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Developing Distribution Models for Managing Greater Sage-grouse in North Park
Developing Distribution Models for Managing Greater Sage-grouse in North Park

​​​​​Led By

Mindy Rice​

Study Area

North Park in Jackson County

Project Status


Research Objectives

  • Use telemetry locations from radio-marked greater sage-grouse to develop seasonal habitat selection models specific to North Park.

  • Evaluate the effects of existing energy development in North Park on seasonal distribution of greater sage-grouse.​

Project Description

Greater sage-grouse (GRSG) is a species of conservation concern due to range-wide population and habitat declines. In Colorado, about 20 percent of the statewide GRSG population resides in North Park, but assessments of GRSG seasonal distribution and habitat using contemporary data from this important area are lacking. In addition, oil and gas energy development is expected to increase in North Park, and this activity could influence GRSG distribution.  

As a result, CPW initiated a study to obtain current data on GRSG seasonal movements in North Park. These data were previously used to validate large-scale, statewide GRSG seasonal distribution models. The goal of this project was to use North Park G​RSG location data, along with data on environmental variables specific to North Park, to develop refined seasonal habitat-use models for this study area. Wildlife managers can then use this information to identify important seasonal GRSG habitats and address expected effects of energy development and other land use changes.

Using data from 117 radio-marked GRSG, researchers collected almost 4,000 location data points in North Park over two years. Locations were recorded during breeding, summer and winter seasons. Using Geographical Information System, researchers overlaid these GRSG location data on vegetation, plant productivity, elevation, and water distribution data layers, as well as location data for oil and gas wells and roads in North Park.

These seasonal models provide wildlife managers, landowners, and the energy industry with information they need to identify and address GRSG habitat conservation issues in North Park. ​

Associated Publications

Rice, M. B., A. D. Apa, M. L. Phillips, J. H. Gammonley, B. Petch, and K. Eichhoff. 2013. Analysis of regional species distribution models based on combined radio-telemetry datasets from multiple small-scale studies. Journal of Wildlife Management 77:821-831.​