After logging in with the login link in the top right, click here to upload your Capstone

Capstone Projects

Feral Horse (Equus caballus) Management Plan for South Central Wyoming

Fri, 05/03/2019 - 13:35
Abstract: Feral horses are found through our western rangelands in the thousands tho they are not truly “Wild Horses” they are technically feral and were introduced into the western landscape by Spanish conquistadors in the 1500s. In Southcentral Wyoming, there are currently 3,403 adult feral horses within 3,008,875 acres of federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) which exceeds the appropriate management level (AML) is 1,521-2,104 adults. Feral horse overpopulation is a large strain on the BLM's budget and a political and social hot topic as there is both support for more horses to be on the range and support for them to be removed. To date, feral horses are federally protected by The Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 and are managed by the BLM. Feral horses have the potential to double their herd sizes every four years resulting in unchecked populations being able to overpopulate and degrade delicate rangeland ecosystem and utilizing resources crucial for native wildlife. Currently, feral horses are managed by rounding up the excess population via helicopter and removing them from the range to which they are then adopted out or held in captivity in the BLM's care. This management technique works but is time-consuming, expensive and redundant. To more adequately manage feral horses in south central Wyoming an animal roundup will be performed to have a population that is within the AML from which the immunocontraceptive Porcine Zona Pellucida (PZP) will be utilized to lower fecundity to a level that will prevent overpopulation. With this management option, PZP darting will have to be done on an annual basis but will be a much cheaper and socially acceptable option than today's. Once feral horse populations in South Central Wyoming are properly managed the result will be healthier multiple use rangelands for both wildlife, ranchers and recreationist to enjoy.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2019
Authors: Zachary R. Gauthier

Management Plan to Restore Henslow’s Sparrow (Ammodramus henslowii) Habitat in New York

Fri, 05/03/2019 - 13:53
Abstract: The Henslow’s sparrow (Ammodramus henslowii) is a grassland bird that lives throughout the Northern United States and Southern parts of Canada during the breeding season. Throughout history they are identified as a habitat indicator for grasslands. During the 1950’s Henslow’s sparrows thrived, but with the innovations in farming habitat, became sparse. Introduction of row crops and regenerating forests in New York have caused a decline in Henslow’s sparrow population. The goal of this management plan is to increase the Henslow’s sparrow population in New York by 20% within the next 20 years. An increase in general public and landowner knowledge of the Henslow’s sparrow by 80% in 20 years, done through the use of many different platforms such as social media, local newspaper, and mailed pamphlets and flyers in order to allow for multiple platforms of information gathering. There will be an increase in the available habitat for Henslow’s sparrows by 20% in 10 years. The use of surveying techniques will provide information about suitable areas for management of Henslow’s habitat leading to the implementation of landowner incentive programs. Improve the management practices on the existing Henslow’s sparrow habitat by 60% in 15 years. This increase accomplished through implementation of regulations on private landowners to integrate a mowing rotation and a decrease in pesticide use on grasslands and areas near grasslands that can cause drift from one field to another. It will also survey the Henslow’s sparrow population by 80% in the 5 years. This is accomplished through the use of surveys that already are in use, such as the breeding bird survey and the grassland bird survey. It is expected that throughout this management plan, not only will there be an increase of at least 20% of Henslow’s sparrows, but also improve understanding by the public of the needs of this species, leading to improved management practices and better habitat for this grassland bird.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2019
Authors: Scott Richardson

A Sustainable Management Plan for Invasive Red Deer (Cervus elaphus) in South America (2019-2049)

