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Seasonal habitat use, movements, genetics, and vital rates in the Parachute/Piceance/Roan Population of Greater Sage-grouse, 2006-2008
Seasonal habitat use, movements, genetics, and vital rates in the Parachute/Piceance/Roan Population of Greater Sage-grouse, 2006-2008

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Led By

Anthony D. Apa​

Study Area

Garfield County​

Project Status

Completed​

Research Objectives

  • Obtain baseline information on genetic characteristics of greater sage-grouse.

  • Acquire current estimates of reproductive parameters (nesting effort, apparent nest success, and re-nest success, and female success) and survival of adult and yearling females and males as well as juvenile sage-grouse up to 30 - 50 days of age.

  • Measure movements and seasonal habitat use patterns.  

  • Assess local scale micro-habitat characteristics at nest and brood-rearing sites.​​​

Project Description

Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus; GRSG) historically inhabited sagebrush steppe habitat in at least 13 states and 3 Canadian provinces, and now occur in 11 states and 2 provinces.  Habitat loss, fragmentation, and degradation are commonly suggested as reasons leading to the decline of sage-grouse and other sagebrush obligate avian species.  Populations are migratory, moving >10 km to access seasonal habitats across large sagebrush landscapes, or are more sedentary, using the same habitats throughout the year to meet their life history requirements.  Impacts of human influences or other environmental perturbations may be more pronounced in populations that are small because persistence of small populations is affected by stochastic environmental, genetic, and demographic parameters that may overwhelm the natural variation of these parameters in small populations. 

A small (~200 males), isolated population of GRSG occupy the Parachute/Piceance/Roan (PPR) area in Garfield County.  Oil and gas development activity is occurring in and/or planned for the Piceance Basin, and industry has expressed their interest in evaluating mitigation efforts and understanding the baseline habitat use, movements, and vital rates of this population. 

GRSG from Eagle County, Jackson, and Grand Counties, function as a genetically-related group.  Birds within each group are genetically similar, while genetic relatedness differs between groups.  The genetic relatedness of GRSG inhabiting the PPR area is unknown compared to other populations in Colorado or elsewhere.  Genetic information is imperative in the event that future translocations of sage-grouse to and from the PPR population are needed.   The Colorado Parks and Wildlife has been concerned with persistence of the PPR sage-grouse population since at least the early-1990s.  Limited information is available for PPR GRSG regarding habitat use and seasonal movements  

This study provides important information to assist wildlife and land managers to enhance conditions to promote persistence and growth of the PPR GRSG population.

Associated Publications

Apa, A.D. 2010. Seasonal habitat use, movements, genetics, and vital rates in the Parachute/Piceance/Roan population of greater sage-grouse​.  Unpublished Final Report, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Fort Collins, CO.​​