Habitat and Population Evaluation Team
Midwest Region


Grassland Bird Conservation Area (GBCA) Maps  

Breeding Bird Survey results indicate that grassland bird populations are declining at a faster rate than any other group of North American birds. In recognition of this fact, the Prairie Pothole Joint Venture, a conservation partnership of states, non-governmental organizations and federal agencies, has adopted a primary goal of reversing the declining trend of grassland birds.
One factor thought to be adversely impacting grassland birds on their breeding grounds is the continued fragmentation of their habitat. Grassland Bird Conservation Areas (GBCAs) are priority areas for grassland protection and enhancement that are thought to provide suitable habitat for many or all priority grassland bird species in the tall grass prairie portion of the Prairie Pothole Region. Protocols for delineating GBCAs were developed in cooperation with the HAPET office in USFWS Region 6, Bismarck, North Dakota.
All GBCAs consist of a grassland core with a surrounding 1-mile wide matrix. Core areas are at least 95% grassland, at least 50 m from woody vegetation, and may contain up to 30% wetland habitat. GBCAs have been defined at 3 levels to address the needs of grassland breeding birds with differing levels of requirements. Each type is differentiated on the basis of size, width, amount of grass in the landscape, and the types of wetlands considered compatible (e.g., temporary wetlands are considered compatible for all GBCA types because they are typically dry for much of the nesting season).

  • Type 1 – at least 640 acres of grassland at least 1 mile wide. Matrix and core are at least 40% grassland.
  • Type 2 – at least 160 acres of grassland at least ½ mile wide. Matrix and core are at least 30% grassland.
  • Type 3 – at least 55 acres of grassland at least ¼ mile wide. Matrix and core are at least 20% grassland.

Land Use

Type 1

Type 2

Type 3

 

Wetland

Type 1

Type 2

Type 3

  Grassland

C

C

C

 

  Temporary

C

C

C

  Hayland

N

N

N

 

  Saturated

C

C

C

  Cropland

N

N

N

 

  Seasonal

C

C

<30%

  Barren

N

N

N

 

  Semi-permanent

<30%

<30%

<30%

  Scrub/shrub

H

H

H

 

  Permanent

<30%

<30%

<30%

  Urban/developed

H

H

H

 

  Forested

H

H

H

  Trees

H

H

H

 

  Scrub/shrub

H

H

H

Fact sheet

Click to view GBCA maps

For additional information about grassland birds contact:

Diane Granfors
Region 7 Inventory and Monitoring Coordinator
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
1011 East Tudor Road
Anchorage, AK 99503
Diane_Granfors@fws.gov

 

Cry of the Marsh
Strategic Habitat Conservation
Last updated: March 16, 2010