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Capstone Projects

Management plan for black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) in the South Dakota grasslands

Thu, 05/03/2018 - 09:00
Abstract: Black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) inhabit open grasslands in which they create burrows to live in causing destruction to surrounding flora. Black-tailed prairie dogs are a nuisance by ranchers and farmers due to the destruction they cause to croplands and pastures. Although prairie dogs cause damage to agriculture fields, they are vital to nearly 170 species that depend on them for food, cover, nesting areas, and the sub-habitat they create. One hundred thousand acres of South Dakota grassland is occupied by prairie dogs. The goal of this plan is to reduce negative interactions between black-tailed prairie dogs and ranchers as well as create a healthy and stable habitat for species reliant on prairie dogs. The objectives to achieve these goals include: reducing the prairie dogs population on private land by 60% and public land by 40% in 5 years, creating educational courses to show importance of prairie dogs to surrounding habitats, and reducing the risk of sylvatic plague from spreading through colonies inhabited by black-footed ferrets. Based on population modeling, the focus will be on decreasing the juveniles annual survival rate by 20% will help achieve our objective of decreasing the population on private and public land. By enacting this plan, more than just the black-tailed prairie dog can be enjoyed when traveling through the South Dakota grasslands.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2018
File Attachments: Hoellerer_Final_Draft.docx
Authors: Tyler Hoellerer

Management plan to sustain moose (Alces alces populations in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine against climate change

Thu, 05/03/2018 - 09:01
Abstract: Moose (Alces alces) are an icon to New England. They congregate public from different states for an opportunity to observe and acquire hunting permits to harvest this iconic individual. Moose can eat 18 to 27 kg of browse a day affecting the understory and regrowth of tree species such as red maple (Acer rubrum), sugar maple (Acer saccharum), stripped maple (Acer pensylvanicum) and yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis). Moose populations were regulated to one individual every square mile to meet the needs of the forest industry due to the increase of hunting permits. Moose populations continued to decline throughout its southern most continental indicating another factor was present; climate change. Warmer temperatures are causing shorter winters which correlates to higher tick populations. An abundance of moose ticks causes loss of hair and dramatic loss of blood of an individual. Additionally, warmer winter temperatures are also impacting forested habitat that moose are dependent on. Tree roots are more susceptible to damage from frost with less snowpack. Frost damage can stunt the regrowth of maple and birch saplings that moose depend upon for browsing. Goals of this plan are to mitigate present and future effects of climate change on moose populations as forested habitat changes and to increase survivorship of female moose and calf populations within Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. Objectives put in place to maintain these goals include maintaining yearly fecundity rates while increasing calf survivorship, perform tick counts on individual moose until fecundity rates are not affected, monitor moose wintering ranges, create and protect coniferous and deciduous stands on private land, model climate change effects on moose populations, model forested landscape changes in response to climate change, and increase public interest to create and protect wetlands on privately owned lands. With the completion of these objectives, moose populations will be maintained against the indirect effects of climate change.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2018
File Attachments: Whipple_Final Plan.docx
Authors: Devon Whipple

Reintroduction of Eastern Loggerhead Shrikes (Lanius ludovicianus migrans) to Western New York State

Thu, 05/03/2018 - 09:02
Abstract: Loggerhead Shrikes (Lanius ludovicianus migrans) inhabit open areas with mixed vegetation and bare patches. Suitable habitat contains hawthorn trees for nesting and impaling stations for prey. Vegetation provides perches that Loggerhead Shrikes use for hunting. Diet consists mainly of invertebrates, but Loggerhead Shrikes also feed on vertebrates. Loggerhead Shrikes are generalists and their diets change seasonally, geographically, and annually. Nesting habitat primarily consists of red cedar (Juniperus virginiana) and hawthorn (Crataegus spp.) trees. Outside of breeding season, eastern Loggerhead Shrikes are migratory. Expansion in territory size during winter may be due to decreased food availability from a reduction of invertebrates. Throughout North America, Loggerhead Shrike populations have declined 79% in the last 40 years. Loggerhead Shrikes are considered endangered in New York State where they have been extirpated but are only considered a species of concern by the USFWS continent wide. The reason for decline of Loggerhead Shrikes is due to winter habitat loss which reduces overwinter survival of juveniles and adults. Other contributors for the decline of Loggerhead Shrikes are pesticides, climate change, road collisions, habitat loss, and changes in agricultural practices including the planting of row crops. Considerable amounts of suitable unused habitat for Loggerhead Shrikes exists in New York State suggesting loss of suitable habitat is not the main reason of decline in the northeast. A wild population of eastern Loggerhead Shrikes exists in Ontario, Canada, where conservation efforts have increased the population. Habitat conditions in New York where Loggerhead Shrikes will be reintroduced are comparable to those currently occupied in Ontario. The goals of this plan are to reintroduce and maintain Loggerhead Shrike populations in New York and to maintain suitable breeding habitat in the state. The objectives to achieve these goals are: start a captive breeding program in New York for Loggerhead Shrikes, establish a stable captive breeding population within 5 years, increase juvenile overwinter survival rate, reduction of issue with farmers and hawthorn trees, manage fields to provide for Loggerhead Shrike habitat, and reduction of pesticide use in suitable habitat areas in 5 years. Population modeling showed that adult survival was the key factor to reintroducing and maintaining a population of Loggerhead Shrikes in New York State. By releasing 75 juveniles into the wild annually from captive bred field propagation pens, a stable population of wild Loggerhead Shrikes should exist in New York State within 20 years. Conservation and reintroduction of this species is needed for a population to exist in New York in the future.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2018
Authors: Hannah Bieber

