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The Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) of the north-central U.S. and south-central Canada contains millions of small prairie wetlands that provide critical habitat to many migrating and breeding waterbirds. Due to their small size and the relatively dry climate of the region, these wetlands are considered at high risk for negative climate change effects as temperatures increase. To estimate the potential impacts of climate change on breeding waterbirds, we predicted current and future distributions of species common in the PPR using species distribution models (SDMs). We created regional-scale SDMs for the U.S. PPR using Breeding Bird Survey occurrence records for 1971–2011 and wetland, upland, and climate variables....
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The project will utilize a 4.5 million acre study area on the Montana Glaciated Plains. The objectives are to (1) identify environmental conditions and management practices that will maintain habitat for grassland birds but not impact ranching sustainability, and (2) identify areas on the landscape that have the greatest conservation potential for grassland birds. This spatial analysis will provide the framework for a rigorous assessment of management actions on the Montana Glaciated Plains.
Land transformations occurring from energy development and agrarian use have altered the natural connectivity of fish communities inhabiting prairie waterways. The nation’s prairie waterways are obstructed by thousands of barriers that include road culverts, irrigation diversions, and dams. Connectivity is essential for the long term viability of aquatic species. One of the most promising adaptive management strategies for addressing impacts to aquatic systems by climate change and other landscape stressors is increasing connectivity. The purpose of this research is to characterize swimming abilities of three northern plains fish species; the sauger, the longnose dace, and the fathead minnow. The results of the...
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Map drained wetland basins in the PPR of Iowa and complete data set for the eastern (Region 3) of the U.S. Prairie Pothole Regionl. These data form the foundation for a newly launced inititative to develop an “Integrated Conservation Design Strategy for the PPR of Minnesota and Iowa.” This new initiative integrates wildlife habitat, water quality and flood attenuation objectives with wetland restoration potential maps to develop multi-objective wetland restoration plans for landscape-scale watershed.
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Rapid expansion of cropland threatens grassland ecosystems across western North America and broad-scaleplanning can be a catalyst motivating individuals and agencies to accelerate conservation. Sprague’s Pipit(Anthus spragueii) is an imperiled grassland songbird whose population has been declining rapidly in recent decades.Here, we present a strategic framework for conservation of pipits and their habitat in the northern GreatPlains.We modeled pipit distribution across its million-km2 breeding range in Canada and the U.S.We describefactors shaping distribution, delineate population cores and assess vulnerability to future grassland losses. Pipitsselected landscapes with a high proportion of continuous grassland...
Unconventional oil development in the Bakken shale region has increased rapidly as a result of new technologies. This region also supports a particularly high density and diversity of grassland bird species, which are declining across North America. We examined grassland bird response to unconventional oil extraction sites (i.e. developed with hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling) and associated roads in North Dakota. Our goal was to quantify the amount of habitat that was indirectly degraded by oil development, as evidenced by patterns of avoidance by birds. Grassland birds avoided areas within 149 m of roads (95% CI: 4 – 294 m), 267 m of single-bore well pads (95% CI: 157 – 377 m), and 150 m of multi-bore...
In this thesis I explore a derivation of the MSAM using the DDO survey method to create a multispecies dependent double-observer abundance (MDAM) model. I use this tool to explore how two widely used grazing systems affect the abundance of eight songbird species with varying reliance on grassland vegetation in a sagebrush ecosystem.
This report provides a final update of work performed for the period beginning December 20, 2010 and ending December 31, 2012. The report describes two umbrella projects: (1) to improve fish passage and landscape connectivity for native species and 2) to determine the thermal effects on fish species sensitive to climate change. The work was performed through a partnership led by the Western Transportation Institute at Montana State University and the Bozeman Fish Technology Center (BFTC) of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. The report is divided into five chapters that provide details on accomplishments to meet specific objectives outlined in our proposal during the period. Several of the projects that...
