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Neal Niemuth

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Prairies were once widespread across North America, but are now one of the most endangered and least protected ecosystems in the world. Agriculture and residential development have reduced once extensive prairies into a patchwork of remnant prairies and “surrogate” grasslands (e.g., hayfields, planted pastures). Grassland ecosystems and many grassland-dependent birds are also particularly vulnerable to rapid shifts in climate and associated changes in drought and extreme weather. The Central Flyway is a vast bird migration route that comprises more than half of the continental U.S., and extends from Central America to Canada, and harbors the greatest diversity of grassland birds in North America. Throughout this...
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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...
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The data set consists of data to evaluate bias in roadside surveys of secretive marsh birds in 2008 and 2009 in wetlands in the Prairie Pothole Region of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota during three survey periods (survey number). The data set includes detection values (species heard, species seen, species seen and heard) of seven focal marsh bird species (four-letter alpha codes and scientific names [genus and species]) by paired basin regime (temporary, seasonal, semipermanent, lake) locations using play-callback recordings and passive listening, and the detection distance to each species. In conjunction with surveys of wetland birds, the following location, weather and wetland features were recorded:...
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Oil development in the Bakken shale region has increased rapidly as a result of new technologies and strongdemand for fossil fuel. 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 oilextraction sites (i.e. developed with hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling techniques) and associatedroads 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 150 m of roads(95% CI: 87–214 m), 267 m of single-bore well pads (95% CI: 157–378 m),...
Pollinator surveys are currently being conducted in North Dakota, but we are lacking data in other areas. Given likely petitions on the horizon, having baseline data for pollinators will be essential for an informed response. Additionally, these data will be important for habitat prioritization. Given the complexity and difficulty for comprehensive identification of all key pollinators and the urgency of threatened petitions, initial projects should likely focus on bees and butterflies. Results of these surveys will also help guide where and how to sample several at risk species in different habitat types across several states. Ultimately this information could inform a national pollinator survey database development.PI:...
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