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Capstone Projects

Sixty-year Galápagos fur seal (Arctocephalus galapagoensis) Management Plan for the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

Thu, 04/30/2020 - 14:53
Abstract: Galápagos fur seals (Arctocephalus galapagoensis) are one of the smallest species of fur seals globally. They were once widespread throughout the Galápagos Islands, but intense sealing in the 1800s has caused their range to be limited to most of the western islands. Their main prey sources are fish from families Myctophidae and Bathyergidae, which inhabit the deeper layer of the ocean. Conservation issues of primary concern include El Niño events, increasing fisheries, invasive species, climate change, and other anthropogenic practices. This management plan aims to restore Galápagos fur seal populations to a healthy size and their historic range within the Galápagos Marine Reserve, Ecuador. Objectives to reach this goal are to increase survival in subadult populations by 90% in 60 years, increase emigration rates by 20% within 15 years in populations, increase resistance during El Niño events by increasing survival rates by 50% in 30 years, and implement at least two similar existing laws or policies from the United States to protect the coastal and oceanic habitats. To increase survival rates in subadults, further research will be conducted into the age specific survival rates for this species. Along with that, restricted beach areas totaling in 500 m^2will be implemented to prevent human disturbances. To increase emigration rates, fragmented rookeries will be connected through the restricted beach areas. In order to increase resistance during El Niño events, the most and least vulnerable areas will be identified, and fishing will be restricted in areas to provide enough food. To promote and protect coastal habitats, an act like the Coastal Zone Management Act in the United States should be considered being implemented. Along with that, goals for conservation should be set, knowledge of coastal habitat should be enhanced, and wetland inventories should be updated and accessible to all. These practices have the potential to increase the population to over 25,000 individuals in 60 years.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2020
Authors: Nicole M White

Forty-year Kinosternon angustipons (Central American mud turtle) Management Plan in Nicaragua

Thu, 04/30/2020 - 14:18
Abstract: Kinosternon angustipons (Central American/ narrow bridged mud turtle) is a mud turtle native to Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. There is limited primary scientific information available except for the initial species description. K. angustipons and other native turtles are threatened by illegal forestry activity, pollution, and invasive predators. Through the use of a population model, the projected population will decline until extinction within the next forty years. The model identified key areas of interest that, if properly managed, can result in healthy stable population. Three areas of management focus should be; improving the current scientific knowledge base for K. angustipons to focus and facilitate accurate management effort. Improving the habitat quality will increase availability and quality of cover and food resources. Finally, protecting the nest and hatchlings will increase survival and recruitment within the population. These actions should have the desired results of increasing the percentage of reproductively active females, average number of eggs, and the survivability of the nest and hatchlings. If these areas, determined by the model to be influential to the population's rate of change, receive targeted support then K. angustipons will not remain unknown or go extinct.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2020
File Attachments: KOCH.2020.05.01 Final.docx
Authors: Nicholas Koch

North Cascades Ecosystem Wolverine (Gulo gulo) Revival Plan

Thu, 04/30/2020 - 13:32
Abstract: Wolverines (Gulo gulo) are recognized as one of the rarest, and least known carnivores of the northern hemisphere. They are the largest bodied mustelid and survive primarily on carrion food subsidies while living at low population densities. Conservation issues of primary concern to the North Cascades wolverine population include human sensitivity, high management costs, lack of policy protection, and the impacts of climate change (i.e. genetic bottlenecking and lack of connectivity due to decreasing persistent snow cover). This management plan, in the form of a revival plan, seeks to increase the wolverine population within the North Cascades Ecosystem (NCE) to a more sustainable size. Objectives to reach this goal include conducting research to obtain a population size estimate within 3 years following the onset of the revival plan, increasing allelic richness of the population by 25% over the next 10 years, and maintaining the high survivorships at all wolverine age classes for 20 years. To maximize efficiency, while also minimizing cost, the population estimation will be conducted based on data collection from scatdetection dog teams and live-trapping wolverines with log-cabin style box traps. Due to the contingency of subsequent objectives, log-cabin live-trapping is also beneficial as it presents the opportunity to directly handle wolverines and deploy radio collars. To increase allelic richness of the wolverine population, individuals from the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in Montana will be translocated to supplement the gene pool. To ensure gene flow and promote connectivity within the population, habitat corridors will also be created utilizing living tree fences that promote snow accumulation and persistence that is favored for wolverine dispersal. To maintain survivorship rates (68% for juveniles, 92% for subadults, 91% for adults) actions taken will slightly increase survival, creating a buffer zone to prevent decreased survival at any age class. Specific actions include petitioning for state and/or federal protection under the Endangered Species Act to designate critical habitat and ultimately prevent disturbance and decreasing infanticidal mortality events utilizing a Radio Activated Guard (RAG) depredation deterrent system. Management actions will increase the population to a size that is accepted by stakeholders and financially feasible based on a habitat suitability model of the North Cascades Ecosystem.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2020
Authors: Jacob Harvey

