Richardson’s Ground Squirrel Colonies in ND: Distribution, Trend and Burrowing Owl Use (SWG T-3-1)

Publication cover

Authors and Contributors

Marsha Sovada, Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center


Research papers

Research Category

Population Study

Target Species

Richardson’s Ground Squirrel, Borrowing Owl

Approximate Completion Date




SWG richardson's ground squirrel borrowing owl colonies


Knowledge of the contemporary distribution and changes from the historic distribution of Richardson’s ground squirrel, and understanding the underlying factors influencing these changes are important for conserving the species and its ecologically unique, associated vertebrate community. Protocols for long-term monitoring are needed to facilitate detection of changes in the ground squirrel’s distribution in the state and to help assess the value of related conservation initiatives. Our goal was to assess the current distribution of Richardson’s ground squirrel in North Dakota and to assess occurrence of burrowing owls at the ground squirrel’s colonies. Secondary goals were to try to develop models for predicting the occurrence of Richardson’s ground squirrels, mainly by using remote sensing techniques, and to provide recommendations for monitoring protocols to periodically assess population trend of Richardson’s ground squirrel in North Dakota.