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Capstone Projects

Florida’s Burmese Python (Python molurus bivittatus) Management Plan

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 15:19
Abstract: A population of Burmese pythons (Python molurus bivittatus) has been established within Florida, and is currently thriving unlike the declining populations within its native range. These pythons are a large species of snake (up to 5.5m and greater in length) native to Southeast Asia. Within their current range in Florida, declines of up to 99.3% have been seen in native species, such as raccoons (Procyon lotor), since their introduction. Current action being taken to control these pythons is ineffective, and the population continues to grow and expand. Therefore, action must be taken in order to reduce, and/or contain, the distribution, and/or number of, Burmese pythons in Florida to within the borders of the Everglades National Park (ENP) and Big Cypress Swamp (BCS). In order to accomplish this goal, research to determine effective extermination that causes little or no adverse effects (≤ 5% decrease in population) on native species will be completed. Following the research, the effective strategy(ies) will be implemented along with continued current means of control until such time that the goal is met. Failure to act will result in the continued growth and expansion of Burmese pythons, and lack of recovery for declining native species.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2014
Authors: Casey Gagne

Management of Eastern Hellbenders in the Allegheny Watershed of New York State

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 17:28
Abstract: The eastern hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis alleganiensis) is a large aquatic salamander unique to North America. Research on C. alleganiensis shows a decline in population size throughout much of its range. Hellbender populations in the Allegheny Watershed of New York State have been estimated to include only 400 individuals. The Allegheny River has been altered over the past century by dam construction, stream relocation, and agricultural and urban developments, negatively impacting both the water quality and benthic environment of the watershed. These changes have two major impacts on the species: siltation and pesticide and nutrient runoff, which harm hellbenders directly and reduce cover, food availability, and nest sites. This plan seeks to address these problems through the development of riparian buffer zones. Buffer zones filter nutrients and chemicals from runoff and ground water, and act as a physical barrier against silt. This action is considered the most desirable as it will not only benefit hellbenders, but the ecosystem and community at large by improving water quality, wildlife habitat, and the aesthetic value of the watershed.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2014
File Attachments: Hellbender management plan
Authors: Daniel Alempijevic

Managing Fisher (Martes pennanti) in Region 7 of Central New York: Opening a trapping season

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 20:40
Abstract: In the late 1800’s fisher were very abundant throughout New York State, but they were nearly trapped to extinction by the 1930s. Few populations survived until 1949 when the trapping season was closed. Today fisher can be found throughout approximately 26,000 square miles of forested habitat in the state; many of these areas have established management plans. Region 7 has not established a population estimate of fisher in the past because there have been few sightings until recently. In 2013, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) and Cornell documented fishers at 54 of 100 survey locations in Region 7. The goal of this management plan is to maintain a fisher population that is large enough to sustain itself and support annual trapping seasons in Region 7. To support the goal of opening a trapping season, fisher habitat will be improved by limiting fragmentation and increasing connectivity. Fisher harvests will be limited by issuing harvest tags, and monitored by pelt seal records. Opening a trapping season will improve recreational opportunities for trappers, while assisting in maintaining a healthy predator prey ratio.
Access: No
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2014
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Carter O'Gorman

Maintaining The Current Population Size Of Pygmy Three-toed Sloth (Bradypus pygmaeus) On Isla Escudo de Veraguas, Panama

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 21:13
Abstract: The pygmy three-toed sloth, Bradypus pygmaeus, is only found on Isla Escudo de Veraguas, a small island off the coast of Panama. This species is currently listed as a critically endangered species with a population thought to be less than 100 individuals. If no action is taken this species may eventually become extinct as a result of deforestation and poaching by native peoples. To help conserve the biodiversity of Panama a goal and list of objectives has been formed. The goal of this project is to maintain the current population size of pygmy sloths on Isla Escudo de Veraguas. This goal is hoped to be accomplished through reforestation of red mangrove trees, Rhizophora mangle, and by increasing the enforcement of local laws. Local laws currently prohibit harvesting pygmy sloths and the deforestation of the red mangrove trees but they are rarely enforced. The best way to preserve this species is to try to preserve the species habitat. Since the pygmy sloth eats only red mangrove tree leaves it is necessary to preserve its habitat in order to preserve the species.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2014
Authors: Vincent Meyer

Matlacha Pass National Wildlife Refuge Feral Cat Management

Sat, 05/03/2014 - 10:33
Abstract: This management plan focuses on the protection of shorebirds, native ground nesting birds, and terrestrial vertebrates through the removal of feral cats from Matlacha Pass National Wildlife Refuge and Matlacha Pass Aquatic Preserve in Lee County, Florida. Feral cats directly affect many ground nesting and terrestrial vertebrate species through predation, and have caused the decline of many endemic or rare species. Justification for the eradication of feral cats from MPNWR and MPAP comes from several legal sources and scientific literature indicating predation upon native wildlife. The goal of this management plan is to reduce the effect of feral cats on shorebirds and ground nesting birds in Lee County, Florida. Action will be taken by passing new and improved regulations for cat owners, such as mandatory microchipping and cat-proof fencing. The feral cat population will be reduced through direct and indirect means. Some of these measures include live-trapping, introduction of feline distemper, toxic baits, and sharpshooters. The removal of non-native predators for the protection of native wildlife is a practice commonly used throughout the country. It is often necessary to remove invasive species in order to protect native wildlife in a habitat significantly altered by humans.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2014
File Attachments: Management plan_Nicely.pdf
Authors: Alex Nicely

