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Pacific Northwest Research Station

Pacific Northwest Research Station
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Portland, OR 97204

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Western Oregon and Washington Elk Nutrition and Habitat Models

Elk. Photo by Rachel Cook.
Calf elk. Photo by Rachel Cook.

Project Update

Model selection and validation are now complete for the Westside elk habitat models; a comprehensive summary of this phase of the project is available. Biologists and planners with the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and several tribal nations have applied the Westside models and reported their results back to the modeling team. The team is now completing a comprehensive monograph that will provide the scientific foundation for long-term, credible management use of these new tools.

Stark differences in vegetation and potential differences in elk nutritional resources exist between southwest Oregon and the Westside modeling region. To address these differences, scientists collected additional data in 2011 using tame elk in grazing trials throughout this corner of the state. Nutritional analyses are now complete, and the team is developing a new nutrition model for southwest Oregon that can be incorporated into the Westside habitat use model and subsequently applied in this region.

Federal land management agencies in Oregon and Washington formally adopted the elk nutrition and habitat use models in management in early 2013. The modeling team will continue to offer training sessions and other technology transfer activities to help managers with efficient and timely application of the models. Please contact Jennifer Hafer ( for technical assistance with the Westside models.

Workshop 2011

Elk Habitat Modeling workshop (Photo by Frank Vanni)
The elk modeling team hosted the second and final Westside elk habitat modeling workshop over two
days – Tuesday, April 5 and Wednesday, April 6 – at the Embassy Suites Hotel in downtown Portland.




On Tuesday, over 100 attendees listened to a full day’s slate of presentations (see links above) describing the project background, modeling methods, the final models and results of their validation, model application in example landscapes, and a project summary. The afternoon’s presentations included talks by project beta testers, who had worked with the modeling team to test-drive the models in their home offices and then applied the models to on-the-ground projects in their own areas. On Wednesday, a smaller group of modeling enthusiasts returned for a hands-on demonstration of the suite of “toolboxes” used to apply the elk nutrition and habitat use models on the landscape.

Videos of the presentations from this workshop are available on DVD; please contact Bridgett Naylor ( if you would like a copy.

Workshop 2010

Elk Habitat Modeling workshop (Photo by Frank Vanni)
The first of two planned workshops, “Elk Habitat Selection in Western Oregon and Washington: Models for
a New Century,” was held on April 19-20, 2010, at the LaSells Stewart Center at Oregon State University in
Corvallis, OR.



Over 120 biologists and land managers from a variety of state, federal, tribal, academic, and private organizations gathered for two days to learn about new approaches to modeling elk habitat selection in western Oregon and Washington. Members of the interagency team conducting this project described the background of the work and shared draft modeling results and example management applications through a series of presentations (see links above). During the second day, participating breakout groups offered feedback to the team about the model components and their applicability in Westside elk management. A summary of the workshop findings is available.


Blue Mtn Workshop. Photo by Frank Vann.
Modeling team member Jennifer Hafer explains details during the hands-on model demonstration
at the 2011 workshop in Portland. Photo by Frank Vanni.


bulletUpdated models pinpoint where elk are likely to thrive

bulletWestside Modeling Summary Slideshow


Related Articles and Events

2010 PNW News Release: Modeling study identifies characteristics of high elk-use areas in western Oregon, Washington


The Pope and Young Ethic (PDF - 2.34 MB)


Fair Chase (PDF - 2.78 MB)


Northwest Sportsman (PDF - 1.15 MB)


Outstanding Service Award from the Oregon Chapter of The Wildlife Society 2012

In recognition of their efforts, accomplishments, and dedication in serving the profession, including developing, publishing and providing training on new elk habitat use models for Western Oregon and Washington

US Forest Service - Pacific Northwest Research Station
Last Modified: Friday,31October2014 at08:33:33CDT

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site. Untitled Document