The Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus
urophasianus) has been the
subject of both research and
monitoring on the INL Site since the
mid-1970s. In 2006, S. M. Stoller,
through the Environmental
Surveillance, Education and Research
Program, partnered with the Wildlife
Conservation Society (WCS) to
initiate a project that will
culminate in the completion of a
Conservation Management Plan (CMP)
for a variety of animal species in
the development zone on the INL
Site. Because greater sage-grouse is
considered a candidate species, one
of the principle components of the
CMP will be a Candidate Conservation
Agreement between DOE-ID and the
USFWS concerning conservation
actions that DOE-ID will take to
minimize threats to sage-grouse.
Sage-grouse Abundance and Seasonal
Landscape Use Patterns on the Idaho
National Laboratory Site
Objective: Our objective was to conduct a multi-year survey of historic leks that were previously identifi ed by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and National Environmental Research Park researchers over the past 40 years to determine if those sites were still used by Greater Sage- Grouse.
Summary: Currently, 26 sage-grouse leks are known to be active on the INL Site. In addition, 61 leks are documented that were historically active but for which the current status is unknown. Surveys of historically documented leks were conducted on and adjacent to the INL Site in 2009. Only 57 of the historical leks were surveyed because the remainder either had been displaced by human activity, or a known active lek was close by.
The 57 historical lek sites were visited one or more times (101 total visits). Sage-grouse were detected visually or audibly on or near 17 historic and 3 previously undocumented leks. At least two males were detected on all but fi ve of the 20 sites during the survey period. Of the 39 leks where sage-grouse were not detected, 13 (33 percent) were surveyed twice.
Each lek was classified according to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game criteria for our results in 2010. At five leks, only one male was observed at each site. As such, there were insuffi cient data to assign those leks an active status. There were seven leks that were designated as active in 2009 that had < 2 males during our surveys in 2010. Those seven leks remain designated as active. The other 16 leks where sage-grouse were detected (including three that were previously undocumented) were designated as active. Of the 16 leks, there were five historic leks that were designated unknown in 2009 that are now determined to be active. In addition, six leks were designated as inactive and 33 as unknown.
Each spring in the future, all historical leks will be surveyed again. Ultimately, once all active sites are identifi ed, the broader objective will be to quantify the number of males visiting
leks from year to year (i.e., lek census) to understand population trends on the INL Site.
Report of Surveys for Historic
Sage-Grouse Leks on the Idaho
National Laboratory Site
Annual Report of Surveys for
Historic Sage-Grouse Leks on the
Idaho National Laboratory -
Jericho C. Whiting and Bryan Bybee -