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To return to the Midwest Fish & Wildlife Conference website, go to http://www.midwestfw.org/ The following schedule and room names are subject to change (as of February 1, 2017). Please check back for updates. 

Presenters: 
Presenters for technical presentations are either the primary author (the first name listed in the abstract), or are indicated with an asterisk next to their name. 

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Sunday, February 5
 

7:00am

8:00am

Workshop: Introduction to Data Basin and the Midwest Grassland Conservation Area
ORGANIZER: Kelly VanBeek; Tom Will, USFWS, kelly_vanbeek@fws.gov; tom_will@fws.gov

PRESENTERS: Kelly VanBeek, Migratory Bird Biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Region 3 Division of Migratory Bird Management;  Tom Will, Migratory Bird Coordinator, Midwest Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Migratory Birds

OVERVIEW: Despite significant advances in conservation policy and land-use practice, stewards of Midwest grasslands face persistent challenges in sustaining the ecological and economic values of pasture, hayfield, and prairie ecosystems. This workshop will profile a newly developed resource to support grassland stewardship in the Upper Mississippi River and Great Lakes Region, Prairie Pothole, and Central Hardwoods Joint Ventures. The Conservation Atlas for Midwest Grasslands is an online mapping and data-sharing platform, hosted by Data Basin, which organizes spatial information about bird populations, ecosystem services, and conservation opportunities. It also synthesizes strategic guidance generated by regional and international initiatives and provides a platform for collaborative grassland project development. A tool within the Atlas, the Conservation Opportunity Model for Bobolink, provides a flexible template for exploring species conservation opportunities by allowing user weighting of objectives and model parameters. Program leaders and field personnel from public and private sectors should find these tools useful in promoting the wildlife, water-quality, and agricultural benefits of grassy landscapes.

After an introduction to the Data Basin framework, the Atlas layers, and the available tools for combining, weighting, and viewing spatial data, we will provide examples of how spatial hypotheses can be explored at regional, state, and local scales. Participants will then work independently and in small groups on structured problems at each of the three scales. We will then discuss as a group how these tools can be used to generate planning ideas or make conservation decisions at appropriate venues and levels within conservation organizations. Finally, we will conclude with examples of how organizations can share their spatial data to contribute to the scope and scale of the Atlas and how the Atlas can be used as a platform to strengthen collaboration and build stronger partnerships for collective impact.

Participants will be asked to create a Data Basin account prior to attendance and, if possible, to bring a laptop to the workshop in order to participate in the problem-solving exercises and practice Data Basin techniques in real time.

INTENDED AUDIENCE: Any; but professionals and planners would benefit

FEES: $20. Sign-up on registration form; lunch is on your own. 

Sunday February 5, 2017 8:00am - 12:00pm
Olive Branch Room

8:00am

Workshop: Introduction to Fisheries Data Analysis with R
ORGANIZER: Christopher J. Chizinski, Ph.D., University of Nebraska Lincoln, School of Natural Resources, cchizinski2@unl.edu

PRESENTERS:
Christopher J. Chizinski, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Human Dimensions of Wildlife Management, University of Nebraska Lincoln

OVERVIEW:
 This is a half-day course for fisheries professionals and students interested in fisheries-specific analysis.  This introductory-to-intermediate course will familiarize participants with popular data wrangling (tidyR and dplyr) and plotting (ggplot2) packages in R.  We will cover age comparisons, size structure, weight-length relationships, condition, length-at-age, mortality, and individual growth through coding exercises.  Participants in the course should be familiar with some of R basics like importing data, loading libraries, and basic mathematical operations. Participants should come to the course with R and RStudio installed on a laptop.  

INTENDED AUDIENCE: Beginner - Intermediate

FEES: Students $25; Professionals $50. Sign-up on registration form; lunch is on your own.

Sunday February 5, 2017 8:00am - 1:00pm
Yankee Hill I

8:00am

Workshop: Beginning Your Professional Journey (For Students!) - Sponsored by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
ORGANIZER: Drew Tyre, School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincol, atyre2@unl.edu

AGENDA: 
  • 8:00A – 8:30A  |  Registration/Continental Breakfast

  • 8:30A – 8:45A  |  Welcome and introductions

  • 8:45A – 9:15A  |  How to cut your Journey Short

  • 9:15A – 10:30A  |  Preparing your Resume and other Professional Correspondence

  • 10:30A – 10:45A  |  Break

  • 10:45A - 12:00P  |  Academic and Employer Panels

  • 12:00P – 1:15P  |  Lunch Break

  • 1:15P – 2:30P  |  Interviewing

  • 2:30P - 2:45P  |  Break

  • 2:45P – 3:45P  |  Networking

  • 3:45P – 4:15P  |  Professionalism

  • 4:15P – 4:30P  |  Workshop wrap-up. Final questions. 

  • 5:00P – 10:00P  |  Conference Welcome Reception (time to put your networking skills to work)

OVERVIEW:
 Fisheries and Wildlife (FW) undergraduates take many academic classes to prepare them for their first position in the field. A sentiment often expressed by academics and employers is that students are ill-­‐informed regarding specific skills, prior experience, and personality traits deemed desirable in employees and graduate students. Seldom are undergraduates given opportunities to build networks with professionals and learn detailed information regarding their potential as a future employee or graduate student. Likewise, “unwritten” rules for interacting and corresponding with professionals are seldom discussed with students but are essential for their professional satisfaction and advancement.

This workshop’s purpose is to address the needs of undergraduate FW students to prepare for their first post-­‐baccalaureate position, whether as a graduate student or employee. We strive to demonstrate the workshop’s importance in the professional development of students to participating professionals at the workshop and conference attendees. We continue to hope this pre-­‐conference workshop will become a regular tradition at future conferences.

The workshop consists of four sections: Resumes and Professional Correspondence, Academic and Employer Panels, Networking, and Interviewing. Students and professionals sit and eat together during the workshop. Professional leaders facilitate small group exercises and provide individual input to students. The workshop includes some lecture, interactive discussion, small group exercises and individual work. We work to provide equal gender representation among workshop leaders and speakers, and equal representation from Fisheries and Wildlife professionals. Each participant receives a binder of resource materials for future use and business cards to distribute while networking at the conference.

PROPOSED TOPICS: 

The Resumes and Professional Correspondence session will consist of a formal presentation about the preparation of resumes and other professional correspondence. A brief question and answer period will follow. In addition, participants will be asked to bring samples of their resumes to the workshop so that they can receive constructive feedback on them as they stand, revise them, and receive additional input. Finalized resumes can be printed off and used while networking at the conference. Speaker: Jim Schneider of Michigan State University*

The Academic and Employer Panels session will consist of two 45-­‐minute blocks. During the first half of the session, members (4) of the employer panel will each give a short talk about what they look for in future employees and what the philosophy of their organization is and the sorts of positions that are available at any given time. Following the short presentations, audience members will be given the opportunity to ask questions of the various panel members. During the second half of the session, members (4) of the academic panel will each give a short talk regarding their personal requirements for graduate students as well as their institutional requirements and current opportunities available at their institution. At the close of those short presentations, participants will have the opportunity to ask questions of panel members.
  • Employers: Federal Agency representative; Non-­‐governmental Organization representative; State Agency representative; Private Sector representative

  • Academics: Professor from a Research I type institution; Professor from a USGS Cooperative Unit; Professor from a mid-­‐size institution; Professor from a smaller institution but that has a graduate program

The Interviewing for graduate positions and professional positions. This will include discussion of appropriate behavior, attire, speech and related issues of professionalism in the process. It will also include information on those questions that are unethical or illegal for a faculty member or potential employer to ask of an interviewee and the appropriate response in such situations. This will be followed by activities designed to develop and enhance interviewing skills in participants, and will include “mock” interviews. Speaker: Mike Pagel of University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point*

The Networking session will consist of a presentation of the art of networking, and its essential role in the success of fisheries and wildlife professionals. This will be followed by group and individual activities aimed at developing and enhancing such skills in participants. Professionals at each table will facilitate these activities. Participants will then be given the opportunity to test what they’ve learned at the Sunday evening reception, as well as distributing their business cards and/or resumes to interested professionals.

INTENDED AUDIENCE: Students 

FEES: $25. Sign-up on registration form; lunch is included. 

Sunday February 5, 2017 8:00am - 5:00pm
Garrat

9:00am

Workshop: Integrating Weather and Climate Information Into Management Decisions
ORGANIZER: Martha Shulski, University of Nebraska Lincoln

PRESENTERS: Martha Shulski, University of Nebraska Lincoln, School of Natural Resources

OVERVIEW: Climate change is a developing threat to fish and wildlife populations across the Midwestern U. S. There is a wealth of information on historical and projected climate conditions, and local and regional service offices track current conditions and impacts in near real-time. But which information source is best for which purpose? This workshop aims to increase the capacity of fish and wildlife professionals to identify, access and understand local and regional climate information sources salient to decision making.

A morning plenary session will cover the following topics: regional climate basics, historical trends and variability, and future climate projections. Throughout the morning participants will access the information themselves, developing the necessary skills to use climate information in their own offices. Afternoon breakout sessions will identify climate information needs and specific climate metrics salient to fish and wildlife management decisions. The wrap up plenary will focus on information sources for the identified lists of metrics. 
Attendees are encouraged to bring a personal laptop computer to work through climate websites and examples.

INTENDED AUDIENCE: Advanced students, Professionals, intermediate to advanced

FEES: $30. Sign-up on the registration form; lunch is on your own. 

Sunday February 5, 2017 9:00am - 4:00pm
Grand Ballroom B/C

9:00am

Workshop: Midwest Fish and Wildlife Leadership Series
ORGANIZER: Pat Lederle, NorthCentral Section of the Wildlife Society, lederlep@michigan.gov

AGENDA & PRESENTERS: 
  • 8:30 – 9:00 AM  |  Registration 

  • 9:00 – 9:15 AM  |  Introductions (NCS-TWS President, TWS Past-President, and Workshop Moderator)

  • 9:15 – 9:30 AM  |  Influence of Leadership on Trust and Fulfillment of Public Trust Responsibilities (Pat Lederle, Michigan Department of Natural Resources)

  • 9:30 – 10:30 AM  |  Wildlife Governance Principles and Adaptive Leadership (Ann Forstchen, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission)

  • 10:30 – 10:45 AM  |  Break

  • 10:45 – 12:00  |  Factors that Build or Erode Trust in a Public Agency (Pat Lederle, Michigan Department of Natural Resources)

  • 12:00 – 12:45 PM  |  Lunch (Provided)

  • 12:45 – 1:30 PM  |  Facing Complex Challenges (Bettina Fiery, Management Assistance Team/National Conservation Leadership Institute)

  • 1:30 – 1:45 PM  |  Break

  • 1:45 – 3:45 PM  |  Building Trust with a Focus on Leadership (Bettina Fiery, Management Assistance Team/ National Conservation Leadership Institute)

  • 3:45 – 4:00 PM  |  Summary and wrap up; evaluations

OVERVIEW:

Objective: Provide leadership training opportunities for all natural resource students and professionals. Recognizing that everyone is a leader within different organizational levels, this annual workshop series will emphasize developing leadership skills, tools, and experiences that are practical and applicable. 

Benefits: Students and professionals will enhance leadership skills, expand leadership contacts, and explore areas for professional growth. Agencies will increase leadership capacity and NCS-TWS will engage new leaders and increase professional relevancy. An additional benefit will be an emerging cadre of conservation leadership speakers sharing their knowledge and experience in additional venues. 

Background: There are several existing leadership training opportunities for fish and wildlife professionals; e.g., the National Conservation Leadership Institute and TWS Leadership Institute. These opportunities have limited enrollment compared to the extensive need. Expanded opportunities are important as agencies face retirements, vacancy management, and declines in institutional memory.  NCS-TWS recognizes these needs and feel annual leadership workshops can provide tangible benefits to all professionals in the Midwestern states.  This need is being met through a collaborative partnership between NCS-TWS and MAFWA and an annual Leadership Series has been developed to be held in connection with the annual Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference. Given our broad definition of leadership, instructors will provide perspectives on issues such as:
  • Collaborative governance and decision making,

  • Time management in an era of shifting priorities and paradigms

  • Decision making and problem solving within the context of  complicated issues

  • Leadership scales; leaders at home, the office, community, and the profession

  • learners, mentors, and leaders and changing responsibilities as your career evolves

The first half of the workshop will focus on the past, present and future of conservation and some of the serious leadership challenges that have been met and resolved and some of the challenges yet to come. The second half will focus on governance structures and how effective leadership can positively impact the policies, rules, regulations, and philosophies of work that result in agency structures and decision making processes that allow agencies and their partners to meet their public trust responsibilities. The workshop will be interactive and participatory, giving workshop attendees the opportunity to interact directly  with their peers and discuss and formulate potential solutions and outcomes, given the serious natural resource challenges faced by leaders today.

INTENDED AUDIENCE: All levels of attendees

FEES: $50.00 for NCS-TWS members; $80.00 for non-members. Lunch is included; sign up on the registration form.

Sunday February 5, 2017 9:00am - 4:00pm
Yankee Hill II

12:00pm

Exhibitor Set-up
Sunday February 5, 2017 12:00pm - 6:00pm
Lancaster Ballroom

12:00pm

Speaker Ready Room

{All presenters MUST arrive and check-in here to upload their presentation at least 24 hours before scheduled presentation time. You can also use this room to review your presentation.}


Sunday February 5, 2017 12:00pm - 6:00pm
Boca Raton

1:00pm

Workshop: Essentials of Survey Research on Hunters, Anglers, Trappers and Non-Consumptive Wildlife Enthusiasts
ORGANIZER: Craig Miller, Illinois Natural History Survey, craigm@illinois.edu

PRESENTERS:
 Craig A. Miller, Leader, Human Dimensions Research Program, Illinois Natural History Survey, Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois; Jerry J. Vaske, Colorado State University

OVERVIEW:
 State agencies are responsible for estimates of game and fish species harvested and days afield during their respective seasons. In addition, agencies are often tasked with detemining preferences, attitudes, and support for management programs among key stakeholder populations. Methods used to provide these estimates vary widely by state, resulting in differing degrees of accuracy. This workshop will cover latest developments in sampling, questionaire design and administration, and data analysis for mail, Internet, interecept and mixed-mode surveys.

INTENDED AUDIENCE: Professionals; beginner / intermediate / adavanced 

FEES: $10. Sign-up on registration form; lunch is on your own. 

Sunday February 5, 2017 1:00pm - 5:00pm
Olive Branch Room

2:30pm

3:00pm

3:30pm

4:30pm

AFS NCD Executive Meeting
Sunday February 5, 2017 4:30pm - 5:30pm
Yankee Hill III

5:00pm

Featured Event! Welcome to Nebraska Super Bowl Party - Sponsored by: Nebraska Game & Parks Commission, Nebraska Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit and University of Nebraska Lincoln

Welcome to Lincoln, Nebraska! Start off the conference by joining colleagues at the Welcome Reception and Super Bowl Party! Show your team spirit by wearing your favorite team or alma mater’s jersey and enjoying “tailgate” style hors d’ oeuvres and complimentary keg beer (while supplies last). A cash bar will also be available. The NFL Super Bowl Broadcast will be shown on a big screen for all to enjoy. The fun-filled evening is the perfect way to jump start a week of networking, presentations, workshops, social events, and more!


