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Capstone Projects

Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) Management Plan for the Western United States

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 11:14
Abstract: Executive Summary Golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) can be found throughout the western United States in large meta-populations. Their population is currently stable but is being threatened by energy companies. The golden eagle population is currently growing about two percent a year. Within the past ten years, 70% of golden eagle deaths have been caused by human-related activities. Electrocution and interactions with wind turbines are the two primary causes of golden eagle deaths. Currently, there are not many actions being utilized to decrease the number of human-related deaths. Therefore, actions must be taken in order to reduce the number of human-related deaths in the western United States. The goal of this management plan is to maintain a self-sustaining golden eagle population. Actions such as decreasing the number of deaths by electrocution and wind turbines, and increasing the number of captive released subadults into the wild will help to decrease human-related deaths. Failure to act will likely result in the decline of golden eagles.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2015
Authors: Travis Stoll

Comparison of Fish Assemblages between Impacted and Minimally Impacted Shorelines on Lower St. Regis Lake

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 11:49
Abstract: One of the least understood aspects of aquatic ecology is the role of the riparian zones of lakes, and how these habitats and their functions are impacted by human development of lakeshores. Nine impacted and six minimally impacted shorelines on Lower St. Regis Lake were classified with respect to the existing littoral coarse woody structure (CWS) and fish assemblages. There was a significant difference in normalized coarse woody debris ranking between the impacted and minimally impacted sites based upon the results of a Mann-Whitney non-parametric test. The minimally impacted sites exhibited a higher coarse woody structure ranking on average when compared to the impacted sample sites. Coarse woody structure in littoral zones plays a pivotal role in the feeding behaviors and survival of young fishes. The lack of coarse woody debris in littoral zones not only impacts the littoral structure of lakes, but can have a cascading effect on the overall health and productivity of lake ecosystems. Fish densities between the minimally impacted and impacted sites were not significantly different. While no significant difference was observed for the fish densities, the timing and limited sampling periods for this study may have influenced the low observed abundance of fish sampled. The low abundance of sampled fishes can also potentially be attributed to a poor year of recruitment to the fish populations in Lower St. Regis Lake. Further refinement of the field methods for sampling could improve the effectiveness of the study and result in a conclusive description of shoreline degradation in lake systems. The results of this study could be used to develop preliminary methods for monitoring or assessing shoreline degradation and its impacts on fish assemblages that rely upon natural littoral zones. Future management and regulations regarding the development and degradation of both riparian and shoreline zones along lakes can prevent a disastrous decline in fish populations and lake productivity throughout the Adirondack Park.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2015
Authors: Jacob Ball

Northern New England and New York Mountain Lion Recolonization Management Plan

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 12:33
Abstract: Mountain lions (Puma concolor) were a common species found in the United States during the 1800s. Currently there are no breeding populations of mountain lions known to exist in the northeastern section of the United States. This loss of the species was due to human development and over harvesting that was facilitated by bounties. Humans have had a direct contribution to the loss of the species throughout this part of the country. Colonial expansion of farms into wild areas caused a negative connotation to mountain lions when predation occurred on livestock. This is what led to their local extinction. Today mountain lion populations are in great abundance throughout South America, western United States and Canada, and eastern portions of New Brunswick, Canada. Habitat degradation reduced suitable habitat and has pushed mountain lions to new geographic ranges. Ranging males have occurred in eastern United States in search of females and are increasing in quantity. This raises a question to whether breeding populations could be supported in the northeast. Due to state and federally owned land, there is suitable habitat located in the northeast. Help will be needed to facilitate the recolonization of this species. The goals of this management plan are to re-establish population sizes large enough for reproduction and satisfy stakeholders. To meet the goals for this management plan, four objectives must be met (1) Agreements must be made with landowners of property of 100 acres and larger in Northern New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine by 2020 that allows these lands to be protected for mountain lion use, (2) regulation of population numbers will be implemented by hunting harvest quota that will cause declines when population reaches two lions per square mile, (3) current average auction prices for livestock that are killed due to mountain lion predation will be provided to the owners, and (4) mountain lion, along with other large predator education will be provided to children in elementary school. This management plan requires extensive work in monitoring recolonizing mountain lion populations along with aiding with interactions that occur between mountain lions and humans. The overall goal of this plan is to re-establish a breeding mountain lion population within the northeast of the United States.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2015
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Zachary Beauregard

