Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Updated Monday, July 1, 2012

Utah Big Game Range Trend Studies

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Problem and Need
The ability to detect changes in vegetation composition (range trend) on big game winter ranges is an important part of the Division's big game management program. The health and vigor of big game populations are closely correlated to the quality and quantity of forage in key areas.

The majority of the permanent range trend studies are located on deer and elk winter ranges. However, on certain management units, studies are located on spring and/or summer ranges if vegetation composition on these ranges is the limiting factor for big game populations. Range trend data are used by wildlife biologists and other land managers for habitat improvement planning purposes, reviewing BLM and USFS allotment management plans, and as one of several soucres of information for revising deer and elk herd management plans.

1982 1988
2000 2010

The Division's Range Trend Program is primarily funded by Pittman-Robertson federal aid dollars through Federal Aid Grant W-82-R, Wildlife Habitat Monitoring/ Range Trend Studies. In addition, several state and federal agencies act as funding cooperators to the project. These are the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, Bureau of Land Management, and U.S. Forest Service.

Monitor, evaluate, and report range trend at designated key areas throughout the state, and inform Division biologists, public land managers, and private landowners of significant changes in plant community composition in these areas.

Expected Results and Benefits
Range trend studies in each region are resurveyed every five years, and vegetation condition and trend assessments will be made for key areas. DWR biologists, land management personnel from the USFS and BLM, and private landowners will use the range trend database to evaluate the impact of land management programs on big game habitat. Special studies (habitat project monitoring and big game/livestock forage utilization studies) will give DWR biologists and public land managers additional information to address local resource management problems. Annual reports will be readily available in hard copies and on CD-ROM located in DWR regional offices, BLM and USFS offices, and public libraries. Range trend data will also be available on the Division's web site.

Contact Information

      Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
      Range Trend Project
      Great Basin Research Center
      494 W. 100 S.
      Ephraim, UT 84627
      Phone: (435) 283-4441
      Fax: (435) 283-2034