Sunday February 5, 2017 5:00pm - 10:00pm
Grand Ballroom D/E/F
 
Monday, February 6
 

7:00am

7:00am

7:00am

Speaker Ready Room

{All presenters MUST arrive and check-in here to upload their presentation at least 24 hours before scheduled presentation time. You can also use this room to review your presentation.}


Monday February 6, 2017 7:00am - 6:00pm
Boca Raton

8:00am

Plenary Session, Awards Presentation & Ignite Session
PRELIMINARY SCHEDULE:

8:00am - 8:15am
Welcome and Opening Remarks 

8:15am - 8:50am
WHY WE NEED PUBLIC-PRIVATE COLLABORATIVES
John Organ, Ph.D., Chief, USGS Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units

8:50am - 9:25am
PEERING INTO THE FUTURE OF FISHERIES AND POSITIONING OURSELVES FOR SUCCESS
Doug Austen, Ph.D., Executive Director, American Fisheries Society

9:25am - 10:00am
THE IMPORTANCE OF PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS FOR THE FUTURE OF CONSERVATION
Ken Williams, Ph.D., Executive Director, The Wildlife Society 

10:00am - 10:20am
Break

10:20am - 11:00am
Awards Presentation 

11:00am - 12:00pm
Ignite Session - "Enlighten Us, But Make it Quick."

ABOUT THE PLENARY SPEAKERS:

WHY WE NEED PUBLIC-PRIVATE COLLABORATIVES | John F. Organ, Ph.D.
John is the Chief of the USGS Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units. He was Chief of Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration for the Northeast Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from 2005 to 2014, and previously worked in the FWS’s Ecological Services and National Wildlife Refuge programs. He is also an Adjunct Associate Professor of Wildlife Conservation at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Michigan State University, and Andres Bello University in Santiago, Chile. He is a Certified Wildlife Biologist and Past President and Fellow of The Wildlife Society.  He is also a Professional Member of the Boone and Crockett Club and a Senior Specialist in the Fulbright Scholar Program.  He serves on the Board of the National Conservation Leadership Institute and is the USGS representative to the interagency Wilderness Policy Council and ex-officio to the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council.  

PEERING INTO THE FUTURE OF FISHERIES AND POSITIONING OURSELVES FOR SUCCESS | Douglas Austen, Ph.D.
Doug Austen has been Executive Director since 2013, but has been involved with AFS since the early 1980s as an undergraduate student at South Dakota State University. He served as president of the Illinois Chapter and North Central Division, wrote articles for several AFS journals and books, and also served as an associate editor for the North American Journal of Fisheries Management.  Prior to AFS, Doug was the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service national coordinator for Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, executive director of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, and worked for 10 years each with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Illinois Natural History Survey. 

THE IMPORTANCE OF PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS FOR THE FUTURE OF CONSERVATION | Byron Kenneth Williams, Ph.D.
Ken is CEO of The Wildlife Society. He came to the Society from the U.S. Geological Survey, where he was co-Director of the Science and Decisions Center and Chief of the Cooperative Research Units. Previous positions include Executive Director of North American Waterfowl and Wetlands Office in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Leader of the Vermont Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at the University of Vermont, and Chief of the Office of Migratory Bird Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He has advanced degrees in both mathematics and statistics and a Ph.D. in natural resources ecology/management from Colorado State University. Dr. Williams has been deeply involved for many years in developing frameworks for the integration of natural resources science and management. 

AWARDS:

THE WILDLIFE SOCIETY AWARDS
Presented by: Chris Newbold, President, North Central Section of The Wildlife Society

  • Outstanding Wildlife Student Awards: One undergraduate and one graduate student recognized for academic achievement, professional experience, and activities in The Wildlife Society.
  • Student Chapter of the Year Award: An exemplary student chapter recognized for its contributions to The Wildlife Society’s mission and goals.
  • Professional Award of Merit: The North Central Section’s most prestigious award. Recognizing outstanding professional accomplishments in wildlife conservation and leadership over a period of years in any area of wildlife work.

NORTH CENTRAL DIVISION - AMERICAN FISHERIES SOCIETY AWARDS
Presented by: Sandy Clark-Kolaks, President, North Central Division of the American Fisheries Society

  • Outstanding Chapter (Small & Large):  Two awards (small chapter, large chapter) will be given to the chapters that have carried out the most active programs of enhancing professionalism and fisheries science.
  • Best Chapter Communications:  One award will be given to the chapter that has developed the most efficient, useful, and attractive newsletter and website to disseminate information to its members. 
  • Outstanding Student Subunit:  One award will be given to the North Central Division student subunit that has carried out the most active program in developing interest among undergraduate and graduate students in fisheries science and fulfilling the mission of the American Fisheries Society. 
  • Meritorious Service:  This award recognizes extraordinary service to the American Fisheries Society (Chapter, Division, Section, or Parent Society level) by a North Central Division member
  • Recognition of Joan Duffy Award:  One award is given to a student from each North Central Division Chapter for travel assistance to the Midwest Fish & Wildlife Conference.


JANICE LEE FENSKE MEMORIAL AWARD
Presented by: Jim Schneider, Michigan State University

The Janice Lee Fenske Memorial Award was created in 2005 to recognize undergraduate and graduate students for their achievements in the field of fisheries or wildlife management. Each year, up to 25 Fenske Memorial Award finalists are selected based on their enthusiasm to protect fisheries and wildlife resources through management activities, selflessness and motivation to teach others, interest in professional involvement, integrity, positive attitude, and compassion.  The outstanding students will be announced during this award ceremony.

IGNITE SESSION:
Back by popular demand! The Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference is proud to present the 2nd annual Ignite Session as part of the Plenary Session on Monday, February 6th. Using 5-minute presentations with no more than 20 timed slides, our speakers will engage the audience on issues regarding the future of fisheries and wildlife conservation in the Midwest.  We have selected speakers who can speak to personal, political, economic, policy, agency, and private landowner perspectives. Come join the conversation!  Experience the passion of our speakers!  Consider the future!

  • Stanley Temple, Beers-Bascom Professor Emeritus in Conservation, University of Wisconsin | "Aldo Leopold, Private Land and Public Interest"
  • Shelly Kelly, Program Director, Sandhills Task Force | "Ranching, Wildlife, Conservation, and the Sandhills Task Force”
  • Tanya Shenk | "National Park Service, landscapes, and private lands"
  • Jennifer Terry, Environmental Advocacy Leader, Des Moines Water Works | "Take Five! Five keys to restoring and protecting source water in agricultural watersheds"
  • Jessica Shoemaker, University of Nebraska Law School | "The Public Parts of Private Property"
  • Mark Humpert, Director of Conservation Initiatives, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies | “Achieving sustainable funding to  conserve ALL fish and wildlife” 

Monday February 6, 2017 8:00am - 12:00pm
Grand Ballroom

10:00am

12:00pm

AFS NCD Reservoir Technical Committee Meeting
Offsite at Yia Yia’s (Pizza Restaurant), 1423 East O Street, just a few minutes from the meeting. It is open to all.

Monday February 6, 2017 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Offsite - Yia Yias Pizza Restaurant 1423 E. O Street, Lincoln, NE

12:00pm

AFS-NCD Past-Presidents Luncheon (invitation only)
OFFSITE:  Yia Yias pizza restaurant in downtown Lincoln. The restaurant is a couple of blocks from the Lincoln Marriott Hotel conference site at this address: 1423 E. O Street, Lincoln, NE.

Monday February 6, 2017 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Offsite - Yia Yias Pizza Restaurant 1423 E. O Street, Lincoln, NE

12:00pm

12:00pm

1:00pm

Wild Jobs Café

Students – Be sure to stop by the Wild Jobs Café on Monday (anytime between 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM) and Tuesday (8:00 AM - 4:00 PM) Interact with potential employers, meet students and professionals within your area of interest, and get expert advice on interviewing and resume writing among other topics. Come often and stay as long as you’d like. Ongoing through the day on Monday and Tuesday, members of the Wild Jobs Cafe Subcommittee will be available for one-on-one discussions. Professionals – Be sure to stop by and share your expertise as well as job or graduate school opportunities!


Monday February 6, 2017 1:00pm - 4:00pm
Renaissance Room

1:00pm

Poster Set-up
Monday February 6, 2017 1:00pm - 5:00pm
Lancaster Ballroom

1:20pm

Symposia Session - S2: Midwestern Agroecology and the Conservation of Grassland Birds. Grassland Bird Conservation and Working Lands: Creating Movement Along Multiple Pathways
AUTHORS: Tom Will, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; Kristen Nelson, University of Minnesota

ABSTRACT: Despite concentrated efforts directed toward grassland bird conservation over several decades, most grassland bird species in the Midwest continue on a precipitous trajectory of decline—along with the grasslands that support these birds and the many other environmental benefits that diverse grassland systems provide. We have seen many great successes at local scales, but unfortunately these have not been replicated at scales large enough to influence regional or range-wide bird populations. Broad-scale policy impacts (CRP in particular) have been credited with reversing declines of Henslow's Sparrow, but again unfortunately, Farm Bill policy has proven all too vulnerable to political and economic shifts. Most of the current and potential grassland acreage in the Midwest is in private ownership, so it is clear that landscape change leading to population-level effects must embrace and involve working lands. In a conservation deliberation convened at the University of Minnesota in fall 2015, a multi-disciplinary group of graduate students tapped expert opinion from diverse academic and professional directions and then drafted a change strategy for the future of Midwest grasslands that called for simultaneous movement along multiple and thematically different pathways. Some of those pathways, and the subsequent conversations that they evoked, challenge conventional conservation practice. They call for the reawakening of historic wisdom (agroecology) and proven tools (attentiveness and art) and in many cases for the recruitment and mobilization of both dormant and growing social movements that demand social equity, environmental justice, community engagement, and—not surprisingly—healthy and environmentally sustainable food.

Monday February 6, 2017 1:20pm - 1:40pm
Arbor I/II

1:20pm

Symposia Session - S3: Ecology of the Missouri National Recreational River. Introduction to the Ecology of the Missouri National Recreational River
AUTHORS: Lisa Yager, National Park Service, Missouri National Recreational River

ABSTRACT: The Missouri River has endured significant anthropogenic and subsequent ecological and physical changes over the past century. Six large main stem dams have created reservoirs and disturbed flow and sediment regimes while significant river channelization has straightened and simplified the once wide meandering channel. However, the segment of river designated as the Missouri National Recreational River (MNRR) still maintains some of its original natural character and ecological function. The Missouri National Recreational River is a nationally recognized resource that preserves and protects 126 miles of flowing water, including 98 miles of the main stem Missouri River on the border of South Dakota and Nebraska, 20 miles of the lower Niobrara River in Nebraska, and 8 miles of Verdigre Creek in Nebraska. The MNRR has a dual designation as a unit of the Wild and Scenic Rivers System and a unit of the National Park Service. Despite its relatively natural characteristics, this segment of the Missouri River is still subject to substantial anthropogenic influences and continues to evolve both physically and biologically, particularly after the Missouri River record high flows in 2011. This talk will introduce the “Ecology of the Missouri National Recreational River” symposium and provide a general ecological and physical overview of the MNRR.

Monday February 6, 2017 1:20pm - 1:40pm
Grand Ballroom A

1:20pm

Symposia Session - S4: Sustaining America's Diverse Fish and Wildlife Resources. Advancing a 21st Century Funding Model for Fish and Wildlife Conservation
AUTHORS: Mark Humpert, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies

ABSTRACT: Despite fish and wildlife conservation successes such as the recovery of white-tailed deer and bald eagles, over 12,000 species of fish and wildlife have been designated as species in greatest need of conservation in State Wildlife Action Plans. Long-term population declines for many of these species may result in endangered species status in the foreseeable future. This impending fish and wildlife crisis stems from decades of inadequate investment in proactive conservation despite persistent advocacy to secure new federal funding. The presenter will provide an overview of past efforts to secure dedicated funding for fish and wildlife, discuss the need to accelerate proactive conservation and detail the origins, recommendations and next steps of the Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America’s Diverse Fish and Wildlife Resources which is charged with securing new funding for fish and wildlife conservation. 

Monday February 6, 2017 1:20pm - 1:40pm
Grand Ballroom E

1:20pm

Technical Session. Greater Prairie-Chicken (Tympanuchus cupido pinnatus) Boom Chorus Propagation Along a Nebraska Sandhills Wind Energy-Grassland Gradient
AUTHORS: Edward J. Raynor, Cara E. Whalen, Mary Bomberger-Brown, Larkin A. Powell - School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

ABSTRACT: The effects of anthropogenic sounds on grassland birds can be determined using spatially- and temporally-explicit recordings of sounds along a noise gradient. This information allows us to demonstrate how sound sources, such as wind turbines, create noise footprints across relatively-intact grassland landscapes. To assess the ability of lekking male Greater Prairie-Chickens in the Nebraska Sandhills to propagate their boom vocalization across a noise gradient leading from a wind farm to 24 km away, we employed a sound propagation model that accounts for spatially-explicit abiotic and biotic properties of the grassland landscape. Results of our analysis provide information about the potential effects of wind energy development on prairie-chickens’ ability to propagate sound across grassland landscapes. We found that late season (late May-early June) boom propagation did not exceed ambient or background sound levels when leks were located within the wind farm. This result suggests that late season boom propagation is not as effective as early-to-mid season boom propagation when leks are located within wind farms. Further, our results provide insight for temporal efficacy of lek survey efforts across the Greater-Prairie-Chicken lekking season.

Monday February 6, 2017 1:20pm - 1:40pm
Grand Ballroom B

1:20pm

Technical Session. Influence of Trap Modifications and Environmental Predictors on Capture Success of Southern Flying Squirrels
AUTHORS: Will T. Rechkemmer, Mary E. Scheihing, James S. Zweep, Sean E. Jenkins - Western Illinois University; Robert W. Klaver, U. S. Geological Survey; Shelli A. Dubay, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point; Christopher N. Jacques, Western Illinois University.


ABSTRACT: Sherman traps are the most commonly used live traps in studies of small mammals and have been successfully used in the capture of arboreal species like southern flying squirrels (Glaucomys volans). However, southern flying squirrels spend proportionately less time foraging on the ground, which necessitates above-ground trapping efforts and modifying capture protocols accordingly. Further, quantitative estimates of the magnitude of factors affecting capture success of flying squirrel populations has focused solely on effects of trapping methodologies. We developed and evaluated the efficacy of a portable Sherman trap design for capturing southern flying squirrels. Additionally, we used logistic regression to quantify potential effects of time-dependent (e.g., climate) and time-independent (e.g., habitat, extrinsic) factors on capture success of southern flying squirrels. We recorded a total of 165 capture events (119 females, 44 males, 2 unknown) using our modified Sherman trap design. Probability of capture success decreased 0.10 per 1 C increase in daily maximum temperature and by 0.09 per unit increase (km/hr) in wind speed. In contrast, probability of capture success increased by 1.2 per 1 C increase in daily minimum temperature. The probability of capturing flying squirrels was negatively associated with trap orientation. When the probability of capturing flying squirrels is a function of daily variation in climatologic factors, we have shown that our modified trap design is a safe, effective, and cost-effective method of capturing animals when moderate weather (temperature and wind speed) conditions prevail. Strategic placement of traps (e.g., northeast side of tree) and quantitative information on site-specific (e.g., trap locations) characteristics (e.g., topographical features, slope, aspect, climatologic factors) could increase southern flying squirrel capture success.