Twenty-Year Management Plan for Northern Long-eared Bat (Myotis septentrionalis) populations in the United States

Thu, 04/30/2020 - 12:32
Abstract: Since the onset of white-nose syndrome in 2006, bat populations have been declining rapidly. For the northern long-eared bat, Myotis septentrionalis, this rate was as high as 75% in some years. With such high mortality it will not take long for the species to be extinct, modeling suggests it could be as soon as within the next 10 years (Appendix B). Unfortunately, white-nose syndrome is not the only issue M. septentrionalis face. They are a tree-roosting migratory bat which means they are highly impacted by windmills and their increasing construction. Bats are struck by the windmill blades, along with the impacts of habitat fragmentation that the windmill construction creates. It is important to implement a management for M. septentrionalis immediately because they provide important ecosystem services to the agriculture community. Northern long-eared bats eat crop pests which increases the yield on those crops, this ultimately leads to a reduction of pesticides farmers need to use and lower food prices. Northern long-eared bats combat more than just crop pests, they eat mosquitos too! Ultimately, if this management plan is executed successfully, northern long-eared bat populations will be restored and farmers will be able to reduce the amount of pesticide use and food prices will remain low.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2020
Authors: Hunter LaBombard

Fifty-Year Mary River Turtle (Elusor macrurus) Management Plan for Eastern Australia

Thu, 04/30/2020 - 12:15
Abstract: Mary River turtles (Elusor macrurus) are environmental specialists and are endemic to the Mary River system in Queensland, Australia. They are highly dependent on cloacal respiration, and are capable of spending up to 72 hours underwater in a single dive. Mary River turtles are a long-lived species, typically not reaching sexual maturity until 30 years of age. Conservation issues for this species include the following: exploitation of nests for the pet trade, loss of habitat connectivity due to the creation of dams, predation of nests by mesopredators, and nest mortality due to inundation of nests by floodwaters. Climate change poses additional risks towards this species due to rising temperatures and increased duration of droughts. There are two goals for this management plan, they include: (1) to restore the Mary River turtle population in Queensland, Australia to sustainable levels, and (2) to restore connectivity of the Mary River system in Queensland, Australia to promote the interaction of the local people with Mary River turtles. In order to reach these goals, multiple objectives have been established, they include: (1a) increase Mary River turtle nest survival by 50% in the Tiaro region of Queensland, Australia over the next 10 years, (2a) increase the number of nesting female Mary River turtles to 50% of the female population over the next 25 years, (1b) increase connectivity of Mary River turtle habitat by 50% over the next 50 years, (2b) increase public support for Mary River turtle conservation by 50% over the next 10 years. Objective 1a will be reached by protecting existing Mary River turtle nesting sites from mesopredator predation. Objective 2a will promote the creation of suitable nesting habitat to attract additional female turtles to nest in a protected area. To satisfy goal 2, objective 1b will be reached by establishing a suitable flow regime for 50% of the dams along the Mary River, which will reduce hypoxic environments to support Mary River turtles. Objective 2b will be reached by educating the public about Mary River turtles, as well as involving the public with the implementation of the management plan through volunteer positions. By fulfilling the goals set forth in this management plan, it will allow for the formation of a long-term/successful Mary River turtle management plan.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2020
File Attachments: Sojka 2020.04.30.docx
Authors: John Sojka

