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Capstone Projects

Recovery Plan for the Wood Turtle (Glyptemys insculpta) in Connecticut

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 10:16
Abstract: Since European colonization began in North America, turtle populations have declined across the entire continent, due to habitat conversion and overharvesting. Wood turtles (Glyptemys insculpta) are medium-sized freshwater turtles, and the most terrestrial of North American turtles, though they still require year-round flowing streams. They are found throughout southern Canada, the Great Lakes region, and the northeastern United States south to Virginia. Wild adults attain sexual maturity at 10-14 and have been known to reach 50 years of age. Their populations have survived the impacts of human development until recent history, when automobiles and the expansion of road systems caused far greater adult mortality. This species is considered rare, but widespread, and is threatened with extinction due to small local population size, and components of their life history strategy. Like many turtles, wood turtle populations exhibit a Type 3 survivorship curve, with high nest and hatchling mortality, and low adult mortality. Their small disjunct breeding populations experience unnaturally high adult mortality from road crossings, illegal collection, agricultural mortality, subsidized depredation, and possibly forestry and dam practices. These problems are compounded by a lack of information regarding the species’s ecology. Currently there is no accurate population estimate, though the Canadian government estimates near or above 10,000 individuals range-wide. The focus of current management is to promote the survivorship of adult wood turtles, since adult survivorship is more essential to healthy populations than that of nests or juveniles. Emphasis is placed on reducing mortality from road crossings through fencing and underpasses, and reducing illegal collection. In areas where human development is less, collection may be the only serious threat. This management plan presents a comprehensive research plan that focuses on understanding the ecology of wood turtles, and outlines adaptive management strategies to increase survivorship. The goal of this plan is to ensure that a comprehensive and adaptive strategy is in place to reestablish the long-term stability of wood turtle populations in Connecticut.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
Authors: Andrew Thomas Bowe

Management Plan for Red-throated loons (Gavia stellata) in North America

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 10:44
Abstract: Red-throated loons (Gavia stellata) are an indicator species for aquatic ecosystems and environmental impacts. Although red-throated loons are listed as a species of least concern, their population is overall declining and not much is understood as to why this is occurring. Their population in Europe, Asia, and Russia are declining, but the North American population has remained stable for the last 40 years. From 1977-1993, the red-throated loon population in Alaska declined by 53% due to the 1985 T/V Exxon oil spill in the North Pacific Ocean. The current issue with red-throated loons is that there is no current data on their behavior, demographics and environmental threats, which makes it difficult to determine what best management practices are needed in order to maintain their population in North America. This management plan is designed to maintain the stable red-throated loon population, increase the understanding of their behavior, increase the public awareness on their ecological role, and monitor environmental impacts that affect red-throated loons for duration of 10 years. This will be done through a series of objectives such as: increasing first year survival rates and nesting success; maintaining the annual adult survival rate at its current rate; educating fish market industries, oil and gas industries, and the general public on the ecological role of red-throated loons; conducting behavioral studies and monitoring concentrations of contaminants that affect red-throated loons.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
Authors: Timothy Flannery

Management plan for the rusty patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis) in Indiana (2017-2027)

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 11:30
Abstract: The rusty patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis) used to be widely distributed throughout much of the Midwest and Northeast United States. However, B. affinis has experienced precipitous declines over the last two decades in part due to habitat loss, climate change, pathogens, and agricultural pesticides. Loss of crop pollination by insect pollinators like B. affinis, which supports large portions of our agricultural industry, presents an imminent threat to our economy and culture by reducing the diversity and security of crops produced nationally. Because recent political turmoil obfuscates federal responses to wildlife conservation, including enforcing the recently acquired endangered species status of B. affinis, state-level management plans may become integral for protecting endangered species. The state of Indiana has historically had large populations of B. affinis and is one of few states with such historical populations that also have counties with documented occurrences of B. affinis between 2000 and 2015. This management plan aims to stabilize B. affinis populations in the state of Indiana by 2027. Surveys will determine the extent to which B. affinis occur in counties with recent occurrence records by 2020, and long-term studies will aim to inform adaptive aspects of the plan and bridge gaps in knowledge about the ecology of B. affinis by 2027. Habitat management is addressed through creation or maintenance of spatially and temporally diverse floral resources by 2027 that will bolster the ability of queens to found colonies, and for colonies to produce more workers and queens throughout their whole cycle. Lastly, the lead state agency will propose legislation that bans the use of harmful neonicotinoids statewide by 2022 in order to increase queen reproductive success. The rusty patched bumble bee represents a culturally and financially significant species of conservation concern; this management plan details state-level actions that will stabilize B. affinis populations by 2027 independent of federal action.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
Authors: Eric W. Juers

Management Plan for Saker Falcons (Falco cherrug) in Ukraine

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 11:31
Abstract: The Saker falcon (Falco cherrug) is a critical species in Ukraine’s dry grassland ecosystem. It is a large falcon that varies in coloration, ranging from dark brown to a light cream color. It is sexually dimorphic only by size, with the female being larger than the male. This falcon preys primarily on small mammals and medium-sized game birds within the grassland ecosystem. This raptor species was nearly extirpated from Ukraine due to heavy pesticide use and nest robbing. At the beginning of the 20th century an estimated 120-140 pairs of Saker falcons resided in Ukraine. The population has increased slowly since protection was enacted in 2001, and in 2010 the population reached 400 estimated pairs. The population has remained steady since it reached this level. However, the Saker falcon still remains endangered in Ukraine. The current threats of the Saker falcons in Ukraine include lack of nesting habitat, which prevents population from increasing, loss of grassland habitat for hunting, and a lowered availability of prey species such as the European ground squirrel (Spermophilus citellus). Prey availability has decreased due to loss of grassland habitat. This management plan outlines actions to increase the Saker falcon population by 70% from 2018 to 2038. This will be accomplished by increasing nesting habitat, improving grassland habitat in order to increase the European ground squirrel population, and enacting polices that will regulate the illegal taking of eyesses (a young bird taken from the nest before it has fledged) and wild juvenile Saker falcons for use in falconry. The projected population increase from these actions will allow for the delisting of Saker falcons in Ukraine by 2038.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
File Attachments: Management Plan_Final.docx
Authors: Joshua Pfautz

Management Plan for Coyotes (Canis latrans) on Long Island, New York from 2017 to 2032

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 12:15
Abstract: Prior to 1995, coyotes were absent from Long Island and New York City. Since that time, coyotes have been migrating across NYC and Long Island but have been removed due to human complaints. Yet, the establishment of a coyote population will occur on Long Island by year 2027. Because coyotes are generalist species, theoretically, their range will extend throughout Long Island. The impact of coyotes on the ecology on Long Island is not known but is predicted to decrease small mammal, feral and free-roaming cat, and white-tailed deer populations. Citizens on Long Island have not experienced the presence of an apex predator historically. It is projected with the inhabitance of coyotes, negative perceptions and human-coyote conflicts will arise. The goals of this management plan are to determine biological and sociocultural carrying capacity of coyotes on Long Island, mitigate human-wildlife interactions with the establishment of a coyote population on Long Island, and determine the effects of coyotes on Long Island fauna by the year 2032. Objectives include monitoring the establishing coyote population on Long Island, maintaining the population once it reaches carrying capacity, educating the public by the year 2022, and monitoring small mammal population sizes, feral and free-ranging cat population sizes, and white-tailed deer population demographics on Long Island by year 2032.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
File Attachments: Ruhle_Management_Plan.pdf
Authors: Taylor Ruhle

Conservation and Management Plan for Northern Goshawks (Accipiter gentilis) in Northern New York State

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 12:18
Abstract: Through the mid to late 1900s, northern goshawks (Accipiter gentilis; now referred to as goshawks), populations have declined drastically due to timber harvesting. Timber harvesting, in North America, has impacted western populations of goshawks the most by timber industries need for mature to old growth trees in which goshawks utilize in nesting and foraging habitat. Goshawks are forest dwelling; secretive hawks that rarely break the top of the canopy. Mature to old growth forest is crucial to goshawk success in that goshawks occupy areas with closed canopies (~>60%) and sturdy nesting trees with suitable side branches to hold a large stick nest. Only about 2 years of data collection have been completed and are still ongoing on goshawks and there is not too much data on goshawk populations in the North Country of northern New York State (Regions 5 and 6; NYSDEC). The need for this management plan is to have a plan to fall back on if researchers observe a decline in the population, this plan also incorporates goals in finding suitable habitat using GIS, estimating population size, delineating core reserves around nesting areas, fisher surveys, and the continuation of color marking individual goshawks for another 20 years (2017-2037). This plan also has objectives to incorporate techniques in lowering the chances of goshawks being predated upon the rising fisher populations by utilizing trail cameras and metal barriers, develop GIS mapping of areas of suitable habitat for goshawks, and establishment of management zones and core reserves around current and all existing nesting trees. More research has to been done on the population of goshawks in the North Country due to the lack of scientific research that has been completed in the North Country.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
File Attachments: Final Management Plan
Authors: Connor Vara

Management Plan for North American Porcupines (Erethizon dorsatum) West of the Cascade Mountains in Oregon

