RWO 90: A range wide assessment of the influence of landscape and environmental change on lesser prairie-chickens
September 2013 - December 2017
The decline in population size and range of the lesser prairie-chicken throughout its distribution of the central and southern Great Plains and High Plains has led to substantive conservation concern. To date, there has not been a comprehensive investigation into the combined influences of landscape level changes, anthropogenic activities, and a changing climate on the species. Lesser prairie-chickens have been an epicenter of contentious debate regarding conservation and legal protections, especially in context of the rapid development of energy facilities across their distribution. We are conducting this research in partnership and collaboration with researchers from the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, New Mexico Game and Fish Department, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas Tech University, University of Oklahoma, the George Miksch Sutton Avian Research Center, the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Oregon State University, and the U.S.G.S. Kansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit. We are using long-term data sets provided by our partners or collected by us to model prairie-chicken response to environmental and anthropogenic influences at a range-wide scale, taking into account regionally different weather patterns and anthropogenic activities. Our result will provide the data to allow managers to make informed management decisions directed at conserving the species.