Twenty-year Long-tailed duck (Clangula hyemalis) Management Plan for Eastern North America

Thu, 04/30/2020 - 11:44
Abstract: Long-tailed ducks (Clangula hyemalis) are a migratory sea duck with a circumpolar distribution. Since they are an arctic species and breed outside of current breeding bird surveys there is little data for their demographics and no data specific to eastern North America (Atlantic Flyway and Mississippi Flyway). Over the last 30 years their population has declined by 50%; this causes concern that the species could be at risk of becoming endangered if the trend in population numbers continues. This management plans goal is to increase and stabilize long-tailed ducks population numbers over the next 20 years. This will be accomplished by decreasing the bycatch of long-tailed ducks in commercial gillnet fisheries by 10% and reducing the total number harvested through hunting per year by 10%. To better monitor this progress a breeding bird survey will be established in their eastern North American breeding area. Surveys and alternative fishing methods will be introduced to commercial gillnet fisheries to raise awareness about bycatch of long-tailed ducks and seabirds in general. By the end of this 20 year management plan, it is expected that long-tailed ducks, along with seabirds and other arctic bird species breeding outside of current breeding bird surveys, will benefit from these actions.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2020
Authors: Megan Lazarus

Sun Bear (Helarctos malayanus) 20-year Management Plan for Lao People’s Democratic Republic

Tue, 04/28/2020 - 15:54
Abstract: Sun bears (Helarctos malayanus) are the smallest member of the Ursidae family and are native to large, undisturbed dipterocarp tropical forests in southeast Asia. They are omnivorous with a diet consisting primarily of fruit and insects. Sun bears are solitary and historically avoid areas with a strong human presence. These preferred areas are decreasing in abundance in Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) as the nation’s economy grows with its timber industry, causing widespread deforestation. The lack of available forests for sun bears inhibits the ability of juveniles to disperse from their mother’s dens, decreasing their survivorship. Deforestation has also forced sun bears to live in closer proximity to humans, especially in agricultural areas. This causes interactions in the form of crop raiding and property damage, bringing economic harm to farmers in Lao PDR. These negative interactions have also caused farmers in Lao PDR to have a negative opinion of sun bears on their farms, increasing adult sun bear mortality from these interactions. Sun bear populations in Lao PDR are projected to decline by 17% over the next 20 years if no management action is taken. This management plan seeks to stabilize the sun bear population in Lao PDR. As habitat availability is declining, increasing the population is not feasible. The objectives to attain a stable population are to increase the survivorship of sun bears during their mother-dependency period and of the adult stage class. This includes increasing cub survivorship by 5%, yearlings by 4%, and juveniles by 1.5% in 20 years and adults by 1% in 10 years. To increase survivorship of mother-dependent sun bears, planning in forestry operations will be implemented to decrease disturbance levels of these operations and increase their efficiency. Reforestation through plantations will also be initiated in previously deforested areas. Finally, all bear bile extraction farms will be located and shut down to prevent poaching. This plan also looks to improve the opinions of farmers towards sun bears. Objectives to achieve this goal includes reducing the number of farmers who view sun bears as a hindrance to agricultural production by 10% over 15 years and decreasing the number of farmers experiencing property damage by 50% over 20 years. Actions to decrease the proportion of farmers who view sun bears as a hindrance include the establishment of a crop insurance program with the Lao PDR Ministry of Forestry to offset losses of farmers due to damage from wildlife and other natural events. Surveys will also be distributed to gather up to date information regarding the current state of the relationship between farmers and sun bears, and what farmers feel should be done to help them. To decrease property and livestock damage, trained livestock guard dogs (LGD) will be distributed to farmers as a deterrent to keep sun bear off their property. Another preventative measure is to establish electric fences around crops to exclude sun bears from these areas as well as provide a deterring effect from the electric shock. These management actions will likely cause an initial increase in the population above a stable level; however, after 5 years the population will reach a level that can be maintained beyond the 20-year management timeline for up to 100 years.  
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2020
File Attachments: Monroe 2020.04.28.pdf
Authors: Richard Monroe

