Conservation Planning for Sage Grouse
The Miistakis Institute is supporting efforts to conserve and restore populations of greater sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) throughout the Northern Sagebrush Steppe ecoregion.
Miistakis' primary role has been in providing analytical and technical support to provincial, national and international initiatives.
Since 2007 Miistakis has worked with a group of academics and conservation experts from multiple government agencies towards the identification of critical sage grouse habitat throughout the northern sagebrush steppe. Challenges have included harmonizing descriptive spatial data across jurisdictional boundaries and reconciling differing opinions on the definition of critical habitat.
Miistakis has also been involved in a provincial initiative,
coordinated through the Alberta Sage Grouse Recovery Action Group, to assess the
cumulative effects on sage grouse of future land use within their habitat. This research
makes use of a cumulative effects simulation program called ALCES®, and examines the
likely effects on sage grouse populations of various possible future land use scenarios.
Working in partnership with Dr. Brad Stelfox of Forem Technologies, the model was run
using a number of scenarios, representing a broad range of possible future land use
strategies. The outcomes of model runs were analysed and compared, and subsequently
provided to the Recovery Action Group to develop a strategy mindful of the resource
requirements of humans and sage grouse alike.
For the final report from the ALCES® modeling project, please click on the title page below (pdf format):
Miistakis continues to play a vital role in this process; next steps towards sage grouse recovery, generally referred to as Conservation & Development by Design, involve collaborating with stakeholders to prescribe land use guidelines and other strategies to bolster the species’ viability. Opportunities and suitable sites for population augmentation may also be explored.