Greater Sandhill Crane Habitat Initiative

This plan is a continuation of 2012 science planning, characterizing the scope and context of the Intermountain West Joint Venture’s (IWJV) science investments.  The information presented here is the first in a series of documents outlining the implementation of the Greater Sandhill Crane Habitat Initiative as identified in, Identifying Science Priorities 2013–2018: Wetland Focal Strategies and approved by the Intermountain West Joint Venture (IWJV) Management Board (Fall 2012).  This initiative is intended to serve as an important catalyst and compliment to partner efforts in filling critical broad-scale information needs for wetland birds throughout the Intermountain West.  Specifically, the intent of this plan is to catalog relevant scientific knowledge associated with Greater Sandhill Cranes and to document steps needed to overcome key information gaps which will lead to developing range-wide habitat conservation objectives.  This approach will, across all annual cycle events and relevant geographies: 1) define potential habitat extent, 2) characterize associated ecological drivers, catalog land-use practices, and landownership patterns, 3) measure and summarize the magnitude and distribution of near-term (e.g., 30 year) landscape change, and 4) identify potential landscape stressors by linking ecological and anthropogenic trends to changes in sandhill crane distribution and abundance.  This information will be used by the IWJV Sandhill Crane Working Group and IWJV Staff to develop a comprehensive range-wide habitat conservation plan.  The plan will include spatially explicit habitat conservation objectives, decision support tools, and a framework to monitor and evaluate conservation actions.  This strategic approach is expected to facilitate local conservation investments which address primary habitat limiting factors and affect regional and continental population goals for Greater Sandhill Cranes.  Additionally, this initiative will provide a crucial foundation of information regarding wetland processes, conditions, and trends across a large portion of the Intermountain West.  The Information and conservation outcomes developed through this initiative are anticipated to have far- reaching ancillary benefits for other wetland associated species and support the long-term viability of wetlands and associated working lands throughout the region.