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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.
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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...
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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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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...
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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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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...
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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),...
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Temperate grasslands are among earth’s most imperiled ecosystems. In North America,steep declines of endemic songbird populations indicate that grassland loss and degradation may be approaching critical levels. Grasslands are agricultural landscapes largely (~85%) under private ownership with little formal protection status. Remaining bird populations depend on grazing lands that have not been converted to cropland. We combine regional data from a hotspot for grassland bird diversity (northeast Montana,USA; 26,500-km2) with continental data spanning the northern Great Plains (1,000,000- km2) to evaluate how land use and management influence bird distribution and abundance. Regionally, habitat used by seven grassland...
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Montana's State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) is a comprehensive strategy to maintain the health and diversity of wildlife within the state, including reducing the need for future listings under the Endangered Species Act. Special emphasis is given to addressing wildlife species that have received less attention in the past, including those that are not hunted or fished. All 50 states have developed SWAPs, providing a framework for planning and coordination on wildlife issues that cross state boundaries. The development and implementation of SWAPs is supported by the US Fish and Wildlife Services' State and Tribal Wildlife Grant Program.Montana's SWAP addresses a variety of wildlife and habitat management challenges,...
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This project will develop species distribution models (SDM) to evaluate current and future occurrence and density of wetland-dependent birds relative to several predictors, including land use patterns, wetland condition and connectivity, geomorphic setting and climate. These tools will suggest which wetland-dependent bird species appear most vulnerable to climate and land use change based on the expected extent of range change under various scenarios. Knowledge of natural history and habitat associations of species coupled with coefficients from regression models will provide insight into the potential reasons for species vulnerability. This information will be valuable in the development of management strategies.
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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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Sediment accumulation threatens the viability and hydrologic functioning of many naturally formed depressional wetlands across the interior regions of North America. These wetlands provide many ecosystem services and vital habitats for diverse plant and animal communities. Climate change may further impact sediment accumulation rates in the context of current land use patterns. We estimated sediment accretion in wetlands within a region renowned for its large populations of breeding waterfowl and migrant shorebirds and examined the relative roles of precipitation and land use context in the sedimentation process. We modeled rates of sediment accumulation from 1971 through 2100 using the Revised Universal Soil Loss...
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Iowa's State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) is a comprehensive strategy to maintain the health and diversity of wildlife within the state, including reducing the need for future listings under the Endangered Species Act. Special emphasis is given to addressing wildlife species that have received less attention in the past, including those that are not hunted or fished. All 50 states have developed SWAPs, providing a framework for planning and coordination on wildlife issues that cross state boundaries. The development and implementation of SWAPs is supported by the US Fish and Wildlife Services' State and Tribal Wildlife Grant Program.Iowa's SWAP addresses a variety of wildlife and habitat management challenges, the...
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Climate change poses major challenges for conservation and management because it alters the area, quality, and spatial distribution of habitat for natural populations. To assess species’ vulnerability to climate change and target ongoing conservation investments, researchers and managers often consider the effects of projected changes in climate and land use on future habitat availability and quality and the uncertainty associated with these projections. Here, we draw on tools from hydrology and climate science to project the impact of climate change on the density of wetlands in the Prairie Pothole Region of the USA, a critical area for breeding waterfowl and other wetland-dependent species. We evaluate the potential...
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Wind power is a promising clean energy technology that has grown rapidly in recent years (EIA 2013). In spite of its environmentally friendly reputation, industrial wind energy generation can have serious impacts on wildlife. Bat and bird collision fatality rates have been alarmingly high at some wind farms. Proper siting of wind facilities may help minimize collision impacts as the wind energy industry continues to grow. Bat and bird fatality rates vary greatly among sites; however, there is no reliable method for assessing collision risk prior to development. My goal was to develop a method for predicting fatality rates based on nocturnal activity patterns measured by ground-level recording of bat and bird calls....
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Fishery and aquatic scientists often assess habitats to understand the distribution, status, stressors, andrelative abundance of aquatic resources. Due to the spatial nature of aquatic habitats and the increasingscope of management concerns, using traditional analytical methods for assessment is often difficult.However, advancements in the geographic information systems (GIS) field and related technologies haveenabled scientists and managers to more effectively collate, archive, display, analyze, and model spatial andtemporal data. For example, spatially explicit habitat assessment models allow for a more robustinterpretation of many terrestrial and aquatic datasets, including physical and biological monitoring...


map background search result map search result map Capture of Down-Scale Climate Change Models. Part B: The Application of High Resolution Climate Models for Avian Conservation Capture and interpretation of down-scaled climate change models to benefit avian conservation 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 Predicting Bird and Bat Fatality Risk at Wind Farms and Proposed Wind Farm Sites Using Acoustic Ultrasonic Recorders Projected wetland densities under climate change: habitat loss but little geographic shift in conservation strategy Implications of climate change for wetland-dependent birds in the Prairie Potholes Region Vulnerability of Breeding Waterbirds to Climate Change in the Prairie Pothole Region Designing ecological climate change impact assessments to reflect key climatic drivers Sediment Accumulation in Prairie Wetlands under a Changing Climate: the Relative Roles of Landscape and Precipitation Fish Passage in Plains and Prairie Waterways report Montana SWAP Climate Change Chapter Iowa SWAP Climate Change Chapter Report: Assessing and Implementing Ranch Management Planning at Scale through the Matador Ranch Grassbank Cows and Plows:  Science-based Conservation for Grassland Songbirds in Agricultural Landscapes 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 Phase-I Report Avoidance of unconventional oil wells and roads exacerbates habitat loss for grassland birds in the North American great plains Assessing Bat and Bird Fatality Risk at Wind Farm Sites using Acoustic Detectors Great Plains Fish Habitat Partnership Fish Modeling Results Avoidance of unconventional oil wells and roads exacerbates habitat loss for grassland birds in the North American 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 Iowa Wetland Assessment and Restorable Wetland Inventory Phase-I Report Iowa SWAP Climate Change Chapter Grassland Bird Conservation on Working Landscapes: Spatial analysis linking populations to habitat Report: Assessing and Implementing Ranch Management Planning at Scale through the Matador Ranch Grassbank Cows and Plows:  Science-based Conservation for Grassland Songbirds in Agricultural Landscapes One step ahead of the plow: Using cropland conversion risk to guide Sprague's Pipit conservation in the northern Great Plains Montana SWAP Climate Change Chapter Capture of Down-Scale Climate Change Models. Part B: The Application of High Resolution Climate Models for Avian Conservation Capture and interpretation of down-scaled climate change models to benefit avian conservation Predicting Bird and Bat Fatality Risk at Wind Farms and Proposed Wind Farm Sites Using Acoustic Ultrasonic Recorders Projected wetland densities under climate change: habitat loss but little geographic shift in conservation strategy Implications of climate change for wetland-dependent birds in the Prairie Potholes Region Vulnerability of Breeding Waterbirds to Climate Change in the Prairie Pothole Region Designing ecological climate change impact assessments to reflect key climatic drivers Sediment Accumulation in Prairie Wetlands under a Changing Climate: the Relative Roles of Landscape and Precipitation Fish Passage in Plains and Prairie Waterways report Assessing Bat and Bird Fatality Risk at Wind Farm Sites using Acoustic Detectors Great Plains Fish Habitat Partnership Fish Modeling Results