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Capstone Projects

Management Plan to Increase Nesting Success of Northern Pintails (Anas acuta) in the Prairie Pothole Region of North Dakota

Mon, 05/07/2018 - 17:36
Abstract: Once one of the most abundant ducks in North America, northern pintails have significantly declined since the 1960s when populations reached about 10 million. Over the past 40 years they have declined 78%, or about 2.4% per year between 1966 and 2015, due to expanding agricultural activity in their prairie pothole breeding grounds. In 2009 that the pintail population was estimated at 3.2 million, which is substantially below the 5.6 million population goal set by the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. The northern pintail population is substantially impacted by drought; and a loss of grasslands and wetland habitat in the prairie pothole region. Without proper breeding habitat pintails migrate further north to the Artic lowland tundra, where wetland conditions are more stable. However, when large numbers breed in these regions fewer young are produced. As a result, the prairies are where the fate of the pintail population lies. Throughout North America the northern pintail is listed as a migratory bird species where it is protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and receives some management under the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. In North Dakota, the northern pintail is listed as a level II species of concern and there it receives management under the State Wildlife Action Plan, but because it is only a level II species it does not receive the management until all actions are covered for level I species. However, due to the species large geographic range and large worldwide population estimate it is listed as a species of Least Concern with a declining population on the International Union for Conservation of Species (IUCN) Red List of threatened species. The goals of this plan are to increase the abundance and distribution of northern pintails in North Dakota over the next 10 years and to provide information that leads to greater public involvement for the management of the species in North Dakota. The objectives to achieve these goals include: mitigation of agricultural impacts on nests, reductions of egg, hatchling, and hen predation via predator exclusion, increase in nesting habitat via Farm Bill practices and State Wildlife Grants, and the education of the public about the nesting requirements of northern pintails and the potential impacts of agriculture as well management practices to avoid these impacts. Based on population modeling, egg, hatchling, and hen survival is the key factor to focus on when managing for this species. An increase of about 50% nest success (eggs) and reduced predation rate on hatchlings and hens should result in a positive population trend, yielding a population of 6.7 million in 10 years, with a greater than 50% increase being more favorable to the overall goals and objectives. Northern pintails are a game species that needs management action in breeding areas to ensure their survival and growth for the enjoyment of current and future generations.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2018
Authors: Joseph K Roberts

Special Topic: An Investigation of Long Term Monitoring of Fishes in Two Aquatic Ecosystems

Fri, 05/11/2018 - 10:06
Abstract: Lower St. Regis Lake Abstract Long-term ecological research is important in understanding how fish communities change over time. The objective of this study was to determine how fish communities in Lower St. Regis Lake have changed. From 2004 - 2017 fisheries students at Paul Smith’s College have conducted lake surveys on Lower St. Regis Lake using standardized sampling protocols. This study showed shifts in fish community composition, changes in size structure, and variable body condition. As Lower St. Regis Lake changes, continued long-term ecological research will provide an opportunity for students monitor and study factors that may be effecting fish populations and communities. Smitty Creek Abstract Long term ecological monitoring of streams provides an effective means to evaluate changing habitat conditions on fish population dynamics. Our objective was to use long-term data from four tributaries in Smitty Creek Watershed to explore the relationship of age-0 brook trout densities to regional weather conditions. Catch data of age 0 brook trout was collected during the fall from 2004 to 2017. Average monthly precipitation and temperature data was taken from the Lake Clear regional weather station. Of four streams, Little Aldo showed correlation of age-0 brook trout with the precipitation and temperature data. Future work should include improved instrumentation within the reaches and the use of site-specific data.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2018
File Attachments: Final Capstone West St. Cyr
Authors: Taylor West, Joe St. Cyr

Jenkins Mountain Backcountry Ski Glade

Wed, 05/09/2018 - 11:34
Abstract: The Paul Smith's College VIC is able to revitalize the ski glade on the back of Jenkins Mountain. The terrain was abandoned after a lack of interest, but now has opportunity to regain popularity. This study looks at land maintenance, risk management and marketing techniques to make the project successful. Putting these studies into action can benefit the VIC as well as the college, whether it's utilized for a students education or a visitors leisure. Bringing backcountry skiing to the property is a great addition to the many attractions provided by the land.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Recreation, Adventure Education and Leisure Management
Year: 2018
Authors: Cody Dennis , Austin Stergas, Scott Smith

A Look at Risk Management at the VIC

Wed, 05/09/2018 - 14:22
Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the current Risk Management Plan (RMP) at the Paul Smith’s College Visitor Interpretive Center (VIC). The paper examines how the current RMP functions at the VIC and also discussed some of the RMP practices at Paul Smith's College. The assets that the VIC currently has are discussed. Potential templates for RMP’s at the VIC are proposed and aspects that could specifically help the VIC are discussed. The purpose for a comprehensive RMP is discussed in a literature review, giving a base for why an RMP is important and beneficial to an organization like the VIC.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Recreation, Adventure Education and Leisure Management
Year: 2018
Authors: Mackenzie Wollert, Joshua Meeske

Comparison of Cyprinid Composition and Abundance in Relation to Microhabitat Characteristics within Heron Marsh, in the Adirondack Park, NY

