Rio Blanco and Garfield counties
Field data collection is complete. Data analysis and preparation of manuscripts for publication is on-going.
- Use locations of GPS males to find, verify, and count new leks
- Estimate the proportion of known leks in the population
- Estimate age-specific rates of male survival, lek attendance, and inter-lek movements during the breeding season
- Estimate detectability of males on leks using paired double-observer ground counts and paired helicopter and ground counts
- Quantify how variation in male survival, detectability, lek attendance, inter-lek movement, and count effort affect indices and trend estimation based on standard lek-count data
- Quantify male space use around leks to inform use of lek buffers for management
Implementing effective monitoring and mitigation strategies is crucial for conserving populations of greater sage-grouse in Colorado. Lek counts are widely used as an index of abundance to monitor trends in sage-grouse populations. However, because lek counts rely on untested assumptions, how closely lek-count data track actual changes in male abundance from year to year remains unknown. Lek locations are also commonly used to help identify and protect important sage-grouse seasonal habitats. However, the effectiveness of lek buffers for reducing disturbance to breeding male sage-grouse and the habitats they use have not been widely tested.
We deployed solar-powered, satellite-based, global-positioning-system transmitters on male greater sage-grouse and conducted double-observer counts at leks to obtain data on male survival, lek attendance, inter-lek movements, detectability, and diurnal and nocturnal space use around leks during the breeding season in the Parachute-Piceance-Roan population in NW Colorado in spring from 2012-2015. These data will allow us to evaluate assumptions underlying the use of lek-count data and ultimately, to test their reliability for providing information about sage-grouse population trends. Data on space use will also allow us to evaluate whether lek buffers are effective for conserving greater sage-grouse habitat in oil and gas fields.