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Southern Great Plains Rapid Ecoregional Assessment—Volume II. Species and assemblages

December 13, 2018

The Southern Great Plains Rapid Ecoregional Assessment was conducted in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Great Plains Landscape Conservation Cooperative. The overall goal of the Rapid Ecoregional Assessments (REAs) is to compile and synthesize regional datasets to facilitate evaluation of the cumulative effects of change agents on priority ecological communities and species. In particular, the REAs identify and map the distribution of communities and wildlife habitats at broad spatial extents and provide assessments of ecological conditions. The REAs also identify where and to what degree ecological resources are currently at risk from change agents, such as development, fire, invasive species, and climate change. The REAs can help managers identify and prioritize potential areas for conservation or restoration, assess cumulative effects as required by the National Environmental Policy Act, and inform landscape-level planning and management decisions for multiple uses of public lands.

Management questions form the basis for the REA framework and were developed in conjunction with the BLM and other stakeholders. Conservation elements are communities and species that are of regional management concern. Core management questions relate to the key ecological attributes and change agents associated with each conservation element. Integrated management questions synthesize the results of the primary core management questions into overall landscape-level ranks for each conservation element.

The ecological communities evaluated as conservation elements are shortgrass, mixed-grass, and sand prairies; all grasslands; riparian and nonplaya wetlands; playa wetlands and saline lakes; and prairie streams and rivers. Species and species assemblages evaluated are the freshwater mussel assemblage, Arkansas River shiner (Notropis girardi), ferruginous hawk (Buteo regalis), lesser prairie chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus), snowy plover (Charadrius nivosus), mountain plover (Charadrius montanus), long-billed curlew (Numenius americanus), interior least tern (Sternula antillarum athalassos), burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia), black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus), bat assemblage, swift fox (Vulpes velox), and mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus).

The Southern Great Plains REA is summarized in a series of three reports and associated datasets. The pre-assessment report (available online at summarizes the process used by the REA stakeholders to select management questions, conservation elements, and change agents. It also provides background information for each conservation element. Volume I of the Southern Great Plains REA report addresses the ecological communities (available online at Volume II (this volume) addresses the species and species assemblages. All source and derived datasets used to produce the maps and graphs for REAs are available online at the BLM Landscape Approach Data Portal (

Publication Year 2018
Title Southern Great Plains Rapid Ecoregional Assessment—Volume II. Species and assemblages
DOI 10.3133/ofr20181109
Authors Gordon C. Reese, Natasha B. Carr, Lucy E. Burris
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 2018-1109
Index ID ofr20181109
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Fort Collins Science Center