Recent research has demonstrated that noise from natural gas development negatively impacts sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) abundance, stress levels, and behaviors. Other types of anthropogenic noise sources are similar to gas-development noise and, thus, the response by sage-grouse is likely to be similar. The results of research suggest that effective management of the natural soundscape is critical to the conservation and protection of sage-grouse. The goals of this review are to discuss current approaches in the management of new and existing noise sources in Wyoming and recommend research priorities for establishing effective noise management strategies. We make 4 interim recommendations: (1) that noise-management objectives should be set relative to typical ambient noise levels in sage-grouse habitat before development; the best currently available measuremenet of residual noise levels levels (L90) in undisturbed areas suggest an ambient level of 16 to 20 dBA; (2) that an increase in median noise levels (L50) of 10 dBA above ambient be allowed; (3) that management strategies be expanded to protect the soundscape in areas critical for mating, foraging, nesting, and brood-rearing activities of sage-grouse, rather than protecting the lek area alone; and (4) management strategies be focused on the siting of roads or limiting of traffic volumes during crucial times of the day (0600 to 0900 hours) and season (i.e., breeding season), rather than setting targets for vehicle noise exposure. Roads should be sited or traffic should be seasonally limited within 1.3 to 1.7 km from the edge of critical areas for nesting, foraging and breeding. We emphasize that protections based on these interim recommendations may need to be revised upon completion of ongoing and future research.
Patricelli, Gail L.; Blickley, Jessica L.; and Hooper, Stacie L.
"Recommended management strategies to limit anthropogenic noise impacts on greater sage-grouse in Wyoming,"
Human–Wildlife Interactions: Vol. 7
, Article 15.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/hwi/vol7/iss2/15