Date of Graduation
Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design
Wildlife and Fisheries Resources
Christopher T Rota
John W Edwards
Joshua J Millspaugh
A worldwide increasing demand for both renewable and non-renewable energy resources has been ongoing for the past 50 years and is projected to continually increase for the next two decades. The direct and indirect effects of oil and natural gas development are not quantified but may be playing an important role in mule deer population dynamics. For this project I: (1) evaluated the potential effects of oil and natural gas development on survival probabilities of mule deer and; (2) evaluated the potential effects of oil and natural gas development on fawn rearing resource selection. I assessed mule deer survival and rearing resource selection by evaluating 268 global positioning system (GPS) radio-collars that were deployed from 2012 to 2016. Survival probability was evaluated using known-fate models. Survival covariates included proximity to oil and natural gas development, density of actively drilling wells, road density, minimum temperature, normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), and age. Rearing resource selection was evaluated using discrete choice analysis. The rearing resource covariates included distance to oil and natural gas development, distance to road, elevation, terrain ruggedness, slope, distance to water resources, and forage availability. I found that distance to nearest active drilling rig had a weak negative effect on mule deer survival probability. I also found that mule deer rearing resource selection was moderately related to distance from an active drilling rig. Determining the potential effects that oil and natural development have on mule deer survival and rearing resource selection can help inform managers on ways to mitigate potential adverse effects.
Skelly, Brett P., "Potential Effects of Oil and Natural Gas Development on Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus) Survival and Fawn Rearing Resource Selection" (2018). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 6654.