Monday February 6, 2017 1:20pm - 1:40pm
Hawthorne

1:20pm

Technical Session. Stream Fragmentation and Infrastructure Condition in the Great Plains
AUTHORS: Nathan Sleight, Dr. Thomas Neeson - University of Oklahoma Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability

ABSTRACT: Rivers and streams within the Great Plains have undergone extensive levels of fragmentation by road culverts, which has led to habitat loss, degraded water quality, and a loss of aquatic biodiversity. There is a pressing need to retrofit the most problematic structures to ensure aquatic organism passage. At the same time, a vast majority of the road crossing infrastructure within the Great Plains is beyond its projected lifespan, and significant investments will be needed to ensure that this transportation infrastructure remains safe and functional. Historically, these two problems have been addressed separately. The aim of this study is to identify road culverts that are in need of restoration based on both ecological impact and its state as infrastructure. By identifying locations that are in need of repair for both of these parameters managers can pool their funds and restore more sites than previous operations. We surveyed over 700 road-stream crossings to determine if they were fragmenting aquatic habitat, and to determine the condition of the structure. We than developed an index of ecological impact and an index of infrastructure condition based on the 20 physical variables measured at each crossing, and the spatial coordination between crossings. The survey revealed a large number of crossings that were both fragmenting the river network and in poor physical condition. These crossings are high-priority locations where culvert replacement would have both high ecosystem benefit and would eliminate a piece of transportation infrastructure with a high risk of failure. It is hoped that future river restoration practices can be collaborative efforts between conservation managers and those who are managing infrastructure.

Monday February 6, 2017 1:20pm - 1:40pm
Grand Ballroom F

1:20pm

Technical Session. Stream Science to Action: A Decision-Support Tool for Salmonid Thermal Habitat Management Amidst Climate Change
AUTHORS: Andrew K. Carlson, Michigan State University, Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife; T. Douglas Beard, Jr., National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey; Dana M. Infante, Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife; William W. Taylor, Michigan State University, Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife

ABSTRACT: The sustainability of coldwater stream fisheries is increasingly influenced by climate change as warmer air temperatures threaten coldwater-adapted organisms and their habitats. Future climate change is predicted to increase air temperatures and water temperatures and alter the thermal habitat suitability of streams for growth, reproduction, and survival of coldwater fishes. Species such as brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis), brown trout (Salmo trutta), and rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) are predicted to be particularly sensitive to climate change in the State of Michigan, USA. Hence, there is a need for new management approaches that promote thermally resilient stream ecosystems that can sustain their temperature regimes and salmonid populations amidst climate warming. Fisheries professionals in Michigan are responding to this need by designing a statewide fisheries management plan for inland, stream-dwelling brook trout, brown trout, and rainbow trout. At this opportune time for management-oriented research, we are developing a map-based decision-support tool to assist fisheries professionals in planning management programs that promote thermally resilient streams and salmonid populations. Because thermal habitat management necessitates consideration of the diverse factors influencing streams, the tool integrates resource availability (e.g., money, time, personnel) with information on stream-specific thermal regimes (e.g., current and projected future temperatures), hydrology (e.g., groundwater/surface water contribution), and biological conditions (e.g., riparian and watershed land cover). The decision-support tool will be delivered to fisheries professionals in Michigan via a user-friendly online map interface that synthesizes resource availability with thermal, hydrological, and biological conditions to provide recommendations for sustaining salmonid thermal habitats and recreational fisheries. Our work contributes to the nascent field of fisheries decision-support, illustrating how fisheries professionals can use collaboration and co-production to facilitate complex, multidimensional decision-making amidst climate change. 

Monday February 6, 2017 1:20pm - 1:40pm
Grand Ballroom D

1:20pm

Technical Session. What Lies Beneath? Identifying the Most Efficient Method to Sample Fish and Amphibian Communities in Missouri Wetlands
AUTHORS: Julia Guyton, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences; Elisabeth Webb, U.S. Geological Survey, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences; Craig Paukert, U.S. Geological Survey, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences; Frank Nelson, Missouri Department of Conservation, Big Rivers/Wetlands Field Station

ABSTRACT: Providing habitat for migratory waterfowl has historically been the focus of management strategies for Missouri’s public wetlands. However, wetlands are also used by other less visible taxa, such as fish and amphibians, which reside largely below the water’s surface. Being able to identify and monitor the full suite of taxa using wetland areas would be insightful to comprehensively manage these unique habitats. Our goal was to develop a standardized rapid assessment protocol to efficiently determine fish and amphibian species presence and richness in Missouri wetlands. We evaluated the efficiency and effectiveness of four sampling methods including two passive methods (mini-fyke nets and minnow traps) and two active methods (dipnets and seines). We sampled 30 wetlands in three Missouri ecoregions during spring and summer 2015 and 2016 and collected over 200,000 individual fish and amphibians comprised of 55 fish and 15 amphibian species, including 5 Missouri Species of Conservation Concern (SOCC). Our results suggest that mini-fyke nets caught the greatest number of individual fish and amphibians, and were the most efficient method for detecting fish species. Mini-fykes were the most efficient method for detecting amphibian species in some seasons, but efficiency was likely altered due to changing habitat conditions, like increased vegetation. Mini-fyke nets caught all 5 of the SOCC and unique species not caught by any other method. Our results suggest that managed Missouri wetlands contain diverse aquatic communities and that sampling with mini-fyke nets may be most suitable way to collect the majority of the fish and amphibian species in a short amount of time. This research is the first step in identifying species presence and richness of the less visible taxonomic communities using wetlands. The results of this study can aid wetland management by informing decisions and be used in future studies to evaluate other wetland community questions.

Monday February 6, 2017 1:20pm - 1:40pm
Grand Ballroom C

1:20pm

Symposia Session - S1: Midwestern Reservoir Management and Assessment Strategies. A Career in Reservoir Fisheries Management and the Need for an Increasing Focus on Habitat Restoration
AUTHORS: Jeff Boxrucker, Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership

ABSTRACT: The median age of reservoirs in this country is approaching 60 years and declining habitat is a function of the aging process. New reservoir construction is almost at a standstill so it is imperative for reservoir users and managers to slow the rate of habitat decline and restore degraded habitat in existing reservoirs if we are to maintain the functioning of these systems and the quality of recreational angling. The task of restoring habitat in the nation's reservoirs is a multijurisdictional challenge and cost prohibitive for a federal and/or state agency to accomplish without partnering with other public and private organizations or individuals. The Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership (RFHP) recognizes that reservoir fisheries habitat impairments are often extensions of poor land-use practices in the respective watersheds. RFHP works to bring agencies and local organizations and individuals together to address habitat impairments at the local scale. RFHP and the Friends of Reservoirs Foundation have a membership and grant program that encourages local groups to work with state fisheries biologists to ensure that projects enhance fisheries management plans. RFHP has conducted a habitat impairment assessment of reservoirs nationwide to help prioritize activities. Funded projects have focused on native vegetation restoration, structure addition and shoreline stabilization. Future projects look to partner with organizations to address watershed impairments to improve water quality and habitat in downstream impoundments.

Monday February 6, 2017 1:20pm - 2:00pm
Garrat

1:20pm

Overview of Symposium (S1). Leveraging What Works: Midwestern Reservoir Management and Assessment Strategies
Organizer(s)/Convener(s): 
Dr. Joseph D. Conroy, Fisheries Biologist, Inland Fisheries Research Unit, Division of Wildlife, Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Co-Chair, Reservoir Technical Committee, North Central Division, American Fisheries Society. joseph.conroy@dnr.state.oh.us
Rebecca M. Krogman, Large Impoundments Research Biologist, Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Co-Chair, Reservoir Technical Committee, North Central Division, American Fisheries Society, rebecca.krogman@dnr.iowa.gov 

Abstract: Reservoirs in the Midwest—and throughout the United States—offer important recreational opportunities, in addition to providing essential services such as flood control, water supply, irrigation, navigation, and hydropower. Most Midwestern reservoirs were built in the last century, with the most rapid construction during the 1960s. Following an initial period of high productivity following filling, these reservoirs have experienced habitat degradation, eutrophication, sedimentation, and water regime manipulation, with concomitant changes in fish community composition, fishery characteristics and quality, and angler use. Recently, however, water controlling authorities, fisheries management agencies, local municipalities, and non-governmental organizations (i.e., angler clubs and lake management groups) have recognized the challenges associated with reservoir aging. In response, these groups have initiated habitat restoration and intensive monitoring of extra- and intra-reservoir processes including many different approaches to fisheries assessment. With this symposium we seek, generally, (1) to promote communication between fisheries professionals in the Midwest regarding approaches to habitat restoration and fisheries assessment, and (2) to provide a venue to disseminate information about “what works” when confronting reservoir habitat and fisheries issues.

Monday February 6, 2017 1:20pm - 5:00pm
Garrat

1:20pm

Overview of Symposium (S2). Restoring Heritage and Expanding Horizon: Midwestern Agroecology and the Conservation of Grassland Birds
Organizer(s)/Convener(s):
Tom Will, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Midwest Region; tom_will@fws.gov
Kristen Nelson, University of Minnesota, College of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Kelly VanBeek, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 

Abstract: Despite decades of conservation action, Midwest grassland birds continue on a precipitous trajectory of decline. A fundamental problem has been the inability to replicate local conservation successes at a scale large enough to influence regional or range-wide populations. With most of the acreage in the Midwest in private lands, we argue that a successful change strategy in predominantly agricultural landscapes (1) must be grounded in sound agroecological science; (2) requires movement along multiple dimensions simultaneously—biological, economic, social, ethical, and cultural; (3) should be community-based and build on social movements informed by justice and biodiversity outside the norms of prevailing conventional sociopolitical structures. This symposium brings together a series of presentations designed to challenge current conservation sideboards and stimulate discussions of viable alternatives for creating sustainable landscapes for healthy human and wildlife communities.

Monday February 6, 2017 1:20pm - 5:00pm
Arbor I/II

1:20pm

Overview of Symposium (S3). Ecology of the Missouri National Recreational River
Organizer(s)/Convener(s):
Gerald Mestl, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission; gerald.mestl@nebraska.gov
David Swanson, Missouri River Institute 

Abstract: Ecology of the Missouri National Recreational River will highlight papers that examine how this nationally recognized resource is continuing to evolve both physically and biologically. This unit of our national park system exemplifies the conference theme of “Private Landscapes, Public Responsibilities”. The National Park Service directly manages only 0.5% of the park, additional acres are managed by the states and other entities, but the majority of this park is privately owned. These river reaches have changed dramatically since the mainstem dams were built in the 1950s and 60s and continue to change as the result of ongoing impacts from the dams, bank stabilization, disrupted sediment transport, flow management, and especially the high flows which occurred in 2011. The record high flows of 2011 had both short and long-term impacts to both the physical landscape and biotic communities of the park.

Monday February 6, 2017 1:20pm - 5:00pm
Grand Ballroom A

1:20pm

Overview of Symposium S4. Sustaining America’s Diverse Fish and Wildlife Resources
Organizer(s)/Convener(s): 
Kristal Stoner; Kristal.stoner@nebraska.gov 

Abstract: Our nation is facing a conservation crisis. Unless we start investing in proactive conservation measures, our nation’s rich natural heritage and vital natural resource-based economy will face an uncertain future. New dedicated funding is needed now to ensure the long-term health of all fish and wildlife. This conservation crisis also extends to people. More Americans than ever before are becoming disconnected from nature and the outdoors. This change is having profound implications on our citizens’ and the relevancy of fish and wildlife conservation. To safeguard the future of our country’s fish and wildlife, we must expand access and opportunities to bring the benefits of nature to all Americans. The Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America’s Diverse Fish and Wildlife Resources, comprised of national business and conservation leaders, was convened to evaluate and recommend a more sustainable funding approach to avert a fish and wildlife conservation crisis. The Blue Ribbon Panel has announced their recommendations and is taking action to increase investment in fish and wildlife conservation.

Monday February 6, 2017 1:20pm - 5:00pm
Grand Ballroom E

1:40pm

Symposia Session - S2: Midwestern Agroecology and the Conservation of Grassland Birds. The Bobolink Conservation Plan: A Model for Multi-Region Conservation Planning
AUTHORS: Kelly R. VanBeek, U.S. Fish & wildlife Service; Rosalind B. Renfrew, Vermont Center for Ecostudies; Tom C. Will, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

ABSTRACT: Focal species were selected by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Migratory Bird Program to gauge success and increase accountability of bird conservation activities. A central component of a focal species status assessment and conservation plan includes specific conservation strategies that address threats across a bird's full life cycle. The status assessment and conservation plan for the Bobolink is the most extensive effort to address a diverse set of threats and an equally diverse set of actions to ensure one of our most common grassland bird species stays common. A full life cycle plan for Bobolink also offers a unique opportunity to address threats and conservation actions of grasslands at regional, national, and international scales while considering a variety of ecological benefits beyond grassland birds. To develop this plan, workshops were held in both North and South America that incorporated themes from Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation (2013). Additional innovative tools were developed during the planning process, including a model for setting regional breeding season population objectives and an interactive conservation opportunity mapping tool. We hope that these tools and the explicit strategies identified in the Bobolink Conservation Plan will help address the complex challenges facing grassland conservation.

Monday February 6, 2017 1:40pm - 2:00pm
Arbor I/II

1:40pm

Symposia Session - S3: Ecology of the Missouri National Recreational River. Sixty Years of Geomorphic Change and Ecological Restoration Challenges on Two Unchannelized Reaches of the Missouri River
AUTHORS: Caroline M. Elliott, Robert B. Jacobson, Edward Bulliner - U.S. Geological Survey

ABSTRACT: The Missouri National Recreational River is a National Park Service unit that includes two Missouri River segments that despite considerable alterations to hydrology, retain some aspects of channel complexity similar to conditions present in the pre-dam Missouri River. Complexity has been lost through the construction of large reservoirs on the Missouri River and the channelization of the 1,200 kilometers of river. We present an analysis from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers cross-section data spanning 60 years on 63-km long inter-reservoir segment below Fort Randall Dam and a 95-km segment below Gavins Point Dam. Our analysis quantifies geomorphic adjustment and resultant changes in habitat diversity since 1955. In the inter-reservoir segment, sedimentation at the confluence of the Niobrara River has created a transition zone from free-flowing river, to delta, to reservoir; this transition is moving upstream as sedimentation progresses. The delta ecosystem provides wetland habitat and recreational areas for fishing and hunting, yet sedimentation threatens infrastructure and reservoir storage. In both reaches, relatively high-elevation bare sandbars are used for nesting by the endangered least tern (Sternula antillarum) and the threatened piping plover (Charadrius melodus). Two large flood events, in 1997 and 2011, have created the bulk of new sandbar nesting habitat on these river segments. Sandbars erode and vegetate between flood events, and in recent decades vegetation removal and costly mechanical sandbar construction have been used to maintain bare nesting sandbar habitat. Management decisions in the segment downstream from Gavins Point Dam include evaluating tradeoffs between maintaining sandbar habitat for nesting and allowing some sandbars to undergo natural cottonwood regeneration. Understanding habitat diversity and variability since dam closure and placing the effects of extreme floods during a larger historical context encompassing the entire post-dam period, and will aid management agencies in restoration decisions on these two segments of the Missouri River.

