AMK RANCH — Sage grouse habitat and conservation efforts in the Jackson Hole area are the topics of the final weekly Harlow Summer Seminars Thursday, Aug. 20, at the UW-National Park Service (UW-NPS) Research Center. The center is located at the AMK Ranch in Grand Teton National Park.
John Stephenson, Grand Teton National Park wildlife biologist, will present “Greater Sage Grouse Conservation in Jackson Hole” at 6:30 p.m. at the AMK Ranch, located north of Leeks Marina. A barbecue, at a cost of $5 per person, will take place at 5:30 p.m. Reservations are not required. For more information, call the UW-NPS Research Center at (307) 543-2463.
Sage grouse have increasingly been in the news because the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to make a decision by late September on listing the species under the Endangered Species Act.
Jackson Hole is home to a small, isolated population of sage grouse, which faces serious, but different threats than the rest of the state, Stephenson says. Despite large tracts of protected public lands, the local sage grouse population declined considerably from historic highs recorded in the late 1940s before rebounding in the last 15 years.
“Concerns for the Jackson Hole sage grouse population include its isolation and the presence of a major airport in the heart of its range,” he says.
The presentation features the history and status of sage grouse conservation in the valley and ongoing collaborative efforts to protect and preserve the species. Discussion will focus on the development and eventual implementation of a wildlife hazard management plan in cooperation with the Jackson Hole Airport.
Stephenson has worked on a variety of wildlife subjects in the park since 2008, including a bighorn sheep genetics study, a wolf predation study and avian productivity monitoring. He has been a member of the Upper Snake River Basin Sage Grouse Working Group since 2012. Stephenson graduated from Middlebury College (1998) with a degree in biology and received an M.S. degree (2008) from the University of Idaho.
The UW-NPS Research Center provides a base for university faculty members and government scientists from throughout North America to conduct research in the diverse aquatic and terrestrial environments of Grand Teton National Park and the greater Yellowstone area.