Management Plan for Increasing and Maintaining a Sustainable Population of Virginia Opossum (Didelphis virginiana) in New York

Thu, 05/03/2018 - 09:45
Abstract: Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana) is the only marsupial in North America. The range of the opossum has extended into northern territories due to a shift in climate change. These territories have been exploited for their resources due to habitat conversion. Their successful exploitation of anthropogenic resources modified their diet to fit their habitat. They often scavenge among human trash and porches where food is left out for pets. This close proximity to humans facilitates negative opossum-human interactions. However, due to their diverse diet and preference for grooming and consuming ticks and fleas, their presence in New York can result in a decrease of zoonotic diseases, such as Lyme disease. In folklore, this species is continuously thought of as an ugly, nuisance, and trickster. Furthermore, this expansion in their range and association to folklore has resulted in an increase in intentional road kill and trapping mortalities and increased competition between larger mesopredators. International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species lists this species as least concern with no data for population densities (1). Minimal population estimates have been conducted to determine how to best manage this species. The goal of this plan is to increase the population of the opossum and maintain a sustainable density in the state of New York over the next ten years.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2018
File Attachments: Final Paper for FWS470.docx
Authors: Alexandra Putnam

Management Plan to Improve Habitat Viability for American Dippers (Cinclus mexicanus) in the Black Hills Region of South Dakota

Thu, 05/03/2018 - 10:07
Abstract: American dippers (Cinclus mexicanus) are a unique passerine that forages for terrestrial and aquatic organisms. When hunting for aquatic organisms the American dipper utilizes a variety of strategies including swimming underwater, standing on the shore with their head in the water and diving into the water from the air. American dipper habitat is comprised of fast flowing mountain streams where they hunt and nest near the water. In the Black Hills National Forest in South Dakota and Wyoming the American dipper is restricted to two breeding streams, Spearfish and Whitewood Creek. American dippers have been removed from their historic breeding streams due to changing land cover, increased human population and urbanization. Currently only 50-75 individuals remain in the Black Hills. The goal is to increase American dipper populations and habitat within the Black Hills National Forest. Population monitoring through surveys and mist netting will be conducted to obtain estimates of abundance. Protection will be granted along current breeding streams and restoration of historic breeding streams will allow American dippers to expand their range. To increase American dipper populations in the region water quality levels must be enhanced for suitable foraging conditions on historic breeding streams. Additionally, managing and protecting riparian zones along historic breeding sites will offer more suitable habitat for dippers in the region allowing them to return to these streams. Forestry practices in riparian ecosystems have negative effects on American dippers, human disturbance and saw dust pollution increases the likelihood of stream abandonment by American dippers. Reducing forestry and mining operations in the Black Hills region will allow American dippers to remain on current breeding streams and expand into historic breeding streams. Through habitat restoration and preservation American dipper populations can begin to recover to predevelopment numbers within the national forest.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2018
File Attachments: American_dipper.docx
Authors: Nicholas Yerden

Ten-year management plan of the Lower Keys marsh rabbit (Sylvilagus palustris hefneri) on the lower half of the Florida Keys island chain

