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The influence of mitigation on sage-grouse habitat selection within an energy development field.

Fedy BC, Kirol CP, Sutphin AL, Maechtle TL - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: However, birds still avoided areas of high well density and nests were not found in areas with greater than 4 wells per km2 and the majority of nests (63%) were located in areas with ≤ 1 well per km2.We found more improvement in habitat rank between the two time periods around mitigated wells compared to non-mitigated wells.We recommend that any mitigation effort include well-informed plans to monitor the effectiveness of the implemented mitigation actions that assess both habitat use and relevant fitness parameters.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Environment and Resource Studies, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

ABSTRACT
Growing global energy demands ensure the continued growth of energy development. Energy development in wildlife areas can significantly impact wildlife populations. Efforts to mitigate development impacts to wildlife are on-going, but the effectiveness of such efforts is seldom monitored or assessed. Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) are sensitive to energy development and likely serve as an effective umbrella species for other sagebrush-steppe obligate wildlife. We assessed the response of birds within an energy development area before and after the implementation of mitigation action. Additionally, we quantified changes in habitat distribution and abundance in pre- and post-mitigation landscapes. Sage-grouse avoidance of energy development at large spatial scales is well documented. We limited our research to directly within an energy development field in order to assess the influence of mitigation in close proximity to energy infrastructure. We used nest-location data (n = 488) within an energy development field to develop habitat selection models using logistic regression on data from 4 years of research prior to mitigation and for 4 years following the implementation of extensive mitigation efforts (e.g., decreased activity, buried powerlines). The post-mitigation habitat selection models indicated less avoidance of wells (well density β = 0.18 ± 0.08) than the pre-mitigation models (well density β = -0.09 ± 0.11). However, birds still avoided areas of high well density and nests were not found in areas with greater than 4 wells per km2 and the majority of nests (63%) were located in areas with ≤ 1 well per km2. Several other model coefficients differed between the two time periods and indicated stronger selection for sagebrush (pre-mitigation β = 0.30 ± 0.09; post-mitigation β = 0.82 ± 0.08) and less avoidance of rugged terrain (pre-mitigation β = -0.35 ± 0.12; post-mitigation β = -0.05 ± 0.09). Mitigation efforts implemented may be responsible for the measurable improvement in sage-grouse nesting habitats within the development area. However, we cannot reject alternative hypotheses concerning the influence of population density and intraspecific competition. Additionally, we were unable to assess the actual fitness consequences of mitigation or the source-sink dynamics of the habitats. We compared the pre-mitigation and post-mitigation models predicted as maps with habitats ranked from low to high relative probability of use (equal-area bins: 1 - 5). We found more improvement in habitat rank between the two time periods around mitigated wells compared to non-mitigated wells. Informed mitigation within energy development fields could help improve habitats within the field. We recommend that any mitigation effort include well-informed plans to monitor the effectiveness of the implemented mitigation actions that assess both habitat use and relevant fitness parameters.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Change in Nesting Habitat.Change in relative predicted probability surface between the pre- and post-mitigation nesting habitat models for greater sage-grouse in the Powder River Basin, Wyoming, U.S.A. Values range from -3 (black) to +3 (dark green) and represent the change in bin classification between the two models from pre-mitigation nesting habitat to post-mitigation nesting habitat. Nest locations used in the pre-mitigation model development (2004–2007) are indicated by the blue circles and the nest locations used in the post-mitigation model development (2008–2011) are indicated by the yellow circles. Unmitigated well locations are indicated by black circles. Mitigated wells are indicated by purple circles.
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pone.0121603.g005: Change in Nesting Habitat.Change in relative predicted probability surface between the pre- and post-mitigation nesting habitat models for greater sage-grouse in the Powder River Basin, Wyoming, U.S.A. Values range from -3 (black) to +3 (dark green) and represent the change in bin classification between the two models from pre-mitigation nesting habitat to post-mitigation nesting habitat. Nest locations used in the pre-mitigation model development (2004–2007) are indicated by the blue circles and the nest locations used in the post-mitigation model development (2008–2011) are indicated by the yellow circles. Unmitigated well locations are indicated by black circles. Mitigated wells are indicated by purple circles.

Mentions: We projected the results from the pre- (Fig 3) and post-mitigation (Fig 4) models onto the 2011 landscape and binned the predictions into 5 classes, with the higher classes representing more preferred nesting habitat. The overlay of these two maps subtracting the projected pre-mitigation model from the projected post-mitigation model demonstrates generally positive or neutral change throughout the central portion of the study area and generally neutral to negative change throughout the southern and extreme north ends of the study area (Fig 5).


