USDA Forest Service

Pacific Northwest Research Station

Pacific Northwest Research Station
333 SW First Ave.
Portland, OR 97204

(503) 808-2100

US Forest Service


News Releases: 2013

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Updated models pinpoint where elk are likely to thrive

Available online, models also predict effects of land management activities


USDA Forest Service
Pacific Northwest Research Station

La Grande, OR: February 21, 2013

Contact: Mary Rowland, (541) 962-6582,

Media contact: Yasmeen Sands, (360) 753-7716,

LA GRANDE, Ore. Feb. 21, 2013. The U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station today released two new landscape models that predict elk nutrition and habitat use across western Oregon and western Washington.

The elk nutrition and elk habitat use models will help managers evaluate the nutritional and habitat conditions of Westside landscapes and how likely elk are to use these landscapes. The models also project the effects of land management activities, like road closures and thinning, on elk.

“ Our updated models account for habitat elements that affect elk, especially those related to nutrition,” said Mary Rowland, a station research wildlife biologist in La Grande, Ore.

The Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Region and the Oregon and Washington State Office of the Bureau of Land Management consider the models the best available science to evaluate and manage elk habitat on Westside public lands and have recommended their use in land management planning.

“ The models are based on 20 years of research and emphasize recent findings on the benefit of summer nutrition to elk populations,” said Mike Wisdom, a research wildlife biologist and leader of the station’s Starkey Ungulate Ecology Team. “Both landscape-scale models focus on elk summer range, which affects elk survival and reproduction.”

Inputs for both models are readily available from free, corporate spatial data so users can apply the models anywhere in western Washington and Oregon. They are combined into a single downloadable toolbox with sample data sets available online at

The models were developed and validated by the Starkey Team in collaboration with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife; National Council for Air and Stream Improvement; Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW); Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe; Makah Nation; Muckleshoot Indian Tribe; Quileute Indian Tribe; Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe; WEST, Inc.; the Pacific Northwest Region of the Forest Service; Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Oregon and Washington State Office; Oregon State University; and more than 20 additional partners. The models were tested for more than a year by biologists and technicians from a variety of agencies, including the Forest Service, BLM, and WDFW.








The Pacific Northwest Research Station—headquartered in Portland, Oregon—generates and communicates scientific knowledge that helps people make informed choices about natural resources and the environment. The station has 11 laboratories and centers located in Alaska, Washington, and Oregon and about 390 employees.

US Forest Service - Pacific Northwest Research Station
Last Modified: Monday,01August2016 at10:16:46CDT

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