Download Pronghorn Briefing Document for Sagebrush Strategy

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Pronghorn Briefing Document to Support Sagebrush Science Needs Assessment and Strategy
WAFWA is coordinating a collaborative, multi-agency Sagebrush Science Initiative which has three main
goals: 1) identify gaps in science needed to manage sagebrush rangelands to benefit sagebrush
dependent species; 2) solicit and fund science projects to fill high priority gaps; and 3) develop a
Sagebrush Conservation Strategy that can guide State and Federal agency conservation efforts as well as
those of NGOs. WAFWA held a workshop in early June to identify focal species within the sagebrush
system and have preliminary discussions about available science and science gaps relative to sagebrush
dependent species. Pronghorn were identified as a species dependent upon sagebrush to maintain
current distribution and abundance over much of its range.
What would be helpful to both the development of a Sagebrush Dependent Species Science Needs
Assessment document and ultimately the Sagebrush Conservation Strategy is a briefing document about
pronghorn and sagebrush available for review by participants prior to our Sagebrush Conservation
Strategy Kickoff Meeting November 1-3. This briefing document should include a description of the
relationship/dependency of pronghorn and sagebrush (by taxa), broken down by geographic area. We
are likely to ultimately use ecoregions, but other breakdowns work particularly if based on ecological
rather than political boundaries. It would be helpful if areas where sagebrush is particularly critical
(focal areas for management) could be identified. If there are areas where additional science is needed
to improve understanding and management (nutritional status of species/subspecies/variety, food
selection, etc.), these should be identified. We will address threats to sagebrush (e.g., fire, invasives, PJ
encroachment, etc.,) and topics such as restoration and climate change separately, but disturbances or
management actions within sagebrush rangelands that impact pronghorn should be discussed, including
potential impacts of sage-grouse oriented management actions or prescriptions that may be negative or
particularly beneficial. The latter includes actions such as Pinyon-Juniper removal, oil and gas
prescriptions within BLM Land Use Plan amendments, core areas in Wyoming, etc. Elements to consider
Pronghorn range map overlain on sagebrush distribution with focal areas for management of
Objectives or goals relative to sagebrush management for pronghorn (Probably not population
goals from state plans; rather, what do we need to do to or with sagebrush and where to meet
state population objectives). How do we know when we are done?
Science needs to inform management of sagebrush for pronghorn
How do pronghorn use sagebrush habitats across their range, and what are critical elements of
sagebrush habitat for pronghorn? When managing/restoring habitat what should we strive for
to benefit pronghorn, overstory, understory, etc.
How do pronghorn respond to disturbances within sagebrush rangelands? Are there datasets
or decision support tools that predict impacts or aid in siting or otherwise inform managers?
What current research is underway that might improve understanding of how to manage
sagebrush rangelands for pronghorn?
Given that you just held the pronghorn workshop, you may have knowledge of documents that may
answer these questions. We do need references included to support assertions made in the document.
Additional questions, please feel free to contact Ken Mayer, Tom Remington or San Stiver. Thanks for
your contributions to this important effort!