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  • Range-Wide Monitoring

    of

    Black-Tailed Prairie Dogs in the United States:

    Pilot Study

    Prepared for

    Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies

    c/o Bill Van Pelt

    WAFWA Grassland Coordinator

    Arizona Game and Fish Department

    5000 West Carefree Highway

    Phoenix, Arizona 85086

    Prepared by

    Lyman McDonald, Jason Mitchell, Shay Howlin, and Carissa Goodman

    Western EcoSystems Technology, Inc. (WEST, Inc.)

    200 South 2nd Street, Suite B

    Laramie, Wyoming 82070

    December 30, 2015

  • Photo by John Sidle

    Glossary of Abbreviations

    BAS Balanced Acceptance Sampling

    BLM Bureau of Land Management

    BTPD Black-tailed prairie dog

    GIS Geographic Information System

    NAD North American datum

    NAIP National Agriculture Imagery Program

    USFWS U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

    USGS U.S. Geological Survey

    WAFWA Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies

    WEST Western EcoSystems Technology Inc.

  • i

    TABLE OF CONTENTS TABLE OF CONTENTS ...................................................................................................................................... i

    LIST OF TABLES ............................................................................................................................................. iii

    LIST OF FIGURES ........................................................................................................................................... iv

    INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................................................................. 1

    METHODS ...................................................................................................................................................... 2

    Digitizing Methods .................................................................................................................................... 4

    Sampling Methods .................................................................................................................................... 4

    Estimation Methods .................................................................................................................................. 7

    Probability of Detection ........................................................................................................................ 8

    The Horvitz-Thompson Estimator ......................................................................................................... 8

    Clipping Method.................................................................................................................................... 9

    Centroiding Method .............................................................................................................................. 9

    Transect Method ................................................................................................................................... 9

    Adjustment for False Negatives .......................................................................................................... 10

    Estimation Methods for Features on and Associated with BLM Managed Lands .............................. 10

    PART 1: RANGE-WIDE RESULTS ................................................................................................................... 12

    Range-Wide Estimates of Acreage and Abundance of Potential BTPD Colonies.................................... 12

    Estimated Total Acreage of Features in Each State and for BLM Managed Lands ................................. 14

    Eleven states ....................................................................................................................................... 14

    Arizona ................................................................................................................................................ 15

    Wyoming ............................................................................................................................................. 15

    BLM managed lands ............................................................................................................................ 16

    Estimated Number of Features ............................................................................................................... 16

    Eleven states ....................................................................................................................................... 16

    Arizona ................................................................................................................................................ 16

    Wyoming ............................................................................................................................................. 16

    BLM managed lands ............................................................................................................................ 17

    Estimated abundances of potential BTPD colonies greater than 100 acres and 500 acres ................... 17

    PART 2: INDIVIDUAL STATE AND BLM RESULTS .......................................................................................... 20

    State study areas and sampling frames .................................................................................................. 20

  • ii

    ARIZONA .................................................................................................................................................. 20

    BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT (BLM) ............................................................................................... 25

    COLORADO .............................................................................................................................................. 27

    KANSAS.................................................................................................................................................... 30

    MONTANA ............................................................................................................................................... 33

    NEBRASKA ............................................................................................................................................... 36

    NEW MEXICO .......................................................................................................................................... 40

    NORTH DAKOTA ...................................................................................................................................... 43

    OKLAHOMA ............................................................................................................................................. 46

    SOUTH DAKOTA ...................................................................................................................................... 50

    Analysis of Features Digitized by South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks’ Personnel ... 53

    TEXAS ...................................................................................................................................................... 56

    WYOMING ............................................................................................................................................... 60

    Wyoming Black-tailed Prairie Dog Aerial and Ground Truthing Results 2015 .................................... 60

    Aerial Surveys ...................................................................................................................................... 60

    Ground Surveys ................................................................................................................................... 61

    DISCUSSION AND SUMMARY ...................................................................................................................... 64

    LITERATURE CITED ...................................................................................................................................... 68

    APPENDIX A ................................................................................................................................................. 69

    APPENDIX B ................................................................................................................................................. 98

  • iii

    LIST OF TABLES Table 1.1. Total number of 2 mi by 2 mi grid cells in each state or overlapping BLM managed land,

    number of grid cells sampled (sample size) and date of National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP)

    imagery. ........................................................................................................................................................ 5

    Table 1.2. Estimated acreage of potential black-tailed prairie dog colonies in 11 states corrected for

    false negatives. Standard errors, coefficients of variation (CV), and bounds of 90% confidence intervals

    were reported. ............................................................................................................................................ 15

    Table 1.3. Estimated acres of potential black-tailed prairie dog colonies associated with BLM managed

    land

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