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Capstone Projects

The Conservation and Management of Wolverine (Gulo gulo) Populations in Northern Idaho to Help Prevent Human Caused Extirpation from the Contiguous United States

Thu, 05/02/2013 - 11:21
Abstract: Wolverines (Gulo gulo) were once a thriving species in the North Western United States, but large scale trapping and poison programs in the early 1900s lead to the species near extinction. Since then, populations in the United States have been struggling to maintain a strong presence in Idaho. Its current listing as threatened on the Endangered Species Act prohibits hunting and trapping, but more management is needed to sustain populations. Human development and recreation activities have caused wolverines to disperse from its nature range. Using habitat preservation techniques on current and historical wolverine habitat, increase availability and connectivity will improve dispersal. Close relationship with state officials will provide protection regarding land use, recreation, hunting, trapping and harassment. Public education will teach residents ways they can help prevent wolverine populations from further decline. Extensive research and population monitoring are needed due to the currently declining populations and the low fecundity of the species.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Biology, Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
Authors: Danielle E. Ball

Poaching: Does The Local Economy Influence Poaching in New Hampshire

Wed, 04/24/2013 - 17:35
Abstract: Because one of the most commonly cited reasons for poaching is to feed one’s family, I investigated whether economic indicators (unemployment, poverty, median household income) affected poaching in New Hampshire on the county level for years 2005-2011. Economic indicator data was collected through the US Census while poaching data was collected from NH Fish and Game. Violations per capita was calculated by dividing the number of violations in each county by the population of the respective county. As the amount of rural area may influence poaching rate, huntable/fishable area in each county (total county area minus residential and transportation area) was calculated as a metric of ruralness. First, in an effort, to determine which economic indicators to use, I sought to determine if the three economic indicators correlated with each other. Because poverty level correlated with household median income, poverty was excluded from the regression analysis. A multiple regression was conducted with unemployment, household median income, and available huntable fishable area as predictors of violations per capita. Due to Coos being an outlier in each of the categories of interest, Coos was excluded from the statistical analysis. Unemployment (coeff = -0.0048752, p = 0.016), household median income (coeff = -0.0000002, p = 0.008), and huntable and fishable area (coeff = 0.0009837, p = 0.029) were significant factors in predicting violations per capita in NH. Although unemployment, household median income, and huntable fishable area can be possible predictors of poaching, other variables may also influence poaching.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
File Attachments: Capstone Paper Final.docx
Authors: Joshua Curtis

Management Plan for American Black Ducks in New England

Wed, 04/24/2013 - 17:38
Abstract: The American black duck was selected as a focal species for this management plan due to its conservation need. At one time the American black duck was the most abundant fresh water duck in the Atlantic Flyway, and particularly in New England where they were year round residents (US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2011). Although relatively stable over the last 15 years, the black duck population experienced a 50% decline from the 1950’s to the 1990’s and are below the desired abundance (Denvers & Collins, 2011). While the reason for black duck population decline is still unclear, researchers hypothesize that loss of wintering and breeding habitat, competition and hybridization with mallards, and overharvesting may be responsible (Denvers & Collins, 2011; US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2011; Black Duck Joint Venture, 2008). This management plan outlines an approach that can be taken to increase the total breeding population of American black ducks from ~ 565,000 breeding individuals to 650,000 breeding individuals, the desired breeding populations (Denvers & Collins, 2011). By increasing preserved breeding habitat, increasing nest success and reducing harvest mortalities in New England, this goal is feasible. A possible course of action is provided to inform the public of our planed actions. Cooperation with state governments and sportsmen within New England is essential in order to reach the desired black duck population. In order for this plan to be deemed successful the American black duck population must increase to at least 650,000 breeding individual.
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: Joshua Curtis

Eastern Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris) Management in Upstate New York

Thu, 04/25/2013 - 11:21
Abstract: The eastern wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris), was completely absent from the state of New York for nearly 100 years. With suitable habitat regenerating, the turkeys have migrated back into the state and along with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation trap and transfer efforts, the turkeys have made a full recovery. Although turkeys are now found in all suitable habitats of the state, there population is still at risk. Poult survival is a strong determining factor in the existence of the population. With poult mortality approaching 75% in bad years, every effort needs to be made in order to ensure the poults that survive, reach maturity. Management practices of public operations as well as farmers need to be adjusted to delay mowing of roadside ditches and hay fields until July to protect hens and their nests. By creating suitable nesting habitat, that keeps the eggs and poults safe from the elements and predators, as well as educating the public and landowners about the importance of nesting habitat, poults will have a higher chance of reaching maturity.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
Authors: Brad Marshall

