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Capstone Projects

Managing Fisher (Martes pennanti) in Region 7 of Central New York: Opening a trapping season

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 20:40
Abstract: In the late 1800’s fisher were very abundant throughout New York State, but they were nearly trapped to extinction by the 1930s. Few populations survived until 1949 when the trapping season was closed. Today fisher can be found throughout approximately 26,000 square miles of forested habitat in the state; many of these areas have established management plans. Region 7 has not established a population estimate of fisher in the past because there have been few sightings until recently. In 2013, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) and Cornell documented fishers at 54 of 100 survey locations in Region 7. The goal of this management plan is to maintain a fisher population that is large enough to sustain itself and support annual trapping seasons in Region 7. To support the goal of opening a trapping season, fisher habitat will be improved by limiting fragmentation and increasing connectivity. Fisher harvests will be limited by issuing harvest tags, and monitored by pelt seal records. Opening a trapping season will improve recreational opportunities for trappers, while assisting in maintaining a healthy predator prey ratio.
Access: No
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2014
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Carter O'Gorman

Optimal Clutch Size of American Kestrels (Falco sparverius) in Northern New York

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 12:08
Abstract: American kestrels readily use nest boxes, which makes them perfect candidates for studies on nesting activity and success. Nesting success is important to understand so that managers can effectively assess the productivity of a breeding population of kestrels. The goal of this study was to determine optimum clutch size for American Kestrels in Northern New York. The hypothesis was that optimum clutch size consisted of four eggs per clutch. The objective was to determine what clutch size is most effective at hatching young. The study was conducted during the months of June 2013 through August 2013 on 150 nest boxes that were established in 2002. The contents of each elevated nest box were observed using a video baby monitor attached to an extendible pole to minimize disturbance. Clutch size data and number of chicks hatched was compiled and analyzed using a Kruskal-Wallis test. This test was used because it allowed data to be separated into different clutch sizes, and determined the significance between the number of eggs in each clutch and the number of chicks hatched. Clutch sizes varied from 1-5 eggs, with occurrences of one and four eggs being most common. The majority of nesting attempts with one egg failed, resulting in a low probability of chicks hatching from one egg clutches. A clutch size of four eggs has the highest probability of successfully hatching chicks and the highest mean number of chicks hatched compared to the other clutch sizes.
Access: No
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2014
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Jennifer Miller

Compaction of Hiking Trails Located in the Northeastern Area of the Adirondack State Park, New York

Mon, 04/29/2013 - 12:19
Abstract: With continued increases in outdoor recreation in the United States, the physical impact of that use needs to be monitored for its effects. The purpose of this study was to explore whether a relationship exists between traffic numbers and soil strength of trails in the High Peaks Region of New York’s Adirondack state park. Soil strength was used as a measure of compaction because of its ability to indicate certain aspects of soil physical properties like bulk density, and hydrological condition (Mirreh & Ketcheson,1972), which are also soil physical properties that are effected by compaction (Hanna & Al-Kaisi,2009). These physical properties are important factors which influence a soils ability to carry out its biotic and abiotic processes (Kozlowski,1999). Initially the relationship between average soil strength of trails and traffic was insignificant. Upon further analyzing the data we found a significant relationship between on-trail and off-trail soil strength and used this relationship to create on-trail residual soil strengths. This was done to remove the influence that off-trail soil strength was having on the traffic vs. soil strength relationship. With the on/off-trail relationship influence removed, the relationship between on-trail residual soil strength and traffic was significantly improved. Literature discussed showed how the soil strengths collected could be used to infer possible effects on the sites tested. Relations between soil strength and bulk density, root elongation, root penetration, and trail recovery were all reviewed to provide insight on the quality of the soil at sample sites.
Access: No
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Biology
Year: 2013
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Karl Van Osch

Management of Feral Swine (Sus scrofa) in New York: Eradication and Damage Elimination of an Invasive Species

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 10:55
Abstract: Abstract: Feral swine (Sus scrofa) populations have spread across much the United States with invasive-like qualities. Feral swine are prolific breeders and are opportunistic omnivores. These invasive species modify the terrestrial habitats they invade. Feral swine have drastic impacts on the economy and ecology of the areas they inhabit. Populations are now present in New York and without proper management drastic negative effects to the ecosystems and regional economies will occur. This document outlines management objectives and actions to curb the damage of feral swine. Current population levels are currently low enough to for complete eradication, the only way to eliminate devastating damage from feral swine.
Access: No
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Josh Pierce

Managing Raccoon (Procyon lotor) Populations in Urban Environments of New York State

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 17:29
Abstract: With the human population growing over time, so has the amount of urban and suburban populations. Urban areas have fragmented the landscape that can attract wild populations into the urban areas. One of these species that has been attracted includes the raccoon (Procyon lotor). In urban areas where resources are abundant, raccoon densities can become very high and they can become very destructive to homes. They are destructive to homes because of their generalist foraging habits and creation of den sites in human’s homes. Raccoons can be particularly dangerous in the spread of epizootics such as rabies, canine distemper, and roundworm. With raccoons in high densities the spread of the epizootics becomes very easy between raccoons which can cause a higher transmission rate to domestic animals or humans. Since population reduction methods have proven to be ineffective in reducing raccoon populations, education to the public to reduce the densities of raccoons may be the most effective. Proper management in maintaining public facilities, feeding wild and domestic animals outdoors, along with precautionary measures to take with your home can help in reducing the amount of negative interactions with raccoons. Also using current or past DEC or animal control data can help determine areas of highest negative interactions with the public to prevent future incidences in occurring.
Access: No
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Scott M. Collins