Creating a Positive Camping Experience for an Autistic Individual

Sat, 05/09/2020 - 12:29
Abstract: Most people on the Autism Spectrum Disorder have unusual genetics than most people that cause them to react and only think about certain things rather than what’s most important to them during the present moment. This includes a comfortable daily human lifestyle based on traditions such as living with people who make them happy in a house with lots of typical human civilization supplies and a routine that helps them function well every day. However, a lot of people with autism obsess over technology and therefore are glued to it instead of being more appealing to basic life skills that are important to their mental, physical, emotional, body health, and the health of others and the planet. However, this can cause a huge distraction to them since they’ll forget what to do next based on being proactive in terms of emotional and body health and asking questions with other distracting thoughts inside them. This includes food, clothing, medicine, toiletries, household appliances, their community, the world, and how to treat others well. As a result, they have a hard time adapting to the change of environments overtime without time to prepare for a transition. This makes them feel very depressed due to non-consistent memory and sudden change without expectations, creating friends since they have a hard time finding the right people to hang with based on qualities and interests. Therefore, they’ll probably never talk to others since they can’t observe body language. Also, they might react to the types of foods that they will be eating, and this will make them very emotional since they have food allergies and dietary restrictions that others might not know about and how to accommodate them in various types of environments. However, nature can really heal them by clearing their mind from all the distractions in the human world in terms of slowing down by what they smell, see, hear, and therefore they’ll be prepared for any challenge or change coming to them in the long run. This includes practicing mindfulness, good life skills, and being more sustainable in terms of the health of living things.
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Major: Integrative Studies
Year: 2020
File Attachments: Capstone Project.docx
Authors: Ben Malina

A Comparative Look at Low-Impact versus High-Impact Camping Techniques

Fri, 05/08/2020 - 19:36
Abstract: For as long as there has been people inhabiting the area that is now known as the Adirondack Park, there have been people establishing camping techniques there. These techniques have evolved over time, from the primitive style of the Haudenosaunee Natives of almost 1,000 years ago to the creation of the Adirondack Lean-to, and finally the Great Camps of the 19th century, some of which are still standing tall and in use to this day. The early American residents of the Adirondacks made the local economy thrive off of camping, guiding, hunting, and trapping. While many people of the time saw the Adirondack Park from a capitol viewpoint, it soon became promoted for its natural beauty and wonder, which helped the area be seen and used with a more thoughtful perspective in mind. The aesthetic influences of the Adirondack camping styles can be seen around the country today and is a cornerstone of the modern Adirondack tourist economy. One major factor of camping in the Adirondack Park is low-impact camping. This idea prevents damages to the environment from any impacts created whilst camping. By following these guidelines, campers are able to properly appreciate and enjoy their time in the great outdoors. Keywords: Leave No Trace, Low-Impact Camping, Camping, Adirondack Park
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Major: Integrative Studies, Natural Resources Conservation and Management
Year: 2020
Authors: Hayden Uresk, Jon Templin

A Model for the Development of a Community Center for Psychology in a Rural Setting

Fri, 05/08/2020 - 10:31
Abstract: The current research proposes the development of a Center for “Psychology and Wellness” in rural communities. This research examines the importance of mental health resources for communities in general. In addition, it explores the need for a centralized hub for psychological resources where collaborations between local providers, academic institutions, and community organizations can be actualized. Special emphasis will be placed on the unique psychological needs of rural communities. This research will explore the rationale for such a model and identify specific stakeholders and community links within the North Country region of New York state. In addition, specific activities, potential collaborations, and educational training opportunities will be discussed. Finally, expected benefits, possible challenges, and next steps will be discussed.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Integrative Studies
Year: 2020
Authors: Dijon Bell
Kenneth Cornog
Abigail Cowan
Deven Rogers