Thesis | Land Cover Change and Habitat Monitoring of Columbian Sharp-tailed Grouse in Southeast Idaho
Anthropogenic forces of land use and land cover change have affected Columbian Sharp-tailed grouse habitats in southeastern Idaho over the past century, with the assumption that the decline in bird counts at lek sites relates to the increase and distribution of agricultural operations. This study performed an analysis of areas surrounding lek locations to highlight the effect that land management practices have on grouse habitat. This work examines land cover change between 2001 and 2016 using the National Land Cover Dataset to evaluate the relationship between the change in bird counts at 69 lek sites and the reduction in habitat. For the time period there was a 5.8% change to agriculture resulting in no significant correlation between lek count numbers and land cover change. Small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) equipped with hyperspectral sensors were deployed to map and classify the vegetative composition, resulting in high resolution habitat maps.