Management Plan for Wolverines (Gulo gulo) in the Northern Rocky Mountains of the United States

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 18:33
Abstract: The number of wolverines (Gulo gulo) throughout their historic range has been decreasing overall in the past 150 years. In some portions of their ranges wolverines have disappeared, while in other areas their populations are dense enough to be hunted as a game species. The number of people living within the geographic range of wolverines has increased over the past several decades. This means that more wolverine habitat is encroached on, therefore reducing the places that they are able to live. Wolverines have large home ranges from 100km2-900km2 and they need to be able to travel large distances in order to forage for food. If there are barriers to the movements of wolverines, then it will be more difficult for them to gather food to survive, and this can eventually cause their home ranges to shift to areas where there is less human habitation. Over 90% of the land in the lower 48 states has been logged, plowed, or disturbed from its original condition. This has resulted in a large loss of wildlife habitat that is crucial for the survival of many animals. For this management plan I will study populations of wolverines in the Northern Rocky Mountains of the United States and determine what actions need to be taken in order to restore populations of wolverines. The goal of my management plan is to increase wolverine populations to the point where no further management actions will be needed in order to keep populations steady or growing. This plan will reduce the amount of human encroachment into wilderness areas, lower poaching rates, educate the public on the importance of wolverines in their ecosystems, and reduce human-wolverine conflicts on ranches. This will result in a greater number of wolverines living in the Northern Rocky Mountains of the United States and reduce many of the threats to their survival.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2015
Authors: Thomas Buel

Managing White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) In Urban/Suburban Environments of New York State

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 18:49
Abstract: The purpose of this management plan is to reduce white-tailed deer numbers to safe and enjoyable numbers in those urban/suburban settings that need management of white-tailed deer. After implementation this management plan will reduce the total deer population, reduce the amount of damage to ornamental plants, reduce the amount of deer/vehicle collisions, and reduce the contraction rate of Lyme Disease.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2015
Authors: Lucas Cipperly

Kakapo (Strigops habroptilus) Management plan: Fighting the Brink of Extinction

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 19:09
Abstract: This management plan focuses on the protection of the critically endangered kakapo, endemic to New Zealand. At this time, there are 150 individuals left which are restricted to four off shore islands surrounding New Zealand. These individuals are threatened by invasive predators as well as low genetic diversity. This plan aims to prevent the extinction of this species as well as create genetic diversity within the population by lowering invasive predator populations and creating a pedigree respectively.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2015
File Attachments: kakapo management plan.docx
Authors: Jessie Fischer

Managing North America’s Rarest Songbird, the Kirtland’s Warbler (Dendroica kirtlandii)

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 19:55
Abstract: First discovered in 1852, the Kirtland’s warbler has come to be known as North America’s rarest songbird because of its limited geographic range and specific habitat needs. This endangered species is considered to be conservation-reliant which means that a self-sustaining population is unlikely and constant management is needed in order to continue the existence of the species. The Kirtland’s warbler was once on the edge of extinction until the population began to increase due to the endless management of habitat, brood parasites, and human interaction. Without this continuous management however the Kirtland’s warbler population would likely drop to pre-management numbers and would soon disappear from the planet altogether. The over-arching goal of this management plan is to raise the Kirtland’s warbler population to the point where it is self-sustaining and no longer relies on conservation efforts to keep the species extant. This management plans goal is to be achieved by creating and protecting suitable habitat in both the breeding grounds, implementation of brown-headed cowbird trapping, public education, and restricting access to habitat during breeding months. The actions proposed will create a greater amount of habitat and reduce the negative impacts affecting the population, leading to a higher abundance and potentially a self-sustaining population.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2015
Authors: Corey Loerzel

