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Capstone Projects

Feral Pig Management for New York 2015-2025

Wed, 04/29/2015 - 20:40
Abstract: A population of feral pigs (Sus scrofa) has established a breeding population in New York State. These pigs have been escaping from hunting preserves throughout the state and have adapted to the habitat well. Feral pigs can cause a lot of property damage and also take out farmers’ fields by erosion or trampling the crops. There is a big problem with feral pigs in the southern United States and have grown in great numbers with great impact on the ecosystems. Feral pigs are an invasive species that have no population controlling predators and can reproduce rapidly. The pigs also compete with native species for food and habitat and can force native species to relocate to find more food. Pigs eat anything from bulbs and roots to eating rodents, frogs and deer. The pigs can also cause erosion of landscapes which can lead to nutrients washing away from the soil. Removal of feral pigs in the south has been ongoing for years without any success and their population is growing rapidly. Therefore, action must be taken now to stop the spread of feral pigs in New York before their population gets out of control. In order to reach this goal of complete eradication, different actions of removal need to be taken. Some of the actions that will be used to remove pigs will be trapping and setting out feeders with toxins in it designed for feral pigs. The other action that will be needed is creating regulations for hunting preserves that prevent pigs from escaping. If nothing is done now then the feral pig populations in New York will keep growing and lead to the same issues as southern states.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2015
File Attachments: Management_Paper3.doc
Authors: Cody Fuller

Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) Management Plan for the Western United States

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 11:14
Abstract: Executive Summary Golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) can be found throughout the western United States in large meta-populations. Their population is currently stable but is being threatened by energy companies. The golden eagle population is currently growing about two percent a year. Within the past ten years, 70% of golden eagle deaths have been caused by human-related activities. Electrocution and interactions with wind turbines are the two primary causes of golden eagle deaths. Currently, there are not many actions being utilized to decrease the number of human-related deaths. Therefore, actions must be taken in order to reduce the number of human-related deaths in the western United States. The goal of this management plan is to maintain a self-sustaining golden eagle population. Actions such as decreasing the number of deaths by electrocution and wind turbines, and increasing the number of captive released subadults into the wild will help to decrease human-related deaths. Failure to act will likely result in the decline of golden eagles.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2015
Authors: Travis Stoll

Comparison of Fish Assemblages between Impacted and Minimally Impacted Shorelines on Lower St. Regis Lake

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 11:49
Abstract: One of the least understood aspects of aquatic ecology is the role of the riparian zones of lakes, and how these habitats and their functions are impacted by human development of lakeshores. Nine impacted and six minimally impacted shorelines on Lower St. Regis Lake were classified with respect to the existing littoral coarse woody structure (CWS) and fish assemblages. There was a significant difference in normalized coarse woody debris ranking between the impacted and minimally impacted sites based upon the results of a Mann-Whitney non-parametric test. The minimally impacted sites exhibited a higher coarse woody structure ranking on average when compared to the impacted sample sites. Coarse woody structure in littoral zones plays a pivotal role in the feeding behaviors and survival of young fishes. The lack of coarse woody debris in littoral zones not only impacts the littoral structure of lakes, but can have a cascading effect on the overall health and productivity of lake ecosystems. Fish densities between the minimally impacted and impacted sites were not significantly different. While no significant difference was observed for the fish densities, the timing and limited sampling periods for this study may have influenced the low observed abundance of fish sampled. The low abundance of sampled fishes can also potentially be attributed to a poor year of recruitment to the fish populations in Lower St. Regis Lake. Further refinement of the field methods for sampling could improve the effectiveness of the study and result in a conclusive description of shoreline degradation in lake systems. The results of this study could be used to develop preliminary methods for monitoring or assessing shoreline degradation and its impacts on fish assemblages that rely upon natural littoral zones. Future management and regulations regarding the development and degradation of both riparian and shoreline zones along lakes can prevent a disastrous decline in fish populations and lake productivity throughout the Adirondack Park.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2015
Authors: Jacob Ball

Management Plan for Wolverines (Gulo gulo) in the Northern Rocky Mountains of the United States

