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Title: Effects of Cougar Predation and Nutrition on Mule Deer Population Declines in the Intermountain Province of the Columbia Basin, 2001-2002 Annual Report.

Abstract

Construction of the Grand Coulee and Chief Joseph dams has resulted in inundation and loss of 29,125 total habitat units for mule deer and irrigation agriculture in many parts the Intermountain Province (IM) of the Columbia Basin. Mule deer in the Shrub-Steppe are ranked high priority target species for mitigation and management and are declining in most portions of the subbasins of the IM. Reasons for the decline are unknown but believed to be related to habitat changes resulting from dams and irrigation agriculture. White-tailed deer are not ranked as target species and are believed to be increasing throughout the basin because of habitat changes brought about by the dams and irrigation agriculture. Recent research (1997-2000) in the NE IM and adjacent Canadian portions of the Columbia Basin (conducted by this author and funded by the Columbia Basin Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program B.C.), suggest that the increasing white-tailed deer populations (because of dams and irrigation agriculture) are resulting in increased predation by cougars on mule deer (apparent competition or alternate prey hypothesis). The apparent competition hypothesis predicts that as alternate prey (white-tailed deer) densities increase, so do densities of predators, resulting in increased incidental predation on sympatric native preymore » (mule deer). Apparent competition can result in population declines and even extirpation of native prey in some cases. Such a phenomenon may account for declines of mule deer in the IM and throughout arid and semi-arid West where irrigation agriculture is practiced. We will test the apparent competition hypothesis by conducting a controlled, replicated ''press'' experiment in at least 2 treatment and 2 control areas of the IM subbasins by reducing densities of white-tailed deer and observing any changes in cougar predation on mule deer. Deer densities will be monitored by WADFW personnel using annual aerial surveys and/or other trend indices. Predation rates and population growth rates of deer will be determined using radio telemetry. Changes in cougar functional (kills/unit time), aggregative (cougars/unit area), numerical (offspring/cougar), and total (predation rate) responses on deer will also be monitored using radio telemetry. The experiment will be conducted and completed over a period of 5 years. Results will be used to determine the cause and try to halt the mule deer population declines. Results will also guide deer mitigation and management in the IM and throughout the North American West.« less

Authors:
;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Washington State Univ., Pullman, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
United States. Bonneville Power Administration.
OSTI Identifier:
803576
Report Number(s):
DOE/BP-00006184-1
R&D Project: 200103402; TRN: US200302%%289
DOE Contract Number:
00006184
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Resource Relation:
Other Information: PBD: 1 Dec 2002; Related Information: At head of title: BPA & NWPPC 2001-2002 annual progress report.
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
13 HYDRO ENERGY; 54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; AGRICULTURE; CONSTRUCTION; DAMS; DEER; FUNCTIONALS; HABITAT; HYPOTHESIS; IRRIGATION; MANAGEMENT; MITIGATION; NUTRITION; PERSONNEL; PROGRESS REPORT; TARGETS; TELEMETRY; PUMA - FOOD - COLUMBIA RIVER WATERSHED; MULE DEER - PREDATORS OF - COLUMBIA RIVER WATERSHED.