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 12:28
Abstract: North American porcupines (Erethizon dorsatum) are rodents that reside in heavily forested areas. They prefer mixed forest stands with rock dens for cover, thermoregulation, and diet. They primarily feed on lignin of trees and are therefore frequently in the tree canopy feeding and avoiding predators. Due to their damage to trees, porcupines are commonly perceived as a nuisance by the public as logging is an important industry in western Oregon. In most states, including Oregon, they are unprotected by harvest regulations which can lead to unsustainable recreational harvest rates. Hence, harvesting porcupines in this region protect trees from a nuisance species, could be one of the factors for declining porcupine populations. Additionally, habitat loss and fragmentation could also be primary factors to porcupine decline. Habitat loss coupled with a lack of harvest management regulations could potentially extirpate the species from western Oregon in the near future. This management plan will be active from 2018 to 2028. The goal of the management plan is to create a 5% increase in total population in western Oregon. This can be achieved by reducing clear cutting by 5% and require forest management practices that provide 60-70% deciduous and 30-40% coniferous forest composition. Another objective is to increase adult survivorship to 85%. This management plan recommends a daily bag limit of one porcupine from September to December with a maximum of 5 individuals per year, until populations are presumed to be healthy. Creation and preservation of cover via rock dens and tree cavities will increase survivorship by decreasing predation rates. Porcupines can be considered a keystone species as they can change forest composition and provide habitat for other species of wildlife such as woodpeckers. Efforts to cooperate with logging industries and porcupine harvest rates would be beneficial to the wildlife of western Oregon.
Access: Yes
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
Authors: Michael E. Servant

Management Plan for Fearful Owls (Nesasio solomonensis) on the Solomon Islands

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 12:40
Abstract: The fearful owl (Nesasio solomonensis) is a native avian predator endemic to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. The fearful owl is described as a secretive species with subpopulations found on three islands; Bougainville in Papua New Guinea, as well as Choiseul and Santa Isabel on the Solomon Islands. This species is known to inhabit old growth forests, which have and still are being decimated for logging practices; thus, resulting in forest habitat loss. The main prey species of the fearful owl, the northern common cuscus (Phalanger orientalis) is heavily hunted on the Solomon Islands resulting in reduced food availability. The IUCN listed the fearful owl as Near Threatened in 1988 and then as Vulnerable in 1994, which has remained unchanged. In 2016, overall population estimate of fearful owls is 2,500 - 9,999 individuals. The relisting of this species was due to the excessive habitat loss and decrease of northern common cuscus populations. A lack of knowledge of their ecology exists and until their life history is better understood, management decisions are dependent on using related species such as the barking owl (Ninox connivens) and tawny owl (Strix aluco). To increase fearful owl populations to 6,000 individuals on the Solomon Islands by the year 2043, there needs to be a focus on adult and juvenile survivorship and initiating habitat restoration. This plan aims to achieve this goal by increasing prey populations, preserving primary forests, initiating regrowth of forests, and enhancing educational awareness about habitat loss by educating the local communities. Population models predict that if no action is taken to conserve this species, the fearful owl will be extinct within the next 250 years.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
Authors: Nicole Schmidt

Margay (Leopardus wiedii) Management Plan for Mexico & Central America from 2017 to 2037

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 13:43
Abstract: Margays (Leopardus wiedii) are a mid sized Neotropical felid that is endemic to Central and South America. They are associated with forest habitat with a lot of tree canopy and considered to be highly adapted to arboreal life. Margays inhabit continuous forest to smaller forest fragments in deciduous, coniferous and savanna ecosystems. Overall, margay populations are declining throughout much of its range due to habitat fragmentation, conversion of forest to agricultural farmland and human expansion. Margay populations are expected to decline over the next 18 years at a rate close to 30%. Little is known about population densities of margays and more research needs to be conducted in order to further understand margay ecology and biology. Over the next 10 years scientists predict that forest degradation, hydroelectric dams, fire and deforestation will further fragment and isolate populations of margays throughout its native range. This management plan proposes five objectives, which are designed to educate native people about margays and provide incentives if there is human wildlife conflict, determine densities of margays throughout Central America and Mexico, determine the amount of spatial juxtaposition of corridors needed, monitor areas where margays and ocelots were both found and slow the rate of deforestation throughout Central America.
Access: Yes
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
Authors: Nick Petterelli

Management Plan for Bobcats in the Finger Lakes Region of Western New York

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 15:06
Abstract: Bobcats are a popular species for hunters and trappers due to the fact that they are so elusive from humans. Each year human development increases which leads to a decrease of suitable habitat for bobcats. This is the reason for the previous decline in bobcat populations in many regions throughout the United States. With proper management actions implemented, the Fingers Lakes region of New York has the potential to increase and maintain bobcat populations. The goal of this plan is to Increase and maintain a bobcat population in the Finger Lakes region of western New York to allow hunting in the region. To achieve this goal the following objectives will need to be met: 1. Increase bobcat population size to 2 individuals per square mile of suitable habitat in the next ten years, 2. Improve bobcat habitat in areas of intense agriculture annually in the Finger Lakes region of New York throughout the next 5 years, and 3. Create the opportunity for quality hunting and trapping experiences by the general public within the next ten years, or when the population size reaches 2 individuals per square mile of suitable habitat. Increasing bobcat population size will benefit hunters and trappers with the introduction of hunting and trapping seasons and an increase in opportunity and satisfaction and therefore presenting an economic benefit to the region. Also, several other species of wildlife may benefit from the efforts to restore habitat.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
Authors: Jared McAllister