Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Wyoming
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Wyoming Project

Boreal Toad Habitat Selection and Survival in Relation to Grazing Intensity and Disease Prevalence

January 2015 - December 2017


Participating Agencies

  • Wyoming Game and Fish Department

In Wyoming, boreal toads occur in the western and southern portions of the state and are listed as a Species of Greatest Conservation Need (NSS1, Tier 1). A large proportion of the Wyoming boreal toad species range is found in the Bridger Teton National Forest. The Bridger Teton National Forest is considering implementing grazing habitat standards (>70% retention of herbaceous vegetation) to protect these populations. However, habitat selection by boreal toads is not well characterized or understood (Schmetterling and Young 2008). A better understanding of the effects of grazing on boreal toads is needed to guide management. It is unclear, moreover, how habitat changes imposed by different grazing regimes may influence boreal toads, or whether such changes may interact with local disease prevalence to influence toad movements, habitat use, and components of fitness. We propose to evaluate boreal toad movement, habitat selection, survival, and disease status across a gradient of livestock grazing intensity to understand how grazing individually and in conjunction with disease may affect boreal toad populations. Project Goal: To develop a better understanding of boreal toad habitat use and quality in relation to grazing management practices and disease prevalence.