Grassland Community Collaborative
Effects of Wind Power Development on the Population Biology of Greater Prairie-Chickens in Kansas
To read about the key findings from the comprehensive seven-year research project led by Drs. Brett Sandercock and Samantha Wisely on the effects of wind power development on Greater Prairie-Chickens, please view the Research Brief to the right. The research project was overseen by the Grassland Community Collaborative (read below for more details on the GCC).
Abstract: Greater Prairie-Chicken populations have declined, primarily from loss of their prairie habitat to agriculture and other human development. As wind energy projects are proposed in Kansas and other states where Greater Prairie-Chickens and other grassland birds are now of conservation concern, conservationists, wildlife agencies, and wind energy companies are collaborating to study possible impacts from such development. Results from a comprehensive seven-year research project in Kansas suggest that wind power does not strongly affect Greater Prairie-Chickens. While weak negative effects were observed in male attendance of leks (communal display sites), female survival showed a positive trend. Little to no impacts were observed on most of the demographic parameters studied. The strongest correlates of population performance were the availability of native prairie and vegetative cover at the nest site. Efforts to improve rangeland management and to reduce predation would aid in the recovery of Greater Prairie-Chicken populations.
Additional Publications on the Research:
McNew, L.B., A.J. Gregory, and B.K. Sandercock. 2013. Spatial heterogeneity in habitat selection: nest site selection by Greater Prairie-Chickens. Journal of Wildlife Management, 77:791-801. DOI: 10.1002/jwmg.493
McNew, L.B., A.J. Gregory, S.M. Wisely, and B.K. Sandercock. 2012. Demography of Greater Prairie-Chickens: regional variation in vital rates, sensitivity values, and population dynamics. Journal of Wildlife Management, 76:987-1000. DOI: 10.1002/jwmg.369
Gregory, A.J., L.B. McNew, T.J. Prebyl, B.K. Sandercock, and S.M. Wisely. 2011. Hierarchical modeling of lek habitats of Greater Prairie-Chickens. Studies in Avian Biology, 39:21-32.
McNew, L.B., A.J. Gregory, S.M. Wisely, and B.K. Sandercock. 2011a. Reproductive biology of a southern population of Greater Prairie-Chickens. Studies in Avian Biology, 39:209-221.
McNew, L.B., A.J. Gregory, S.M. Wisely, and B.K. Sandercock. 2011b. Human-mediated selection on life-history traits of Greater Prairie-Chickens. Studies in Avian Biology, 39:255-266.
Gregory, A.J. 2011. Landscape genetics and behavioral ecology of Greater Prairie-Chickens (Tympanuchus cupido). Ph.D. dissertation, Kansas State University, 159 pages.
McNew, L.B. 2010. An analysis of Greater Prairie-Chicken demography in Kansas: the effects of human land use on the population ecology of an obligate grassland species. Ph.D. dissertation, Kansas State University, 149 pages.
Manuscripts in Progress
Blanco-Fontao, B., J.R. Obeso, M. Quevedo, L.B. McNew, and B.K. Sandercock. Effects of sexual dimorphism and habitat composition on the trophic behavior of Greater Prairie-Chickens revealed through analysis of stable isotopes. PLoS One, submitted December 2012.
Gregory, A.J., L.B. McNew, B.K. Sandercock and S.M. Wisely. Genetic prospecting and bet-hedging: breeding behavior of female Greater Prairie-Chickens (Tympanuchus cupido) across a gradient of anthropogenic landscape disturbance. Evolutionary Ecology, submitted February 2012.
Gregory, A.J., L.B. McNew, B.K. Sandercock and S.M. Wisely. Optimizing landscape resistance surfaces to understand gene flow: a case study of Greater Prairie-Chickens. Molecular Ecology, submitted March 2012.
McNew, L.B., L.M. Hunt, A.J. Gregory, S.M. Wisely, and B.K. Sandercock. Wind energy development does not impact the nesting ecology of an obligate grassland bird in a fragmented landscape. Conservation Biology, submitted April 2013.
Winder, V.L., L.B. McNew, A.J. Gregory, L.M. Hunt, S.M. Wisely, and B.K. Sandercock. Effects of wind energy development on the survival of Greater Prairie-Chickens. Journal of Applied Ecology, submitted January 2013.
Grassland Community Collaborative
The Grassland Community Collaborative (GCC) brings together stakeholders to: 1) identify critical research questions related to grassland community species; 2) secure and administer cooperative funding to conduct research; 3) encourage peer-reviewed collaborative research; and 4) identify both potential impacts and mitigation strategies to address any impacts.
The GCC activities are overseen by an Oversight Committee that is charged with: approving research proposals and what individuals and institutions conduct the research; reviewing and approving communications to the public; contributing strategic direction; providing advice on raising funds; and approving the annual workplan and products of GCC.
Previous Publications and Meetings
Press Release: Researchers Investigate Causes of Population Declines of Prairie Chickens in Kansas
October 27, 2010
Overview of the Grassland and Shrub Steppe Species Collaborative (GS3C)
April 29, 2008
Press Release: Study Underway on the Effects of Wind Power on Prairie-Chicken Demography and Population Genetics
July 30, 2007
Press Release: Collaborative Study of the Effects of Wind Power on Prairie-Chicken Demography and Population Genetics
May 9, 2006
GS3 Subgroup Initial Meeting
March 29-30, 2005 - Wichita, KS