New York State Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus) Management Plan

Thu, 04/25/2013 - 11:24
Abstract: In New York State, Ruffed grouse have been an important bird for many hunters and outdoor enthusiasts. This species’ population has been slowly declining due to the loss of habitat. Ruffed grouse prefer early successional forests with high stem density. This allows them to hide in the cover and shelters them from predators. These early successional forests provide mid staged trees increasing the brood habitat and increasing the survival of young. The goals of this management plan are to increase the total area of early successional forests in New York State and to increase the estimated Ruffed grouse population size. The goals will be achieved by logging and clear cutting allowing young trees and shrubs to begin growth and by monitoring populations to see population trends. Increasing these habitats will improve nesting and brood habitat which may lead to a population increase. Logged areas are preferred areas for male Ruffed grouse to drum, allowing them to possibly attract more mates. The management sites will be monitored to see if tree species incorporated with early successional forests need to be added. Public and private land will be managed to ensure habitat is added not only on public forests to allow possible dispersal and immigration of populations. To ensure future Ruffed grouse populations action needs to be done now or the decrease of their natural habitat will continue to expand.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
File Attachments: Ruffed grouse management
Authors: Kyle Keys

Management Plan for Nutria (Myocastor coypus) in Louisiana Marshlands

Thu, 04/25/2013 - 11:25
Abstract: Nutria have been in Louisiana from the late 1800’s and has been destroying the Louisiana marshes since their release in the 1930’s. Nutria are large rodents that feed extensively on marsh grasses and roots. The nutria harvest 25% of their body weight (5.5Kg) each day, however they only consume 10% of the food they harvest. The goal of this management plan is to eradicate the nutria from the Louisiana ecosystem through hunting and trapping with economic incentives. There are two reasons that eradication is the answer to the nutria infestation. The first reason for their eradication is they are an invasive species that has replaced the native muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus). The second reason for their eradication is that they have incredibly high rates of reproduction with relatively low rates of predation. If the nutria is left to exist on its own, the population would soon get out of control and completely destroy Louisiana’s ecosystems. Nutria need to be eradicated in order to save the remaining marshlands and prevent erosion in the Louisiana marshland.
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: Stephen Jennings

Mountain Lion Reintroduction Management Plan for New Hampshire

Thu, 04/25/2013 - 11:27
Abstract: Due to the extinction of the eastern cougar (Puma concolor), Mountain lions have been officially absent from the northeast since 2011. This management plan is designed to reintroduce a breeding population of Mountain lions to New Hampshire. With this introduction, this plan hopes to return Mountain lions to the Northeast and eventually have a sustainable population to hunt. The goals of this management plan can be achieved through stocking Mountain lions from States that already have sustainable populations. Once the new population of Mountain lions has been caught, they will be released into the landscape throughout specially selected suitable habitats in the northern part of New Hampshire. This management plans hinges on gaining strong public support through education, acquisition of surplus Mountain lions, and establishing policies and procedures designed to protect experimental populations.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
File Attachments: Final management plan.docx
Authors: Kelly Starkweather

Management Plan for the Common Loon (Gavia immer) in the Adirondack Park in New York State

Thu, 04/25/2013 - 11:30
Abstract: Common loons (Gavia immer) have been a symbol of the remote northern lakes and wilderness. Because of their eerie calls, striking plumage, fierce territoriality, and a habitat selection that coincides with people, the common loon has accumulated a significant amount of national attention. Although overall populations are thriving there are many threats throughout the loon’s life cycle. As a result, managers and concerned citizens have created laws, regulations, and have tried to educate the public about common loons. The primary goal of this management plan is to continue to maintain the stability of the common loon population in the Adirondack Park in New York State. The goals of this management plan can be achieved by protecting and conserving loon habitat and educating the public about limiting the amount of human disturbances.
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: Ann Jardin

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

Current summarization and future recommendations: A universal management plan for American beaver (Castor canadensis) across the northeastern U.S.

Thu, 04/25/2013 - 15:18
Abstract: The northeastern United States has the most diverse trapping regulations of the entire country. Driven by political and socio-cultural views on trapping, laws have been passed in recent years that are not based on the best available science. A summary has been completed of the current regulations throughout the northeast with management implications for the future. The intent of this management plan is to create steps to improve laws so they are based solely on the current ecological problems of the species.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
Authors: Tyson Morrill