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Capstone Projects

Long-Eared Owl (Asio otus) Management Plan for Regions 5 and 6 of New York State

Sun, 04/30/2017 - 17:49
Abstract: Long-eared owls (Asio otus) are commonly associated with open grasslands, riparian areas and edge habitat which are used for hunting. Diet consists of 90% voles (Microtus spp.) with the other 10% consisting of other small mammals and rarely, birds. Nesting typically occurs in dense conifer stands where inactive corvid or hawk nests also exist. Inactive nests must be present because like other owl species, long-eared owls do not build their own nests. Outside of the breeding season long-eared owls are highly migratory and have been found to roost communally. Loss of habitat to urban expansion, forest succession and changing farming techniques are considered to be major threats to this species. Across North America, two sub species of long-eared owls exist, however this plan focuses on management of the eastern subspecies (A. o. wilsonianus) in Northern New York. Throughout the Northeast region the long-eared owl is listed as threatened or endangered except in New York where it has no additional protection. 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 IUCN Red List. The goals of this plan are to increase the population from 250 to 350 over the next 25 years and to provide information that leads to greater protection of the species in New York. The objectives to achieve these goals include: reductions in nest predation via predator exclusion, increases of nesting and hunting habitat via habitat artificial nest boxes and restoration, and population surveys via banding, radio telemetry and nest success surveys. Based on population modeling adult survival is the key factor to focus on when managing for this species. A 5% increase in adult survivorship should result in a positive population trend, with a 6% increase being more favorable to the overall goals and objectives. Long-eared owls are a lesser known species that deserve our help to ensure their survival and growth for the enjoyment of current and future generations of New York.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
File Attachments: LEOW_Mgmt_Plan.docx
Authors: Matthew Williams

Management Plan of Harlequin Ducks (Histrionicus histrionicus) on the East Coast of the United States (2017-2027)

Wed, 05/10/2017 - 19:16
Abstract: Harlequin ducks (Histrionicus histrionicus) are sea ducks that winter on the east coast of North America and breed in eastern Canada. They nest along rapid streams that provide suitable nesting habitat along with high abundancy of aquatic invertebrates. Harlequin ducks are a species of special concern in Canada as well as on the east coast of the United States. The species is declining they prefer have thin breeding habitat requirements, a relatively small population size, and are sensitive to disturbances on their wintering and breeding grounds. Such disturbances include transformation of habitats and human disturbances. This plan has goals that mainly focuses on the conservation of Harlequin duck populations and habitat from 2017 to 2027. The first goal of this plan is to create and maintain possible habitat for Harlequins to breed and winter on the east coast of the United States. The objectives to achieve this goal are to identify and map by 2019 all-important Harlequin ducks wintering and potential breeding habitats on the east coast of the United States, through 2027 create, protect, and manage important and possible areas for breeding and wintering habitats, and by 2020 set guidelines to protect Harlequin duck habitat from industrial, recreational, and fisheries activities. The second goal of this plan is to increase the distribution and abundance of Harlequins wintering. The objective for this goal is to increase the egg and hatch year bird survival by 10% for all Harlequin ducks on the east coast of United States as well as the overall population by 30% by 2027. The final goal is to inform and educate recreational users and hunter’s about Harlequin ducks and their habitats, and threats. For this goal the objectives are to mitigate factors that are restricting the species wintering survival on the east coast of the United States by 2022. The second objective to this final goal is by 2019, develop an educational program on the east coast of the United States that will promote the understanding of Harlequin ducks and their wintering requirements.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
File Attachments: Management Plan.docx
Authors: Dakota Urban

Management Plan of Bobolinks (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) Breeding in The Finger Lakes Region of New York

Fri, 10/13/2017 - 10:50
Abstract: Bobolinks (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) are sexually dimorphic, medium-sized, songbirds that commonly breed across North America. In New York, bobolinks begin nesting around mid-May in open grasslands or hayfields larger than 2 hectares with 3-4 cm of thatch on the ground. Bobolinks are typically philopatric, however land-use practices may alter habitat suitability and negatively affect nesting success. During a ten-year period from 2003 to 2013, bobolink populations have decreased -1.19% across North America (Renfrew 2015). Modernization of hay harvesting practices have increased the occurrence and frequency of disturbance to nesting bobolinks. In New York, the main cause of nest failure is cutting for hay during the nesting season. The goal of this management plan is to increase the population of bobolinks breeding in the Finger Lakes Region of New York. This plan aims to improve bobolink breeding habitat by creating a program that uses policy and philanthropy to balance habitat requirements of bobolink with stakeholder needs through compensation of financial loss due to habitat protection. Coordinating best management practices among landowners and increasing enrollment within the Conservation Reserve Program will reduce edge effects and increase available breeding habitat in the Finger Lakes region. Failure to alter unsuccessful management strategies will permit the current declining population trend to continue. Management is necessary to maximize protection of nesting bobolinks while minimizing financial and legal restrictions encountered by farmers. If this management plan is successful, there will be an increase in the population size of bobolinks returning to the Finger Lakes Region during the breeding season and the once declining population trend will stabilize within the region.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
Authors: Emily Eidman

