Developing Spatial Models to Guide Conservation of Grassland Birds in the U.S. Northern Great Plains

Developing Spatial Models to Guide Conservation of Grassland Birds in the U.S. Northern Great Plains

Conservation of bird populations is increasingly focused on landscapes. The HAPET office combined data collected in 2005–2011 from the North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) survey with local and remotely sensed environmental data to model the distribution of 7 grassland bird species in the Northern Great Plains of the United States: Sprague’s Pipit, Grasshopper Sparrow, Bobolink, Eastern Meadowlark, Savanna Sparrow, Lark Bunting, and Upland Sandpiper. Occurrence models from survey-point-level BBS data and environmental data with high thematic resolution were able to describe habitat relationships that are often associated with fine-grained, local studies, but across broad spatial extents and at scales relevant to local conservation actions. Relationships derived from models allowed us to develop spatially explicit decision support tools, which can be used to target areas for conservation treatments and to assess the conservation actions of multiple conservation programs and joint ventures (e.g., Prairie Pothole, Rainwater Basin, and Northern Great Plains joint ventures) in the U.S. Northern Great Plains.  The results were published in the journal Condor in July 2017.

Partners: United States Geological Survey, HAPET office, numerous volunteers, the Prairie Pothole Joint Venture