Date: August 24, 2015
Source: University of Washington
Summary: Transmission lines that funnel power from hydroelectric dams and wind turbines across Eastern Washington affect greater sage grouse habitat by isolating fragile populations and limiting movement, a new study finds.
The paper, which looks at how features in the landscape limit the species' distribution and gene flow, is the first to show that power-line corridors are an obstacle for sage grouse as they move across the landscape to feed and reproduce. The study was published early online this summer in the journalLandscape Ecology.
Power lines and future development across the Columbia Plateau could further weaken the species, which is listed as threatened in Washington state. The entire U.S. population that spans 11 western states is up for listing under the federal Endangered Species Act and a decision on whether to officially designate the population as endangered is expected by the end of September.