Monday February 6, 2017 1:40pm - 2:00pm
Grand Ballroom A

1:40pm

Technical Session. Effects of Climate and Landscape on Water Supply to Beaver Ponds
AUTHORS: Carol A Johnston, South Dakota State University

ABSTRACT: Streams are the accumulation of flow from precipitation, and beavers rely on stream flow to build their ponds. A first step toward understanding the sustainability of beaver ponds under future climate change is to determine the catchment area required to supply water to beaver ponds under current climate conditions. I investigated this question within a 300 km2 area of Voyageurs National Park for which I had previously mapped 1,065 beaver ponds using aerial imagery. I applied two approaches to determine minimum beaver pond catchment area: 1) calculating a flow accumulation threshold, and 2) computing the average area of headwater watersheds containing created beaver ponds. In the first approach, I used a Digital Elevation Model (DEM) with 3 x 3 meter pixels and a vertical accuracy of < 15 cm to compute land surface flow direction, and then used the hydrology tools in ArcGIS to compute flow accumulation, which counts the number of upslope cells that flow into any given cell. Superimposing this back on the original aerial photo, I identified a flow accumulation threshold (i.e., minimum number of contributing cells) that matched the location of streams flowing out of headwater beaver ponds: 6390 cells, or about 5.75 ha. The second approach used beaver dams visible on the aerial imagery to define pour points, which were then used with ArcGIS hydrology tools to define watershed boundaries. The median area of headwater watersheds using this second approach was larger (19.1 ha) because some of the watersheds encompassed wetlands that lacked channelized flow. Both approaches identified flowing water at much higher elevations than streams depicted by the National Hydrography Dataset. Future changes in the amount, intensity, and timing of precipitation under climate change may affect beavers’ ability to create and sustain their ponds.

Monday February 6, 2017 1:40pm - 2:00pm
Grand Ballroom D

1:40pm

Technical Session. Home range use and survival of southern flying squirrels in fragmented landscapes
AUTHORS: Christopher N. Jacques, Department of Biological Sciences, Western Illinois University; James S. Zweep, Department of Biological Sciences, Western Illinois University; Will T. Rechkemmer, Department of Biological Sciences, Western Illinois University; Mary E. Scheihing, Department of Biological Sciences, Western Illinois University; Sean E. Jenkins, Department of Biological Sciences, Western Illinois University; Robert W. Klaver, U.S. Geological Survey, Iowa Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Iowa State University


ABSTRACT: Home range size is affected by many ecological factors, including population density, climate, distribution and abundance of resources, spacing of individuals, sex, and mating system.  During 2014–2016, we captured and radio-collared 67 adult flying squirrels for use in evaluating summer and winter home range use, spatial activity patterns, and annual survival of SFS in west-central Illinois.  We calculated seasonal and composite 95% kernel-density and 50% core use area estimates for male and female flying squirrels.  Male and female home-range and core-area size were similar among males and females across summer (April–September) and winter (October–March) seasons.  Average distance traveled between consecutive locations during a season did not vary by sex.  Similarly, total distance traveled during a season did not vary by sex or year and ranged from 1189 to 1661 m between summer and winter seasons.  Mean annual composite home ranges for male and female squirrels were 10.49 ha (SE = 1.76) and 10.28 ha (SE = 1.87), respectively; estimated female home ranges are the largest documented for this species.  We documented 8 deaths, all of which were attributed to predation; annual survival was 0.71.  Our results suggest that larger home range size may have been influenced by low availability of preferred habitat (i.e., low densities of mast-producing trees and overstory snags).  Further, seasonal differences in home range overlap provide empirical evidence that despite low habitat productivity, spatial requirements of males and females may have been reflected by the distribution of females and availability of food and nest resources, respectively.  Nevertheless, future research evaluating potential effects of landscape features (e.g., forest patch size, connectivity, distance to forest edges) and interspecific competition on seasonal home range use, movement patterns, and survival across Midwestern landscapes is warranted. 
Home range size is affected by many ecological factors, including population density, climate, distribution and abundance of resources, spacing of individuals, sex, and mating system.  During 2014–2016, we captured and radio-collared 67 adult flying squirrels for use in evaluating summer and winter home range use, spatial activity patterns, and annual survival of SFS in west-central Illinois.  We calculated seasonal and composite 95% kernel-density and 50% core use area estimates for male and female flying squirrels.  Male and female home-range and core-area size were similar among males and females across summer (April–September) and winter (October–March) seasons.  Average distance traveled between consecutive locations during a season did not vary by sex.  Similarly, total distance traveled during a season did not vary by sex or year and ranged from 1189 to 1661 m between summer and winter seasons.  Mean annual composite home ranges for male and female squirrels were 10.49 ha (SE = 1.76) and 10.28 ha (SE = 1.87), respectively; estimated female home ranges are the largest documented for this species.  We documented 8 deaths, all of which were attributed to predation; annual survival was 0.71.  Our results suggest that larger home range size may have been influenced by low availability of preferred habitat (i.e., low densities of mast-producing trees and overstory snags).  Further, seasonal differences in home range overlap provide empirical evidence that despite low habitat productivity, spatial requirements of males and females may have been reflected by the distribution of females and availability of food and nest resources, respectively.  Nevertheless, future research evaluating potential effects of landscape features (e.g., forest patch size, connectivity, distance to forest edges) and interspecific competition on seasonal home range use, movement patterns, and survival across Midwestern landscapes is warranted. 

Monday February 6, 2017 1:40pm - 2:00pm
Hawthorne

1:40pm

Technical Session. Monitoring and Assessing Minnesota's Water Resources
AUTHORS: Benjamin Lundeen, Scott Niemela - Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

ABSTRACT: In 2006, the Minnesota legislature passed into law the clean water legacy amendment then in 2008, the citizens voted to increase funding for clean water through a sales tax increase known as the Minnesota’s clean water fund.  The fund provided resources to monitor, assess, and develop strategies for restoration and protection of waterbodies in each of Minnesota’s 80 watersheds.  To date the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), and its partner organizations have monitored and assessed 60 watersheds for support of aquatic life, recreation and consumption through what is known as the intensive watershed monitoring (IWM) approach.  Following the monitoring effort, the MPCA is tasked with identifying key stressors that are affecting water quality and deriving a plan known as a Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS) for improving water quality throughout the watershed.  Both processes work in concert with one another to provide information about the condition of waterbodies within each watershed every 10 years.  Since the passing of the CWLA the MPCA has monitored over 4200 stations for biology (fish & macroinvertebrates), 700 stations for routine water chemistry and bacteria, and over 1000 lakes for aquatic recreation.  The monitoring results have been used to conduct 3700 stream and 4200 lake assessments.  Engaging the public and local units of government have been crucial to the success of this effort and to the sustainability of Minnesota’s water resources.  This presentation will provide an overview of the programs and challenges facing the sustainability of water resources in Minnesota.

Monday February 6, 2017 1:40pm - 2:00pm
Grand Ballroom C

1:40pm

Technical Session. Prairie Restoration and Translocation to Bolster Greater Prairie-Chicken Populations in Missouri Benefit Both Chickens and Other Species
AUTHORS: Dr. Andrew J. Gregory, School of Earth Environment and Society, Bowling Green State University; Dr. Thomas Thompson, Missouri Department of Conservation

ABSTRACT: As recent as 1970, there were >12,000 Greater Prairie-Chickens in Missouri, but by 2000, 300 birds. To accomplish this, prairie restoration began and birds were translocated to MO from KS. The results of these efforts were the reclamation of >4,000 acres of prairie, an increase in MO Greater Prairie-Chickens and genetic introgression and among MO and KS birds. Moreover, many other prairie species returning the area. Moreover, many other prairie species have benefited from the prairie restoration. 

Monday February 6, 2017 1:40pm - 2:00pm
Grand Ballroom B

1:40pm

Technical Session. Using an Historical Perspective to Inform Conservation Goals for Prairie Streams
AUTHORS: Jeff Kopaska, Iowa Department of Natural Resources; Keith E. Schilling, Iowa Geological Survey, University of Iowa

ABSTRACT: Iowa’s current conditions in regard to water quality are influenced by Iowa’s production landscape. Iowa has one of the most altered landscapes in the world, transitioning from less than 40% of its land in row crop agriculture prior to 1940, to ~75% of acres in row crop production consistently since the 1980s. Historical records of water quality, water quantity and stream conditions exist back to the 1800s in some cases. These historical conditions provide a frame of reference regarding what was, and should inform current perspectives and discussions of what future conditions could become. Prairie restoration efforts in Iowa indicate that historic water quality conditions can be achieved today, thus the past is very insightful in this regard. Future conditions should not be solely determined by what is viewed as technologically achievable, but also what is ecologically appropriate.

Monday February 6, 2017 1:40pm - 2:00pm
Grand Ballroom F

1:40pm

Symposia Session - S4: Sustaining America's Diverse Fish and Wildlife Resources. Engaging Corporations with Natural Resource Conservation
AUTHORS: Margaret O'Gorman, President, Wildlife Habitat Council

ABSTRACT: Engaging corporations with natural resource conservation in a meaningful way can result in a strong voice to support state wildlife agencies and protection for the nation’s biodiversity. Across the country, corporate landowners are already engaged in conservation driven by different business goals and challenges. These activities range from isolated actions implemented by interested land managers, to corporate-wide initiatives supported by the sustainability or corporate social responsibility functions of across a business. When the activities are implemented to contribute to existing conservation priorities like State Wildlife Action Plans, the landowners have an increased sense of the conservation context in which their lands sit, a greater sense of ownership and purpose and a stronger inclination to support efforts to sustain America’s diverse fish and wildlife populations. 

Monday February 6, 2017 1:40pm - 2:20pm
Grand Ballroom E

2:00pm

Symposia Session - S1: Midwestern Reservoir Management and Assessment Strategies. Lake Restorations in Iowa: What Happens When You Run out of Low-Hanging Fruit
AUTHORS: Rebecca M. Krogman, Iowa Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Almost $10 million is spent annually in Iowa on lake and reservoir restoration by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, an investment matched by local funds and personnel in communities across the state. Restoration locations are not simply publicly-owned waterbodies, but the communities around them; success and failure depend upon a combination of social, physical, and biological factors that can make a community a viable choice for investment. In addition to community engagement, social factors include the current value of the waterbody and the potential for growth in recreational and commercial draw. Physical and biological characteristics affect project feasibility and shelf life, as well as project priority. Early in the lake restoration program's history, many of these factors aligned for select lakes, which were identified as "low-hanging fruit" and targeted for restoration. More recently, optimal project selection is less obvious and is guided by an evolving prioritization process. Some lake and reservoir restoration projects, whether completed or in progress, have revealed important lessons to guide future decision-making. Case studies of these projects will be presented and discussed, along with recommendations for improved decision-making.

Monday February 6, 2017 2:00pm - 2:20pm
Garrat

2:00pm

Symposia Session - S2: Midwestern Agroecology and the Conservation of Grassland Birds. Leveraging Market Forces for Grassland Conservation: Audubon's Conservation Ranching Program
AUTHORS: Brian Trusty, National Audubon Society Central Flyway; Marshall Johnson, Audubon Dakotas; *Chris Wilson, National Audubon Society

ABSTRACT: Over the past forty years, grassland birds have experienced steeper and more consistent population declines than any other avian guild, and numerous grassland birds are now candidates for endangered species listing. From 2008 to 2011, nearly 24 million acres, an area larger than the state of Indiana, was converted from grasslands to agriculture.  For the past four years, Audubon has been piloting market-based conservation ranching to address this threat.  The results of these pilots have exceeded all of our top-end goals. Because 85% of grassland bird habitat is in private hands, Audubon has found win-win collaborations with private landowners. Our approach is to create incentives for cattle ranchers to manage their grasslands for the benefit of grassland birds in locations throughout the Central Flyway from Canada to northern Mexico. We describe in detail how Audubon’s market-based approach to grassland conservation works and how it can translate into scalable outcomes throughout the entire landscape.

Monday February 6, 2017 2:00pm - 2:20pm
Arbor I/II

2:00pm

Symposia Session - S3: Ecology of the Missouri National Recreational River. Physical Changes in the MNRR 59-Mile District Between 1989 and 2016
AUTHORS: Brian Korman, National Park Service; Gerald Mestl, Nebraska Game and Parks Commision

ABSTRACT: The 2011 Missouri River high water event caused significant ecological and physical changes to the Missouri National Recreational River. Observation and subsequent hypotheses related to these changes inspired the replication of a 1989 study, “Cross-sectional Analysis of Sediment and Organic Matter from Transects across the Lower Unchannelized Missouri River”, published by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission in 1990.

The same methods were followed at eight of the same locations within the MNRR 59-Mile District. At each location transects were followed from bank to bank and sediment samples were collected every 50 feet. Samples were analyzed for particle size and organic matter content. The objective of the current study is to compare bed sediments collected in 2016 to those collected in 1989 to help understand what changes have occurred over time. A secondary goal was to understand how sediments collected in 2016 vary spatially within the 59-Mile District of the MNRR relative to tributary inputs and other physical attributes of the MNRR. This talk will present preliminary results of this ongoing cooperative research effort between the National Park Service and Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Monday February 6, 2017 2:00pm - 2:20pm
Grand Ballroom A

2:00pm

Technical Session. An Analysis of the Interactions Between Weather and Land Use on Gallinaceous Bird Populations Using Historical Data
AUTHORS: Mandy Lipinski, Nebraska Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit, University of Nebraska–Lincoln; Tj Fontaine, USGS, Nebraska Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit

ABSTRACT: Concern surrounding species’ abilities to cope with a changing climate presents opportunities to look forward toward solutions while investigating historical trends to assess the interaction of land use and weather. Uncertainty surrounding population responses to increased severity and frequency of severe weather associated with climate change presents challenges for making informed management decisions for a suite of already declining wildlife populations in the Great Plains. Historical data are a rich resource for developing models predicting species’ responses to climate change and continued variation in land use. We are utilizing 30 years of historical data to model species’ responses to land use change and weather within a gradient of land use and climate in Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, and Missouri. Mixed models incorporating agricultural acreages, relative abundances of gallinaceous birds from the annual Breeding Bird Survey, and historical precipitation and temperature data built at the county-level will illuminate broad scale trends and enable us to draw conclusions about future population responses. We are finding expected differences in population trends between states within a climatic gradient, and varied responses to temperature and precipitation among gallinaceous species, where different annual periods are more or less crucial for different species despite similar life history characteristics. We expect that further modeling will continue to elucidate critical thresholds for birds in the Great Plains in terms of weather and habitat, allowing us to make strong recommendations to managers preparing to deal with the implications of climate change.

Monday February 6, 2017 2:00pm - 2:20pm
Grand Ballroom D

2:00pm

Technical Session. Evaluating Nest Site Selection of Southern Flying Squirrels in West-Central Illinois
AUTHORS: Christopher N. Jacques, James S. Zweep, Sean E. Jenkins - Western Illinois University.

