Elk habitat modeling workshop

Elk habitat models have been used for decades by state and federal agencies to evaluate potential impacts of land management activities and natural disturbances. Most were developed using data from the 1970s and early 1980s, are significantly outdated, and inadequately reflect results of recent research.

NCASI and the Pacific Northwest Research Station of the U.S. Forest Service are developing new elk habitat evaluation models for coastal and Cascades rainforests and for inland forests of Oregon and Washington. The project has gathered virtually all telemetry data collected in the region since 1990 for developing new statistics-based models. In addition, the models will integrate elk nutrition data collected by NCASI from 2000 to 2007 to produce the first nutrition-explicit elk habitat models. NCASI’s primary role in the modeling is to produce computer algorithms that describe the availability of nutritional resources in relation to disturbance regimes and plant succession patterns.

Project funders include the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Sporting Conservation Council, Boone and Crockett Club, U.S. Forest Service, and Bureau of Land Management with additional contributions from several Washington Indian tribes, Washington and Oregon Departments of Fish and Wildlife, and NCASI. The project includes two workshops to receive input and to disseminate the models to potential users. The first of these is being hosted by Oregon State University on April 19, 2010 to present draft models for western Oregon and Washington. Registration for the workshop remains open at http://oregonstate.edu/conferences/elkhabitat2010/index.html.

For more information about NCASI’s elk nutrition work, contact John Cook or Larry Irwin. For information about the workshop, contact Mary Rowland.

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