Fri, 05/03/2019 - 14:35
Abstract: Red deer (Cervus elaphus) are the fourth largest deer species in the world and are native throughout Europe, Western Asia, and Northern Africa. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classifies the red deer as “least concern” in its native range. In the early 1900’s red deer were introduced to South America for deer farming and trophy hunting. Today their populations are estimated at over 100,000 individuals. In South America, the IUCN classifies red deer as one of the 100 worst invasive species. They utilize a variety of habitat types and have expanded their range quickly, crossing the Andean mountain range separating Argentina and Chile. The main conservation issue associated with red deer is competition with native species. Red deer inhabit similar habitats and have dietary overlap with the pudu (Pudu pudu) and endangered huemul deer (Hippocamelus bisulcus) and may be contributing to declining numbers in those species. High browsing pressure is influencing native plant growth and may be altering forest ecosystems. The goal of this management plan is to reduce red deer populations in order to mitigate impacts on native species while maintaining a population that is sustainable for hunting. Proposed objectives to achieve this goal include: (1) increasing the understanding of red deer ecology in South America by publishing three peer reviewed articles, (2) surveying forested landscapes to monitor vegetative response to browsing pressure, (3) increase the number of hunters in the human population, and (4) reduce red deer populations by 30% within a 30 year period. If appropriate actions are taken, there should be an increased understanding of the ecological impacts red deer have on native species and forest ecosystems. Increased ecological knowledge along with hunter participation will help to reduce competitive impacts while sustaining a population that can be utilized as an economic resource for the region.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2019
File Attachments: White_finalplan.docx
Authors: Patrick White

Management Plan for White-headed Vultures (Trigonoceps occipitalis) in Africa 2019-2094

Fri, 05/03/2019 - 11:59
Abstract: White-headed vultures (Trigonoceps occipitalis) are Old-World vultures native to the African continent. They were once found across the landscape of central Africa but are currently restricted to protected habitats. Their diet consists of livestock and other ungulates carrion native to Africa. The populations of white-headed vultures are sharply declining due to anthropogenic causes. Ecological concerns are the loss of habitat due to deforestation, agricultural practices, and urbanization. Sociocultural and economic factors include black market trade, poisoning, and bush meat trade, these factors have contributed the greatest loss in population numbers of the species. All these areas of concern have been recorded across the entirety of Africa, but mainly near the Kruger National Park, where the highest portion of the population currently resides. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species currently has the white-headed vulture listed as a critically endangered species, due to the fact that the small population is experiencing an extreme rate of decline, with local populations believed to be experiencing an even faster decline due to major poisoning events. This management plan is to increase white-headed vulture populations in Africa to self-sustaining numbers, to prevent extinction of the species from 2019-2094. The objectives that are being used to help achieve this goal are: increase protected habitat for white-headed vultures by 10% in 5 years, increase adult and sub-adult survivorship by 5% in 10 years, and reduce poisoning and poaching of the white-headed vultures by 50% in 10 years. White-headed vultures are a vital species in the ecosystem in Africa and should not go extinct. With proper management for the white-headed vulture the populations can rebound and re-inhabit their historical habitat.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2019
File Attachments: Larocque_Capstone.docx
Authors: Brady J Larocque

The Management Plan for The African Clawless Otter

Fri, 05/03/2019 - 21:31
Abstract: The African Clawless Otter was first listed under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as least concern/lower risk in 1996. In 2014 the African Clawless Otter was listed as nearly threatened in South Africa. The African Clawless Otter are found everywhere in Africa except for the northern region. African Clawless Otters exist in most fresh water systems or near the coast. The otters are generally within 50 meters away from a source of water and their diet consists mainly of marine species such as fish, crabs, lobsters, and octopus. Primary conservation issue impacting the African Clawless Otter are the pollution of river systems in South Africa. Secondary conservation issue is that the otters are obtaining the fish that the fisherman catch so the fisherman are inclined to kill the otters so that the otters don’t continually keep taking their fish. The goal of this management plan is to increase the population size for the African Clawless Otter to a sustainable population and aid in the delisting of the species from the IUCN red list. The objectives for this management plan are: to increase African Clawless Otter acceptance rate of 50% by the human population in 20 years; the primary action for this objective would be to survey the fisherman and the non-fisherman in all the provinces of South Africa. Identify 15% of anthropogenic threats impacting the African Clawless Otter; the Primary action for this objective would be to create more legal repercussions from breaking the NEMB Act. Increase the survival rate in the post-weaning, juvenile, and adult stages of the African Clawless Otter by 10% over 40 years; the primary action for this objective is conduct 5 scientific studies into the population dynamics of the African Clawless Otter. By increasing public awareness, reducing human impacts, and increasing their survival rates, The Goal of increasing the African Clawless Otter populations to sustainable levels will be successful.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2019
Authors: Steven Campbell