ABSTRACT: Southern flying squirrels (SFS; Glaucomys volans) nest in naturally–formed cavities in snags and hardwoods trees in mature, undisturbed forests. Intensive forest fragmentation across Midwestern landscapes may limit the availability of nesting trees relative to other regions characterized by contiguous forested habitat, though has not been extensively studied. Thus, our study objective was to evaluate nest tree use of SFS in west–central Illinois. From October 2014 to April 2016, we used radio telemetry to track flying squirrels to 109 nest tree sites (83 live trees, 26 snags). Our results indicated that diurnal nest trees were characterized by significantly more (21 = 4.41, P ≤ 0.02) live, larger diameter oak trees than random locations. We documented greater (21 ≥ 3.97, P ≤ 0.04) use of live, intact canopy trees by female squirrels whereas nest tree use by male squirrels was characterized by fewer numbers of tree species and greater use of snags in more advanced stages of decay. Selection for live trees (and thus closer proximity to hard mast) by female SFS may be attributed to increased energetic demands while rearing young. Further, SFS used a variety of forest types for nesting, including riparian and floodplain forests; use of early-successional, riparian, and floodplain forests had not been documented prior to this study. Flexibility in nest site selection by SFS may be related to variation in forest patch sizes that characterize fragmented Midwestern landscapes. Thus, future research quantifying potential effects of habitat fragmentation on SFS nesting ecology is warranted.

Monday February 6, 2017 2:00pm - 2:20pm
Hawthorne

2:00pm

Technical Session. Identification and Prioritization of Factors Limiting Reintroduced Plains Topminnow (Fundulus sciadicus) Populations in Nebraska Streams
AUTHORS: Joseph D. Thiessen, University of Nebraska Kearney (UNK), Keith D. Koupal, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Casey W. Schoenebeck Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Julie J. Shaffer, UNK

ABSTRACT: The Plains topminnow, Fundulus sciadicus, is an endemic Great Plains stream fish that has experienced reductions in range and abundance, resulting in regional protection and federal listing considerations. In response, the Nebraska Natural Legacy Project, Game and Parks Commission, and the University of Nebraska at Kearney have proactively begun translocation efforts to reestablish and augment populations throughout the state. The project focus is to assess the persistence of reintroduced and augmented Plains topminnow populations using PRESENCE software likelihood of occurrence >0.50. Translocation efforts of 17 stocking sites (8 long-term, 9 short- term) were revisited to determine long-term population reestablishment success. Sites that were not successful were augmented with a second stocking event and revisited a year later. Limiting factors of Plains topminnow populations were identified comparing catch rates and a suite of abiotic and biotic variables using an information theoretic approach. We found Plains topminnow abundances to have a negative relationship with predator abundance, percent of channel habitat, and stream entrenchment, and positive relationships with stream temperature, sinuosity, and percent of backwater pool habitat; with our best fit AICc model including predator abundance and stream temperature.

Monday February 6, 2017 2:00pm - 2:20pm
Grand Ballroom F

2:00pm

Technical Session. Quantifying the Relationship Between Grasslands, Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Enrollments and Greater Prairie-Chicken Populations (Tympanuchus cupido pinnatus) in Minnesota
AUTHORS: Kalysta I. Adkins, Minnesota Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology, University of Minnesota; Charlotte Roy, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; David E. Andersen, U.S. Geological Survey, Minnesota Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology, University of Minnesota; Robert G. Wright, Minnesota Information Technology Services at Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) has multiple objectives, of which one is to provide habitat for wildlife, especially for species of conservation concern. Greater prairie-chickens (Tympanuchus cupido pinnatus) are a target species of the CRP, but how greater prairie-chickens respond to abundance, distribution, and quality of CRP grassland is not well understood. To better understand greater prairie-chicken—CRP grassland relations, we evaluated population responses to CRP enrollments using population indices (males/lek and leks/km2) derived through annual monitoring efforts in Minnesota. We quantified land cover during the period 2004-2014 in survey blocks where systematic greater prairie-chicken surveys were conducted during the same period to evaluate the contribution of CRP enrollments to available grassland habitat and estimate changes through time. In addition, we measured vegetation and other characteristics related to establishment and management of CRP grassland categories and will use them to develop a predictive map of greater prairie-chicken habitat quality. All survey blocks experienced a decline in area enrolled in grassland CRP categories ranging from 11.6 to 72.8% during the period 2004-2014. When we combined grassland CRP data across all survey blocks, area enrolled in the CRP had declined 58.8% from peak enrollment in 2007 to 2014. The relationship between grassland CRP enrollment and greater prairie-chicken abundance suggests a negative relationship for both males/lek and lek/km2. Results are preliminary, but will aid the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and other organizations in targeting conservation programs in areas where they will be most effective for greater prairie-chickens.

Monday February 6, 2017 2:00pm - 2:20pm
Grand Ballroom B

2:00pm

Technical Session. Septic Seepage in Minnesota Lakes and Its Biological Effects on Resident Sunfish
AUTHORS: Les Warren, Heiko Schoenfuss - St. Cloud State University; Chris Higgins, Meaghan Guyader - Colorado School of Mines

ABSTRACT: The potential of On-site Wastewater Treatment Systems (OWTSs) to represent non-point source of contaminants into lake systems is a growing concern. Since many lakes are down-gradient of OWTSs, the septic seepage may contact surrounding groundwater and may enter shallow waters through hydrological processes. It is also in these shallow areas that many native fish species, including sunfish, spawn. For the current study, five study lakes were established in Central Minnesota. Within each of these lakes, two septic-influenced sites and two reference sites were identified. Water sampling throughout the early spring and summer established the presence and absence of contaminants at each site. Adult male sunfish were collected off of their spawning beds between May and July to explore the effects of these contaminants on the native fish species. The fish were euthanized and sampled for blood and internal organs. Liver and gonad tissues were analyzed for cellular changes and to determine maturity. The assessment of biological endpoints in sunfish and laboratory exposed fathead minnows provides a rich data matrix to test the hypothesis that septic seepage causes adverse health effects in resident fish populations in northern lakes.

Monday February 6, 2017 2:00pm - 2:20pm
Grand Ballroom C

2:20pm

Symposia Session - S1: Midwestern Reservoir Management and Assessment Strategies. Low-dose Rotenone Applications to Improve Recreational Fisheries
AUTHORS: Tony J Barada, Jeff Jackson, Aaron Blank, Jordan Katt - Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

ABSTRACT: Gizzard shad in small water bodies are known to compete with sportfish, often limiting growth potential and size structure of fishes commonly sought by anglers.  However, gizzard shad populations are dynamic in nature and can be difficult to manage.  Previous research has shown that gizzard shad have a low lethal tolerance to rotenone, and applying very low doses (approx. 5% of normal renovation applications) targeting gizzard shad may be a valuable tool for improving a fishery without having to conduct a complete renovation. 
Low-dose rotenone applications were conducted at two waterbodies in southeast Nebraska during the fall of 2013.  One application was conducted on an 18-acre sand pit lake, while a large-scale application was conducted at a 740-acre flood control reservoir.  Fish communities differed between the two water bodies, however the goal of improving each recreational fishery was similar. 
Multiple years of standard surveys (trap netting, gill netting, electrofishing) were conducted pre- and post-application at each waterbody.  Surveys indicated gizzard shad were successfully eradicated from both water bodies one year after application.  However, gizzard shad were detected in the flood control reservoir in year two.  Common fisheries demographics (relative abundance, size structure, condition, growth) of sportfish will be compared and presented to demonstrate the utility of low-dose rotenone applications as a fisheries management tool.

Monday February 6, 2017 2:20pm - 2:40pm
Garrat

2:20pm

Symposia Session - S2: Midwestern Agroecology and the Conservation of Grassland Birds. Utilizing Social Science to Guide Bird Conservation Action on Private Lands
AUTHORS: Ashley Gramza, North American Bird Conservation Initiative Social Science Coordinator, Virginia Tech; Ashley Dayer, Virginia Tech

ABSTRACT: The vast majority of grassland bird habitat in the Midwest region is located on private lands. Therefore, to achieve bird conservation success, we need to work with private landowners. To do so, we must start by better understanding landowners, especially how various social factors relate to landowner decisions regarding conservation practices on their land. Social science offers theories and methods to rigorously explore what influences landowner conservation action. Findings from these inquiries can then be applied to develop strategic and effective private lands conservation programs and strategies. In general, this research suggests that four categories of variables influence landowner conservation action: (1) landowner demographic characteristics, (2) landowner psychological characteristics, (3) land characteristics, and (4) program and practice characteristics. Most current research has focused on adoption of conservation practices (either through financial incentive programs or voluntarily); we know much less about what happens after programs end. In this presentation, we will use case studies to illustrate how social science data can inform bird conservation strategies on private lands. We will also introduce a new project that will examine the psychological basis for landowner decisions to participate in Farm Bill Conservation Program practices that benefit birds and whether the landowners continue to contribute to conservation when they leave the program. Lastly, we will discuss social science resources that bird conservation professionals can access to learn how to integrate social science into their efforts and to connect with social science researchers who can collaborate on bird conservation projects.

Monday February 6, 2017 2:20pm - 2:40pm
Arbor I/II

2:20pm

Symposia Session - S3: Ecology of the Missouri National Recreational River. Nutrients and Dissolved Oxygen Monitoring in the 59-mile Missouri National Recreational River Below Gavins Point Dam
AUTHORS: Brenda Densmore, Justin Krahulik - U..S Geological Survey

ABSTRACT: The 59-mile reach of Missouri River below Gavins Point Dam is part of the Missouri National Recreational River.  Even though this section of river is not channelized, the natural form and hydrology are affected by the operation of upstream dams.  The reach may be impaired from the low allochthonous input of organic matter and nutrients from upstream because of river disconnect created by dams and further impaired following the 2011 flood.  The U.S. Geological Survey collected samples in both 2015 and 2016 at multiple locations within the reach. In October 2015, water samples were collected and analyzed for nutrients at three sites within the 59-mile reach and at two tributaries.  In June, July, and August 2016 water samples were collected at seven sites and analyzed for nutrients and chlorophyll.  The seven sites consisted of three main channel sites, two backwater sites, and two sandbar sites.  Dissolved oxygen was monitored at the sandbar and backwater sites to determine diurnal oxygen patterns.  Primary production was also measured using the light and dark bottle method at the sandbar and backwater sites.  Other previously collected datasets with similar data for the reach were acquired to compare to data collected for this study.

Monday February 6, 2017 2:20pm - 2:40pm
Grand Ballroom A

2:20pm

Symposia Session - S4: Sustaining America's Diverse Fish and Wildlife Resources. Federal Agency Perspective
AUTHORS: John F. Organ, Ph.D., CWB®, Chief, Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units, U.S. Geological Survey


ABSTRACT: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and state fish and wildlife agencies struggle to restore species’ populations that are currently protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act while also addressing the backlog of species petitioned for listing.  Nationally, State Wildlife Action Plans have identified over 12,000 Species of Greatest Conservation Need. In the coming years, thousands of species could potentially be added to the list of federal threatened and endangered species.  For a significant number of these declining species, the threats and necessary actions are not clearly understood.  Recently, pro-active cooperative conservation efforts, fueled by conservation science, have resulted in decisions to not list species proposed for Endangered Species listing (greater sage grouse; New England cottontail).  Restoring declining species to sustainable levels in order to prevent listing or to de-list species will require substantial investment in addressing information gaps and evaluating success of management actions.  The national Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units have a tradition of close collaboration with state Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and are prepared to invest and assist with cooperative conservation efforts.

Monday February 6, 2017 2:20pm - 2:40pm
Grand Ballroom E

2:20pm

Technical Session. Combining Weather Data and Climate Projections: A Case Study with Lesser Prairie-Chickens
AUTHORS: Alixandra J. Godar, U.S. Geological Survey Kansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Kansas State University; Cody P. Griffin, Emerging Pathogens Institute, University of Florida; Blake A. Grisham, Department of Natural Resources Management, Texas Tech University; David A. Haukos, U.S. Geological Survey Kansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Kansas State University; Sarah R. Fritts, Department of Natural Resources Management, Texas Tech University; Beth E. Ross, U.S. Geological Survey South Carolina Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research, Clemson University; Clint W. Boal, U.S. Geological Survey Texas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Texas Tech University; Christian A. Hagen, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Oregon State University; Michael A. Patten, University of Oklahoma; James C. Pitman, Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies


ABSTRACT: Managers and researchers face the challenge of incorporating climate change into their work. The data to inform management decisions are available but often are difficult to locate and understand for individuals without training in climate science. This difficulty is compounded by the availability of numerous techniques in the absence of a standardized method to incorporate climate projections into ecological studies. We combined weather data and climate projections to assess Lesser Prairie-Chicken (LEPC) population persistence across their range and to provide insight on our successes and failures incorporating climate projections. The LEPC range is subdivided into four ecoregions on the basis of vegetative composition of the area, and each region also varies environmentally due to latitudinal temperature and longitudinal precipitation gradients. Variable habitat, combined with the species’ sensitivity to drought, stresses the importance of understanding potential impacts of climate change on long-term population trends and subsequent management strategies. We used an Integrated Population Model (IPM) for each ecoregion and incorporated historical weather station data (1995–2016) and data from radio-tagged LEPCs to assess how weather affected hen survival, nest survival, and chicks fledged per hen. Weather station data were merged with climate projection data from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project-Phase 5 (CMIP-5). For each projection, we assumed stationarity. We defined stationarity as the values from the climate projection for the grid cell containing the location of the weather station are the future equivalent of the historic weather station data at the same location. The IPM identified past relationships between weather and survival and applied the relationships to future climate projections to assess long-term population trends for LEPCs, showing declining populations in three ecoregions. Weather and climate projection data provide valuable insight for managers and researchers, but consistent techniques to efficiently deal with the data would facilitate repeatability within and among species.

Monday February 6, 2017 2:20pm - 2:40pm
Grand Ballroom D

2:20pm

Technical Session. Reproductive Health of Three Catostomidae Species in a Wastewater Treatment Effluent Impacted River
AUTHORS: Bethany Hoster, Karen Gaines, Eric Bollinger, Anabela Maia, Robert Colombo — Eastern Illinois University

ABSTRACT: As a result of human activity, wastewater treatment effluent and river impoundment have the potential to alter the water quality and flow regimes of rivers. During periods when river discharge is low, wastewater can make up the majority of a river’s composition downstream of an effluent. The Sangamon River, located in central Illinois, is impounded in Decatur, IL and receives effluent from the Sanitary District of Decatur. Previous research has found water quality in the Sangamon River differs significantly downstream of the Sanitary District of Decatur effluent when river discharge is below 200 cubic feet per second. The Sanitary District of Decatur serves 100,000 people, in addition to two hospitals and several industrial users. Due to the presence of endocrine disrupting compounds in municipal wastewater and phytoestrogens in industrial wastewater, the reproductive health of male fishes was investigated in the Sangamon River in comparison to a stretch of the Embarras River not impacted by wastewater treatment effluent. River Carpsucker (Carpiodes carpio), Shorthead Redhorse (Moxostoma macrolepidotum), and Smallmouth Buffalo (Ictiobus bubalus) were sampled in 2016 to determine if reproductive health varied between rivers due to the presence of wastewater treatment effluent. Gonadosomatic index and relative weight were used to determine the condition of these fishes. Shorthead Redhorse from the Embarras River had higher gonadosomatic index values and were in better reproductive condition than those from the Sangamon River, but there was no difference in relative weight. No differences in gonadosomatic index were found for River Carpsucker or Smallmouth Buffalo, but fishes from the Embarras River had significantly higher relative weights. Additional analyses to further determine reproductive health of these species and the effects of wastewater treatment effluent will include the evaluation of sex ratios, blood vitellogenin levels in male fish, and presence of testicular oocytes.

