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February 25, 2016   | 10:30 AM

Livestock Grazing and Sagebrush Ecosystems: Science and Management

Goal: To provide land managers and others with a summary of historic and on-going research regarding the effects of grazing by domestic livestock on sagebrush ecosystems and the potential applications for management.

Background: Grazing by domestic livestock continues to be an important use of sagebrush ecosystems. Grazing by domestic livestock can change the productivity, composition, and structure of herbaceous plants in sagebrush communities and thus affect species such as the greater sage-grouse. Indirect influences of livestock grazing and ranching in sagebrush ecosystems may include increased fencing, watering facilities, treatments to increase livestock forage, and targeted grazing to reduce fine fuels. This session will review on-going research being conducted in Utah, Montana, and Idaho to study greater sage-grouse responses under a range of prescribed grazing practices.

Session Lead: Terry Messmer
Professor and Extension Wildlife Specialist, Jack H. Berryman Institute, 5230 Old Main Hill, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322-5230
Websites: and

Terry A. Messmer is the Director of the Jack H. Berryman Institute, holds the Quinney Professorship of Wildlife Conflict Management in the College of Natural Resources, and is the Director of the Utah Community-Based Conservation Program at Utah State University. His research, teaching, and extension activities include identification, implementation, and evaluation of conservation strategies, technologies, and partnerships that can benefit agriculture, wildlife, and resource stakeholders.

Speaker Information:

Evidence of effects of livestock grazing in Tetraonidae: a review of grouse survival and behavior.
Seth Dettenmaier, T. Messmer, and D. Dahlgren.

Seth Dettenmaier
Department of Wildland Resources, Utah State University, Logan, Utah 84322-5230.
Websites: and

Seth is a Ph.D. candidate and the Stokes-Leopold Scholar in the Department of Wildland Resources, at Utah State University. He received a B.S. in Conservation/Restoration Ecology from Utah State University in 2006. After graduating, he moved to Twin Falls, Idaho to accept a position working with the Bureau of Land Management then came to USU. His blending of disciplines has led to his current pursuit of a doctorate in Wildlife Ecology. Seth's interests include landscape scale habitat use by species, animal population ecology, habitat quality assessments, and public lands management.

Livestock grazing and sage-grouse habitat: a synthesis of the literature.
Jeffrey L. Beck
, C. S. Boyd, and J. A. Tanaka.

Jeffrey L. Beck
PhD, and Associate Professor, Dept Ecosystem Science and Management, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY 82071

The work that Dr. Beck and his students conduct at the University of Wyoming seeks to link habitat conditions with population processes. Specifically, this research enhances our understanding of the direct and indirect impacts of disturbance on vertebrate species inhabiting sagebrush habitats, and the evaluation of the efficacy of mitigation techniques and conservation practices intended to enhance habitat conditions or mitigate effects of anthropogenic development in sagebrush habitats across a range of spatial and temporal scales.

Greater Sage-Grouse Grazing Studies in Montana.
Lorelle Berkeley
, D. Naugle, J. Smith, and M. Szczypinski

Lorelle Berkeley
Ph.D. Research Wildlife Biologist, Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, Wildlife Division, PO Box 200701, 1420 East 6th Ave., Helena, MT 59620
Phone: (406) 850-9055

Lorelle received a PhD in Natural Resources Science and Management, specializing in Wildlife Ecology and Management, from the University of Minnesota studying behavioral ecology and habitat selection of ruffed grouse in northern Minnesota. She has been working on greater sage grouse grazing studies for the past five years, and the combined experience of our research team includes landowners, range science experts, and other biologists/scientists that have worked with sage-grouse populations in locations including Idaho, Colorado, and Montana over the past couple decades.

Livestock grazing and the sagebrush ecosystem: ecosystem service and sage-grouse in Utah.
Kristin Hulvey
, E. Thacker, S. Dettenmaier, B. Davis, T. Messmer, and D. Dahlgren.

Kristin Hulvey Assistant Professor of Wildland Resources. Utah State University, 5230 Old Main Hill, Logan, UT 843232-5230

Kris is an assistant professor in the Wildland Resources Department at Utah State University. Her lab focuses on management and restoration of Western landscapes. Currently she is examining how different livestock grazing systems in the Intermountain West affect the production of multiple ecosystem services in rangelands. These services include: healthy sage grouse habitat, improved riparian areas, and sustainable forage production for livestock. The goal of this work is to make a difference in land management decisions and actions.

Effects of cattle grazing on Greater Sage-Grouse: a 10-year, landscape-scale experimental study to manipulate grazing regimes in Idaho.
Courtney J. Conway
, A. Locatelli, D. Musil, S. Roberts, K. Launchbaugh, and P. Makela.

Courtney J. Conway
Leader, USGS Idaho Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, College of Natural Resources, University of Idaho, 875 Perimeter Drive, MS 1141, Moscow, ID 83844-1141
Personal Web Site:

Courtney received a B.S. in Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University, a M.S. in Zoology from the University of Wyoming, and a Ph.D. in Organismal Biology & Ecology from the University of Montana. I spent 11 years at the University of Arizona before moving to Moscow, Idaho in 2011. My research focuses on the effects of management actions and land use on abundance and demographic traits of birds and mammals.

Livestock grazing and sage-grouse responses: Insights regarding the need for standardized research protocols.
Lorelle Berkeley and Terry Messmer

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