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USFWS, Region 8, Reno, Nevada desired to acquire LIDAR along the East and West forks of the Walker River, Nevada. Their goal is develop an accurate digital elevation model (DEM) within the river channel and into the uplands approximately 500 meters on each side. The goal is to use the DEM to assist in targeting restoration efforts for Lahonton Cutthroat as well as characterize the riparian vegetation and associated nearby uplands. [see Narratives for more information.]
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Fire played an important role in shaping ponderosa pine forests of South Dakota’s Black Hills. Consequently, prescribed fire is an important management tool in restoring and maintaining the structure of these forests after nearly a century of fire suppression. Invasive plant species like Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense) and common mullein (Verbascum thapsus) are sometimes associated with post-fire landscapes, however, so this project sought to determine strategies to reduce the chances of post-fire invasive species outbreaks. Partnering with the National Park Service’s Northern Great Plains Fire Management Office, this project tracked target invasive plants immediately before to two years after prescribed fires...
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Many studies have demonstrated the utility of developing species occurrences models, particularly breeding bird occurrences in forested landscapes, at the forest stand level. The success of these models often require forest stand structural metrics, in addition to metrics acquired in the surrounding landscape, for predicting species occurrences. While it is feasible to statistically estimate “how much” of this particular habitat structure at the stand level there is across the landscape through appropriate sampling schemes, in general, these estimates are not spatially explicit (e.g. what is the structure in the stand next to the one sampled, and then in the one next to that, etc.?). Remote sensing technologies,...
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Camp Ripley, in north-central Minnesota, is a large state-owned National Guard training facility that supports military and civilian training. Training consists of maneuvering troops and equipment as well as weapons familiarization and qualification, including aviation and armor gunnery. The civilian training mission focuses primarily on law enforcement and emergency management activities as well as natural resource education. Much of the training can cause disturbances to the natural resources within and around the Camp. The central mission of the natural resources management program at Camp Ripley is to ensure that the multiple demands for land use can be met without sacrificing the integrity of the resources...
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Since 2003, Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center (NPWRC) has conducted research on the impact of wind-energy development on breeding grassland birds, including Sharp-tailed Grouse and Greater-Prairie Chicken. Wind-energy development in the northern Great Plains primarily occurs along the Missouri Coteau and Missouri River Plateau in North and South Dakota. While these areas rank high in wind-energy potential, they also contain important breeding habitat for Sharp-tailed Grouse and Greater Prairie-Chicken. The Land-Based Wind Energy Guidelines of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service specifically mention prairie grouse as a group of species requiring particular precautions when siting wind facilities. However,...
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Private and public holders of forest lands make daily decisions concerning management of their respective tracts with little understanding about the consequences to wildlife both on and adjacent to surrounding tracts of land. ECOSEARCH Version 1 (Short et al. 2001) is a computer program containing species-habitat models that provide a scientific basis for predicting the outcome of alternative management actions on wildlife within forested landscapes. Hence, ECOSEARCH is a tool that allows managers of forests to better balance the often-conflicting demands of economics and conservation. ECOSEARCH also provides a means by which small and large land holders can link their management goals and objectives with those...
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Sagebrush steppe refers to the intermountain basins west of the Great Plains that are characterized by vegetation communities that include sagebrush and associated plant species that are also found in grasslands. Sagebrush-steppe habitats have experienced dramatic changes since European settlement. Today, this ecosystem is considered imperiled, having decreased by about 50 percent in Western North America, and currently is undergoing intense fragmentation and degradation. As a result, sagebrush-steppe dependent species have experienced drastic range contractions and population declines; one notable example being the Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus spp). Sage-Grouse populations have declined by 15–90% since the early 1970s,...
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Agriculture is the dominant land use on privately owned lands in the midcontinent of the United States. Management decisions on agricultural lands are heavily influenced by a variety of policies and programs established by the federal government in periodic Farm Bills. In a long-term and ongoing study (1990-present), Northern Prairie researchers have been evaluating the use of grasslands enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) by breeding birds in four states (North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Montana) in the northern Great Plains. This is the longest and most extensive evaluation of CRP grasslands and breeding birds of its kind. Results from this and allied studies have been used both to generate...
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