Monday February 6, 2017 2:20pm - 2:40pm
Grand Ballroom C

2:20pm

Technical Session. Space, Place and Ring Necked Pheasant: Hot Spot Analysis of Distribution of Ring Necked Pheasant in Eastern South Dakota
AUTHORS: Sprih Harsh, South Dakota State University; Andrew J Gregory, Bowling Green State University and Travis Runia, South Dakota Game Fish and Parks 

ABSTRACT: Ring necked pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) is one of the most popular upland game birds of North America. In South Dakota, the upland game hunting with pheasants as the target species has become a multimillion-dollar industry and thus these pheasants are the most sought after game birds since its introduction in the state in early 1900s. Identifying concentrations of this species along with underlying causes for their spatial distribution can help in its better management and conservation. We did a hot spot analysis of pheasant per mile (PPM) data obtained from pheasant brood surveys, annually carried out by South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks, for the period from 2006-2015 to identify these clusters across eastern South Dakota. We found that out of 89 locations which were part of this analysis, 34 locations were part of hot spot in one or many of those years. For finding out regions being hot spot from 1 to 22 years, we created a minimum convex polygon (MCP) for hot spot locations each year and them combined them to have an area with all the 34 points. In order to find out which part of this area were coming under hot spots for how many years, we overlaid this combined MCP with a hexagon layer with each hexagon an area of about 2.59 km² and then extracted hexagon grids which were hot spot for required number of years. We found a pattern among these grids. Grids with 1 year being hot spot started from the outer portion of MCP and kept on shifting towards the center of MCP as the number of years increased with the hexagons which were hot spot for all 22 years mostly concentrated between Brule and Aurora County. The next step would be to identify the reasons behind this pattern of hot spots which can mostly be attributed to the changes in habitat types over the years and also on the weather condition in some particular years. We found that spatial methodologies has the potential of obtaining previously undiscovered insights which can provide important information to decision-makers for planning better strategies for wildlife management and conservation.

Monday February 6, 2017 2:20pm - 2:40pm
Grand Ballroom B

2:20pm

Technical Session. Status and Habitat Use of the Topeka Shiner in the Boone River Watershed, Iowa
AUTHORS: Nicholas T. Simpson, Iowa State University, Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management; Clay L. Pierce, U.S. Geological Survey, Iowa Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Iowa State University; Michael J. Weber,  Iowa State University, Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management; Kevin J. Roe, Iowa State University, Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management

ABSTRACT: The Topeka Shiner (Notropis topeka) is a federally listed endangered species that has been in decline in Iowa for decades. A key reason for the decline is the alteration of naturally flowing streams and associated off-channel habitats due to land use changes. One area where Topeka Shiners have declined is the Boone River Watershed in North Central Iowa. A goal of this study is to determine the status of the Topeka Shiner throughout the watershed and to identify habitat characteristics associated with the occurrence of this species. We sampled 44 in-stream reaches and off-channel oxbows throughout the watershed in summer 2016 via electrofishing and seining. We also measured width, depth, velocity, substrate type, and canopy cover in streams and length, width, depth, substrate, turbidity, and canopy cover in oxbows. Topeka Shiners were collected at 35% of off-channel oxbows compared to 30% of in-stream reaches, including many sites where they had not been detected before. These results strengthen the argument that oxbows are an important habitat for Topeka Shiners, as they access these habitats during flooding events and persist in them when stream flow is low. This study will contribute efforts aimed at restoring Topeka Shiners to the Boone River Watershed. Currently, off-channel oxbows that have filled in with sediment are being restored, which will create more habitat for this federally endangered species. Results of this study may also inform discussions about whether to reintroduce the species to other HUC-10 and HUC-12 watersheds within the Boone River Watershed where they may have been extirpated.

Monday February 6, 2017 2:20pm - 2:40pm
Grand Ballroom F

2:20pm

Technical Session. Survival of Gray and Fox Squirrels in Minnesota: A Case Study of the Effects of Hunting
AUTHORS: Ryan G. Tebo, Farmland Wildlife Populations and Research Group, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Hunters in Minnesota have recently voiced concerns that squirrel populations are in decline (due to overharvest and liberal hunting regulations), namely on public hunting lands within travel distance of the St. Paul-Minneapolis metropolitan area.  To address these concerns, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources began a 2-year study comparing survival rates of squirrels on a wildlife management area where hunting is permitted and at a nearby state park where hunting is prohibited.  We captured and radiocollared 49 gray and 7 fox squirrels at Whitewater Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and 49 gray squirrels at Whitewater State Park (SP) during July-September 2015.  Squirrels were monitored for survival following capture and survival rates were estimated by site and season using logistic-exposure methods.  During the first field season, we failed to find evidence that survival probabilities differed between sites prior to the hunting season  (1 July – 18 Sep 2015) and after the first 6 weeks of the hunting season (1 Nov 2015 – 12 April 2016).  However, during the first 6 weeks of the hunting season (19 Sep – 31 Oct 2015), 13 of 44 squirrels were harvested on the WMA and the estimated survival probability was 0.529 (85% CI: 0.398-0.645).  The estimated survival probability in the SP during the same period was 0.955 (85% CI: 0.929-0.971).  A second field season is being conducted in 2016; we hope to capture and radiocollar an additional 60 squirrels on each site.  We seek to improve our understanding of the survival rates of squirrels in hunted and non-hunted populations during the fall in Minnesota.  We anticipate that managers could use this information to alter season structures or access to hunters on public lands that are utilized heavily for squirrel hunting.

Monday February 6, 2017 2:20pm - 2:40pm
Hawthorne

2:40pm

Symposia Session - S1: Midwestern Reservoir Management and Assessment Strategies. Examining Exploitation of Walleye in a Midwestern Reservoir Using a Tag Return Study
AUTHORS: Jason C. Doll, Ball State University; Andrew Bueltmann, Indiana Department of Natural Resources; Sandra Clark-Kolaks, Indiana Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Walleye Sander vitreus are one of the most sought after sport fish in Indiana. To meet this demand Walleye have been stocked in Monroe Reservoir since 1982 at an average rate of 36 fingerlings/acre. Previous research on yield-per-recruit models has provided insight into effects of various exploitation rates at multiple minimum length limits; however, exploitation for Monroe Reservoir Walleye is unknown. As such, a mark recapture study was conducted from 2015 to 2016. Walleye were tagged in early spring. Tag loss was estimated by double tagging every other Walleye. Non-reporting rate was estimated with an angler creel survey in 2015. Exploitation was estimated using the Ricker method at multiple levels of reporting rates. A total of 157 Walleye were marked with Floy tags in the spring of 2015 and angler reports were accepted through the summer of 2016. Overall, fifteen tags were reported with forty percent of the reported tags being from Walleye caught in the Monroe Reservoir tailwaters. Exploitation rate was estimated at 0.15, 0.22, and 0.44 at a reporting rate of 75%, 50%, and 25%. Maximum yield estimated from the yield-per-recruit models was achieved at an exploitation rate of 0.70 and minimum length limit of 406 mm. The probability of yield reaching 80% of the maximum yield under the current minimum length limit of 356 mm at exploitation rates of 0.15, 0.22, and 0.44 is 0.1%, 74.7%, and 100%. Our results suggest that an increase in the minimum length limit would increase yield if the reporting rate from the creel survey was moderate to high.

Monday February 6, 2017 2:40pm - 3:00pm
Garrat

2:40pm

Symposia Session - S2: Midwestern Agroecology and the Conservation of Grassland Birds. Farming for the Soil, Farming for Birds
AUTHORS: Loretta Jaus, Organic Valley dairy farmer, The Land Stewardship Project Board, and Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture Board; Martin Jaus, Organic Valley dairy farmer

ABSTRACT: With the success of conservation objectives relying heavily on buy-in from private land owners, impactful changes in how we view farm ownership must occur.  We explore one farm family's attempt to balance the standard production agricultural model against their enthusiasm for a more wildlife-friendly alternative food production system.  A familiarity with the basics of ecology and wildlife management led to changes in the Jaus farm's cropping and management systems.  Corn and soybean rows alongside the original depleted patch of pasture gave way to smaller diverse fields and expanded rotationally-grazed pasture--seasonal home to the 60-cow dairy herd.  Commonplace intentional separations at the lower end of the food chain, and concern about the impact farther up the chain resulted in reduced chemical applications and more deliberate attention to the concept of interdependency.  Ultimately, and unbeknownst to them, the Jauses had arrived at the threshold of a certified organic farm operation.  Building the health of the soil biology, a key principle of organic production, along with intentional conservation management ended up strengthening the farm's biota overall...a move that nicely accommodated the family's environmental, economic, social, and cultural objectives.  How did that work out specifically for the birds and other wildlife?  What could a shift of mindset for managers of agricultural enterprises mean in terms of the larger-scale landscape changes that fish and wildlife professionals are seeking?  How might such a shift be accomplished?  Let's explore these questions together as we consider farming for the soil, and farming for birds.

Monday February 6, 2017 2:40pm - 3:00pm
Arbor I/II

2:40pm

Symposia Session - S3: Ecology of the Missouri National Recreational River. Habitat Evaluation of a Modeled Reach of the Missouri National Recreational River
AUTHORS: Gerald Mestl, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission; Caroline Elliott, U.S. Geological Survey; Jerrod Hall, Thad Huenemann, Kirk Steffensen - Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

ABSTRACT: The Missouri National Recreational River, immediately below Gavins Point Dam, is the longest minimally-altered reach remaining on the lower Missouri River. This reach has been highly affected by managed flows and sediment trapped behind Gavins Point Dam, its tributaries have been dammed or altered, and bank lines are highly stabilized. However, this 59 mile reach still retains many natural features such as active alluvial processes, which allows for a shifting channel alignment and creates a more natural distribution of water velocities and depths. Habitat restoration work on the channelized Missouri River has attempted to mimic these unaltered conditions through the construction of shallow water habitat but has been challenged by the lack of specific habitat needs, especially for pallid sturgeon and other native fish species. Using newly developed habitat preference functions, we will describe the habitat availability for a group of native species in a reach of the Missouri National Recreational River and compare this to a reach of the channelized lower Missouri River.

Monday February 6, 2017 2:40pm - 3:00pm
Grand Ballroom A

2:40pm

Symposia Session - S4: Sustaining America's Diverse Fish and Wildlife Resources. The Role of State Agencies in Natural Resource Governance and Keys to Success
AUTHORS: Patrick E. Lederle, Michigan Department of Natural Resources; Ann B. Forstchen, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission; Daniel J. Decker, Cornell University; Christian A. Smith, Wildlife Management Institute; Darragh Hare, Cornell University

ABSTRACT: State natural resource agencies play a central role in fulfilling public trust responsibilities for the effective management of natural resources. Recent work on combining elements of public trust thinking and good governance resulted in publication of a broad set of wildlife governance principles (Decker et al. 2016, Conservation Letters 9:290).  Although described as ‘wildlife,’ these principles are applicable to many natural resource management challenges confronting state agencies today.  The principles, while not prescriptive, offer guidance for ecologically and socially responsible natural resource conservation. They address persistent, systemic challenges and, if adopted, will help bring the natural resource community in line with modern expectations for governance of public natural resources. Successful implementation will require changes in the customs, practices and policies of state agencies, yet agencies can play a key leadership role by modeling those behaviors, improving their own effectiveness, and building stronger relationships with other agencies, organizations, and partners in the broader conservation community.  
The governance principles emphasize diverse values, sound ecological and social science, broad public participation, accountability, and collaborative conservation. Important steps required for successful implementation by state agencies include, 1) discussion of the principles in relation to their current situation and desires for the future, 2) establishment of clear expectations of individual and agency behavior consistent with the traits and practices that characterize the principles, and 3) alignment of resources to ensure priority changes can be implemented.  Outcomes of agency alignment with the principles include a shift to a more holistic approach that embraces interests in all species, increased public participation in decision making, capacity through partnerships, agency relevancy, and support for conservation.

Monday February 6, 2017 2:40pm - 3:00pm
Grand Ballroom E

2:40pm

Technical Session. Dangerous Misperceptions: Eastern Cottontail Survival in an Agroecosystem
AUTHORS: Julia A. Nawrocki, Robert L. Schooley, Michael P. Ward - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

ABSTRACT: Intensive agricultural practices often have negative impacts on local wildlife populations. In attempts to alleviate these effects, habitat restoration programs such as State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) have been established. One species that could benefit from restored grassland habitat created by these programs is the eastern cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus). In Illinois, populations have undergone a substantial decline over time, especially in the most agriculturally intense regions. To understand how mortality risk and perceived predation risk for eastern cottontails varies within an agroecosystem, we examined survival rates and perceived risk in restored grassland habitats and the surrounding agricultural fields. From June 2014 through June 2016, we radio-collared 95 eastern cottontails with VHF transmitters and tracked their movements year-round until the collar failed or mortality occurred. We then constructed known-fate models in program MARK to determine how survival rates vary across habitats and seasons. To determine if habitats differed in perceived risk for cottontails, we conducted giving-up density (GUD) experiments in grassland and agricultural fields. During the summer when crops (corn and soybean) were present on the landscape, mortalities occurred disproportionately in agricultural fields relative to grassland areas. However, the GUD experiments indicated that cottontails perceived these same agricultural fields to be less risky than the grassland areas. This mismatch suggests that cottontails may be incorrectly assessing the risks of these habitats and that agricultural fields may be acting as ecological traps lowering the potential benefits of restored grassland areas. Our results can be used to inform selection of future SAFE sites, by considering landscape context, to more effectively manage eastern cottontail populations and other species that may be experiencing similar circumstances.

Monday February 6, 2017 2:40pm - 3:00pm
Hawthorne

2:40pm

Technical Session. Effects of Climate Change on Groundwater, Surface Water, and Ecosystem Services in the Grand Kankakee River Watershed
AUTHORS: Tamatha A. Patterson, U.S. Geological Survey, Great Lakes Science Center; Alan F. Hamlet, Diogo Bolster, Chun-Mei Chiu, Kyuhyun Byun - Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering and Earth Science, University of Notre Dame; Ralph Grundel, Noel Pavlovic - U.S. Geological Survey, Great Lakes Science Center; Dave Lampe, USGS Kentucky-Indiana Water Science Center; Jessica Hellmann, Institute on the Environment and Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, University of Minnesota

ABSTRACT: Climate change is hypothesized to bring important hydrologic changes to the Kankakee River basin impacting agriculture, remnant wetland ecosystems, and potential wetland restoration efforts. Where to locate wetland restorations to provide sustainable ecosystem services is a challenge for land managers and planners who may lack the capacity to make a detailed assessment of alternative scenarios particularly when considering climate change. By building new planning tools to assess wetland restoration scenarios in terms of ground and surface waters and ecosystem services, we will provide land managers with detailed comparisons of ecosystem service delivery under alternate restoration scenarios in a changing climate. Using an integrated surface water/groundwater simulation model of the Kankakee basin above Wilmington, IL, simulations of streamflow in the Kankakee River, groundwater recharge, and groundwater levels for a) the historical climate, and b) projected future climate conditions for the 2050s and 2080s are compared for various wetland restoration scenarios. Ecosystem services included in the models assess surface water retention and groundwater recharge, floodwater retention, habitat for breeding and migrating birds, and recreational opportunities for the public.

