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Prairie-Chicken


Effects of Wind Power Development on the Population Biology of Greater Prairie-Chickens in Kansas

To read about the key findings from the comprehensive seven-year research project led by Drs. Brett Sandercock and Samantha Wisely on the effects of wind power development on Greater Prairie-Chickens, please view the Research Brief to the right.  The research project was overseen by the Grassland Community Collaborative (read below for more details on the GCC).

Abstract: Greater Prairie-Chicken populations have declined, primarily from loss of their prairie habitat to agriculture and other human development. As wind energy projects are proposed in Kansas and other states where Greater Prairie-Chickens and other grassland birds are now of conservation concern, conservationists, wildlife agencies, and wind energy companies are collaborating to study possible impacts from such development. Results from a comprehensive seven-year research project in Kansas suggest that wind power does not strongly affect Greater Prairie-Chickens. While weak negative effects were observed in male attendance of leks (communal display sites), female survival showed a positive trend. Little to no impacts were observed on most of the demographic parameters studied. The strongest correlates of population performance were the availability of native prairie and vegetative cover at the nest site. Efforts to improve rangeland management and to reduce predation would aid in the recovery of Greater Prairie-Chicken populations.

Additional Publications on the Research:

Press Release

Final Report

Peer-reviewed Publications

McNew, L.B., L.M. Hunt, A.J. Gregory, S.M. Wisely, and B.K. Sandercock. 2014. Effects of wind energy development on the nesting ecology of Greater Prairie-Chickens in fragmented grasslands. Conservation Biology, in press.

Winder, V.L., L.B. McNew, A.J. Gregory, L.M. Hunt, S.M. Wisely, and B.K. Sandercock.  2014.  Space use of female Greater Prairie-Chickens in response to wind energy development. Ecosphere 5:art3.

Winder, V.L., L.B. McNew, A.J. Gregory, L.M. Hunt, S.M. Wisely, and B.K. Sandercock. Effects of wind energy development on the survival of Greater Prairie-ChickensJournal of Applied Ecology, in press.

Blanco-Fontao, B., J.R. Obeso, M. Quevedo, L.B. McNew, and B.K. Sandercock. Effects of sexual dimorphism and habitat composition on the trophic behavior of Greater Prairie-Chickens revealed through analysis of stable isotopes. PLoS One 8(11): e79986.

McNew, L.B., A.J. Gregory, and B.K. Sandercock. 2013. Spatial heterogeneity in habitat selection: nest site selection by Greater Prairie-ChickensJournal of Wildlife Management, 77:791-801. DOI: 10.1002/jwmg.493

McNew, L.B., A.J. Gregory, S.M. Wisely, and B.K. Sandercock. 2012. Demography of Greater Prairie-Chickens: regional variation in vital rates, sensitivity values, and population dynamicsJournal of Wildlife Management, 76:987-1000. DOI: 10.1002/jwmg.369

Gregory, A.J., L.B. McNew, T.J. Prebyl, B.K. Sandercock, and S.M. Wisely. 2011. Hierarchical modeling of lek habitats of Greater Prairie-ChickensStudies in Avian Biology, 39:21-32.

McNew, L.B., A.J. Gregory, S.M. Wisely, and B.K. Sandercock. 2011a. Reproductive biology of a southern population of Greater Prairie-ChickensStudies in Avian Biology, 39:209-221.

McNew, L.B., A.J. Gregory, S.M. Wisely, and B.K. Sandercock. 2011b. Human-mediated selection on life-history traits of Greater Prairie-ChickensStudies in Avian Biology, 39:255-266.

Completed Dissertations


 

Grassland Community Collaborative

The Grassland Community Collaborative (GCC) brings together stakeholders to: 1) identify critical research questions related to grassland community species; 2) secure and administer cooperative funding to conduct research; 3) encourage peer-reviewed collaborative research; and 4) identify both potential impacts and mitigation strategies to address any impacts.

The GCC activities are overseen by an Oversight Committee that is charged with: approving research proposals and what individuals and institutions conduct the research; reviewing and approving communications to the public; contributing strategic direction; providing advice on raising funds; and approving the annual workplan and products of GCC.