Southern Great Plains Rapid Ecoregional Assessment—Volume II. Species and assemblages

Open-File Report 2018-1109
Prepared in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management and the Great Plains Landscape Conservation Cooperative
By: , and 



The Southern Great Plains Rapid Ecoregional Assessment was conducted in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Great Plains Landscape Conservation Cooperative. The overall goal of the Rapid Ecoregional Assessments (REAs) is to compile and synthesize regional datasets to facilitate evaluation of the cumulative effects of change agents on priority ecological communities and species. In particular, the REAs identify and map the distribution of communities and wildlife habitats at broad spatial extents and provide assessments of ecological conditions. The REAs also identify where and to what degree ecological resources are currently at risk from change agents, such as development, fire, invasive species, and climate change. The REAs can help managers identify and prioritize potential areas for conservation or restoration, assess cumulative effects as required by the National Environmental Policy Act, and inform landscape-level planning and management decisions for multiple uses of public lands.

Management questions form the basis for the REA framework and were developed in conjunction with the BLM and other stakeholders. Conservation elements are communities and species that are of regional management concern. Core management questions relate to the key ecological attributes and change agents associated with each conservation element. Integrated management questions synthesize the results of the primary core management questions into overall landscape-level ranks for each conservation element.

The ecological communities evaluated as conservation elements are shortgrass, mixed-grass, and sand prairies; all grasslands; riparian and nonplaya wetlands; playa wetlands and saline lakes; and prairie streams and rivers. Species and species assemblages evaluated are the freshwater mussel assemblage, Arkansas River shiner (Notropis girardi), ferruginous hawk (Buteo regalis), lesser prairie chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus), snowy plover (Charadrius nivosus), mountain plover (Charadrius montanus), long-billed curlew (Numenius americanus), interior least tern (Sternula antillarum athalassos), burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia), black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus), bat assemblage, swift fox (Vulpes velox), and mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus).

The Southern Great Plains REA is summarized in a series of three reports and associated datasets. The pre-assessment report (available online at summarizes the process used by the REA stakeholders to select management questions, conservation elements, and change agents. It also provides background information for each conservation element. Volume I of the Southern Great Plains REA report addresses the ecological communities (available online at Volume II (this volume) addresses the species and species assemblages. All source and derived datasets used to produce the maps and graphs for REAs are available online at the BLM Landscape Approach Data Portal (

Suggested Citation

Reese, G.C., Carr, N.B., and Burris, L.E., 2018, Southern Great Plains Rapid Ecoregional Assessment—Volume II. Species and assemblages (ver. 1.1, December 2018): U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018–1109, 134 p.,

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Executive Summary
  • Chapter 1. Introduction and Overview
  • Chapter 2. Methods Overview for Species
  • Chapter 3. Arkansas River Shiner
  • Chapter 4. Ferruginous Hawk
  • Chapter 5. Lesser Prairie-Chicken
  • Chapter 6. Snowy Plover
  • Chapter 7. Mountain Plover
  • Chapter 8. Long-Billed Curlew
  • Chapter 9. Interior Least Tern
  • Chapter 10. Burrowing Owl
  • Chapter 11. Black-Tailed Prairie Dog
  • Chapter 12. Tree-Roosting Bat Assemblage
  • Chapter 13. Swift Fox
  • Chapter 14. Mule Deer
  • Chapter 15. Synthesis—Ecological Communities and Species
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Southern Great Plains Rapid Ecoregional Assessment—Volume II. Species and assemblages
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2018-1109
DOI 10.3133/ofr20181109
Edition Version 1.1: December 2018; Version 1.0: November 2018
Year Published 2018
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Fort Collins Science Center
Description xiii, 134 p.
Country United States
State Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Wyoming
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details