Monday February 6, 2017 2:40pm - 3:00pm
Grand Ballroom D

2:40pm

Technical Session. Habitat Associations of Topeka Shiners in Two Basins in Iowa and Minnesota
AUTHORS: Alexander P. Bybel, Kevin J. Roe - Iowa State University, Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management; Clay L. Pierce, U.S. Geological Survey, Iowa Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Iowa State University; Michael J. Weber, Iowa State University, Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management

ABSTRACT: The Topeka shiner Notropis topeka is a federally endangered species that has experienced drastic declines in distribution and abundance as a result of land use changes. These changes have caused a reduction in off-channel habitats, such as oxbows that are important Topeka shiner habitat. The North Raccoon River Basin (NRRB) drains an agricultural region in North-central Iowa, and is one of three remaining drainages that hold Topeka shiners in the state. Unites States Fish and Wildlife Service has restored 60 oxbows in the NRRB to improve habitat for these fish.  The Rock River Basin (RRB), starts in Minnesota and flows into North-west Iowa, also drains agricultural lands. Topeka Shiner populations in Minnesota are considered stable. Eighty four sites including in-stream segments, and restored and unrestored oxbows distributed across both basins were sampled in 2016 using seines and single pass electro fishing in streams and three pass depletion with seines in oxbows. Habitat metrics recorded at each site included canopy, depth, flow, substrate, wetted width, bank angle, visual riparian and human disturbance estimates. Thirty eight sites contained Topeka shiners.  Presence and abundance of Topeka shiners in association with certain habitat could impact future oxbow restorations in these basins.   

Monday February 6, 2017 2:40pm - 3:00pm
Grand Ballroom F

2:40pm

Technical Session. Multi-Generational Exposure of Fathead Minnows to a Complex Urban Mixture of Contaminants of Emerging Concern
AUTHORS: Lina Wang, Utku Hasaby, Josh Robinson, Heiko Schoenfuss - St. Cloud State Aquatic Toxicology Laboratory

ABSTRACT: In many Great Lake tributaries, complex mixtures of contaminants of emerging concern (CECs)are found. Using existing analytical data, the current study assessed how an urban derived complex mixture of CECs affected three generations of fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas), exposed continuously under controlled laboratory conditions. Larval and mature minnows were exposed to a mixture comprised of: Galaxolide (synthetic musk), TBEP (plasticizer), Estrone, Bisphenol-A (Plasticizer), DEET, Methyl-1H-benzotriazole (anti-icing agent), Desvenlafaxine (anti-depressant), Fexofenadine (antihistamine), Metformin (anti-diabetic), and Nonylphenol, at low (1/10th environmental), medium (environmental), and high (10x environmental) concentrations. F1 fish were exposed while sexually mature and produced F2 generation fathead minnows that were exposed throughout their entire life cycle. F3 generation fish were exposed during early development. Multiple endpoints were measured to assess the effects of the urban mixture on fish health and development. F1 male minnows exposed to the urban CEC mixture had higher plasma vitellogenin concentrations than control fish (mean: 2.73 ug/mL and 1.91 ug/mL respectively, p< 0.05). Exposure did not have a significant effect on male feeding performance, but it did reduce female feeding performance in the medium and high treatments (p= 0.01 and 0.03). F2 larvae had a greater predator avoidance escape angle when exposed to any mixture (p-values: 0.01, 0.02, 0.03). F2 larvae exposed to the high concentration were also smaller (p=0.01). The direct impact of reduced feeding efficiency and alteration in apical endpoints central to sustaining fish populations confirms that complex urban CEC mixtures can adversely affect fish populations.

Monday February 6, 2017 2:40pm - 3:00pm
Grand Ballroom C

2:40pm

Technical Session. Selection and Demographic Consequences of Conservation Reserve Program Grasslands for Lesser Prairie-Chickens
AUTHORS: Daniel S. Sullins, John Kraft - Kansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Kansas State University; David A. Haukos, U.S. Geological Survey, Kansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Kansas State University; Brett K. Sandercock, Division of Biology, Kansas State University

ABSTRACT: Prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus spp.) populations have been confined to areas where soils have been too poor, terrain too rough, or climate too arid for farming. The protection of large contiguous grasslands needed by prairie grouse has largely been a result of the unarable nature of the remaining grasslands. On the marginal farming lands of western Kansas and eastern Colorado, a new alternative has become apparent over the last 30 years. In this region, the conversion of cropland to Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) grassland appears beneficial for lesser prairie-chickens. However, CRP may only provide habitat for certain life stages (e.g., nesting and winter) and selection of CRP as habitat may vary between wet and dry years. We captured and fitted 124 female lesser prairie-chickens with VHF and GPS transmitters during the spring lekking seasons of 2013, 2014, and 2015 to monitor vital rates and selection for CRP in northwest Kansas landscapes. Overall, population growth rate estimates for birds using CRP compared to those that used only used native working grasslands overlapped at 95% confidence intervals (95%CI; CRP λ= 0.588 - 0.938, NonCRP λ = 0.452 - 0.782). The greatest benefit of CRP became apparent when examining nest densities. Nests were twice as dense in CRP grasslands as in native working grasslands, corresponding to greater reproductive output in landscapes having CRP grasslands. However, CRP did not provide brood habitat as 85% of females with broods surviving to 7 days moved their young to other cover types. Within northwest Kansas, the planting of tall- and mixed-grass native species as CRP grasslands can increase the amount of nesting habitat in a region where nesting habitat may have previously been limiting and provide refugia to sustain populations through periods of extreme drought that can drive lesser prairie-chicken population demography.

Monday February 6, 2017 2:40pm - 3:00pm
Grand Ballroom B

3:00pm

3:20pm

Symposia Session - S1: Midwestern Reservoir Management and Assessment Strategies. Proposed Standardized Sampling Approach for Juvenile Walleye (Sander vitreus) and White Bass (Morone chrysops) Using Gear- and Season-Specific Catch Rates
AUTHORS: Brett T. Miller, Department of Biology, University of Nebraska at Kearney; Casey W. Schoenebeck, Department of Biology, University of Nebraska at Kearney and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Glenwood Area Fisheries Office; Keith D. Koupal, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Fisheries Division

ABSTRACT: The goal of this study was to develop a standardized sampling protocol for juvenile Walleye Sander vitreus and White Bass Morone chrysops by investigating the gear-and season specific catch rates from July to September using bag seines, boat electrofishing, and small-mesh gill nets. The five criteria evaluated for this proposed protocol was total catch, mortality, operational effort, variability, and size distribution. Our objectives of this study was to 1) compare total catch and variability among gears and months, 2) calculate and compare operational effort for each gear and month, 3) calculate and compare mortality for each gear, and 4) compare length frequencies for each gear by month. The importance of creating of standardized protocol will enable fisheries managers to better document catch data, mortality, variability, and size distribution along with determining the amount of employee effort required to complete standard surveys. Significant differences in juvenile Walleye and White Bass total catch and length were observed between gears and months. Boat electrofishing in July and August and small-mesh gill nets in September are most suitable for collecting juvenile Walleye. Bag seines in July and boat electrofishing in August and September are most suitable for collecting juvenile White Bass. Mortality rates were highest for small-mesh gill nets. Bag seines required the most amount of effort in July, boat electrofishing in August, and small-mesh gill nets in September. Bag seines caught a smaller length distribution compared to small-mesh gill nets that seemed to target larger age-0 fish while boat electrofishing provided a better representation of the year class by having an extended size distribution compared to the other two gears.

Monday February 6, 2017 3:20pm - 3:40pm
Garrat

3:20pm

Symposia Session - S2: Midwestern Agroecology and the Conservation of Grassland Birds. Bringing Food to the Table: Growing the Culture of Locally Grown in the Midwest
AUTHORS: Kristin Hall, Audubon Minnesota; Tom Will, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; Loretta Jaus, Organic Valley dairy farmer

ABSTRACT: No matter where in the world we live, a shared meal is the common currency of kindness and community.  Food is what sustains us—but is the way we grow, harvest, distribute, and consume food sustainable? As conservation biologists, our goal of providing quality habitat for wildlife is unlikely to succeed without also connecting to the working lands on which we all depend. Incentives exist to promote sustainable farming practices that benefit wildlife and provide critical ecosystem services. We continue to build strong conservation partnerships with private landowners. But the food system involves all of us, not just land owners and producers. How can we, as food consumers, contribute to sustainable landscapes and wildlife biodiversity? Do recent changes in food preferences or in U.S. population demographics provide a foundation for a movement toward more ecologically based agriculture? How can we bring together all the players in our food system for meaningful conversations? Since we all eat every day, food may well provide our greatest opportunity to effect landscape level change.
We explore answers to these questions by highlighting several case studies that expand on the farm to table movement and provide an alternate vision of our food system. We profile the Minnesota Food Association and Pope Farm Conservancy as examples of the "teaching farm" highlighting a working outdoor landscape, promoting poly-culture, agroecology, and landscape diversity. Then we highlight a Food, Farms, and Feathers event which exemplified the "sustainable table"—bringing together multiple sectors of our food production and consumption system for a shared meal and shared conversation. The event provided participants with an opportunity to see, experience, and talk about practical solutions to current environmental challenges. These grass-roots approaches promote inclusive participation at the intersection of the local food movement, natural resource conservation, social justice, and sustainable agriculture.

Monday February 6, 2017 3:20pm - 3:40pm
Arbor I/II

3:20pm

Symposia Session - S3: Ecology of the Missouri National Recreational River. Contrasting Effects of Fish Predation on Benthic versus Emerging Insects in the MNRR
AUTHORS: Jeff Wesner, Jerry Warmbold - Department of Biology, University of South Dakota

ABSTRACT: Evidence that fish reduce benthic community biomass in freshwater ecosystems is mixed, but evidence that they reduce insect emergence to the terrestrial ecosystem is strong. We hypothesized that fish have stronger effects on emerging insects than on benthic insects, but that the size of this difference depends on the foraging traits of the fish (benthic versus pelagic). To test this hypothesis, we compared the effects of fish on benthic and emerging insects using enclosures/exclosures in a backwater of the Missouri River. Preliminary results suggest that benthic-feeding fish (omnnivorous Smallmouth Buffalo) reduced benthic insect densities by ~50% and reduced adult emergence by ~25%. In contrast, pelagic Green Sunfish had a positive effect on benthic insect densities (~350% increase), but a negative effect on emerging insects (~40% decrease). These results suggest that fish can reduce emergence to the terrestrial ecosystem, even in the absence of effects on benthic insects.

Monday February 6, 2017 3:20pm - 3:40pm
Grand Ballroom A

3:20pm

Technical Session. Application of Off-channel Mapping Methodology for Identifying and Rating Oxbow Habitats for Federally Endangered Topeka Shiners (Notropis topeka)
AUTHORS: Courtney L. Zambory, Iowa State University Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management; Harvest Ellis, Iowa Flood Center; Clay L. Pierce, U.S. Geological Survey, Iowa Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit; Kevin J. Roe, Iowa State University Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management; Michael J. Weber, Iowa State University Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management.


ABSTRACT: The Topeka Shiner (Notropis topeka) is a small, federally endangered minnow that occupies a range spanning six Midwestern states: Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and South Dakota. Populations have been in decline throughout their range, and current distribution of known populations in Iowa are primarily believed to occur in the North Raccoon, Boone, and Rock River Watersheds. Habitat loss is one of the primary reasons for the decline of Topeka Shiner populations in Iowa. Once an expansive wetland and prairie ecosystem with meandering streams and countless off-channel habitats, Iowa is now dominated by row crop agriculture and channelized waterways. Off-channel habitats, such as oxbows and livestock watering ponds, play an important role in the Topeka Shiner life cycle throughout its range. Restoration of these habitats, particularly oxbows, has become the primary method of Topeka Shiner conservation in Iowa. Yet with limited resources available for conservation, it is critical to prioritize restoration efforts so they are both financially and ecologically effective. The objective of this study is to expand, refine, and apply a methodology developed by the Iowa Flood Center to map potential oxbows and their level of connectivity to the stream, which in turn can be used to detect and rate oxbows as potential restoration sites. Methods include filtering landscape depressions by depth and bounding geometric shape. Potential restoration sites are then prioritized based on landscape variables such as oxbow connectivity to the stream, neighboring stream characteristics, and proximity to detected potential source populations. This work will provide much needed guidance for future oxbow restoration projects to optimize their cost and ecological effectiveness.

Monday February 6, 2017 3:20pm - 3:40pm
Grand Ballroom F

3:20pm

Technical Session. Influence of Raptor Abundance on Female Lesser Prairie-Chicken Habitat Selection
AUTHORS: Chelsea Sink, Kansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Kansas State University; David Haukos, U.S. Geological Survey, Kansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit

ABSTRACT: Despite intensive management practices aimed at increasing population numbers, the lesser-prairie chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicintctus) remains a conservation concern across its range. One possible cause of decline is predation, as lesser prairie-chickens are subject to predation by many opportunistic mammalian and avian predators. Studies have documented lesser prairie-chicken reactions to avian predators at leks and avoidance of tall structures that could serve as perching sites, suggesting they are able to assess different levels of predation risk, but little is known about how birds react to a change in predator abundance over time. Using data on weekly raptor abundance and locations of satellite-tagged female lesser prairie-chickens recorded during the 2014 and 2015 breeding seasons (March 15 – September 15) throughout the species range in Kansas, we compared female lesser prairie-chicken mortality and vegetation characteristics of habitats used by females use during weeks of above- and below-average raptor abundance. While the effect of predator abundance on female lesser prairie-chicken survival rates is unknown, we found a positive correlation between weekly raptor abundance and level of female mortality. However, females do not appear to change habitat use in response to variation in raptor predation risk. After comparing habitat used by females with broods and random points 300 m away, brooding females appear to select large homogenous patches of vegetation instead of selecting habitat at the microscale within the patch. Although predation risk increases with predator abundance, we found that female lesser prairie-chickens using habitat with reduced available vegetation cover had greater mortality events than those in patches with relatively greater vegetation cover even when raptor abundance was low. Therefore, populations of lesser prairie-chickens in ecoregions with low vegetation cover, like the short-grass prairie, are at a greater risk of avian predation than populations in ecoregions with greater vegetation cover.

