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Grizzly bear denning and potential conflict areas in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

January 1, 2002

Increasing winter use of steep, high-elevation terrain by backcountry recreationists has elevated concern about disturbance of denning grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE). To help identify areas where such conflicts might occur, we developed a spatially explicit model to predict potential denning areas in the GYE. Using a scan area of 630 m around each location, we assigned site attributes to 344 den locations of radio-trackedg rizzly bears from 1975-99. Attributesi dentified as predictorsf or the analysis included elevation, slope, an index of solar radiation, and forest cover. We used the Mahalanobis distance statistic to model the similarity between sites used by denning bears and each cell in the data layers. We used the final Mahalanobis distance model to produce maps of the study area. Potential denning habitat, based upon the model, is abundantw ithin the GYE. Ourr esultsc an be used by land managementa gencies to identifyp otentialc onflict sites and minimize effects of regulated activities on denning grizzly bears. We illustrate how the Gallatin National Forest (GNF) used the model to examine the overlap between potential snowmobile use areas and potential denning habitat as part of a Biological Assessment submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Publication Year 2002
Title Grizzly bear denning and potential conflict areas in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Authors Shannon Podruzny, Steve Cherry, Charles C. Schwartz, Lisa Landenburger
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Ursus
Index ID 70159751
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center