Management Plan for the Rainbow Smelt (Osmerus mordax) in Lake Champlain

Fri, 05/03/2019 - 21:36
Abstract: The rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax) is a species of fish that live along most of the east coast, including Lake Champlain. At one point in time, this was the main forage for many species in the lake, but more recently these populations have declined. This is due to niche competition with the alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus). As they compete for the same niche, the two species select for the same prey source, which is comprised of a variety of aquatic invertebrates. The two species share the same habitat. This is located in cool water, which can be found throughout the entire water column during isothermal conditions, or in the hypolimnion during stratified conditions. Juvenile rainbow smelt will however make use of the metalimnion to avoid predation by mature smelt. The conditions found in the metalimnion are not conducive for the mature smelt, as the water temperatures are slightly too high. The decline of the rainbow smelt population is of concern for several reasons. First, this is a popular species for people to target throughout the ice fishing season, so the loss of the species may lead to a loss of income source. Second, the highest trophic level predators rely on rainbow smelt to fill this niche to survive. With the health at risk for the entire population of salmonids, and other high-end predators, the entire system may be at risk. It is known that salmonid populations cannot survive on the alewife, as predating on this species results in a lack of vitamins required for successful reproduction. Therefore, it is necessary to enact a plan to save the rainbow smelt population. The objectives of this management plan are to evaluate and clean up any potential rainbow smelt spawning locations, evaluate the entire population of rainbow smelt throughout Lake Champlain, and increase the age 0 survival of rainbow smelt in Lake Champlain by 1.8%. This species is essential to the health of Lake Champlain, and if these objectives are met it is possible to save the population that still exists.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2019
File Attachments: Final Management Plan.docx
Authors: Tanner Francis

Management plan for Streaked Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris strigata) populations in Oregon from 2019 to 2034

Sun, 05/05/2019 - 14:25
Abstract: The streaked horned lark (Eremophila alpestris strigata) is an endemic subspecies only found in western Washington and Oregon. It is a distinctive subspecies of the horned lark (Eremophila alpestris), a common grassland passerine. The subspecies is unique, remote, and has diminutive genetic diversity as shown by genetic data. The streaked horned lark was listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2013. Historically, the streaked horned lark was more abundant and prevalent, but has become increasingly rare with habitat deteriorations and is now inhibited to a few large open grasslands and sparsely vegetated locations- including airports, sandy islands, and coastal spits. Oregon breeding areas can be found alongside the lower Columbia, airports and agricultural fields in the Willamette Valley. Several issues disturb streaked horned larks including: predation of nests and fledglings, human disturbance, and probable low genetic diversity triggered by inbreeding in small populations with high site fidelity. The goal of this management plan is to increase streaked horned lark populations and habitat to sustain viable populations in Oregon from 2019 to 2034. This goal will be achieved through increasing available lark habitat on both public and private lands, along with increasing survivorship rates of juvenile and adult streaked horned larks to increase populations and in return providing more genetic diversity. Habitat in public lands will be managed by various control methods, and private lands will be accessed and managed by providing farmers with enticements. The eventual outcome of this management plan will help further protect and restore many prairie-like habitats that many grassland species rely on, while also providing an additional reason to ensure that streaked horned lark persist into the future.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2019
Authors: Tyler J. Keim

Management Plan for the Endangered Australian Sea Lion (Neophoca cinerea) on the Western and Southern Coast of Australia