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 18:33
Abstract: The number of wolverines (Gulo gulo) throughout their historic range has been decreasing overall in the past 150 years. In some portions of their ranges wolverines have disappeared, while in other areas their populations are dense enough to be hunted as a game species. The number of people living within the geographic range of wolverines has increased over the past several decades. This means that more wolverine habitat is encroached on, therefore reducing the places that they are able to live. Wolverines have large home ranges from 100km2-900km2 and they need to be able to travel large distances in order to forage for food. If there are barriers to the movements of wolverines, then it will be more difficult for them to gather food to survive, and this can eventually cause their home ranges to shift to areas where there is less human habitation. Over 90% of the land in the lower 48 states has been logged, plowed, or disturbed from its original condition. This has resulted in a large loss of wildlife habitat that is crucial for the survival of many animals. For this management plan I will study populations of wolverines in the Northern Rocky Mountains of the United States and determine what actions need to be taken in order to restore populations of wolverines. The goal of my management plan is to increase wolverine populations to the point where no further management actions will be needed in order to keep populations steady or growing. This plan will reduce the amount of human encroachment into wilderness areas, lower poaching rates, educate the public on the importance of wolverines in their ecosystems, and reduce human-wolverine conflicts on ranches. This will result in a greater number of wolverines living in the Northern Rocky Mountains of the United States and reduce many of the threats to their survival.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2015
Authors: Thomas Buel

Managing White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) In Urban/Suburban Environments of New York State

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 18:49
Abstract: The purpose of this management plan is to reduce white-tailed deer numbers to safe and enjoyable numbers in those urban/suburban settings that need management of white-tailed deer. After implementation this management plan will reduce the total deer population, reduce the amount of damage to ornamental plants, reduce the amount of deer/vehicle collisions, and reduce the contraction rate of Lyme Disease.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2015
Authors: Lucas Cipperly

Kakapo (Strigops habroptilus) Management plan: Fighting the Brink of Extinction

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 19:09
Abstract: This management plan focuses on the protection of the critically endangered kakapo, endemic to New Zealand. At this time, there are 150 individuals left which are restricted to four off shore islands surrounding New Zealand. These individuals are threatened by invasive predators as well as low genetic diversity. This plan aims to prevent the extinction of this species as well as create genetic diversity within the population by lowering invasive predator populations and creating a pedigree respectively.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2015
File Attachments: kakapo management plan.docx
Authors: Jessie Fischer

Managing North America’s Rarest Songbird, the Kirtland’s Warbler (Dendroica kirtlandii)

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 19:55
Abstract: First discovered in 1852, the Kirtland’s warbler has come to be known as North America’s rarest songbird because of its limited geographic range and specific habitat needs. This endangered species is considered to be conservation-reliant which means that a self-sustaining population is unlikely and constant management is needed in order to continue the existence of the species. The Kirtland’s warbler was once on the edge of extinction until the population began to increase due to the endless management of habitat, brood parasites, and human interaction. Without this continuous management however the Kirtland’s warbler population would likely drop to pre-management numbers and would soon disappear from the planet altogether. The over-arching goal of this management plan is to raise the Kirtland’s warbler population to the point where it is self-sustaining and no longer relies on conservation efforts to keep the species extant. This management plans goal is to be achieved by creating and protecting suitable habitat in both the breeding grounds, implementation of brown-headed cowbird trapping, public education, and restricting access to habitat during breeding months. The actions proposed will create a greater amount of habitat and reduce the negative impacts affecting the population, leading to a higher abundance and potentially a self-sustaining population.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2015
Authors: Corey Loerzel

A management plan for cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) in the Serengeti National Park of Tanzania

