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Capstone Projects

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
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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
Literary Rights: Off
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.
Access: Yes
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.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
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

Management Plan for Pacific Walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) in Alaska, 2017-2027

Fri, 04/28/2017 - 18:06
Abstract: Pacific Walruses are social mammals and travel in herds. Most of the population spends the summer months in the ice pack of the Chukchi Sea; however, mostly adult males use coastal haulouts in the Bering Sea. Walruses use ice to rest between foraging trips, mate, care for their young, and defend themselves against predators. Climate reduced their ability to engage in these behaviors by eliminating the ice pack in their summer season. Walruses feed on bivalves on the sea bottom; however, because of climate change they no longer can reach the bottom. In response to the loss of ice, walruses are resting on land haulouts with as many as 20,000-40,000 individuals. This puts pressure on the benthic material supply. The swim from drifting ice to coastal haulouts can be hundreds of kilometers, which leads to the death of young walruses. Walruses are sensitive to sounds from ships, aircrafts, and tourist underwater and out of water. When walruses are disturbed by these events, they create stampedes by trying to dive into the water. The stampeding event ends in high mortality for calves. In 2007, more than 1,000 walruses were trampled to death in Chukotka, Russia. To prevent human disturbances, management at haulouts needs to occur for 10 years (2017-2027). The goals are to improve demographic knowledge of pacific walruses, minimize stampeding events, and grow and replace native bivalves near land haulouts. This could be accomplished by laws that require aircraft and vessels to maintain the appropriate distance. Creating artificial habitat would result in less use of coastal haulouts which would decrease mortality during stampeding events. It would also provide easier access to bivalves for foraging trips. Bivalves are depleting near land haulouts due to large demand from the high density of walruses, therefore aquaculture is needed to replace their food source. Harvesting more of the adult population would be essential to maintain the population from going over carrying capacity. If the adult population decreases then fewer calves will die in stampedes. These objectives are necessary to ensure the future of walruses and their new habitat.
Access: No
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Desiree Stumpf

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