Restoring Allegheny Woodrats (Neotoma magister) to New York’s Appalachian Mountain Range

Thu, 10/19/2017 - 19:31
Abstract: The Allegheny woodrat has recently been extirpated from the northern extent of its range due to a combination of anthropogenic factors, including habitat destruction, fragmentation disconnecting metapopulations, and contributing to increases in raccoon populations. Populations in New Jersey have been stabilized at present, and may be increasing. There is speculation that metapopulations could slowly reestablish themselves in New York form New Jersey’s recovering populations. Regardless, efforts to aid the species’ recolonization would return a formerly prevalent species to New York. Ultimately, 50 genetically diverse, captive-reared Allegheny woodrats will be released throughout the northern extent of the Appalachian mountain range contained within southern New York. Released individuals will be from neighboring states’ captive breeding programs for a more genetically diverse gene pool to help prevent bottleneck effects within metapopulations, and their status will be monitored via radio telemetry tracking. Before reintroducing subjects to the area, tree loggers of the northern Appalachian range should enact policies to conserve mast crop trees and increase overall yield for the area of the range which extends into New York State. Habitat connectivity would need to be restored to aid the woodrats’ recolonization. Raccoons (Procyon lotor) are both predators of Allegheny woodrats and the fatal source of raccoon roundworm (Baylisascaris procyonis) exposure, either situation almost guaranteed to result in woodrat fatality. Increasing raccoon take in the southern half of New York State would better the recolonization specimens’ chances of reestablishment, crucially combined with the distribution of anthelmintic baits to passively deworm remaining raccoons in the area. With these objectives accomplished after five years, Allegheny woodrats will have a greater potential to reestablish former metapopulations within New York.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
Authors: Kara L Meierdiercks

Site Management Plan for the VIC-Quarry Wall

Fri, 05/05/2017 - 13:38
Abstract: Over time, the Paul Smith's College VIC (VIC) has evolved into a more accessible and enjoyable nature center for the community and the Paul Smith's College students. The VIC offers free and fee based activities such as arts, sports, and educational programs throughout the year, including bird and nature walks, children's educational programs, art exhibits, concerts, lectures, workshops, and naturalist-led paddles (Discover the Adirondack Mountains at the VIC, 2017). Starting a management plan for an outdoor rock climbing wall, located on the VIC property, involves many aspects and considerations. These specifications must then be effectively evaluated to start a functioning program.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Recreation, Adventure Education and Leisure Management
Year: 2017
File Attachments: Management Plan
Authors: Bayle Reichert, Brian Lane

Master Interpretive Plan for the Paul Smith's College VIC

Fri, 05/05/2017 - 23:49
Abstract: The Master Interpretive Plan is an elaborate document used to plan programs that utilize all aspects of the VIC to ensure the programs achieve the goals and mission. This particular document is a framework that is intended to be used by the VIC staff to develop a more in-depth working document.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Recreation, Adventure Education and Leisure Management
Year: 2017
File Attachments: final4-19 (1).docx
Authors: Alicia M. Feraldi, Christopher M. Harloff

Feasibility Study of Running a Summer Day Camp at the VIC

Mon, 05/08/2017 - 19:28
Abstract: Since the late nineteenth century, summer camp has been a part of the lives of American children; over the years it has transformed from a place for young boys to learn “manly things” to a place where parents can send their children for a summer of experience, education, and memories (Van Slyck, 2006). According to the American Camp Association, there are over 14,000 day and overnight camps in the US with approximately 14 million children and adults in the US attending camps annually. Recent research has shown the many benefits of sending children to summer camp, which includes physical, educational, and social benefits. The Paul Smith’s College VIC consists of 3,000 acres including 25 miles of trails for recreational use by the public and an interpretive center used for art shows and environmental education. Their mission is “to connect outdoor recreation, experiential education, and the arts, naturally.” Through the vast amount of land and use of the interpretive building, the VIC could potentially be the ideal location for a summer day camp. There are several other factors to consider in whether or not the VIC is a feasible location to run a day camp; these include products and services offered, the target market, marketing strategies, organization and staffing, annual scheduling,technological analysis, financial projections, and recommendations. The mission of this potential day camp is to connect children with nature, the environment and each other, fostering learning, environmental stewardship, and friendship. Through this study, it has been determined that a day camp is feasible - it would take some time however, to get funding, licensing, insurance, staff, etc. into place before the program could be implemented.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Recreation, Adventure Education and Leisure Management
Year: 2017
Authors: Lenore Elizabeth Marcuson, Lauren Elsa Brieant