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The Matador Ranch Grassbank is the most successful grassbank in the country, annually incentivizing conservation actions on over 200,000 acres of participating ranches. Incentives for management actions are in the form of discounts, which reduce the cost of leased grazing at the Matador Ranch. One of the required discounts for participating in the grassbank is a ranch management plan that guides grazing and benefits natural communities and the wildlife dependent upon them. This report details the results of our work to assess resource conditions and craft management plans with eight ranches on over 113,000 acres. Our analysis found that overall ranches implemented grazing management practices that maintained ecological...
Migration barriers and resulting habitat fragmentation are a major conservationconcern for freshwater fishes. Characterizing the swimming abilities of fish is vital forfishway design and identifying potential movement barriers. The objective of this studywas to assess the swimming performance of two of the most widely distributed prairiefishes, the large-bodied, large river sauger Sander Canadensis, and the small-bodied,small stream longnose dace Rhinichthys cataractae. Swimming performance for bothspecies was assessed using a variety of metrics (passage success, maximum ascentdistance, maximum sprint speed) in an open channel flume over a range of velocities(sauger, 51, 80, 93 cm/; dace, 39, 64, 78, and 90 cm/s),...
Livestock grazing practices are managed by private landowners and federal and state agencies across the western U.S. Increasingly, grazing strategies by these entities are incorporating conservation objectives and developing goals that include livestock production that is compatible with wildlife conservation objectives. This project evaluates the impact of conservation-oriented, rest-rotation livestock grazing and climate changes on migratory bird species associated with sagebrush habitat to better inform grazing management practices. Rest-rotation grazing management is likely to enhance important components of sagebrush, shrubland, and grassland habitat for a wide range of species, but little work has been done...
This project has three objectives: (1) evaluate the abilitiy of dual acoustic-ultrasonic recorders to capture nocturnal calls of birds and bats at wind power sites; (2) relate nocturnal calls to results of facility searches at operational wind farms: (3) evaluate whether call activitiy varies in relation to landscape features.
In the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) wetland plant, invertebrate, and waterbird productivity are primarily driven by water-level dynamics in response to climate cycles. Large proportions of wetlands in the PPR have been drained, often consolidating water from smaller to larger-interconnected wetlands. This project will examine whether large basins that receive inflow from consolidation drainage have reduced water-level dynamics in response to climate cycles than those in undrained landscapes, resulting in relatively stable wetlands that have lower densities of invertebrate forage for ducks and shorebirds. We will also include a sample of wetland historically used by piping plovers to assess the threat of consolidation...
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In FY12, hydrogeomorphic methodology was being applied along 670 miles of the Missouri River from Decatur, Nebraska to St. Louis, Missouri. In FY15, additional resources extended the HGM up river to Gavin’s Point Dam, West Yankton, South Dakota (approximate river mile 811), the location of the most downstream mainstem dam; thus encompassing the entire free flowing reach of the Missouri River and increasing the study area by approximately 800,000 acres. Using this method, engineers and ecologists will incorporate state-of-the-art scientific knowledge of ecological processes and key fish and wildlife species to identify options by which to emulate natural hydrologic and vegetation/ animal community dynamics. Results...
Categories: Data, Project; Types: Map Service, OGC WFS Layer, OGC WMS Layer, OGC WMS Service; Tags: Conservation Plan/Design/Framework, EARTH SCIENCE > LAND SURFACE > LANDSCAPE, hydrology, Federal resource managers, Project, All tags...
Estimating species abundance is important for land managers, especially for monitoringconservation efforts. The two main survey methods for estimating avian abundance are point counts and transects. Previous comparisons of these two methods have either been limited to a single species or have not included detection probability. During the 2012 breeding season, we compared and assessed the efficiency (precision for amount of effort) of point count time of detection (PCTD) and dependent double-observer transect (TRMO) methods based on detection probabilities and abundance estimates of five species of songbirds that use a range of habitats in a prairie system in Montana dominated by sagebrush and grassland vegetation....