Management Plan for Baikal Seals (Phoca sibirica) in Lake Baikal, Russia

Sat, 05/03/2014 - 15:41
Abstract: Out of the 30 pinniped species, Baikal seals (Phoca sibirica) are the only exclusively freshwater species; they are endemic to Lake Baikal in Siberia, Russia. This lake is the oldest, deepest, and biggest lake in the world. The lake measures nearly 400 miles long and 50 miles wide, with a depth of about one mile, making it difficult for wildlife officers to enforce regulations. This has led to an increase in poaching because locals know that there is little chance of getting caught. The current population is not known; consequently the current hunting quota is not known to be sustainable or not. By-catch from fishing gear and climate change also poses threat to this species. There are five proposed objectives to reach a stable population of Baikal seals. These include: determine a population estimate; create a hunting quota of 5% of the population determined from the population estimate; decrease mortality caused by poaching by 75% in five years; decrease mortality caused by fishing by-catch by 75% in five years; and increase suitable above water habitat by 5% within 5 years. Overall, this management plan is designed to maintain a stable population of Baikal seals.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2014
Authors: Savannah Waechter

Management Plan to Increase the Eastern wild turkey population along the James River in Eastern, South Dakota.

Sun, 05/04/2014 - 14:26
Abstract: It is estimated that each day in the U.S. we lose about 6,000 acres of wild turkey habitat. This along with other factors is the reason that the current wild turkey population has decreases 15 percent from the total U.S. population estimate in 2004. Eastern wild turkeys are a popular game species and have economic benefits. With proper management, the James River watershed could provide thousands of acres of habitat for Eastern wild turkey and other species. The goal of this management plan is to establish, increase, and maintain an Eastern wild turkey population in the James River watershed of South Dakota to maximize hunting and viewing. To achieve this goal the following actions will be taken: 1. Increasing the current percent of woodland land cover by planting shrubs and trees to increase suitable habitat. 2. Using land easements to establish suitable habitat. 3. Jump starting population by implementing trap and transplant program. 4. Conducting outreach and partnering with organizations to gain support, funding, and man power. Increasing the wild turkey population size will positively affect hunter opportunities and satisfaction, economics, and other species that might utilize newly created habitat.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2014
File Attachments: Final Management Plan.docx
Authors: Patrick Wightman

Management of the European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) in Chemung County

Tue, 05/06/2014 - 08:47
Abstract: Shakespearian enthusiasts introduced the European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) to the United States in the early 19th century in Central Park NYC, NY. Currently, starlings have caused major economic damage, ecological displacement of native birds, and spread of invasive plant species. The goal of this management plan is to reduce the European Starling population within Chemung County, NY by means of non-lethal management strategies. Our objectives include assessing the population, marking out hot-spots with areas of high densities of European Starlings, and to provide education and outreach to residents of Chemung County via presentations, pamphlets, and surveys. We will implement non-lethal management in regards to habitat alteration in effort to dissuade European Starlings from nesting and roosting sites, using frightening strategies, as well as covering open food sources such as agricultural feeding stations. Lastly, if the non-lethal management strategies are not successful enough to deter the population of starlings within Chemung County by 50% within three years, we will implement lethal management strategies with biological control actions, and nest-box trapping. Without the management of the European Starling, the issues will continue to persist.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2014
Authors: Madelaine Sullivan

Alpine Ecosystems on Ski Area Summits in the Northeast: A Best Management Practices Manual

Mon, 12/01/2014 - 15:19
Abstract: Over the past half a century, anthropogenic climate change has triggered temperatures in the northeastern United States to rise. This increase has led to decreased winter precipitation and a longer annual growing season. Species found in upland/montane habitats on the southern edge of their range limits are particularly threatened by these changes. Warmer temperatures have allowed larger woody plants to advance up mountain slopes, entering the habitat of these fragile species. In the next decade, we will witness a complete disappearance of alpine flora from several locations across the northeast including Whiteface in New York, Sugarloaf in Maine and Mount Mansfield in Vermont. Managers of ski resorts can therefore play an important role in promoting the continued persistence of high-altitude flora and fauna through carefully considered management decisions can also serve to promote the reputation of the ski industry as stewards of mountaintop ecosystems. Doing so will allow for continued study of the species that exist within these communities, the protection of biodiversity, and increased revenue for the resort itself through elevated public image and mountain-top tourism. To help begin these conservation efforts, we have created a best management practice (BMP) manual to guide ski area managers in making these developments. It includes techniques for sustainable slope, soil, vegetation and wildlife management, erosion control, artificial snow production, and ski slope construction and design. Also included are marketing techniques and an overview of the economic viability of the practices outlined in this manual.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Forestry, Natural Resources Management and Policy
Year: 2014
Authors: Pali Gelsomini, Dylan Randall

Possible Limiting Soil Macro-Nutrients of Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) Growth in an Adirondack Hardwood Stand

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 08:46
Abstract: Sugar maple (Acer Saccharum) has been in decline for the past few decades. Several studies have been done throughout parts of Canada and New England to determine what is limiting sugar maple growth. By mimicking one of these studies, I conducted a fertility study to show correlations between soil fertility and three different measures of tree growth. I selected 40 dominant sugar maple trees in a hardwood stand in the Adirondack Park in northern New York to sample. I collected two increment cores from each tree, measured the DBH and calculated basal area at each tree. I also collected mineral soil from the base of each tree that was sampled and tested its chemical properties and macronutrients that are most related to growth. I found weaker correlations between soil fertility and growth than my parent study had found. This may be because I didn’t have enough variation in my samples, measured growth or fertility in a way that wasn’t the most accurate, soil characteristics may not be limiting, or some soil characteristics may be co-limiting growth.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Natural Resources Management and Policy
Year: 2014
File Attachments: Capstone Report
Authors: Kevin Kenealy