Grizzly Bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) Management Plan for the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem: Maintaining a Sustainable for Future Generations

Thu, 05/02/2013 - 15:57
Abstract: The grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) is considered by many people to express the health and depth of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE). Grizzly bears south of Canada were first listed as threatened in 1975 under the Endangered Species Act due to the high mortality rates and an uncertainty about its population status. Current threats to the grizzly bear population include an increase in human- bear conflicts, whitebark pine numbers declining, and increased urbanization and fragmentation on the landscape. Grizzly bear deaths have been increasing due to their increasing range size; as bears are expanding their range into areas with more humans, the potential for conflicts increase. Grizzly bears are slow reproducers which makes them increasingly more vulnerable to population decline. Grizzly bears are thought to only be able to handle less than or equal to 4% of their population being removed a year. The overall goal of this management plan is to maintain a sustainable population of grizzly bears in the GYE. Courses of action include maintain and reserving current grizzly bear habitat, purchasing more habitat to increase landscape connectivity, continued research, and reducing human- bear conflicts.
Access: No
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Lydia Naccarato

Increasing the piping plover (Charadrius melodus) population on New Jersey’s Barrier Islands through the quality of preexisting nesting sites

Thu, 05/02/2013 - 11:28
Abstract: The piping plover (Charadrius melodus) is listed as threatened, by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, in 1986. In 1984, the piping plover was listed as an endangered species in New Jersey. As the piping plover population increased on the Atlantic Coast in the 1980’s and 1990’s from 800 pairs to 1750 pairs in 2011, the number of plovers in New Jersey has remained relatively constant at 119 pairs. The threats that plovers face, including human disturbance, predation, and habitat loss continue to impede population growth. Without protection and management, it is unlikely that the piping plover would survive in New Jersey.
Access: No
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Bryan Hankins

The western dispersion of Mountain lions from their current South Dakota habitat

Thu, 05/02/2013 - 11:27
Abstract: The travel vectors of dispersing cougars shall be determined from a base point of the Black Hills in South Dakota. With this information the most likely travel paths will be plotted and the states that may be crossed through and the final endpoint destinations will be determined. Once these are known these states will be informed and polled on their willingness to accept a cougar population. If the population is in favor of a viable cougar population they will be helped to develop a management plan based on an overall plan for all states that are in the travel path of dispersing cougars. If the states populace proves resistant to cohabitation with cougars a different plan will be enacted that help cougar’s find another place of residence to avoid conflict with the populace. A handout will be dispersed throughout every potential cougar vector state which will list and describe a number of body language behaviors exhibited by cougars and an appropriate reaction to take. This should help lessen any violent interactions between cougars and humans. Local wildlife officials and agencies will be brought in to help customize the overall plan for the specific state that they are in this will include adapting it to fit different laws, terrain, climate, etc. Once this plan is in place it will be up to the state agencies to enact it.
Access: No
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Nicholas Weaver

The Recovery and Management Plan for Maned Wolves (Chrysocyon brachyurus) in South America with a Focus on Increasing Survival Rates

Thu, 05/02/2013 - 11:21
Abstract: The population of maned wolves (Chrysocyon brachyurus) in South America has been in a steady decline over the past thirty years. This is due to the decrease of the maned wolves’ habitat and their increase mortality rates. Much of the land in central South America has been converted to farm land. This causes the useable habitat for maned wolves to become fragmented and increase the maned wolf/ human conflicts. These conflicts increase the mortality rate of sub-adults as they travel to find their own territories. The sub-adult’s survival rate is estimated to be only 30% between their first and second year. The pups’ survival rate is also very low at 30% in their first year. It may effective to increase the survival rates of the already wild populations in the conservation parks in Brazil. In order to do this, new laws should be implemented to deter farmers from killing maned wolves, and create buffer zones around the wildlife parks. Also, annually checking on pups and administering vaccinations may help protect them from the disease and parasites that plague the species.
Access: No
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Alisha Jean Benack

Plan for the Eradication of Feral Pigs (Sus scrofa), from the State of Vermont

Thu, 04/25/2013 - 12:20
Abstract: There is currently a population of feral pigs (Sus scrofa) in Southeastern Vermont. Due to their reproductive strategy, and demographics, this relatively small population can grow rapidly. Their reproductive strategy of large litter sizes, early maturation, and number of litters possible in a year combined with their survival rates. This allows their population to grow almost exponentially if left unmanaged. Feral pigs present many problems to the ecosystem as well as anthropogenic related issues. These problems with the ecosystem, economics, and property are partly due to how and what they eat. The behavior of feral pigs combined with their ability to eat almost everything, from crops and natural vegetation, to livestock, and wildlife causes many problems. Among them, rooting and wallowing causes extensive property and agricultural damage. Feral pigs are also known to carry diseases which they may transmit to humans, livestock, pets, and wildlife. All of these factors demonstrate a need to eradicate feral pigs from the state, as they cannot be successfully managed. This can be accomplished through population monitoring, lethal population control, and monitoring of potential reinvasion areas.
Access: No
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: John Chestna