravens, coyotes, raptors, etc.) in the Jackson Hole area and two areas south of Pinedale was supported by the Wyoming Department of Game and Fish (Upper Green River Working Group), the Tom Thorne Sage Grouse Conservation Fund, the Wyoming Wildlife Heritage Foundation, the University of Washington, and private individuals and foundations.