The influence of mitigation on sage-grouse habitat selection within an energy development field.

Fedy BC, Kirol CP, Sutphin AL, Maechtle TL - PLoS ONE (2015)

Change in Nesting Habitat.Change in relative predicted probability surface between the pre- and post-mitigation nesting habitat models for greater sage-grouse in the Powder River Basin, Wyoming, U.S.A. Values range from -3 (black) to +3 (dark green) and represent the change in bin classification between the two models from pre-mitigation nesting habitat to post-mitigation nesting habitat. Nest locations used in the pre-mitigation model development (2004–2007) are indicated by the blue circles and the nest locations used in the post-mitigation model development (2008–2011) are indicated by the yellow circles. Unmitigated well locations are indicated by black circles. Mitigated wells are indicated by purple circles.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4383447&req=5

pone.0121603.g005: Change in Nesting Habitat.Change in relative predicted probability surface between the pre- and post-mitigation nesting habitat models for greater sage-grouse in the Powder River Basin, Wyoming, U.S.A. Values range from -3 (black) to +3 (dark green) and represent the change in bin classification between the two models from pre-mitigation nesting habitat to post-mitigation nesting habitat. Nest locations used in the pre-mitigation model development (2004–2007) are indicated by the blue circles and the nest locations used in the post-mitigation model development (2008–2011) are indicated by the yellow circles. Unmitigated well locations are indicated by black circles. Mitigated wells are indicated by purple circles.
Mentions: We projected the results from the pre- (Fig 3) and post-mitigation (Fig 4) models onto the 2011 landscape and binned the predictions into 5 classes, with the higher classes representing more preferred nesting habitat. The overlay of these two maps subtracting the projected pre-mitigation model from the projected post-mitigation model demonstrates generally positive or neutral change throughout the central portion of the study area and generally neutral to negative change throughout the southern and extreme north ends of the study area (Fig 5).

Bottom Line: However, birds still avoided areas of high well density and nests were not found in areas with greater than 4 wells per km2 and the majority of nests (63%) were located in areas with ≤ 1 well per km2.We found more improvement in habitat rank between the two time periods around mitigated wells compared to non-mitigated wells.We recommend that any mitigation effort include well-informed plans to monitor the effectiveness of the implemented mitigation actions that assess both habitat use and relevant fitness parameters.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Environment and Resource Studies, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

ABSTRACT
Growing global energy demands ensure the continued growth of energy development. Energy development in wildlife areas can significantly impact wildlife populations. Efforts to mitigate development impacts to wildlife are on-going, but the effectiveness of such efforts is seldom monitored or assessed. Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) are sensitive to energy development and likely serve as an effective umbrella species for other sagebrush-steppe obligate wildlife. We assessed the response of birds within an energy development area before and after the implementation of mitigation action. Additionally, we quantified changes in habitat distribution and abundance in pre- and post-mitigation landscapes. Sage-grouse avoidance of energy development at large spatial scales is well documented. We limited our research to directly within an energy development field in order to assess the influence of mitigation in close proximity to energy infrastructure. We used nest-location data (n = 488) within an energy development field to develop habitat selection models using logistic regression on data from 4 years of research prior to mitigation and for 4 years following the implementation of extensive mitigation efforts (e.g., decreased activity, buried powerlines). The post-mitigation habitat selection models indicated less avoidance of wells (well density β = 0.18 ± 0.08) than the pre-mitigation models (well density β = -0.09 ± 0.11). However, birds still avoided areas of high well density and nests were not found in areas with greater than 4 wells per km2 and the majority of nests (63%) were located in areas with ≤ 1 well per km2. Several other model coefficients differed between the two time periods and indicated stronger selection for sagebrush (pre-mitigation β = 0.30 ± 0.09; post-mitigation β = 0.82 ± 0.08) and less avoidance of rugged terrain (pre-mitigation β = -0.35 ± 0.12; post-mitigation β = -0.05 ± 0.09). Mitigation efforts implemented may be responsible for the measurable improvement in sage-grouse nesting habitats within the development area. However, we cannot reject alternative hypotheses concerning the influence of population density and intraspecific competition. Additionally, we were unable to assess the actual fitness consequences of mitigation or the source-sink dynamics of the habitats. We compared the pre-mitigation and post-mitigation models predicted as maps with habitats ranked from low to high relative probability of use (equal-area bins: 1 - 5). We found more improvement in habitat rank between the two time periods around mitigated wells compared to non-mitigated wells. Informed mitigation within energy development fields could help improve habitats within the field. We recommend that any mitigation effort include well-informed plans to monitor the effectiveness of the implemented mitigation actions that assess both habitat use and relevant fitness parameters.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus