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Capstone Projects

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
Literary Rights: Off
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.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
Authors: Jared McAllister

Gunnison Sage Grouse (Centrocercus minimus) Range-wide Conservation Plan 2017-2027

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 17:57
Abstract: Inhabiting several isolated populations in southwest Colorado and southeast Utah, Gunnison sage grouse (Centrocercus minimus) have been mesmerizing bird watchers and ornithologists, and concerning wildlife biologists. This gallinaceous bird relies solely on leks for mating, and has been a species of concern since it was classified as a separate species from the Greater sage grouse. This species numbering roughly 5000 has been declining due to factors threatening their habitat and leking grounds, and factors affecting their genetic diversity. Human actions, whether it be construction of roads and housing, disturbance caused by natural resource exploitation such as drilling for natural gas and oil, or even grazing cattle to provide food for the population, have all severely impacted the ability of this species to persist. Genetic factors have also been a source for reduced fitness and population viability. Due to the isolated populations, inbreeding and loss of genetic diversity has begun to negatively affect these isolated populations, further reducing the overall viability of the species, with the number of alleles present being reduced to 2.13 in extreme cases. The goal of this management plan is to increase the health and size of the population by 2027, as well as to make Gunnison sage grouse a game species once adequate population sizes have been established. This goal will be achieved through restoration and improvement of sagebrush habitat on both private and public lands, along with transplants of individuals to isolated populations to increase genetic diversity. Private lands will be accessed and managed by providing land owners with incentives such as tax breaks and income compensation. The eventual classification of this species as a game animal will further increase the value of the species to human populations while also providing an additional reason to ensure that Gunnison sage grouse persist into the future.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
File Attachments: Capstone_final_bridge.docx
Authors: Dakota Bridge

Management Plan for Radiated Tortoises in Madagascar (Astrochelys radiata)

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 19:57
Abstract: Radiated tortoises are native to southern Madagascar. As of 2008, they have been listed as critically endangered. Human influences such as deforestation, increased poaching, and overexploitation are responsible for the decrease in their population. These tortoises are vulnerable to population decline because they reproduce between 16 and 20 years of age. Without management, they could go extinct within 30 years.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
File Attachments: final management plan.docx
Authors: Stephanie Weston

Management Plan for the Invasive Reeves’s Muntjac (Muntiacus reevesi) in Southeastern England (2017-2027)

Fri, 04/28/2017 - 18:01
Abstract: Reeves’s Muntjac (Muntiacus reevesi) are an invasive harmful ungulate that brings many issues which include spread of diseases, destruction of understory, and a continuous increasing population when it was introduced into South Eastern England both intentionally and accidentally. Reeves’s Muntjac can reproduce year-round and do not have a rut like other deer species which cause this invasive species to grow in population size even faster. This increase in population size leads to issues with changes in understory composition. Muntjac will overbrowse on a wide variety of species of common ground flora but avoid certain rare species which leads to a change in ground flora. Many trees like common hazel (Corylus avellana), field maple (Acer campestre) and European ash (Fraxinus excelsior) are threatened due to over browsing by Muntjac and coppicing practices had to be stopped. The goal of this management plan is to decrease the increasing population and range of Reeves’s Muntjac in southeast Great Britain but still maintain a population for hunting. To accomplish this, sterilization and shooting will be used to decrease the deer population. The population will have continued to be monitored through line transects of Muntjac scat. The use of a harvest reporting program will give a better idea of numbers of Muntjac harvested annually by hunters to help future managers better monitor the population. These actions are important so we can better manage the populations so they do not get out of control and destroy the native vegetation of Great Britain.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
File Attachments: Management Plan 1.docx
Authors: Kyle Martin

