Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Pines Sage-Grouse Habitat

Finally.  I am at a computer with internet and have time to write an update concerning my thesis research.  A month ago, I learned that I did not recieve funding for graduate research.  I would have been hard pressed to come up with money on  my own to travel to Oregon where I wanted to do my research on the effects of horse grazing to sage-grouse habitat.  The past few weeks have been hectic as I have tried to pull together a new study. 

My new thesis research will entail studying cattle grazing on the Wild Horse Wind Farm.  They have set aside an area identified by Mike Schroeder from Washington Fish and Wildlife as prime sage-grouse nesting and brood rearing habitat.  Grazing is not to occur in this area.  However, due to fencing issues, the cows were inside the fence today. Hopefully, the fencing problem will get solved in the next week so I can make the comparison by September between grazed and ungrazed.  I also plan to visit the site next spring and see how a year of no grazing has benefited the habitat for sage-grouse.

While my study no longer involves horses, it does involve something I am still passionate about.  Range and habitat management.  Although I am bummed that I was not able to do my study in Oregon on the Riddle Mountain HMA, I am glad my funding did not come through.  I never heard back about getting my study sites set up and now the Kigers were gathered earlier than scheduled.  At least now, my study is local and more manageable.

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