Landscape changes within the historical distribution of Columbian sharp-tailed grouse in eastern Washington: Is there hope?
McDonald, Matthew W.
Reese, Kerry P.
MetadataShow full item record
Landscape changes within the historical distribution of Columbian sharp-tailed grouse (Tympanuchus phasianellus columbianus) in eastern Washington were assessed and analyzed to predict the most suitable areas for habitat improvement. The most significant changes involved the decline and fragmentation of grassland and sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) cover types, and the emergence of the cropland/hay/pasture cover type. Grasslands decreased from 25% to 1% of the landscape, while mean patch size declined from 3,765 ha to 299 ha. Sagebrush decreased from 44% to 16% of the landscape and has become extremely fragmented. Grasslands and sagebrush are two of the habitats most frequently used by Columbian sharp-tailed grouse. Conversion of most grassland and sagebrush to cropland is responsible for the decline of sharp-tailed grouse, and has resulted in disjunct populations. Future efforts to expand the range and number of birds should be centered around the Dyer Hill and Colville populations due to current landscape characteristics and population sizes