Spruce grouse (Falcipennis canadensis) management in the northern Adirondacks

Fri, 04/28/2017 - 22:31
Abstract: Spruce grouse (Falcipennis canadensis) are a large game bird that exists in the northern Adirondacks as well as most of Canada and several other states in the U.S. including Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Alaska. With estimated populations of approximately 200, spruce grouse are threatened with becoming extirpated. In the northern Adirondacks, spruce grouse are dependent on coniferous forests that provide adequate cover and food that consists of Jack pine (Pinus banksiana) and black spruce (Picea mariana). These preferred habitats consist of dense middle-aged forests, unfortunately these preferred habitats have declined due to climate change and logging (Potvin 2006). To manage for these types of forests this plan will implement stem exclusion and prescribed fires. These forest management techniques will allow for more understory regeneration that will require several years to achieve. Additionally, translocation of spruce grouse into three counties (St. Lawrence, Franklin, and Essex) of the northern Adirondacks will help increase spruce grouse populations, which will be monitored using radio-tracking. Predator control, such as trapping red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) is expected to increase fledgling survival. The synergistic effect of these management strategies will achieve a sustainable population of spruce grouse in the northern Adirondacks by 2027.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
Authors: Ray Coffey

Management Plan for Round Gobies (Neogobius melanostomus) in the Great Lakes

Sat, 04/29/2017 - 08:30
Abstract: Round gobies (Neogobius melanostomus; hereafter goby) are an invasive fish species native to the Black and Caspian Sea. They were introduced in 1990 and have rapidly expanded their population throughout all of the Great Lakes, faster than any previous invader. Round gobies are bottom dwelling fish structurally and functionally similar to a native species, the mottled sculpin (Cottus bairdii). Gobies are much more aggressive, causing high competition for the sculpins. They feed primarily on zebra mussels, but also on the eggs of lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) and smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu), which are popular native gamefish. There is a possibility of the species spreading into the Mississippi River through tributaries coming out of the lakes, which would introduce them to the largest watershed in the United States. In 2002, the population estimate of round gobies in western Lake Erie alone was 13.27 tonnes/km2 (9.9 billion individuals) which is up to 7 times higher than the biomass estimated of yellow perch (Perca flavenscens). This management plan proposes to decrease the population by 50% by 2023 by reducing introduction into the Great Lakes, isolating the population that currently exists from spreading, educating the public on the species, and capturing fish using a combination of techniques, increasing mortality. Some actions include monitoring ballast water tanks of ships entering the Great Lakes, using electrical barriers to isolate gobies, and using minnow traps baited with liver to capture the fish. No action would result in gobies reaching extremely large numbers in areas where they do not currently exist. If all objectives are successful, the current population of round gobies in the Great Lakes will decrease by 50% by 2032.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
File Attachments: MgmtPlan.docx
Authors: Michala Seibert

Establishment of Self-sustaining Asiatic Black Bear (Ursus thibetanus) Populations in South Korea

Sun, 04/30/2017 - 15:49
Abstract: The Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus) is similar to the American black bear (Ursus americanus) in size and appearance and is distributed across much of Asia. They are omnivorous, but eat mostly plant matter and are heavily reliant on hard mast in the fall. When fall mast supply is low, these bears move out of forests and into fields, consuming crops to supplement their diet and negatively interacting with humans. Little is known about the biology of this species, but it is an IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Threatened Species and listed on national conservation lists in many of the countries in its range. The decline of this species has been linked to forest decline alongside the expansion of agriculture and hunting for their gallbladders. South Korea has a small, protected population of Asiatic black bears in Jirisan National Park and others scattered throughout the forests of the country. These bears can be successful if protected and studied, however they are common agricultural pests and public opinion toward them varies. Once part of the ancient culture of the area and because hunting them is illegal, they are now farmed for their gallbladders which produce high-value bile which is used in traditional medicine. As the bear is the mascot for the Paralympic Games, the nation should focus on restoring this bear to its former status both ecologically and socioculturally. The goal of this management plan is to make the Asiatic black bear a national icon for the country of South Korea and establish a growing population in the protected lands of the nation. This goal requires multiple objectives to ensure the success of the species. An analysis to assess the conservation gaps of the species will show where action is needed. A public education program will harbor support in South Korea. More biological studies must be funded and conducted to better inform management. If conservation of the Asiatic black bear is prioritized in South Korea and public opinion is improved, this species’ population will be able to sustain growth.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
File Attachments: Craig_MgmtPlan.docx
Authors: Robert Craig