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Capstone Projects

Presence and Abundance of Microplastics within Flowing Waters of Private, Wilderness, and Other Forest Preserve Lands of the Northern Adirondack Park

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 16:26
Abstract: Microplastic sampling was conducted at thirteen locations throughout the water bodies of the Northern Adirondack Region. Plastics were found at all thirteen sites, which were categorized by the impact level of human development. Any particle less than 5mm can be defined as a microplastic particle. Microscopic plastics can be found in a variety of chemical cleaners, clothing fabrics, and concrete solutions. Storm water drainage systems and wastewater treatment plants are confirmed sources of microplastic pollution, which carry pollutants into our rivers, lakes, and streams. Ingestion of microplastic particles can lead to many distinctive threats, including biological and physical abnormalities, while possibly leading to bioaccumulation and biomagnification throughout the food web. Future practices for management and prevention of microplastic pollutants in the Adirondacks is critical for environmental protection, while also portraying a worldly view of an overlooked human induced issue.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Environmental Sciences, Natural Resources Management and Policy
Year: 2014
Authors: Patrick Colern, Sinjin Larson

Environmental Values Represented in Successful Green Building; LEED vs. Passive House

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 12:02
Abstract: In a society struggling to synchronize human development with environmental quality, the construction sector is often the target of sustainability initiatives. The purpose of this research is to investigate the environmental values and themes that influenced the design process of two successful green building projects. The two buildings at the focus of the study are new residential construction in the state of Maine; one with LEED Platinum certification and one with Passive House certification. Both buildings were found to exemplify themes of energy performance, practicality, and bioregionalism and included a collaborative design effort. A better understanding of these themes and values that guided these project teams to construct paradigm-shifting structures can help form a model for mainstream applications of a sustainable built environment.
Access: No
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Environmental Studies
Year: 2014
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Heather Coleates

Management of the European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) in Chemung County

Tue, 05/06/2014 - 08:47
Abstract: Shakespearian enthusiasts introduced the European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) to the United States in the early 19th century in Central Park NYC, NY. Currently, starlings have caused major economic damage, ecological displacement of native birds, and spread of invasive plant species. The goal of this management plan is to reduce the European Starling population within Chemung County, NY by means of non-lethal management strategies. Our objectives include assessing the population, marking out hot-spots with areas of high densities of European Starlings, and to provide education and outreach to residents of Chemung County via presentations, pamphlets, and surveys. We will implement non-lethal management in regards to habitat alteration in effort to dissuade European Starlings from nesting and roosting sites, using frightening strategies, as well as covering open food sources such as agricultural feeding stations. Lastly, if the non-lethal management strategies are not successful enough to deter the population of starlings within Chemung County by 50% within three years, we will implement lethal management strategies with biological control actions, and nest-box trapping. Without the management of the European Starling, the issues will continue to persist.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2014
Authors: Madelaine Sullivan

Management Plan to Increase the Eastern wild turkey population along the James River in Eastern, South Dakota.

Sun, 05/04/2014 - 14:26
Abstract: It is estimated that each day in the U.S. we lose about 6,000 acres of wild turkey habitat. This along with other factors is the reason that the current wild turkey population has decreases 15 percent from the total U.S. population estimate in 2004. Eastern wild turkeys are a popular game species and have economic benefits. With proper management, the James River watershed could provide thousands of acres of habitat for Eastern wild turkey and other species. The goal of this management plan is to establish, increase, and maintain an Eastern wild turkey population in the James River watershed of South Dakota to maximize hunting and viewing. To achieve this goal the following actions will be taken: 1. Increasing the current percent of woodland land cover by planting shrubs and trees to increase suitable habitat. 2. Using land easements to establish suitable habitat. 3. Jump starting population by implementing trap and transplant program. 4. Conducting outreach and partnering with organizations to gain support, funding, and man power. Increasing the wild turkey population size will positively affect hunter opportunities and satisfaction, economics, and other species that might utilize newly created habitat.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2014
File Attachments: Final Management Plan.docx
Authors: Patrick Wightman

Management Plan for Baikal Seals (Phoca sibirica) in Lake Baikal, Russia

Sat, 05/03/2014 - 15:41
Abstract: Out of the 30 pinniped species, Baikal seals (Phoca sibirica) are the only exclusively freshwater species; they are endemic to Lake Baikal in Siberia, Russia. This lake is the oldest, deepest, and biggest lake in the world. The lake measures nearly 400 miles long and 50 miles wide, with a depth of about one mile, making it difficult for wildlife officers to enforce regulations. This has led to an increase in poaching because locals know that there is little chance of getting caught. The current population is not known; consequently the current hunting quota is not known to be sustainable or not. By-catch from fishing gear and climate change also poses threat to this species. There are five proposed objectives to reach a stable population of Baikal seals. These include: determine a population estimate; create a hunting quota of 5% of the population determined from the population estimate; decrease mortality caused by poaching by 75% in five years; decrease mortality caused by fishing by-catch by 75% in five years; and increase suitable above water habitat by 5% within 5 years. Overall, this management plan is designed to maintain a stable population of Baikal seals.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2014
Authors: Savannah Waechter