The habitats and food resources required to support breeding and migrant birds dependent on North American prairie wetlands are threatened by impending climate change. The North American Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) hosts nearly 120 species of wetland-dependent birds representing 21 families. Strategic management requires knowledge of avian habitat requirements and assessment of species most vulnerable to future threats. We applied bioclimatic species distribution models (SDMs) to project range changes of 29 wetland-dependent bird species using ensemble modeling techniques, a large number of General Circulation Models (GCMs), and hydrological climate covariates. For the U.S. PPR, mean projected range change, expressed...
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The rapid expansion of pattern tile drainage (PTD) to enhance agricultural production in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) has the potential to negatively impact ecosystem services provided by wetlands. To better understand and assess these impacts we will develop a spatial database to provide a regional characterization of areas at risk to PTD. Spatial information in conjunction with existing data and models will be used to make preliminary projections on the effects of PTD on cosystem services such as duck production, water storage and water quality. Spatial information will be used to identify study sites that will be instrumented to quantify and model the effects of PTD systems on wetland hydrology; this information...
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The collection of LiDAR data for the James River basin began in 2010. The detailed surface elevation data will be used for conservation planning, design, research, delivery, floodplain mapping and hydrologic modeling utilizing LiDAR technology. The project area includes part of the James River watershed and adjacent areas in North and South Dakota. The project encompasses 16,825 sq miles and the 2010 phase of the project acquired 8,060 sq miles of LiDAR data and subsequent terrain data. This project represents the second phase with an objective to collect the remaining 8,765 square miles of the project area.
Identifying the climatic drivers of an ecological system is a key step in assessing its vulnerability to climate change. Theclimatic dimensions to which a species or system is most sensitive – such as means or extremes – can guide methodologicaldecisions for projections of ecological impacts and vulnerabilities. However, scientific workflows for combining climateprojections with ecological models have received little explicit attention. We review Global Climate Model (GCM)performance along different dimensions of change and compare frameworks for integrating GCM output into ecologicalmodels. In systems sensitive to climatological means, it is straightforward to base ecological impact assessments onmean projected...


map background search result map search result map LiDAR Data Collection for the James River Watershed and Adjacent Areas in South Dakota and North Dakota Assessment of Pattern Tile Drainage on Wetland Hydrology and Ecosystem Services in the Prairie Pothole Region Iowa Wetland Assessment and Restorable Wetland Inventory:  Improving Wetland Restoration Planning Through Processing of Recently Collected LIDAR data for the Prairie Pothole Region of Iowa Grassland Bird Conservation on Working Landscapes: Spatial analysis linking populations to habitat Creating a detailed vegetation classification and digital vegetation map for Loess Bluffs NWR A Hydrogeomorphic approach to evaluate ecosystem restoration and habitat management for the Lower Missouri River Assessing and Implementing Ranch Management Planning at Scale through the Matador Ranch Grassbank One step ahead of the plow: Using cropland conversion risk to guide Sprague's Pipit conservation in the northern Great Plains Iowa Wetland Assessment and Restorable Wetland Inventory:  Improving Wetland Restoration Planning Through Processing of Recently Collected LIDAR data for the Prairie Pothole Region of Iowa LiDAR Data Collection for the James River Watershed and Adjacent Areas in South Dakota and North Dakota Grassland Bird Conservation on Working Landscapes: Spatial analysis linking populations to habitat Assessing and Implementing Ranch Management Planning at Scale through the Matador Ranch Grassbank One step ahead of the plow: Using cropland conversion risk to guide Sprague's Pipit conservation in the northern Great Plains A Hydrogeomorphic approach to evaluate ecosystem restoration and habitat management for the Lower Missouri River Assessment of Pattern Tile Drainage on Wetland Hydrology and Ecosystem Services in the Prairie Pothole Region