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Valerie Hinojoza-Rood's Mule Deer and Yearling Migrating through Sagebrush and Native Grasses

Understanding the costs and benefits of migration, and the location of areas in the landscape where important migration behaviors occur, is critical to sustainable management of ungulate populations that are of high economic value and cultural importance in western states like Oregon.

Landscape changes in the West can disrupt ecosystem function and increase the cost of migration for target populations. The identification and prioritization of migration corridors throughout Oregon would address a critical data gap for the state and facilitate conservation and management of these populations. 

sagebrush and native bunch grasses,
Illustration (paper and mechanical pen) by Valerie Hinojoza-Rood, Post doc, Oregon State University. Mule deer and yearling migrating through eastern Oregon shrublands. Valerie a faculty research assistant at the Oregon State University, partnering with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and USGS, mapping migration patterns for adult female mule deer using GPS telemetry collar data. Mule deer are largely migratory and exhibit high fidelity to their seasonal ranges using migration routes learned from mother to offspring. Mule deer face a number of challenges while migrating, including highways, fences, and habitat degradation. Illustration details: Valerie depicted an idealistic landscape primarily covered by sagebrush and native bunch grasses, a landscape that's becoming increasingly less common due to encroaching cheatgrass, medusahead, and Western juniper. 

In collaboration with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) and the USGS, Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, the following objectives were developed to address these needs for mule deer and pronghorn antelope in Oregon:

1). Compile all available GPS collar data on migratory and non-migratory mule deer and pronghorn antelope in Oregon and conduct an analysis using Brownian Bridge Movement Models.
2). Create cartographic map products of migration corridors, and seasonal ranges for mule deer and pronghorn in Oregon, making associated corridor polygon data available to land and resource managers via a Migration Route Viewer.
3). To assist ODFW with the development of cartographic and infographic products to communicate key migration issues, threats, and conservation opportunities within the state.