A management plan for cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) in the Serengeti National Park of Tanzania

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 21:32
Abstract: Cheetah’s (Acinonyx jubatus) are well known as the fastest land mammal on the globe, capable of reaching record running speeds exceeding 65 miles per hour (110 kilometers per hour) and acceleration rates of 7.5 m s-2. Over their history, however, these large felids have not been able to outrun the risk of extinction. In the last century, cheetah numbers have drastically declined, resulting in a net loss of over 90% of their population. Currently, the extant worldwide population is estimated at approximately 7500 adult animals. The Serengeti National Park in Tanzania is home to an overall dynamic ecosystem filled with numerous species of wildlife, of which, there is a cheetah population that has been extensively studied over many decades. The survival of this species in the National Park requires the implementation of management strategies that will ensure the greatest positive impact on the cheetah population, while also taking into consideration the costs and threats to other species and stakeholders. This particular management plan aims to incorporate the many variables that play a role in the ecological, as well as anthropogenic aspects of the area. A successful management plan for the Serengeti cheetah must utilize all possible information related to the ecology of the wildlife, the policy of the area, and the sociocultural and economic facets that effect the region. Ultimately, these interconnected disciplines must be combined in order to make these important conservation decisions and effectively manage for this vulnerable species. This management plan has brought together these related fields and incorporated them into viable strategies and actions that could be implemented in order to meet the outlined objectives and maximize the probability that the Serengeti cheetah population will increase in numbers. Focusing attention on only one front of cheetah conservation may yield positive results. However, if the overall viability of the population is to remain, all avenues of conservation must be taken. Ecologically speaking, the management of predator populations could lead to increased cheetah cub mortality, but the education of farmers and ranchers, who persecute adult cheetahs on farmland, would furthermore benefit the Serengeti cheetah population since more adults would be available to successfully reproduce. If the cheetah population in the Serengeti is to remain sustainable, wildlife managers must incorporate all aspects of conservation into the management of this species.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2015
Authors: David M. Hejna

Management Plan for Feral Swine (Sus scrofa) in New York

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 21:41
Abstract: Every year feral swine cause massive damage to the environment and economy due to their foraging habits. It is estimated that feral swine cause $800 million of damage to agriculture and $1.5 billion overall each year in the United States. The feral swine population in New York is currently small enough to be effectively managed if quick action is taken. However, if actions are not taken quickly breeding populations of feral swine will grow exponentially due to their high fecundity and survivability and will become a much bigger problem and hard to manage. This management plan details the best way to quickly eliminate feral swine in New York to stop the damage they are currently doing, and block them from doing more damage in New York. Actions that will be taken include group capturing of feral swine, opportunistic take by farmers, aerial hunting and surveying, poisoning by sodium nitrate, posting publications in public buildings, holding a press conference, enacting an invasive species school curriculum, and using Judas hogs.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2015
Authors: Ryan Reinshagen

A Management Plan for the Black-Tailed Prairie Dog (Cynomys ludovicianus)

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 22:07
Abstract: Since the turn of the century black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) populations have declined as much as 98% throughout North America (Miller et al. 1994). It was once thought that prairie dogs occupied between 80-104 million acres historically, but with the expansion of ranching and agriculture into the prairie dogs native habitat, that number has been reduced to 2.4 million acres in recent years. Black-tailed prairie dogs play a vital role in the prairie and grasslands ecosystems. There are a number of different species of animals that depend on prairie dogs and their activities. It has been thought that over 170 species rely on the prairie dogs for their burrows, for food, and the habitat they create. Most states currently within the range of the black-tailed prairie dog classify the species as a pest or varmint, and no state has adequate regulatory mechanisms in place to assure conservation of this species within its borders. This management plan will propose strategies to adequately regulate the conservation of the black-tailed prairie dog, eventually leading to the partial restoration of the prairie ecosystem.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2015
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Ryan McAuliffe