Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus; sage-grouse) is considered an umbrella species for sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) landscapes in western North America. In 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined sage-grouse unwarranted for protection under the Endangered Species Act (1973) because of conservation actions in priority areas. Understanding seasonal movements is key to delineation and assessment of priority conservation areas. We monitored radiomarked sage-grouse from 1998 to 2013 throughout Utah, USA, to determine seasonal movements. Maximum distances from nearest lek to nesting, summer, and winter locations across all radiomarked grouse averaged 2.20 km (90th percentile = 5.06 km), 3.93 km (90th percentile = 8.45 km), and 3.76 km (90th percentile = 7.15 km), respectively. Maximum movements from nest to summer, nest to winter, and between summer and winter locations across all radiomarked grouse averaged 5.77 km (90th percentile = 13.60 km), 11.77 km (90th percentile = 26.36 km), and 14.75 km (90th percentile = 30.77 km), respectively. Maximum distance from lek of capture to summer locations was greater for males than females, whereas females moved farther than males from lek to winter and summer to winter locations. Adult females moved farther than yearlings from lek to nest and summer to winter areas. The state of Utah’s Sage-Grouse Management Areas included approximately 85% of the radiotelemetry seasonal locations and >95% when weighted by lek counts. Our results suggest that seasonal movements could be facilitated by increasing usable habitat space through management actions, as emphasized in Utah’s sage-grouse plan. 

Full citation

Dahlgren D.K., Messmer T.A., Crabb B.A., Larsen R.T., Black T.A., Frey S.N., Thacker E.T., Baxter R.J., Robinson J.D. (2016). Seasonal Movements of Greater Sage-grouse Populations in Utah: Implications for Species Conservation. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 40:288-299. 10.1002/wsb.643.