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Open-File Report 2011–1182

Prepared in cooperation with the Nevada Department of Wildlife, Idaho State University, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Preliminary Analysis of Greater Sage-Grouse Reproduction in the Virginia Mountains of Northwestern Nevada

By Peter S. Coates, Zachary B. Lockyer, Melissa A. Farinha, Joelle M. Sweeney, Valerie M. Johnson, and Matthew G. Meshriy, U.S. Geological Survey; Shawn P. Espinosa, Nevada Department of Wildlife; David J. Delehanty, Idaho State University, and Michael L. Casazza, U.S. Geological Survey

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (4.8 MB)Abstract

Relationships between habitat selection and population vital rates of greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus; hereafter sage-grouse), recently designated as a candidate species under the Endangered Species Act, within the Great Basin are not well-understood. The growing development of renewable energy infrastructure within areas inhabited by sage-grouse is thought to influence predator and vegetation communities. For example, common ravens (Corvus corax), a synanthropic sage-grouse nest predator, are increasing range-wide and select transmission lines and other tall structures for nesting and perching. In the Virginia Mountains of northwestern Nevada, we collected preliminary information of space-use, habitat selection, and population vital rates during the nesting and brood-rearing period over two years on 56 sage-grouse. Additionally, videography at nest sites (n = 22) was used to identify sage-grouse nest predators. The study area is a potential site for renewable energy developments (i.e., wind and solar), and we plan to continue monitoring this population using a before-after-control-impact study design. The results reported here are preliminary and further data are required before conclusions can be drawn from this population of sage-grouse.

First posted September 30, 2011

For additional information contact:
Director, Western Ecological Research Center
U.S. Geological Survey
3020 State University Dr.
Sacramento, California, 95819

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Suggested citation:

Coates, P.S., Lockyer, Z.B., Farinha, M.A., Sweeney, J.M., Johnson, V.M., Meshriy, M.G., Espinosa, S.P., Delehanty, D.J., and Casazza, M.L., 2011, Preliminary analysis of Greater Sage-grouse reproduction in the Virginia Mountains of northwestern Nevada: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2011-1182, 32 p.



Project Overview

Study Area


Preliminary Results

Preliminary Data Interpretation


Literature Cited

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