Thu, 05/03/2018 - 10:19
Abstract: Lower Keys marsh rabbits (Sylvilagus palustris hefneri, subsequently referred to as LKMR) are endemic to the lower portion of the Florida Key Island chain. They have been extirpated from much of their historic range and now are only found on Big Pine, Bocca Chica, Saddlebunch, and Sugarloaf Keys with some individuals present on smaller surrounding islands. They rely on coastal marshes for their diet of sedges, grasses and young mangroves as well as for cover from their vast array of predators. Populations have been on a steady decline for several decades, resulting in their listing as an endangered species in Florida and across the nation in 1990. Their status has not changed since then due to the general lack of data, especially regarding population dynamics and recovery. The cause of this decline is attributed to reduced habitat availability and increased fragmentation due to human development and sea-level rise. Additionally, increasing populations of feral cats and Burmese pythons significantly increase predation of all ages of LKMR. The goal of this management plan is to allow for recovery across the Florida Keys island chain by raising the population of LKMR to a stable point where they can reproduce and disperse adequately. Efforts include increasing the number of individuals in the population, reducing predation by invasive species, and increasing the availability and connectivity of the habitat. A secondary goal of the plan includes increasing the economic revenue resulting from the existence of LKMR in the Florida Keys to fund conservation efforts and benefit local economies. This will be accomplished with educational program and development of low-impact tourism and revenue from non-consumptive wildlife use. Quick action in this plan is of critical importance if there to be a chance for recovery in the species. With ever changing conditions in the environment and potential for more disastrous events in the future, it is unlikely that this species will recover, but not for the lack of trying.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2018
Authors: Cody J. Sears

Management plan for giant golden-crowned flying fox bats (Acerodon jubatus) on the island of Negros in the Philippines

Thu, 05/03/2018 - 10:20
Abstract: The giant golden-crowned flying fox bat (Acerodon jubatus) is a critically endangered species endemic to the Philippines. This species is an endemic specialist that is significantly important to the Philippine ecosystems and cultures. Golden-crowned flying foxes have been listed on the IUCN Red List as endangered since 1994. This species is a forest obligate that uses primary growth forests for roosting and riparian zones for foraging. Figs (Ficus spp.) comprise 41% of their diet. Deforestation in the Philippines has led to loss of primary growth forests that are necessary to sustain fruit bat populations. Golden-crowned flying foxes are extremely sensitive to hunting and other roost site disturbances. A 50% decline in their population over the last three generations has been caused by habitat loss due to deforestation and overharvesting by poaching. There are only 12-15 remaining populations of golden-crowned flying foxes, with each population being estimated to contain less than 200 individuals. Only three of these populations are formally protected and even protected populations are declining at a rate of 10-15% per generation. This species is expected to be extinct within 50 years. The goal for this management plan is to increase the population of giant golden-crowned flying fox bats to a sustainable level in the Philippines for the enjoyment of stakeholders and the maintenance of their ecosystem. Objectives include: 1) estimate population size across 100% of current range on the entire island of negros; 2) provide education to 30% of tourists and 30% of residents on Negros to promote sustainable hunting and habitat preservation by 2020; 3) reduce mortality from poaching by 50% by 2022; 4) begin restoration of at least 25,005 ha of fruit bat habitat by 2023. To sustain this species for the future benefit of humans and the ecosystems, management of this species is necessary. If management of this species is properly implemented and adult survival is increased, the population of giant golden-crowned flying fox bats should increase over time and both the ecosystems and the cultural heritage of the Philippines will remain intact.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2018
Authors: Thompson Tomaszewski

Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron (Nyctanassa voilacea) Management Plan for Coastal New Jersey Salt Marshes

Thu, 05/03/2018 - 10:25
Abstract: The yellow-crowned night-heron (Nyctanassa voilacea) is a species of heron that mostly inhabits coastal salt marshes and swamps. They often breed in communal rookeries close to developed areas which often leads to negative human impacts. They range from New Jersey south along the coast down to Florida and Bermuda. Their populations are stable throughout most of their range but they are currently listed as threatened in New Jersey. Their diet is comprised mostly of crustaceans and occasionally small fish. In the late 1800s, this species was hunted almost to extinction because its plumage was used for hats and other clothing. The species made a recovery when the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (16 U.S.C. §§ 703–712) was passed but now population numbers have been declining since the 1970s when human development increased in coastal areas. They are experiencing habitat loss due to human development. The goal of this plan is to increase populations to a sustainable breeding level throughout their range within the state of New Jersey. More biological information about this species is required to further understand the life cycle and behavior of these birds as well as aid in adaptive management strategies. A public education pamphlet will be made and distributed to households, sporting goods shops, bait and tackle shops, and to tourists in the area of interest. There will be habitat restoration projects to ensure proper roosting habitat in already protected areas including state parks and wildlife management areas. If these objectives are successfully achieved and human impact is minimized than the Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron will be able to sustain a healthy breeding population in New Jersey salt marshes.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2018
File Attachments: Cartwright_Final_Plan.docx
Authors: Adam Cartwright

