Skip Navigation

Science to Solutions

Science to Solutions headerWLFW uses science to measure the biological benefits of habitat improvements. Science to Solutions is a series of reports by NRCS as well as the Sage Grouse Initiative and Lesser Prairie-Chicken Initiative (part of the WLFW family) that shows how the latest research is being applied for private lands conservation efforts.

New Tool Helps Conservationists Tackle Threat of Invasive Woody Species

Mesquite encroachment is an issue in the southern part of the lesser prairie-chicken's range—western Texas and eastern New Mexico. Photo: Jeremy Roberts, Conservation MediaMarch 10, 2017. A new interactive mapping tool evaluates the threats posed by invasive woody plants that makes habitat unsuitable for the lesser prairie-chicken and many other wildlife species in the Western U.S.

Read the article.

Download the report.


Mesquite Removal Restores Habitat for Lesser Prairie-Chickens

Predatory bird imageJanuary 11, 2017. While scientists have long suspected that honey mesquite encroachment is a significant problem for lesser prairie-chickens in the southern portion of their range, a new study is the first to quantify its impact. The study, summarized in a Lesser Prairie-Chicken Initiative (LPCI) report, shows that lesser prairie-chickens strongly prefer sites with less than 1 percent mesquite canopy cover and rarely use habitat where cover exceeds 15 percent.

Read more on LPCI’s website.

Download the report.

Sagebrush Songbirds Under the Sage Grouse Umbrella

Sagebrush Songbirds Under the Sage Grouse Umbrella

Oct. 25, 2016. Scientists evaluated whether conservation efforts for sage grouse serve as an “umbrella” for other species. They found that a trio of songbirds – the Brewer’s sparrow, sagebrush sparrow and sage thrasher – grew in abundance in areas that have undergone habitat restoration, especially near sage grouse leks.

Download the report.


NRCS Conservation Practices Boost Prairie Chicken Occupancy

Lesser Prairie chicken imageOct. 18, 2016. Researchers found a quantifiable link between land where ranchers are implementing LPCI prescribed grazing plans or have enrolled their land in CRP and the likelihood of prairie-chickens occupying a landscape. Their results indicate that these habitat conservation efforts are working.

Download the report.


Sagebrush Rangelands Help Maintain Water Availability

Sagebrush Rangelands Help Maintain Water Availability

Aug. 4, 2016. Removing invading conifer trees improves the health of sagebrush ecosystems, providing better habitat for wildlife and better forage for livestock. And now, new science shows these efforts may also help improve late-season water availability, which is crucial for ecosystems in the arid West.

Read more on the USDA blog.

Download the report.


Sustainably Managing Forests Creates Golden-winged Warbler Breeding Habitat

Sustainably Managing Forests Creates Golden-winged Warbler Breeding HabitatJuly 13, 2016. Preliminary data show conservation strategies based on sound forestry management are having a positive effect on golden-winged warbler populations. These conservation strategies mimic natural disturbances to improve the quality of existing breeding habitat and to create new high-quality habitats.

Read more in the NRCS news release.

Download the report.


A New Tool for Evaluating Outcomes of New England Cottontail Conservation Efforts

A New Tool for Evaluating Outcomes of New England Cottontail Conservation Efforts

May 25, 2016. A new assessment tool, the Habitat Suitability Index, can be used to evaluate the quality of early successional habitat on manage lands, enabling NRCS and conservation partners to better deliver conservation efforts for the New England cottontail.

Read more on the NRCS blog.

Download the report.


Redcedar Removal Restores Lesser Prairie-Chicken Habitat

Redcedar Removal Restores Lesser Prairie-Chicken Habitat

April 1, 2016. A new study offers the first empirical data proving that female lesser prairie-chickens avoid grasslands when trees are present. The study underscores the importance of removing woody invasive plants like redcedar to restore grassland habitat. The new data will help guide USDA’s conservation efforts.

Read more on the USDA blog.

Download the report.


Sagebrush Songbirds Benefit from Sage Grouse Habitat Restoration

Sagebrush Songbirds Benefit from Sage Grouse Habitat Restoration

Sept. 9, 2015. Restoring sagebrush ecosystems not only benefits ranching and sage grouse but other wildlife, too. New data show that populations of Brewer’s sparrow and green-tailed towhee, two sagebrush-dependent songbirds, climbed significantly in places where invading conifer trees were removed.

Read more on the USDA blog.

Download the report.