This project is an expansion of original research completed by the Intermountain West Joint Venture (http://iwjv.org/) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) - Sage Grouse Initiative in Oregon, California, and northwestern Nevada. The study utilizes remote sensing and point process analyses to evaluate spatiotemporal variability in limited mesic resources (e.g., wetlands and irrigated rangeland) and their influence in structuring rangewide distributions of greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) and Gunnison sage-grouse (C.u. minimus; herein sage-grouse). Sage-grouse population distributions are linked to changes in resource availability over time, space, and land tenure. Original results show mesic sites influenced sage-grouse breeding distributions as evidenced by significantly shorter lek (breeding ground) to wetland distances in observed (5.3 km) versus predicted (8.2 km) values. Seventy five percent of all wetland resources available to sage-grouse were in private ownership in contrast to public land abundance, which made up 80percent of the study area. Project expansion will encompass > 145 million acres and portions of 11 western states.
Example of characteristic ownership and population distribution patterns observed. Private lands encompassed on average 75% of summer mesic resources. Distribution of breeding ground (leks) was a function of mesic resource proximity with the highest population abundances nearest reliable mesic sites. North is oriented toward the top of the image.