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 21:32
Abstract: Cheetah’s (Acinonyx jubatus) are well known as the fastest land mammal on the globe, capable of reaching record running speeds exceeding 65 miles per hour (110 kilometers per hour) and acceleration rates of 7.5 m s-2. Over their history, however, these large felids have not been able to outrun the risk of extinction. In the last century, cheetah numbers have drastically declined, resulting in a net loss of over 90% of their population. Currently, the extant worldwide population is estimated at approximately 7500 adult animals. The Serengeti National Park in Tanzania is home to an overall dynamic ecosystem filled with numerous species of wildlife, of which, there is a cheetah population that has been extensively studied over many decades. The survival of this species in the National Park requires the implementation of management strategies that will ensure the greatest positive impact on the cheetah population, while also taking into consideration the costs and threats to other species and stakeholders. This particular management plan aims to incorporate the many variables that play a role in the ecological, as well as anthropogenic aspects of the area. A successful management plan for the Serengeti cheetah must utilize all possible information related to the ecology of the wildlife, the policy of the area, and the sociocultural and economic facets that effect the region. Ultimately, these interconnected disciplines must be combined in order to make these important conservation decisions and effectively manage for this vulnerable species. This management plan has brought together these related fields and incorporated them into viable strategies and actions that could be implemented in order to meet the outlined objectives and maximize the probability that the Serengeti cheetah population will increase in numbers. Focusing attention on only one front of cheetah conservation may yield positive results. However, if the overall viability of the population is to remain, all avenues of conservation must be taken. Ecologically speaking, the management of predator populations could lead to increased cheetah cub mortality, but the education of farmers and ranchers, who persecute adult cheetahs on farmland, would furthermore benefit the Serengeti cheetah population since more adults would be available to successfully reproduce. If the cheetah population in the Serengeti is to remain sustainable, wildlife managers must incorporate all aspects of conservation into the management of this species.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2015
Authors: David M. Hejna

Management Plan for Feral Swine (Sus scrofa) in New York

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 21:41
Abstract: Every year feral swine cause massive damage to the environment and economy due to their foraging habits. It is estimated that feral swine cause $800 million of damage to agriculture and $1.5 billion overall each year in the United States. The feral swine population in New York is currently small enough to be effectively managed if quick action is taken. However, if actions are not taken quickly breeding populations of feral swine will grow exponentially due to their high fecundity and survivability and will become a much bigger problem and hard to manage. This management plan details the best way to quickly eliminate feral swine in New York to stop the damage they are currently doing, and block them from doing more damage in New York. Actions that will be taken include group capturing of feral swine, opportunistic take by farmers, aerial hunting and surveying, poisoning by sodium nitrate, posting publications in public buildings, holding a press conference, enacting an invasive species school curriculum, and using Judas hogs.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2015
Authors: Ryan Reinshagen

20 Year Management Plan for Eastern Spiny Softshell Turtles in the Conewango Creek Watershed

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 23:45
Abstract: Although the eastern spiny softshell turtle (Apalone spinifera spinifera) is common through much of its range, it is generally considered to be a species that is on the decline, particularly in the Great Lakes region were the species has been extirpated from many local watersheds. The spiny softshell turtle has been extirpated from the majority of its range in New York State where it is currently listed as a “species of special concern”. The Conewango Creek Watershed of Southwestern New York and Northwest Pennsylvania likely contains one of the last viable populations of spiny softshell turtles in New York State. Relatively little is known about this particular population of spiny softshell turtles, however, there are a number of factors including water quality, habitat loss and degradation, and human disturbance that likely threaten the long-term viability of spiny softshell turtles in the Conewango Creek Watershed. Recently a population of spiny soft shell turtles was discovered in the Chadakoin River which flows through the city of Jamestown New York. Spiny softshell turtles in this urban section of the Conewango Watershed are particularly vulnerable to threats from human activities and development. The focus of this 20 year plan is to ensure the long-term viability and growth of spiny softshell turtles in the Conewango Creek Watershed and the Chadakoin River in an effort to prevent further decline of the species and ensure that there is at least one viable population of eastern spiny softshell turtles in New York State. Recommended management actions focus on research to better understand the population demographics and to model the population changes, increasing population recruitment, identifying additional critical habitat areas, protecting and enhancing habitat, and raising public awareness and appreciation for the spiny softshell turtle. The following management plan will discuss the species conservation challenges and serve as a guide for spiny softshell turtle management and research in the Conewango Creek Watershed for the next 20 years.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2015
File Attachments: cnowak_MGT_Plan_2015.pdf
Authors: Creighton Nowak