Tenalquot Prairie Preserve Gopher Occupancy

The Mazama pocket gopher is a notable resident of the Tenalquot Prairie Preserve, as shown by the extensive mounding across the preserve. To better quantify the gopher’s occupancy, sampling of 25 meter plots across the preserve was conducted three times this fall to look for fresh mounding.  Then, this was used to create maps that model where pocket gophers are likely to occupy.

One of the maps modeling gopher occupancy on the preserve.

The data collected shows widespread gopher occupancy across the preserve and predicts almost total occupancy, with the general exception of where trees were located within the sampling unit. This information suggests that our many years of restoration across the preserve have benefitted the gopher population, or at least not harmed it. There have been questions throughout the conservation community about how different restoration actions impact gopher populations, especially prescribed burning.  Given the burn history at Tenalquot and the gopher occupancy model, there don’t appear to be any obvious negative impacts.

A map detailing the burn units on Tenalquot across multiple years.


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