Integrating Birds in Range Management across the Sagebrush Steppe

2013 Annual Report for EW12-009

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2012: $60,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2016
Region: Western
State: Colorado
Principal Investigator:
Laura Quattrini
Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory (dba Bird Conservancy of the Rockies)

Integrating Birds in Range Management across the Sagebrush Steppe


The development of the “Integrating Bird Conservation into Sagebrush Ecosystem Management” manual is in process. Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory (RMBO) has subcontracted for this purpose. A draft will be going out to reviewers early 2014. Four one-day ‘train-the-trainer’ workshops are scheduled for the end of March and April. Flyers for the workshops have been shared and we currently have many resource professionals signed up for attendance. With partner leveraging (USDA-NRCS-Conservation Innovation Grant*) we have been making progress in the development of the Decision Support Tool (DST) that will provide landowners and resource professionals with information about how land management treatments will affect sagebrush dependent bird species. In addition, we have purchased and begun hanging fence markers in a study to determine the cost effectiveness of three different types of markers in Sublette County, Wyoming.

* CIG funding was not awarded according to their original dispersal timeline, which postponed all project efforts.


Activities Describe and quantify the primary activities conducted under this grant.

  • The bird occupancy- and density- habitat models are completed. This information will help determine how land management actions can influence the vegetation structure of different sagebrush communities and in turn affect available habitat. These models will be incorporated into the DST.

  • Significant headway in the development of the DST. The design has been created. We are discussing specific transition probability values between different states (of State and Transition Models) with partners.

  • We are in discussion with partners about putting the DST model into a usable, on-line interface.

  • Scott Gillihan (former author of “Integrating Bird Conservation into Range Management” a 2004 Western SARE product) has been subcontracted to develop the “Integrating Bird Conservation into Sagebrush Ecosystem Management.” A draft has been dispersed internally. The second draft will go out to reviewers in early 2014.

  • We are working with Cornell University’s Lab of Ornithology to create an auditory CD: Songs and Calls of Sagebrush Birds for us to hand out to workshop participants.

  • Four workshops have been finalized and scheduled to hold place in Craig, CO; Rawlins, WY; Gillette, WY; and Lewistown, MT. The flyer has been sent out via several list-serves (Attachment 1) and there has already been significant interest.

  • The fence marker study has been designed and sites chosen. We have been reaching out to private landowners to gain land access permission to mark fences in areas that have high to moderate risk of sage-grouse collisions. Half of the sites have been marked. We have hired two technicians to survey fence lines for signs of collisions this coming lek season.

  • Due to the inability to converge data RMBO is not able to use data from the Great Basin Bird Observatory. This data was to be incorporated into the occupancy and density models.

  • The Executive Director, Stewardship Director, and Biometrician have all attended meetings and had conversations to build and maintain partnerships with various agencies and organizations for this project. Meetings attended:

  • Northern Great Plains Joint Venture meeting

  • Integrating Monitoring in Bird Conservation Regions (IMBCR) steering committee and planning meetings

  • Pavlacky, D.C., Jr., J.A. Blakesley, and D.J. Hanni. August 2013. Hierarchical occupancy estimation to predict bird species distributions. American Ornithologists’ Union/ Cooper Ornithological Society: 2013, Chicago, Illinois, USA.

  • North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference – Sage Grouse Executive Committee meeting in Washington, DC.

  • North American Bird Conservation Initiative bi-annual meeting at the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies meeting (August 2013)

  • Gallagher, S.W., D. Pavlacky, L. Quattrini, T. VerCauteren. RMBO Conservation Efforts in the Sagebrush Steppe, Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Summer meeting 2013, Omaha, NE (July 2013)

  • 5th International Partners in Flight Conference and Conservation Workshop at Snowbird, UT (August 2013)

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

OutputsDescribe and quantify progress towards achieving the project outcomes and provide any further information (such as unexpected outcomes) important for understanding project activities and outcome results.

  • We have gone through a first round of mailing out landowner outreach cards (see Attachment 2) to 38 landowners to gain permission to mark fences along or within their property. We have received several “no’s” and four “yes’s” so far.

  • We continuously get requests for the Pocket Guide to Sagebrush Birds. This year we’ve distributed roughly 1,000 guides throughout the west.

  • The flyer for the workshops has been distributed to partners (see Attachment 1)


Pat Deibert
National Sage-grouse Coordinator
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
5353 Yellowstone Rd. Suite 308A
Cheyenne, WY 82009
Office Phone: 3077722374
San Stiver
Sage-grouse Coordinator
Western Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies
2184 Richard St.
Prescott, AZ 86301
Office Phone: 9284435158
Wendell Gilgert
Working Landscape Program Director
PRBO Conservation Science
3820 Cypress Drive, Suite 11
Petaluma, CA 94954
Office Phone: 7077812555
Tammy VerCauteren
Executive Director
Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory
230 Cherry Street
Fort Collins, CO 80521
Office Phone: 9704821707
Summer Olsen
Outreach Coordinator
Sagebrushe Steppe Treatment Evaluation Project
Utah State University
5215 Old Main Hill
Logan, UT 84322-5215
Office Phone: 4357978455
Geoffrey Walsh
Wildlife Biologist/Migratory Bird Liaison
Bureau of Land Management
20 M Street, S.E.
Washington, DC 20003
Office Phone: 2029127271
James Pauley
Chief Financial Officer
Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory
P.O. Box 1232
Fort Collins, CO 80601
Office Phone: 3036594348
Danielle Flynn
National Biologist
Natural Resources Conservation Service
14th and Independence Ave, SW
Room 6158-S
Washington, DC 20250
Office Phone: 2026900856