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Range-wide population trend analysis for greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus)—Updated 1960–2021

December 30, 2022

Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) are at the center of state and national land use policies largely because of their unique life-history traits as an ecological indicator for health of sagebrush ecosystems. This updated population trend analysis provides state and federal land and wildlife managers with best-available science to help guide current management and conservation plans aimed at benefitting sage-grouse populations. This analysis relied on previously published population trend modeling methodology from Coates and others (2021) and includes the addition of three analytical updates: (1) identification of population nadirs (lowest points within cycles) at the lek (breeding ground) and neighborhood cluster (group of leks) spatial scales, (2) truncation of prior distributions on rate of change in apparent abundance values to more realistic boundaries for leks with missing data, and (3) addition of 2 years of population lek count data (2020 and 2021) to the current dataset (1953–2021). Bayesian state-space models estimated 2.9 percent average annual decline in sage-grouse populations across their geographical range, which varied among subpopulations at the largest scale of analysis, termed climate clusters (2.2–4.6). Cumulative declines were 42.5, 65.6, and 80.1 percent range-wide across short (19 years), medium (35 years), and long (55 years) temporal periods, respectively. These results indicate that range-wide populations continued to decline during 2020 and 2021, although two climate clusters (eastern area and Bi-State area) have shown growth in population abundance in recent years, indicating they have surpassed a recent population abundance nadir.

Publication Year 2022
Title Range-wide population trend analysis for greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus)—Updated 1960–2021
DOI 10.3133/dr1165
Authors Peter S. Coates, Brian G. Prochazka, Cameron L. Aldridge, Michael S. O'Donnell, David R. Edmunds, Adrian P. Monroe, Steven E. Hanser, Lief A. Wiechman, Michael P. Chenaille
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Data Report
Series Number 1165
Index ID dr1165
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Fort Collins Science Center; Western Ecological Research Center