Return to the main page - [LINK] US Forest Service - [LINK] Oregon Department Of Fish and Wildlife - [LINK] The Starkey Project
"Long-term studies of elk, deer, and cattle - examining the effects of ungulates on ecosystems"
 

 

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Chronology of the Starkey Project
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YearTime PeriodEvent
1982Across YearInitial discussion of research project that would require fencing Starkey to test habitat use and interactions of deer, elk, and cattle on managed forests. Principal figures involved are Warren Aney (ODFW), Larry Bryant (PNW), Fred Ebel (Boise Cascade), William Farrell (Grant County), Donavin Leckenby (ODFW), John Lowe (USFS), and Jack Ward Thomas (PNW).
1985DecemberEnvironmental Assessment (EA) for Starkey Project completed.
1986JanuaryEnvironmental Assessment approved, allowing construction of a fence to enclose most of the Starkey Experimental Forest and Range (40 sq. mi.) and contain the deer and elk within it. This EA also outlines the four main studies to be conducted at Starkey.
1986JulyForest Service Chieve Max Peterson approves the Starkey Project. Appeals filed by local hunters and one environmental group are rejected.
1987WinterInitial funding approved for fencing Starkey and conducting research and development.
1987SpringNumber of animals in the Starkey study area is estimated at 470 elk, 300 deer, and 550 cow/calf pairs. (PDF of animal handling timeline)
1987Fall25,000 acres (10,125 ha) of the Starkey Experimental Forest and Range are enclosed with an eight-foot high, wovenwire high-tension game fence. Area is closed to hunting for one year to establish accurate counts of deer and elk populations within Starkey and to allow the animals to acclimate to the enclosure.
1987OctoberMike Wisdom assigned to the Starkey Project to lead technology transfer program.
1987Fall/WinterElk are fed along roads and in the winter area created in the eastern portion of Starkey. Deer are fed in the Main and Northeast areas since it is believed that they will not come into the winter area voluntarily. A mild winter hamperes trapping of elk and deer. Handling facilities are under construction.
1988JanuaryStarkey is closed to the public for 6 weeks to avoid disruption while animals are baited to the winter area.
1988SpringSixty-nine traffic counters established on Starkey road system to monitor vehicle frequency as part of road-effects study.
1988SummerConstruction begun on three radio transmitting/receiving towers for the Automated Animal Tracking System (AATS) to be used for the Intensive Forest Management Study. Handling facilities completed.
1988FallStarkey field team start building interior fences to create seperate pastures for deer and elk in the winter area.
1988Fall/WinterLimited-entry hunting resumes. By the end of winter, an estimated 98% of bull elk are removed from the study area to allow initiation of the breeding-bull elk study.
1988WinterDeer and elk are baited to winter area and are now fed in separate pastures. Heavy snows boost capture to more than 75% of deer and elk.
1989SpringFirst three AATS radio transmitting/receiving towers ready. Scientists begin gathering baseline data on ten elk cows and ten cattle cows radio-collared in the northeast (Intensive Forest Management Study) area. Interior fencing at the handling facilities finished.
1989JuneAATS goes on-line, recording a daily average of over 25 locations per animal for 10 cows and 10 elk in Northeast pasture.
1989DecemberReproductive tracts of cow elk impregnated by yearling bulls are collected during the hunting season, for the breeding bull study (bull age). Annual collection of cow elk reproductive tracts continue through 1993, and from 1995-1999 during a second trial studying bull age effects.
1990FebruaryTimber in northeast intensive timber management study area marked for sale.
1990SummerTen elk and ten cattle are radio-collared in the northeast study area; seven elk and 50 cattle are radiocollared in the main study area. Construction completed on the final of eight radio-receiver towers for the Starkey AATS.
1990SummerThe Forest Service accepts a $426,000 bid by BoiseCascade Corporation to harvest 6 million board feet of timber in northeast study area. Harvesting to be completed by November 1993.
1990SeptemberLast microwave relay tower installed, making AATS fully operational across the entire Starkey Project area.
1990October250,000 locations are recorded to date, through AATS.
1991JuneIntermountain Loran chain added to Starkey telemetry system, supplementing the Pacific Loran chain.
1991Summer15 miles of new roads are constructed, and 12 miles of existing roads renovated. Road construction begins in Northeast, including 24 miles (39 km) of new rods and reconstruction of 4 miles (6 km) of existing roads.
1991SummerRadio collars are outfitted on 29 deer, 60 elk, and 60 cattle. Researchers can page to locate any of these animals every 30 seconds through AATS.
1991Summer/FallField tests are conducted to validate accuracy of AATS.
1991OctoberLogging begins on the first four of 62 timber units to be harvested in Northeast. Forest Service accepts 24 miles of new and 8 miles of reconstructed roads from the contractor. Work was performed on 5.66 square miles of the Northeast study area.
