Table Mountain/Castle Mountain Bighorn Sheep Winter range Inventory 1999


C. R. Smyth, J. A. Poriz, D. G. Paton


A range vegetation survey was conducted in the Table Mountain - Castle Mountain bighorn sheep winter range area in southwestern Alberta. Nineteen transects were established, fifteen of which had production cages. Eight broad vegetation types, e.g., grassland, prostrate shrubland, coniferous forest, forb meadow, rock, mixedwood forest, deciduous forest and alpine meadow, were delineated and described based on the field surveys conducted in August, 1997. The non-range component of the winter range study area is the largest component of each mountain within the study area and includes deciduous, coniferous and mixedwood forest and rock. Nine vegetation community types were classified and mapped within these broad range types. Range condition ranged from fair to poor. 

Based on the forage production numbers and areas calculated in the study, the critical winter range and marginal winter range carrying capacity is 35.7 AUMs for Table Mountain, 68.8 AUMs for Whistler Mountain and 60.4 AUMs for Mount Gladstone. During a low snowfall winter, the additional non-range areas would contribute to additional 21.2 AUMs to Table Mountain, 35.2 AUMs to Whistler Mountain and 100.7 AUMs to Mount Gladstone, 

Recommendations regarding inventory methodology and range improvements are provided. 

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