Sun, 05/05/2019 - 17:20
Abstract: The Australian sea lion (Neophoca cinerea) is an endangered species that is endemic to the West Australia and South Australia coastlines. It is one of the rarest otariids in the world. The species is unique among other otariids because of its nonannual, nonseasonal breeding cycle, along with the females’ high natal site fidelity. The high natal site fidelity causes genetic drift among the population and can reduce fecundity. The Australian sea lion has multiple conservation issues including bycatch through gillnets and pots, hookworm infections, pup deaths, ecotourism, and pollution. The goal of this management plan is to increase the population to carrying capacity then stabilize it, on the coast of West Australia and South Australia. Objective one is to increase young adult and adult survivorship by at least 3% within fifteen years, this can be accomplished through reducing/limiting bycatch from gillnets and decreasing pollution. Objective two is to increase the understanding of the populations and their distributions by establishing a research program in the next five years and publish five scientific papers in twenty years. Accomplishment of objective two will be met through conducting pup counts and camera trapping at main breeding colonies and if those actions do not fulfill the objective then radio-collaring and relocation will be implemented. Objective three is to decrease pup mortality by 2% per year or 4% per breeding cycle in the next fifteen years. This will be accomplished through decreasing hookworm infections through ivermectin and decreasing bycatch from rock lobster and crayfish pots. Objective four is to increase education by 25% within the next three years, this can be accomplished through surveys of the public and educational pamphlets. This management plan would prevent the Australian sea lion from extinction if the objectives and actions are met in the established timeline.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2019
File Attachments: Management Plan .pdf
Authors: Anna Mehner

The Pinocchio Lizard (Anolis proboscis): Conserving Mindo's Hidden Anole

Tue, 05/07/2019 - 11:45
Abstract: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The Pinocchio lizard (Anolis proboscis) is a cryptic, arboreal anole with in the laevies species group characterized by the unique rostral appendage. Rediscovered in 2005 in Mindo, Ecuador, our understanding of species is limited. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) currently lists the species as endangered for its limited extant range within the Andean cloud forests near Mindo (Pichincha). Their reliance on canopy cover with branching twigs makes habitat loss the greatest ecological concern. Anthropomorphic influences such as agriculture, urban development, and oil industry continue to increase the rate of deforestation. The goal of this plan is to provide protection and recover the populations of Pinocchio lizards within 15 years. The following objectives are designed to achieve this goal. (1) Determine population size estimates and detailed suitable habitat requirements of the Pinocchio lizard within 2-3 years. (2) Implement an education and awareness campaign in Mindo within 1 year. (3) Establish the Mindo as a National Park within the next 5 years. (4) Increase survivorship of all life stages within 3 years. Research is needed to develop a detailed understanding is needed to make informed decisions to achieve objectives. Establishing the extant range of the species as a National Park will discourage provide habitat and legal protection. Implementing a captive breeding and reintroduction program will increase immature life stages needed to increase wild populations. If objectives are met successfully, the species will be federally protected throughout its extant range, the population will be stabilized, and will be delisted from the IUCN red list, conserving the biodiversity of Ecuador’s cloud forests.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2019
Authors: Gavin Shwahla

Fish Community Structure with the Reestablishment of Beavers in Beaver Ponds in Smitty Creek Watershed

Tue, 05/07/2019 - 18:15
Abstract: This study is part of a long-term monitoring project, which looks into fish assemblages and the impact beaver reestablishment has on them. Beavers were abundant in 2006, but as of 2011 beavers had left the ponds to go somewhere else, and in this study there was clear signs of beaver presence. The study takes place in a series of continuous beaver ponds located within the Smitty Creek Watershed. Minnow traps were baited and set for 24 hours in order to catch a sample of fish from each pond. Results were compared to data from (2006 and 2011). This year’s data showed two new species of fish that haven’t been found in the beaver ponds before, Northern Pearl Dace (Margariscus nachtriebi) and Finescale Dace (Phoxinus neogaeus). Brook Trout individuals in the study were one lower in 2011, but many more Brook Trout were caught in 2006. Creek Chub have always composed the highest number of fishes. Finescale Dace and Redbelly Dace were found in low abundances.  
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2019
Authors: Nicholas Shalayda