Golden Eagle Monitoring Plan for the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan

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This report describes options for monitoring the status and population trends of the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) within the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) area of Southern California in maintaining stable or increasing population in the planning area. The report profiles the ecology of golden eagles in the region and provides a range of potential sampling options to address monitoring needs and objectives. This approach also focused on links between changes in human land-use, golden eagle nesting and foraging habitat conditions, and population dynamics. The report outlines how monitoring data from demographic, prey, and habitat studies were used to develop a predictive demographic model for golden eagles in the DRECP area. Results from the model simulations suggest increases in renewable energy development could have negative consequences for population trajectories. Results also suggest site-specific conservation actions could reduce the magnitude of negative impacts to the local population of eagles.

A monitoring framework is proposed including: (1) annual assessments of site-occupancy and reproduction by territorial pairs of golden eagles (including rates at which sites become colonized or vacated over time); (2) estimates of survival, movements, and intensity of use of landscapes by breeding and non-breeding golden eagles; (3) periodic (conducted every two to four years) assessments of nesting and foraging habitats, prey populations, and associations with land-use and management activities; and (4) updating the predictive demographic model with new information obtained on eagles and associated population stressors.

The results of this research were published in the Journal of Rapture Research, Wiens, David,Inman, Rich D., Esque, Todd C., Longshore, Kathleen M. and Nussear, Kenneth (2017). Spatial Demographic Models to Inform Conservation Planning of Golden Eagles in Renewable Energy Landscapes. 51(3):234-257.

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype State or Local Government Series
Title Golden Eagle Monitoring Plan for the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan
Series number CEC-500-2018-008
Year Published 2018
Language English
Publisher California Energy Commission
Contributing office(s) Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center
Description 99 p.
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