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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 include: Pronghorn range map overlain on sagebrush distribution with focal areas for management of sagebrush 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!