WSU CAHNRS

Washington State University

School of the Environment

Watershed Lab

Steffen Center

Forestry

Earth Science/Geology

Current Projects

We are currently working on 6 different research projects.

clip_image007SUMMER AND ANNUAL HABITAT USE BY ENDANGERED LYNX IN WA

G. Glover, B. Maletzke, R. Wielgus, & others

This project is part of Grant Glover’s M.S. program. Our previous research has shown that lynx select for high elevation, old growth spruce and fir forests during winter in WA. We are determining & testing whether lynx habitat use during summer differs from their known habitat use during winter – or whether existing critical lynx winter habitat is already sufficient. Preliminary results indicate early seral forests are important during summer.

 

clip_image002_002POPULATION DEMOGRAPHY OF BLACK BEARS IN WASHINGTON

Lindsay Welfelt, Rich Beausoleil, Ben Maletzke, Lisette Waits, and R.B. Wielgus

This project is on-going as part of Lindsay Welfelt’s MS and Ph.D. program. We will determine sex and age-specific survival, cause-specific mortality, fecundity, growth rate, sex and age distribution, and density in 2 populations in WA to help guide science-based black bear management in the state.  I addition to basic demography we will conduct a DNA mark-recapture study and will be examining the effects of hunting on sex and age-specific habitat use and landscape ecology.

 

clip_image009LIVESTOCK MORTALITY RATES IN WOLF OCCUPIED AREAS OF WASHINGTON 

 Jeffrey Brown, Carter Niemeyer, Stephanie Simek, Hilary Cooley, Julie Young, R.B. Wielgus & others

This project is ongoing as part of Jeffrey Brown’s MS project. We will radio-track calves from 18 cattle herds (9 herds in NE WA and 9 herds in the North Cascades of WA) over 4 years and investigate VHF mortality signals to identify and determine wolf livestock mortality rates in WA. This project is part of our comprehensive, interagency (WSU, WDFW, USFW, USDA) wolf/livestock interactions research and extension program in WA.

 

 

clip_image009EFFECTS OF NON-LETHAL INTERVENTIONS ON REDUCING WOLF DEPREDATIONS AND INDIRECT EFFECTS ON LIVESTOCK IN WA

 Azzurra Valerio, Carter Niemeyer, Stephanie Simek, Hilary Cooley, Julie Young, R.B. Wielgus & others

This project is ongoing as part of Azzurra Valerio’s Ph.D. project. We will radio-track 6 wolf packs (3 packs in NE WA and 3 packs in the North Cascades of WA) and 18 cattle herds (9 herds in NE WA and 9 herds in the North Cascades of WA) over 4 years and employ various non-lethal interventions (fladry, range riders, guard dogs, bio fencing, cow bells, etc.) to examine the efficacy of such interventions in reducing wolf/ livestock depredations and wolf/livestock indirect effects (weight loss, pregnancy, spatial overlap). This project is part of our comprehensive, interagency (WSU, WDFW, USFW, USDA) wolf/livestock interactions research and extension program in WA.

 

 

clip_image009EFFECTS OF ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS ON RISK OF WOLF LIVESTOCK DEPREDATIONS IN ID, MT, AND WY

 Zoe Hanley, Kaylie Peebles, Stephanie Simek, Hilary Cooley, Julie Young, R.B. Wielgus & others

This project is ongoing as part of Zoe Hanley’s Ph.D. project. We will analyze all documented wolf livestock depredations in ID, MT, and WY over the last 15 years to determine which environmental factors (wolf pack composition, residency time, cattle herd composition, residency time, season, prey base, vegetation, physiography, etc.) if any,  contribute to higher risk of wolf  livestock depredations. We will use that data to create a wolf livestock depredation risk map for WA. This project is part of our comprehensive, interagency (WSU, WDFW, USFW, USDA) wolf/livestock interactions research and extension program in WA.

 

clip_image009LIVESTOCK KILL RATES BY WOLVES IN WASHINGTON 

 Gabriel Spence, Carter Niemeyer, Stephanie Simek , Hilary Cooley, Julie Young, R.B. Wielgus & others

This project is ongoing as part of Gabe Spence’s MS project.The project intends to determine the kill rate of wolves on livestock by monitoring wolves.  We will put GPS collars on at least 1 wolf in each of 6 packs that have territories that overlap summer livestock grazing areas; 3 packs in Northeast Washington and 3 packs in the North Cascades of Washington.  We will then investigate GPS clusters to locate and identify possible livestock kills.  Investigation of such clusters may also discover natural prey kills.  From this data we will determine the kill rate (kills/day/pack) of wolves on both livestock and wild prey for the grazing season (May – October). In addition, all GPS locations from wolves will be analyzed for space use, and relative densities of livestock and wild prey will be calculated.  We intend to determine how wolf kill rates relate to the density of prey and livestock (functional response). Additionally we will analyze how wolf use of grazing areas relates to cattle use and density.

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