Citation Formats

Wielgus, Robert B., and Shipley, Lisa. Effects of Cougar Predation and Nutrition on Mule Deer Population Declines in the Intermountain Province of the Columbia Basin, 2001-2002 Annual Report.. United States: N. p., 2002. Web. doi:10.2172/803576.
Wielgus, Robert B., & Shipley, Lisa. Effects of Cougar Predation and Nutrition on Mule Deer Population Declines in the Intermountain Province of the Columbia Basin, 2001-2002 Annual Report.. United States. doi:10.2172/803576.
Wielgus, Robert B., and Shipley, Lisa. Mon . "Effects of Cougar Predation and Nutrition on Mule Deer Population Declines in the Intermountain Province of the Columbia Basin, 2001-2002 Annual Report.". United States. doi:10.2172/803576. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/803576.
@article{osti_803576,
title = {Effects of Cougar Predation and Nutrition on Mule Deer Population Declines in the Intermountain Province of the Columbia Basin, 2001-2002 Annual Report.},
author = {Wielgus, Robert B. and Shipley, Lisa},
abstractNote = {Construction of the Grand Coulee and Chief Joseph dams has resulted in inundation and loss of 29,125 total habitat units for mule deer and irrigation agriculture in many parts the Intermountain Province (IM) of the Columbia Basin. Mule deer in the Shrub-Steppe are ranked high priority target species for mitigation and management and are declining in most portions of the subbasins of the IM. Reasons for the decline are unknown but believed to be related to habitat changes resulting from dams and irrigation agriculture. White-tailed deer are not ranked as target species and are believed to be increasing throughout the basin because of habitat changes brought about by the dams and irrigation agriculture. Recent research (1997-2000) in the NE IM and adjacent Canadian portions of the Columbia Basin (conducted by this author and funded by the Columbia Basin Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program B.C.), suggest that the increasing white-tailed deer populations (because of dams and irrigation agriculture) are resulting in increased predation by cougars on mule deer (apparent competition or alternate prey hypothesis). The apparent competition hypothesis predicts that as alternate prey (white-tailed deer) densities increase, so do densities of predators, resulting in increased incidental predation on sympatric native prey (mule deer). Apparent competition can result in population declines and even extirpation of native prey in some cases. Such a phenomenon may account for declines of mule deer in the IM and throughout arid and semi-arid West where irrigation agriculture is practiced. We will test the apparent competition hypothesis by conducting a controlled, replicated ''press'' experiment in at least 2 treatment and 2 control areas of the IM subbasins by reducing densities of white-tailed deer and observing any changes in cougar predation on mule deer. Deer densities will be monitored by WADFW personnel using annual aerial surveys and/or other trend indices. Predation rates and population growth rates of deer will be determined using radio telemetry. Changes in cougar functional (kills/unit time), aggregative (cougars/unit area), numerical (offspring/cougar), and total (predation rate) responses on deer will also be monitored using radio telemetry. The experiment will be conducted and completed over a period of 5 years. Results will be used to determine the cause and try to halt the mule deer population declines. Results will also guide deer mitigation and management in the IM and throughout the North American West.},
doi = {10.2172/803576},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Mon Jul 01 00:00:00 EDT 2002},
month = {Mon Jul 01 00:00:00 EDT 2002}
}

Technical Report:

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  • Construction of the Grand Coulee and Chief Joseph dams has resulted in inundation and loss of 29,125 total habitat units for mule deer and irrigation agriculture in many parts the Intermountain Province (IM) of the Columbia Basin. Mule deer in the Shrub-Steppe are ranked high priority target species for mitigation and management and are declining in most portions of the sub basins of the IM. Reasons for the decline are unknown but believed to be related to habitat changes resulting from dams and irrigation agriculture. White-tailed deer are believed to be increasing throughout the basin because of habitat changes broughtmore » about by the dams and irrigation agriculture. Recent research (1997-2000) in the NE IM and adjacent Canadian portions of the Columbia Basin (conducted by this author and funded by the Columbia Basin Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program B.C.), suggest that the increasing white-tailed deer populations (because of dams and irrigation agriculture) are resulting in increased predation by cougars on mule deer (apparent competition or alternate prey hypothesis). The apparent competition hypothesis predicts that as alternate prey (white-tailed deer) densities increase, so do densities of predators, resulting in increased incidental predation on sympatric native prey (mule deer). Apparent competition can result in population declines and even extirpation of native prey in some cases. Such a phenomenon may account for declines of mule deer in the IM and throughout arid and semi-arid West where irrigation agriculture is practiced. We will test the apparent competition hypothesis by conducting a controlled, replicated 'press' experiment in at least 2 treatment and 2 control areas of the IM sub basins by reducing densities of white-tailed deer and observing any changes in cougar predation on mule deer. Deer densities will be monitored by WADFW personnel using annual aerial surveys and/or other trend indices. Predation rates and population growth rates of deer will be determined using radio telemetry. Changes in cougar functional (kills/unit time), aggregative (cougars/unit area), numerical (offspring/cougar), and total (predation rate) responses on deer will also be monitored using radio telemetry. The experiment will be conducted and completed over a period of 5 years. Results will be used to determine the cause and try to halt the mule deer population declines. Results will also guide deer mitigation and management in the IM and throughout the North American West.« less
  • This report presents results for year twelve in a basin-wide program to harvest northern pikeminnow1 (Ptychocheilus oregonensis). This program was started in an effort to reduce predation by northern pikeminnow on juvenile salmonids during their emigration from natal streams to the ocean. Earlier work in the Columbia River Basin suggested predation by northern pikeminnow on juvenile salmonids might account for most of the 10-20% mortality juvenile salmonids experience in each of eight Columbia River and Snake River reservoirs. Modeling simulations based on work in John Day Reservoir from 1982 through 1988 indicated that, if predator-size northern pikeminnow were exploited atmore » a 10-20% rate, the resulting restructuring of their population could reduce their predation on juvenile salmonids by 50%. To test this hypothesis, we implemented a sport-reward angling fishery and a commercial longline fishery in the John Day Pool in 1990. We also conducted an angling fishery in areas inaccessible to the public at four dams on the mainstem Columbia River and at Ice Harbor Dam on the Snake River. Based on the success of these limited efforts, we implemented three test fisheries on a system-wide scale in 1991--a tribal longline fishery above Bonneville Dam, a sport-reward fishery, and a dam-angling fishery. Low catch of target fish and high cost of implementation resulted in discontinuation of the tribal longline fishery. However, the sport-reward and dam-angling fisheries were continued in 1992 and 1993. In 1992, we investigated the feasibility of implementing a commercial longline fishery in the Columbia River below Bonneville Dam and found that implementation of this fishery was also infeasible. Estimates of combined annual exploitation rates resulting from the sport-reward and damangling fisheries remained at the low end of our target range of 10-20%. This suggested the need for additional effective harvest techniques. During 1991 and 1992, we developed and tested a modified (small-sized) Merwin trapnet. We found this floating trapnet to be very effective in catching northern pikeminnow at specific sites. Consequently, in 1993 we examined a system-wide fishery using floating trapnets, but found this fishery to be ineffective at harvesting large numbers of northern pikeminnow on a system-wide scale.« less
  • This report presents results for year eleven in a basin-wide program to harvest northern pikeminnow (Ptychocheilus oregonensis). This program was started in an effort to reduce predation by northern pikeminnow on juvenile salmonids during their emigration from natal streams to the ocean. Earlier work in the Columbia River Basin suggested predation by northern pikeminnow on juvenile salmonids might account for most of the 10-20% mortality juvenile salmonids experience in each of eight Columbia River and Snake River reservoirs. Modeling simulations based on work in John Day Reservoir from 1982 through 1988 indicated that, if predator-size northern pikeminnow were exploited atmore » a 10-20% rate, the resulting restructuring of their population could reduce their predation on juvenile salmonids by 50%. To test this hypothesis, we implemented a sport-reward angling fishery and a commercial longline fishery in the John Day Pool in 1990. We also conducted an angling fishery in areas inaccessible to the public at four dams on the mainstem Columbia River and at Ice Harbor Dam on the Snake River. Based on the success of these limited efforts, we implemented three test fisheries on a system-wide scale in 1991--a tribal longline fishery above Bonneville Dam, a sport-reward fishery, and a dam-angling fishery. Low catch of target fish and high cost of implementation resulted in discontinuation of the tribal longline fishery. However, the sport-reward and dam-angling fisheries were continued in 1992 and 1993. In 1992, we investigated the feasibility of implementing a commercial longline fishery in the Columbia River below Bonneville Dam and found that implementation of this fishery was also infeasible.« less
  • We are reporting progress on the predator-prey study for the period August 28, 1988 to September 1, 1989. The purpose of this research is to evaluate the feasibility of an index for assessment of predation in various reservoirs throughout the Columbia River basin, to describe the relationships among predator-caused mortality of smolts and physical and biological variables; to examine the feasibility of developing bounty, commercial or recreational fisheries on northern squawfish (Ptychocheilus oregonesis); and to develop a plan to evaluate the efficacy of predator control fisheries. Literature searches on predator abundance indexing and factors regulating fish population dynamics have beenmore » conducted; selected references have been summarized, and compiled in a key-word bibliography format. The feasibility of various types of predator abundance indices is being assessed; existing data relevant to mark-recapture, catch per unit effort (CPUE), physical and chemical variables, and reservoir morphology have been compiled, reviewed, and summarized. In cases where sufficient data exist, preliminary implementation of predator abundance indices has been demonstrated. Field sampling in John Day Reservoir was conducted during May to August, 1989 -- to continue time series data bases on northern squawfish CPUE and growth, and to evaluate the possibility of year class strength determinations of northern squawfish and walleyes using restricted sampling. Development of plans has begun for fishery implementation and evaluation. 184 refs., 33 figs., 35 tabs.« less
  • This report summarizes project activities during the period August 1, 1976 through July 31, 1977. Four major areas of effort are reported, namely plutonium behavior in a terrestrial ecosystem at Rocky Flats, mule deer and coyote studies at Rocky Flats, ecological consequences of transuranics in the terrestrial environment, and lead geochemistry of an alpine lake ecosystem. Much of the first area of effort involved the synthesis of data and preparation of manuscripts, although some new data are reported on plutonium levels in small mammals, plant uptake of plutonium from contaminated soil, and plutonium deposition rates on macroplot 1. The mulemore » deer studies generated a substantial body of new information which will permit quantitative assessment of plutonium dispersion by deer that utilize contaminated areas. These studies involve population dynamics, movement and use patterns, food habits, ingestion rates of contaminated soil and vegetation and plutonium burdens of deer tissues. A related study of coyote food habits in summer at Rocky Flats is reported. A manuscript dealing with the question of ecological effects of transuranics was prepared. This manuscript incorporates data from Rocky Flats on characteristics of natural populations which occupy ecologically similar areas having differing levels of plutonium contamination. The lead geochemistry studies continued to generate new data but the data are not yet reported.« less