1991WinterAs of Jan. 1, 1992, over 737,000 AATS locations are recorded for analysis of elk, deer and cattle distribution at Starkey. New collars are placed on l6 deer and 11 elk. A total of 41 elk and 24 deer are available for tracking in the main study area in summer of 1992; 12 elk and 10 deer are available for tracking in the northeast study area.
1991YearFormation of IACUC, a committee that oversees handling and care of animals fenced within Starkey.
1991WinterMild winter results in low numbers of deer and elk arriving at the winter area.
1992SummerConstruction of a new, 2.2 mile long game-proof fence creates the 1,537 acre (622 ha) Campbell Flat pasture for another phase of the breeding bull study (bull numbers). This phase will study how different age-classes of bulls affect paternity and birth dates of elk calves. The study begins in the fall of 1993 and runs through 2001.
1992SummerAccuracy of locations generated by the AATS is analyzed through field test comparisons with GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) -generated locations.
1992JulyImproved AATS telemetry system is installed and tested. This is a "dual-chain" system uses six LORAN transmitter sites to calculate the location of radio collars, improving the accuracy of the telemetry system. The old system single-chain system used three LORAN sites to locate a collared animal.
1992NovemberLooging completed in Northeast, with more than 7 million board feet harvested.
1992WinterEarly results from the elk breeding bull study indicate that as bulls grow older they impregnate cows earlier, and over a shorter time period.
1992WinterFinal adjustments are made to correct biases in location data generated through AATS.
1993JanuaryNearly a million AATS locations are recorded, to date, for analysis of elk, deer and cattle distribution at Starkey.
1993JuneProcedures for handling wild animals at Starkey formally published as PNW General Technical Report titleld Protocols for Care and Handling of Deer and Elk at the Starkey Experimental Forest and Range.
1993SummerImprovements made in handling facilities to reduce stress and improve footing for animals in catch pens. Cleanup and burning of logging residue and site preparation in Northeast area.
1993Annual AwardStarkey Project receives the USDA Forest Service PNW Technology Transfer award.
1993Annual AwardStarkey Project receives the USDA Forest Service Chief's technology transfer award.
1993Annual AwardStarkey Project receives the Federal Laboratory Consortium's Technology Transfer award.
1994WinterResults from the first 5-year trial of the bull age study show that older bulls impregnate cows earlier and over a shorter breeding period.
1994SpringPhase II of breeding bull study begins in Campbell Flat. More burning of logging residue and site preparation in Northeast. Planting of cut units begins.
1994SpringMale calves born this year will be used as sires when the bull age study is repeated in 1995-1999.
1994SummerPrototype forage allocaton model developed or deer, elk, and cattle.
1994FallArchery and rifle hunts are conducted to remove the now 6-year old bull elk from Main and prepare for the second 5-year trial of the bull age study.
1995SpringPlanting of cut units in Northeast is completed.
1995FallInitial analysis of Starkey data for traffic and Animal Unit Equivalency studies.
1996SummerDetailed analysis of and correction for performance bias of the telemetry system is completed and the results submitted for publication.
1996SummerResults from the first trial of the bull age study are published in the Journal of Wildlife Management.
1997SummerIntensive timber management unit in the Northeast portion of Starkey is cross-fenced. Elk density manipulation study is initiated.
1998Summer18 30x30 exclosures are built in the Northeast portion of Starkey to examine the longterm vegetation impacts from varying elk density.
1999SpringSecond trial of the bull age study is completed with results that validate the first trial. Breeding by older bulls yields earlier and more synchronous conception dates.
2000FallA 6-year study to evaluate the effects of archery disturbance during the rut on elk reproduction is begun.
2001SummerLogging for fuels-reduction begins.
2001SummerPreliminary results of the bull number study indicate breeding is dominated by a few individual older bulls.
2001SeptemberWorkshop for managers held at Eastern Oregon University, La Grande, Oregon titled Elk, Mule Deer and Cattle in Forests. (PDF of original registration form with agenda)
2002Spring/SummerStart of study about the effects of off-road vehicle traffic and other off-road recreation activities on elk and deer.
2002FallResults of the second trial of the bull age study are published in the Journal of Wildlife Management.
2004MarchA day devoted to the Starkey Project at the 69th Annual North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference titled 'Policy Implications from Long-term Studies of Mule Deer and Elk: A Synthesis of the Starkey Project".
2004MaySelected set of Starkey maps and data published on the www for immediate use by researchers, managers, and the general public.
2006AprilStarkey goes online with new GPS based telemetry system.
2006SeptemberStarkey goes offline with old LORAN telemetry system.

 
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"Long-term studies of elk, deer, and cattle in managed forests."
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