Management plan for the: Jackson's mongoose (Bdeogale jacksoni)

Thu, 05/03/2018 - 10:26
Abstract: Jackson’s mongoose (Bdeogale jacksoni) is in the Herpestidae family. Like the bushy-tailed mongoose (Bdeogale crassicauda) and the black footed mongoose (Bdeogale nigripes) they are located within a small geographic region in South eastern Africa. This family of mongooses are all listed on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), but the Jackson’s mongoose is listed as near threatened, more of a concern than other members of its family. The Jackson’s mongoose is an omnivorous predator that preys upon small mammals and rodents as well as fruiting plants. This species is nocturnal and very elusive, there are only few reported pictures of this species. This cause of this species’ decline is due to the loss of forest habitat throughout its natural range. The range of this species is in small national parks located in Kenya and Tanzania. The lack of knowledge about this species is part of the reason this species is in decline. The goal of this management plan is to conduct research on this species of mongoose to discover an accurate population size. The goals and objectives of this management plan will aim to establish a sustainable population of this species by managing their habitat. If the proper courses of action are performed throughout this management plan a sustainable population of the Jackson’s mongoose is attainable.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2018
File Attachments: Final_paper.docx
Authors: Seamus McArdle

Recovery Plan for Talaud Flying Fox (Acerodon humilis) On Talaud Islands, Indonesia

Thu, 05/03/2018 - 10:26
Abstract: Talaud flying foxes (Acerodon humilis; hereafter A. humilis) are a fruit bat similar in appearance to the other members of its genus, and is endemic to the Talaud Islands of Indonesia. As frugivores, their diet consists of soft fruits and possibly pollen or nectar, but the specific species it consumes are unknown. Bats of family Pteropodidae are known to have large foraging home ranges that may cover 100 km or more in a single night, often resulting in contact with humans at orchards and temporary roost sites. These interactions are often viewed negatively as a nuisance in orchards, and the trees they roost in are frequently cut down for timber. Having only been briefly described twice based on seven specimens, few details of this species' life history or biological needs are known. Based on being an island-endemic species and the few individuals seen, it is listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as ‘Endangered’, though current population statistics are unknown. The bat is protected legally by the Indonesian government, but active efforts are limited with uncertain results. While some potential habitat of A. humilis is protected in Karakelang Utara dan Suletan Wildlife Preserve on Karakelang Island, much of its possible habitat on the rest of the Talaud Islands is unprotected. The decline of this species is believed to be directly linked to destruction of its habitat due to timber harvesting, and direct harvesting of the species for the bushmeat trade. The goals of this management plan are (1) to gain understanding and acquire the necessary knowledge of Talaud flying foxes to effectively manage them, and (2) increase populations of Talaud flying foxes to down-list them from endangered on the IUCN Red List over 20 years. The objectives of this management plan are: (1.1) conduct population surveys to determine population sizes and distribution of Talaud flying foxes on the largest Talaud Islands of Karakelang, Salibabu, Kabaruan, Karatung, Nanusa, and Miangas over first two years, (1.2) construct a HSI (Habitat Suitability Index) model for A. humilis over years 3-5, (2.1) reduce occurrence of illegal logging on the Talaud Islands by 50% over initial 10 years, (2.2) increase total area of protected habitat sites by 20% over 20 years, (2.3) increase assistance to Indonesian government and communities in habitat protection efforts through contributions of US $10M from government and non-government organizations (NGOs) over 20 years, and (2.4) increase local education and awareness of threats to species, and educate on solutions and alternative agricultural practices through outreach programs to 60,000 residents and 50,000 tourists over first 5 years. As an island endemic species, there should be a focus on its protection. A thorough study of the species will provide knowledge and inform recovery actions. Financial and logistical support will reduce illegal harvesting and destructive agricultural practices. Public education builds appreciation for and dispels myths about the species. If a commitment to scientific investigation and funding of management efforts are prioritized, then there is still a chance for this rare species to persist. Protecting biodiversity is of particular importance in island ecosystems, where endemic species are susceptible to extinction. Fruit bats are known to be keystone species in their role as pollinators and seed-dispersers. The negative impacts of the reduction or loss of A. humilis cannot be fully understood as long as so little is known about the species itself. Recovery and understanding must be a priority for the sake of protecting ecosystem function and to prevent the loss of unique species.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2018
Authors: Weston J. Schloss