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Monday, February 6 • 2:00pm - 2:20pm
Technical Session. Quantifying the Relationship Between Grasslands, Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Enrollments and Greater Prairie-Chicken Populations (Tympanuchus cupido pinnatus) in Minnesota

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AUTHORS: Kalysta I. Adkins, Minnesota Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology, University of Minnesota; Charlotte Roy, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; David E. Andersen, U.S. Geological Survey, Minnesota Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology, University of Minnesota; Robert G. Wright, Minnesota Information Technology Services at Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) has multiple objectives, of which one is to provide habitat for wildlife, especially for species of conservation concern. Greater prairie-chickens (Tympanuchus cupido pinnatus) are a target species of the CRP, but how greater prairie-chickens respond to abundance, distribution, and quality of CRP grassland is not well understood. To better understand greater prairie-chicken—CRP grassland relations, we evaluated population responses to CRP enrollments using population indices (males/lek and leks/km2) derived through annual monitoring efforts in Minnesota. We quantified land cover during the period 2004-2014 in survey blocks where systematic greater prairie-chicken surveys were conducted during the same period to evaluate the contribution of CRP enrollments to available grassland habitat and estimate changes through time. In addition, we measured vegetation and other characteristics related to establishment and management of CRP grassland categories and will use them to develop a predictive map of greater prairie-chicken habitat quality. All survey blocks experienced a decline in area enrolled in grassland CRP categories ranging from 11.6 to 72.8% during the period 2004-2014. When we combined grassland CRP data across all survey blocks, area enrolled in the CRP had declined 58.8% from peak enrollment in 2007 to 2014. The relationship between grassland CRP enrollment and greater prairie-chicken abundance suggests a negative relationship for both males/lek and lek/km2. Results are preliminary, but will aid the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and other organizations in targeting conservation programs in areas where they will be most effective for greater prairie-chickens.

Monday February 6, 2017 2:00pm - 2:20pm CST
Grand Ballroom B