Matlacha Pass National Wildlife Refuge Feral Cat Management

Sat, 05/03/2014 - 10:33
Abstract: This management plan focuses on the protection of shorebirds, native ground nesting birds, and terrestrial vertebrates through the removal of feral cats from Matlacha Pass National Wildlife Refuge and Matlacha Pass Aquatic Preserve in Lee County, Florida. Feral cats directly affect many ground nesting and terrestrial vertebrate species through predation, and have caused the decline of many endemic or rare species. Justification for the eradication of feral cats from MPNWR and MPAP comes from several legal sources and scientific literature indicating predation upon native wildlife. The goal of this management plan is to reduce the effect of feral cats on shorebirds and ground nesting birds in Lee County, Florida. Action will be taken by passing new and improved regulations for cat owners, such as mandatory microchipping and cat-proof fencing. The feral cat population will be reduced through direct and indirect means. Some of these measures include live-trapping, introduction of feline distemper, toxic baits, and sharpshooters. The removal of non-native predators for the protection of native wildlife is a practice commonly used throughout the country. It is often necessary to remove invasive species in order to protect native wildlife in a habitat significantly altered by humans.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2014
File Attachments: Management plan_Nicely.pdf
Authors: Alex Nicely

Maintaining The Current Population Size Of Pygmy Three-toed Sloth (Bradypus pygmaeus) On Isla Escudo de Veraguas, Panama

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 21:13
Abstract: The pygmy three-toed sloth, Bradypus pygmaeus, is only found on Isla Escudo de Veraguas, a small island off the coast of Panama. This species is currently listed as a critically endangered species with a population thought to be less than 100 individuals. If no action is taken this species may eventually become extinct as a result of deforestation and poaching by native peoples. To help conserve the biodiversity of Panama a goal and list of objectives has been formed. The goal of this project is to maintain the current population size of pygmy sloths on Isla Escudo de Veraguas. This goal is hoped to be accomplished through reforestation of red mangrove trees, Rhizophora mangle, and by increasing the enforcement of local laws. Local laws currently prohibit harvesting pygmy sloths and the deforestation of the red mangrove trees but they are rarely enforced. The best way to preserve this species is to try to preserve the species habitat. Since the pygmy sloth eats only red mangrove tree leaves it is necessary to preserve its habitat in order to preserve the species.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2014
Authors: Vincent Meyer

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

Management of Endemic Hawaiian Honeycreepers (Drepanidinae)

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 00:37
Abstract: The islands of Hawaii have been heavily impacted by human use through the clearing of lowland forests, the introduction of mammalian predators and nonnative bird species, ungulates, and avian pox and avian malaria, all causing severe declines in avian species. Due to their isolated evolutionary history honeycreepers (Drepanidinae) had never been exposed to these threats. When introductions took place honeycreepers were hit very hard. Currently of the 31 historically known honeycreeper species 12 are presumed extinct, 15 are federally endangered and only 4 are not listed. My goal is to increase populations of honeycreepers and support sustainable populations into the future. I propose protection of current honeycreeper habitat and reforestation efforts where applicable, and a reduction in feral hog, goat, sheep, rat, mongoose and cat populations, and a reduction in mosquito vectors. To accomplish this I propose an integrative approach to mosquito control utilizing point source reduction and the use of biopesticides, the use of rodenticides to control rat and mongoose populations, trapping programs to reduce feral cats, and the culling of feral ungulates. If action is not taken, honeycreeper extinctions will continue to take place, and one of the greatest examples of life’s ability to diversify will be lost.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2014
File Attachments: Final submission.docx
Authors: John Neddermeyer

Management Plan to Increase and Protect the Population of Bearded Vultures (Gypaetus barbatus) in the Drakensberg Mountains of South Africa

Wed, 04/30/2014 - 22:35
Abstract: Lammergeiers (Gypaetus barbatus) are a long-lived vulture species native to Europe, Asia, and Africa. They were highly persecuted in the 1800s and early 1900s to the point of near extinction. The only population in South Africa is comprised of roughly 500 individuals in the Drakensberg Mountains. Trophy hunting and secondary poisoning using baits imperils this population. They are also being driven further into the mountains because of human population and commercial expansion around the mountains, a growing destination for tourists. Lammergeiers are most vulnerable as chicks. My management goal is to protect and increase the population of lammergeiers living within the Drakensberg Mountains. By rescuing second hatched chicks from the nests and hand raising them before being released as juveniles we will ensure a higher chance of survival for them during their most sensitive life stages. This action coupled with the removal of poisoned baits in their habitat and stricter regulations preventing more bait placement will increase recruitment rates and adult survival. If successful, this plan would show an increase in population density within 5 years of its institution.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2014
File Attachments: Management_FINAL.docx
Authors: Leslie Fortier