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 15:47
Abstract: Cyprinids are susceptible to local, watershed, and regional extirpation within the United States. Habitat alterations, non-indigenous species introductions, changes in water quality, and anthropogenic barriers have resulted in a decrease in overall cyprinid biodiversity. The objectives of this study are (1) to establish baseline water quality characteristics among sites in summer and fall, 2016, (2) to compare minnow densities to percent macrophyte cover among trap sites for common species, and (3) to compare 2016 minnow densities by species and combined with 2014 and 2012 density estimates. Heron Marsh is a shallow marsh located with the Adirondack Park, NY, that supports a wide variety of fishes in the Cyprinidae family. Baseline water quality was collected using an YSI meter, cyprinid densities were estimated using galvanized steel minnow traps, and macrophyte cover data was estimated using a 21-point grid system for trap sites within the marsh. Water quality monitoring will help assess changes in the marsh over time due to global warming. More minnow trap sites must be established to determine if there is a relationship between macrophyte cover and cyprinid abundance. This will allow the statistical power of our tests to become robust to assumptions that were otherwise violated. Cyprinid biodiversity and abundance were highest amongst the upper region of the marsh for most years. This suggests that the upper region of the marsh may be a sanctuary or refuge for certain cyprinid species.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
File Attachments: Kuryla_Capstone paper.docx
Authors: Jake E Kuryla

Wildlife Habitat Conservation and Management of Invasive North American Beavers (Castor canadensis) in Southern Patagonia from 2017-2037

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 13:40
Abstract: Importing the incisor-toothed ecosystem engineers from Canada to the southernmost tip of South America seemed like an innovative idea in 1946. Since this early introduction by the Argentine Navy, this species has grown exponentially (5,000 times their initial population) to 35,000 and 50,000 in Tierra del Fuego. Their density (0.2–5.8 colonies/km2) in this geographic region is even higher than North America (0.08-1-4 colonies/km2). North American beaver (Castor canadensis) are notorious hydrologists and modify their habitat to construct dams, canals, and dens. This species presents ecological, economical, and socio-cultural detriments. These factors have the potential to migrate to northern territories with the beaver due to climatic conditions favoring the species propagation. This population’s exponential growth is deemed larger than predicted due to the lag in local inhabitants noticing the rodents’ presence. To address beaver management, Chile and Argentina are working together under a bi-national agreement. Their goal is to restore Southern Patagonian ecosystems with total eradication of invasive beavers. The 2017-2037 Southern Patagonian Beaver Management Plan identifies the following goals: 1) Decrease the population of North American beavers (Castor canadensis) in S. Patagonia. 2) Define beaver-absent areas near invaded territories that have the potential to become occupied by this plastic species in the near future due to similar habitat criteria. 3) Education, information, and outreach on S. Patagonia beaver management is improved. 4) Zoonotic implications of beaver are monitored, investigated and managed. Objectives for each of these goals are included within the management plan. Wildlife biologists, trappers, and public input are essential to this management plan. Surveys issued to trappers and citizens aid in monitoring of zoonotic diseases related to beavers as well as determine public opinion of this species. Trapping will continue to be integral in beaver management.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
Authors: Emily Hill

Management Plan to Increase Gould’s Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo mexicana) Population in New Mexico

Wed, 04/26/2017 - 20:57
Abstract: Gould’s wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo mexicana) are the largest subspecies of wild turkey in United States, but are also the most geographically restricted. In New Mexico, Gould’s populations occur in the Peloncillo, Animas and San Luis mountain ranges located in Hidalgo County, southwest New Mexico. This subspecies faces threats of habitat loss by several factors that including severe wildfires, competition with livestock grazing, lack of sustaining water sources. Gould’s wild turkeys are a popular United States subspecies for avid hunters seeking the completion of the Royal or Grand Slam wild turkey hunts. With the proper management, New Mexico could provide an increase of habitat for the Gould’s wild turkey. The overall goal of this management plan is to increase and maintain the Gould’s wild turkey population in southwest New Mexico to maximize hunting and recreational viewing opportunities. Objectives to be taken to achieve this goal includes: 1. Improvement and maintain the occupied and potential turkey habitat in their native range within 10 years. 2. Obtain suitable habitats through conservation easements within 5 years. 3. Increase and maintain a sustainable population within 10 years. 4. Gain landowner and volunteer participation through outreach and funding through partnerships with organizations within 10 years. The increase of Gould’s wild turkey populations will positively affect hunting and viewing opportunities and economics from higher populations of Gould’s wild turkey. This management plan will be implemented for the next 10 years, starting in 2018 and ending in 2028. Once this plan is complete, we will then assess the actions and implement further management needs for the future.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
File Attachments: Final.docx
Authors: Austin Cartwright

Preventing the Spread of Eurasian Boar (Sus scrofa) into New York State

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 09:28
Abstract: Eurasian boars (Sus scrofa) pose a large threat as they are destructive in their feeding habits. According to the USDA, roughly 5 million wild Eurasian boar live inside the United States, and are currently found in 31 states. This species is responsible for $1.5 billion dollars in crop destruction, property damage, and management efforts annually. Eurasian boars are an exotic invasive species originating from Eurasia, and were introduced to the United States during the 1500s for meat and hunting purposes. This species survives and successfully breeds in a large range of habitats, and outcompete native fauna. The goal of this management plan is to prevent Eurasian boar populations from becoming established in New York State. Preventing the spread of this species is important because they are not native to New York, and can become an economic burden to farmers and local residents. There is currently no known breeding populations inside of New York, but Eurasian boars have come into New York in the past and are likely to return. The following objectives will be enacted to achieve the overall goal for preventing the spread of this species: (1) Educate the public on the dangers and negative impacts from Eurasian boars (2) Update and maintain current legal policies that prevent the importation, sale, trade, or ownership of Eurasian boar (3) Establish response teams that would eradicate wild Eurasian boar populations. This management plan will be implemented for the next 10 years (2017-2027). Once completed, the successfulness of this management plan will be reviewed and reassessed.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
Authors: Nick Masucci

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.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
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.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
Authors: Timothy Flannery