Sarah Lehnen



Regional Office – Albuquerque, NM

Phone: 505-248-7957

Email: sarah_lehnen at

“We shall never achieve harmony with land, any more than we shall achieve absolute justice or liberty for people. In these higher aspirations, the important thing is not to achieve but to strive.”

-Aldo Leopold

Current Projects:

  • Golden-cheeked Warbler habitat use at Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge (With Drs. Jim Mueller and Steve Sesnie). – The Golden-cheeked Warbler (Setophaga chrysoparia) is an endangered songbird with a breeding range restricted to Central Texas.  Much of its historical breeding habitat in mature juniper-mixed woodlands has been cleared for human development. A stronghold for this species is habitat at Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge (BCNWR). This project uses Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) imagery to characterize woodland habitat conditions at BCNWR and surrounding areas. Many of the metrics derived from this imagery, such as understory vegetation density, are difficult to objectively measure at the refuge scale without the use of this technology.  When combined with point count surveys, the data layers developed from the LiDAR imagery will be used to develop predictive models of warbler density for the refuge and surrounding area. The results from these analyses will identify areas of high quality warbler habitat and help guide management for this species.
  • Development of tools to reduce time spent analyzing data for ongoing surveys.  The goal of this project is to develop statistically robust, user-friendly tools that allow biologists to spend less time analyzing data for wildlife surveys that are conducted on an ongoing basis. One application of this project, developed with Drs. Paige Schmidt and Mark Weckel, is the development of an online tool to estimate deer abundance from camera trap data. That tool can be accessed here:
  • Increasing chick survival rates of Attwater’s Prairie Chicken: Effects of fire ant control on invertebrate abundance (With Dr. Mike Morrow and Biologist Rebecca Chester).  Attwater’s Prairie Chicken (APC; Tympanuchus cupido attwateri), a highly endangered subspecies of the Greater Prairie Chicken, is native to coastal Texas and Louisiana. The APC Recovery Plan identified poor survival of chicks in the wild as “the single most important factor limiting significant progress toward recovery”.  Chicks feed on invertebrates and low invertebrate abundance is linked to high chick mortality. Introduced red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) are well known to reduce both invertebrate diversity and abundance. This project was designed to evaluate the efficacy of fire ant control on increasing the biomass and total number of non-fire ant invertebrates during the APC brooding season at five sites along the Texas coast, including Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge.

Ph.D., 2008, Ohio State University, Natural Resources                                                     M.S., 2003, University of Arkansas, Biology                                                                       B.S., 2000, University of Wisconsin – Steven’s Point, Wildlife/Biology


Harris, G., J. G Sanderson, J. Erz, S. E. Lehnen, and M. J. Butler. 2015. Weather and prey predict mammals’ visitation to water. PLoS ONE 10: e0141355.

Morrow, M.; R. Chester, S. E. Lehnen, B. Drees, and J. Toepfer. 2015. Indirect Effects of Red Imported Fire Ants on Attwater’s Prairie-Chicken Brood Survival. Journal of Wildlife Management

Krementz, D. G., R. Crossett II, and S.E. Lehnen. 2014. Nocturnal field use by fall migrating American woodcock in the delta of Arkansas. Journal of Wildlife Management 78: 264-272.

Lehnen, S.E., and A. D. Rodewald. 2013. Daily and seasonal movements of a shrubland-obligate breeder in relation to mature forest edge habitat. Forest Ecology and Management 305: 112-119. get pdf

Lehnen, S.E., and D. G. Krementz. 2013. Use of aquaculture ponds and other habitats by migrating shorebirds along the Lower Mississippi River. Environmental Management 52: 417-426. get pdf

Krementz, D. G., S. E. Lehnen, and J. D. Luscier. 2012. Habitat use of woodpeckers in the Big Woods of eastern Arkansas. Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management 3: 89-97. get pdf

Bolenbaugh, J. R., D. G. Krementz, S. E. Lehnen. 2011. Secretive marsh bird species co-occurrences and habitat association across the Midwest, USA. Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management 2: 49-60. get pdf

Luscier, J. D., S. E. Lehnen, and K. G. Smith. 2010. Patterns of habitat occupancy by rusty blackbirds wintering in the lower Mississippi alluvial valley. Condor 112: 441-448. get pdf

Lehnen, S. E., and A. D. Rodewald. 2009. Inter-patch movements in a shrubland- breeding bird community. Journal of Field Ornithology 80: 242-252. get pdf

Lehnen, S. E. and A. D. Rodewald. 2009. Investigating area-sensitivity in shrubland birds: responses to patch size in a forested landscape. Forest Ecology and Management 257: 2308-2316. get pdf

Lehnen, S. E., and D. G. Krementz. 2007. The influence of body condition on the stopover ecology of Least Sandpipers in the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley during fall migration. Avian Conservation and Ecology 2: Article 9. get pdf

Lehnen, S. E., and D. G. Krementz. 2005. Turnover rates of fall-migrating pectoral sandpipers through the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley. Journal of Wildlife Management 69:671-680. get pdf

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.