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Pocatello, ID, United States

Troy R.J.,Idaho State University | Coates P.S.,U.S. Geological Survey | Connelly J.W.,345 Barton Road | Gillette G.,Idaho State University | Delehanty D.J.,Idaho State University
Journal of Wildlife Management | Year: 2013

Translocation of mountain quail (Oreortyx pictus) to restore viable populations to their former range has become a common practice. Because differences in post-release vital rates between animals from multiple source populations has not been well studied, wildlife and land managers may arbitrarily choose the source population or base the source population on immediate availability when planning translocation projects. Similarly, an understanding of the optimal proportion of individuals from different age and sex classes for translocation would benefit translocation planning. During 2006 and 2007, we captured and translocated 125 mountain quail from 2 ecologically distinct areas: 38 from southern California and 87 from southwestern Oregon. We released mountain quail in the Bennett Hills of south-central Idaho. We radio-marked and monitored a subsample of 58 quail and used them for a 2-part survival analysis. Cumulative survival probability was 0.23 ± 0.05 (SE) at 150 days post-release. We first examined an a priori hypothesis (model) that survival varied between the 2 distinct source populations. We found that source population did not explain variation in survival. This result suggests that wildlife managers have flexibility in selecting source populations for mountain quail translocation efforts. In a post hoc examination, we pooled the quail across source populations and evaluated differences in survival probabilities between sex and age classes. The most parsimonious model indicated that adult male survival was substantially less than survival rates of other mountain quail age and sex classes (i.e., interaction between sex and age). This result suggests that translocation success could benefit by translocating yearling males rather than adult males, perhaps because adult male breeding behavior results in vulnerability to predators. © 2013 The Wildlife Society. Source

Stevens B.S.,University of Idaho | Reese K.P.,University of Idaho | Connelly J.W.,345 Barton Road
Journal of Wildlife Management | Year: 2011

We used female ring-necked pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) carcasses as surrogates for greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) to study factors influencing survival and detection bias associated with avian fence collision surveys in southern Idaho, USA, during spring 2009.We randomly placed 50 pheasant carcasses on each of 2 study areas, estimated detection probability during fence-line surveys, and monitored survival and retention of carcasses and their associated sign over a 31-day period. Survival modeling suggested site and habitat features had little impact on carcass survival, and constant survival models were most supported by the data. Model averaged carcass daily survival probability was low on both study areas and ranged from 0.776 to 0.812. Survival of all carcass sign varied strongly by location, and the top sign survival model included a site effect parameter. Model averaged daily survival probability for collision sign on the 2 study sites ranged from 0.863 to 0.988 and varied between sites. Logistic regression modeling indicated detection probability of carcasses during fence-line surveys for avian collision victims was influenced by habitat type and microsite shrub height at the carcass location. Carcasses located in big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) habitats were detected at a lower rate (0.36) than carcasses in little (A. arbuscula) and black sagebrush (A. nova) habitats (0.71). Increasing shrub height at the carcass location from the little sagebrush mean of 16.5 cm to the big sagebrush mean of 36.0 cm reduced detection probability by approximately 30%. Avian fence collision surveys in sagebrush-steppe habitats should be conducted at ≤2-week sampling intervals to reduce the impact of survival bias on collision rate estimates. Two-week sampling intervals may be too long in areas with low carcass and sign survival, therefore survival rates should be estimated on all study areas to determine the appropriate sampling interval duration. Researchers should be aware of the effects of local vegetation on detection probabilities, and methods to correct detection probabilities based on collision site attributes should be applied to ensure more accurate collision rate estimates. Additionally, caution should be used when aggregating or comparing uncorrected collision data from areas with differing vegetation, as detection probabilities are likely different between sites. © 2011 The Wildlife Society. Source

Stevens B.S.,Michigan State University | Naugle D.E.,University of Montana | Dennis B.,University of Idaho | Connelly J.W.,345 Barton Road | And 2 more authors.
Wildlife Society Bulletin | Year: 2013

Recent research suggested greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus; hereafter, sagegrouse) fence collision may be widespread, and fence-marking methods have been developed for reducing prairie-grouse collision in sagebrush-steppe habitats. However, research also suggested sage-grouse collision was highly variable, and managers implementing mitigation desire targeting tools to prioritize mitigation efforts as a function of risk. We fit collision-risk models using widely available covariates to a sage-grouse fence-collision data set from Idaho, USA, and developed spatially explicit versions of the top model for all known sage-grouse breeding habitats (i.e., within 3 km of leks) in 10 of 11 western states where sage-grouse are found. Our models prioritize breeding habitats for mitigation as a function of terrain ruggedness and distance to nearest lek, and suggest that a relatively small proportion of the total landscape (6-14%) in each state would result in >1 collision over a lekking season. Managers can use resulting models to prioritize fence-marking by focusing efforts on high risk landscapes. Moreover, our models provide a spatially explicit tool to efficiently target conservation investments, and exemplify the way that researchers and managers can work together to turn scientific understanding into effective conservation solutions. © 2013 The Wildlife Society. Source

Stevens B.S.,University of Idaho | Reese K.P.,University of Idaho | Connelly J.W.,345 Barton Road | Musil D.D.,24 South 417 E
Wildlife Society Bulletin | Year: 2012

Collision with infrastructure such as fences is widespread and common for many species of grouse. Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) fence-collision has been documented and fencemarking methods have been recommended for mitigating prairie-grouse collision in rangeland habitats. We tested a marking method in greater sage-grouse breeding habitat and modeled collision as a function of fence marking and control covariates, in Idaho (USA) in 2010. Our results suggested collision risk decreased with fence marking, increased with lek-count indices of local abundance, and decreased with increasing distance from lek. We found an approximate 83% reduction in collision rates at marked fences relative to unmarked fences. Our results also suggested marking may not be necessary on all fences, and mitigation should focus on areas with locally abundant grouse populations and fence segments <2 km from known leks. Nonetheless, collision still occurred at marked fences <500 m from large leks and moving or removing fences may be necessary in some areas if management is to eliminate collision. © 2012 The Wildlife Society. Source

Stevens B.S.,University of Idaho | Connelly J.W.,345 Barton Road | Reese K.P.,University of Idaho
Journal of Wildlife Management | Year: 2012

Previous research in Europe and North America suggested grouse are susceptible to collision with infrastructure, and anecdotal observation suggested greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) fence collision in breeding habitats may be prevalent. However, no previous research systematically studied greater sage-grouse fence collision in any portion of their range. We used data from probability-based sampling of fences in greater sage-grouse breeding habitats of southern Idaho, USA, to model factors associated with collision at microsite and broad spatial scales. Site-scale modeling suggested collision may be influenced by technical attributes of fences, with collisions common at fence segments absent wooden fence posts and with segment widths >4m. Broad-scale modeling suggested relative probability of collision was influenced by region, a terrain ruggedness index (TRI), and fence density per square km. Conditional on those factors, collision counts were also influenced by distance to nearest active sage-grouse lek. Our models provide a conceptual framework for prioritizing sage-grouse breeding habitats for collision mitigation such as fence marking or moving, and suggest mitigation in breeding habitats should start in areas with moderate-high fence densities (>1km/km 2) within 2km of active leks. However, TRI attenuated other covariate effects, and mean TRI/km 2 >10m nearly eliminated sage-grouse collision. Thus, our data suggested mitigation should focus on sites with flat to gently rolling terrain. Moreover, site-scale modeling suggested constructing fences with larger and more conspicuous wooden fence posts and segment widths <4m may reduce collision. © 2012 The Wildlife Society. Copyright © The Wildlife Society, 2012. Source

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