Monday February 6, 2017 3:20pm - 3:40pm
Grand Ballroom B

3:20pm

Technical Session. Pollutants Stress in the Maumee River: Impacted Physiology and Reproduction in Fathead Minnows (Pimephales promelas) and Sunfish (Lepomis spp.)
AUTHORS: Nicholas Cipoletti, Heiko Schoenfuss - St. Cloud State University

ABSTRACT: Agricultural pollutants are an environmental health concern for receiving aquatic ecosystems, as precipitation events lead to runoff and subsequent pollutant stress for aquatic species. Complex mixtures of agricultural pollutants, such as pesticides, herbicides, growth hormones, and livestock pharmaceuticals, have yet to be studied in their biological impact on aquatic life. This study provided a field-based analysis of the environmental impacts of agricultural pollution on fish. As part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), fish health was assessed in the Maumee River (Toledo, OH) through a 21-day fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas-FHM) exposure, caged sunfish deployment, and resident sunfish harvest.  The objective of the study was to determine whether the previously documented presence of agricultural pollutants could impact the physiology, reproduction, and population health of these three fish species. Analysis of laboratory reared FHM included behavioral testing, reproduction, and circulating sex hormone quantification (VTG, 11-KT, & E2). Resident and caged sunfish were analyzed for histology and sex hormone quantification (VTG). FHM reproduction indicates that fecundity was reduced in fish exposed to environmental water samples from some field sites. All male caged sunfish contained VTG levels significantly higher than the wild sunfish harvested at the same sites, most likely due to energy stores being greater in hatchery reared sunfish than wild harvested fish. Glucose measurements between caged and wild sunfish at four of the seven field sites, as well as between individual treatments varied significantly, indicating differing levels of stress possibly as the result of pollutant exposure. The data indicate that varying inputs into the aquatic ecosystem have an impact on the stress, sex hormone concentrations, and physiology of fish populations. Further research is underway to determine whether the observed physiological impacts have any effect at the organismal level.

Monday February 6, 2017 3:20pm - 3:40pm
Grand Ballroom C

3:20pm

Technical Session. Temporal Dynamics of Large Grazer Space Use in an Experimental Heterogeneous Landscape
AUTHORS: Edward J. Raynor, Division of Biology, Kansas State University; Anthony Joern, Division of Biology, Kansas State University; Adam Skibbe,Geographical and Sustainability Sciences, University of Iowa; Mark Sowers, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University; John M. Briggs, Division of Biology, Kansas State University; Angela N. Laws, Department of Biology, University of Houston; Douglas Goodin, Department of Geography, Kansas State University


ABSTRACT: With climate change forecasts for more frequent and extensive drought in the future, a more complete understanding of the mechanisms that determine large grazer distribution under varying climatic conditions are integral to ecosystem management. In 2012, the Central US experienced the fourth largest drought in a century, with a regional-scale 40 % reduction in growing season precipitation. Using an experimental setting with contrasting fire treatments, we describe the effects of variable burn history in years of variable resource availability on large grazer space use at Konza Prairie Biological Station. We investigated the differential use of watersheds by plains bison (Bison bison bison) at different stages of the seasonal cycle across 7 years in a mesic tallgrass prairie landscape managed with prescribed spring fire. Aided by GPS telemetry, we investigated the movement patterns of bison as they moved among experimental watersheds managed with four prescribed burn treatments (1-, 2-, 4-, and 20-year burn intervals). At foraging sites, we found that forage availability increased with the progression of the growing season but to a lesser extent in burned watersheds than watersheds not-burned that spring. At the landscape-scale, bison more strongly favored recently-burned watersheds with watersheds burned for the first time in two or four years consistently showing higher use relative to annually-burned watersheds. In particular, watersheds burned for the first time in four years were avoided to a significantly lesser extent than other burned watersheds during the dormant season and this management-type also maintained significant coupling between bison and post-fire regrowth across the post-drought growing season months of 2013, whereas watersheds on more frequent fire-return intervals significantly attracted bison in only the first month post-fire. Hence burn frequency played a role in maintaining the coupling of grazer and post-fire regrowth, the fire-grazer interaction, in response to drought-induced reduction of fuel loads. 

Monday February 6, 2017 3:20pm - 3:40pm
Grand Ballroom D

3:20pm

Technical Session. Twenty Years of Furbearer Trapping Data from the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge
AUTHORS: Brian Stemper, Stephen Winter - U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service

ABSTRACT: The Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge consists of more than 97,125 ha along approximately 421 km of the Upper Mississippi River. The refuge encompasses lands and waters of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois, with a northern boundary at Wabasha, Minnesota, and a southern boundary near Clinton, Iowa. Furbearer trapping on the refuge has occurred since the refuge was created by legislation in 1924 and is considered an important cultural activity that is highly valued by a portion of the river-using public. Additionally, trapping on the refuge is sometimes necessary to protect refuge infrastructure such as dikes and levees. Trapping on the refuge is considered a commercial activity and is regulated through the issuance of Special Use Permits to individual trappers. One requirement of a trapping Special Use Permit is that trappers must submit a fur catch report at the end of each fur harvest season. With fur catch reports, trappers self-report metrics such as the geographic area they trapped, the number of days they trapped, the average number of traps they used each day, and the number of individual animals of each species they harvested. This presentation will highlight data from 20 years of submitted fur catch reports. These data represent a unique set of information about trapping activity and furbearer harvest across a wide geographic area and provide insight to the dynamics of an important wildlife-dependent activity through time.

Monday February 6, 2017 3:20pm - 3:40pm
Hawthorne

3:20pm

Symposia Session - S4: Sustaining America's Diverse Fish and Wildlife Resources. Outdoor Recreation Industry
AUTHORS: Jennifer Mull – CEO of Backwoods Equipment, Inc., and President of the Outdoor Industry Association

ABSTRACT: The outdoor recreation industry is an economic powerhouse in the United States  each year generating $646 billion in consumer spending and 6.1 million direct jobs. The Outdoor Industry Association understands that as America’s population grows, and participation in outdoor recreation increases,  so  does  the responsibility to protect  wilderness and public lands which is the backbone of the industry.  Over the last century, as society has evolved, the outdoor recreation industry has adapted to reflect societies’ changing values. The outdoor industry closely tracks their customers, the 140 million Americans that get outside each year, and understand how their customers value wilderness areas as places to hike, ski, climb, paddle, hunt, fish, watch wildlife, and recharge from an increasingly busy world.  The outdoor recreation industry, with companies founded on the values of environmental and social responsibility, are in a unique position to offer leadership on the Blue Ribbon Panel as they pursue the mutual goal of addressing our evolving constituency and securing funding for outdoor recreation on our national public lands and waters, community parks and trails, and iconic national land and water that are ingrained in our national heritage.

Monday February 6, 2017 3:20pm - 4:00pm
Grand Ballroom E

3:40pm

Symposia Session - S1: Midwestern Reservoir Management and Assessment Strategies. Managing Ohio’s Reservoir Sport Fisheries: Lessons Learned from a Standardized Assessment Program
AUTHORS: Joseph D. Conroy, Kevin S. Page, Jeremy J. Pritt, Stephen M. Tyszko, Richard D. Zweifel - Ohio Division of Wildlife

ABSTRACT: The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service estimates that during 2011 anglers spent more than $750 million dollars on trips to Ohio’s inland waters, namely reservoirs, the Ohio River, and other rivers and streams.  The Ohio Division of Wildlife manages these economically- and ecologically-important waters through the Inland Management System (IMS), a planned, iterative, priority-based approach to standardized assessments of sport fish populations and their anglers.  In general, IMS seeks to build long-term datasets that direct available staff time to collect information on fish population trends, determine angler effort, evaluate management practices, and respond to angler inquires.  Since 2003, inland reservoir (publically-accessible systems with a surface area greater than 10 ha) IMS has used electrofishing, trap netting, and gillnetting to assess sport fish populations; hydroacoustics to assess prey fish; access point, roving, and bus-route creels to assess angler use patterns; and, nutrient and chlorophyll analyses to measure productivity.  Here, we provide a brief reservoir IMS overview including annual sampling timelines, targeted sport fish species, gears used for evaluations, and a description of angler creel methods.  With the experience of over a decade of standardized assessments, several lessons have emerged: (1) robust datasets allow statistical rigor, but require ample staff effort and long time periods; (2) a planned, iterative approach facilitates evolution of standardized approaches; and, (3) prioritizing populations and locations sampled builds spatially- and temporally-resolved datasets and directs evaluations of standard methods and research projects.

Monday February 6, 2017 3:40pm - 4:00pm
Garrat

3:40pm

Symposia Session - S2: Midwestern Agroecology and the Conservation of Grassland Birds. Integrating Agriculture, Economics and Ecology in Dakota County, Minnesota
AUTHORS: Alan Singer, Dakota County Minnesota Land Conservation Manager

ABSTRACT: Dakota County is one of the most ecologically diverse counties in Minnesota and home to more than 400,000 people. It encompasses fully developed and rapidly developing suburbs as well as rural townships with 230,000 acres of agricultural land. Funds from a 2002 voter-approved bond referendum has allowed the County to acquire 105 conservation easements and to assist other entities (such as the State Department of Natural Resources) to acquire land. More than 11,000 acres of land and 90 miles of shoreland have been protected as part of the County's comprehensive land conservation vision that includes regional parks, multi-purpose greenways, natural areas, shoreland, and agricultural areas.
Greenvale Township, located in the southwestern portion of the County near the City of Northfield, includes three creeks and a mosaic of wetland and grassland complexes among mostly agricultural land. The County has acquired twenty permanent agricultural conservation easements and two natural area easements in the township, totaling more than 3,000 acres with 23 miles of shoreland.  The State of Minnesota has acquired 157 acres of a recently established 1,693-acre Mud Creek Wildlife Management Area.
The County has initiated development of the Greenvale Agricultural Conservation Reserve. A preliminary analysis using hydrology, land cover, soils, and parcel ownership has identified an initial study area of 14,300 acres where natural resources, land management practices, economics, and regulatory, legal and other issues would be assessed. The primary goal of the project is to develop profitable, multi-resource management practices on private lands that restore the natural processes of the landscape, advance the concept of ecosystem services and markets, protect and improve water quality and wildlife habitat, enhance the area’s longstanding agricultural tradition and economy, provide a significant opportunity to integrate public and private benefits, and facilitate prioritization of  public and private financing and other resources.

Monday February 6, 2017 3:40pm - 4:00pm
Arbor I/II

3:40pm

Symposia Session - S3: Ecology of the Missouri National Recreational River. Trajectories of Decline in Cottonwood Forests Along the Missouri River: Implications for Songbirds
AUTHORS: Mark D. Dixon, University of South Dakota; Christopher L. Merkord, South Dakota State University; David L. Swanson, University of South Dakota; W. Carter Johnson, South Dakota State University; Michael L. Scott, Utah State University

ABSTRACT: Riparian forests dominated by cottonwood (Populus deltoides) support high wildlife diversity, particularly of breeding songbirds, and provide organic matter inputs and key structural components to the adjacent aquatic ecosystem.  As riparian pioneer species, cottonwood establishment and persistence is closely linked with fluvial geomorphic processes along dynamic rivers.  On the Missouri River, a series of dams and reservoirs constructed in the mid-20th century, along with earlier human modifications, land use change, and more recent increases in bank stabilization, have impacted riparian forest establishment, composition, structure, and long-term trajectories.  These changes have important implications for breeding songbird populations within the Missouri National Recreational River.  Using historical land cover change data and a simple Markov model, we projected future declines in the area of cottonwood forest and a shift towards later successional forests where cottonwood is absent or is only a minor component.  We projected that significant shifts in breeding bird species abundances would accompany these shifts in landscape composition, with declines in several early successional bird species, some cavity nesters, and some species that preferentially utilize older cottonwood forests.  Despite causing significant landscape change, sandbar formation, and some new cottonwood recruitment, the flood of 2011 is unlikely to have strongly ameliorated these trends.  Possible solutions are complicated by conflicting management interests, long-term changes to channel structure, and the inherent limitations imposed by water management priorities on this large, “working” river.

Monday February 6, 2017 3:40pm - 4:00pm
Grand Ballroom A

3:40pm

Technical Session. Factors Influencing Ring-Necked Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) Nest Survival in Southwest Nebraska
AUTHORS: Adela C. Annis, U.S. Geological Survey Kansas Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit; Joseph J. Fontaine, U.S. Geological Survey Nebraska Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit


ABSTRACT: The USGS Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit (NCFWRC) in conjunction with the University of Nebraska – Lincoln (UNL) and Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC) are conducting a long-term research project on ring-necked pheasants (Phasianus colchicus) in the NGPC Focus on Pheasants area in Southwest Nebraska. Female pheasants were outfitted with VHF radio transmitters and tracked using telemetry techniques in order study nest ecology on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) fields and adjacent properties. However, factors influencing nest survival rates are still largely unknown. Nest survival estimates were calculated using Nest Survival models in Program MARK and Program R, to determine the factors driving nest survival within the Southwest Nebraska region. Subsequent results will provide the NGPC with additional information for managing nesting habitat and potentially improve nest survival within the region.

Monday February 6, 2017 3:40pm - 4:00pm
Grand Ballroom B

3:40pm

Technical Session. Going Against the Flow: Modeling Coldwater Stream Temperatures from Above and Below
AUTHORS: Andrew K. Carlson, Michigan State University, Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife; Dana M. Infante, Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife; William W. Taylor, Michigan State University, Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife

ABSTRACT: As arteries of the landscape at the aquatic-terrestrial interface, streams circulate water from land to lakes and oceans, supply clean water, control floods, and provide recreational opportunities. However, these ecosystems are vulnerable to climate change, land use alteration, groundwater withdrawal, and associated threats to biotic communities and habitats. Projected increases in stream temperatures resulting from climate change are cause for concern among scientists and managers, particularly those charged with conserving thermally sensitive stream biota such as coldwater fishes. Previous studies have generally assumed spatially uniform air-stream temperature relationships, yet states such as Michigan have many streams that are thermally influenced by system-specific groundwater and precipitation patterns. We developed temperature models that account for the effects of groundwater and precipitation on stream thermal regimes and used these models to project the effects of climate change on growth and survival of brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis), brown trout (Salmo trutta), and rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Although groundwater acted as a buffer to stream warming, precipitation often explained more variation in stream temperature such that models including both predictors or precipitation alone were generally more parsimonious than groundwater-only models. Overall, groundwater- and precipitation-corrected models are more effective than standard air-stream temperature models in explaining differences in stream thermal regimes. Our results indicate that simple alterations to traditional models can improve the accuracy of temperature projections with important implications for stream salmonid management in a changing climate.  

Monday February 6, 2017 3:40pm - 4:00pm
Grand Ballroom F

3:40pm

Technical Session. Plant Diversity Affects Mammal Community Structure in Western North Dakota Grasslands
AUTHORS: Michael J. Shaughnessy Jr., Northeastern State University; Craig Whippo, Dickinson State University

ABSTRACT: To characterize the distribution and habitats of small mammals in western North Dakota, we sampled small mammals from May 2014 through August 2015. Small mammals were captured using pitfalls and museum special snap traps arranged in Y-shaped arrays. Pitfall traps were established at the center of the arrays. Snap trap stations consisting of three Museum Special snap traps radiated out from the array center at 10m intervals. At each sampling site, vegetation was characterized by measuring plant-cover properties and determining the floristic quality. A total of 1105 small mammals were captured over 1800 trap nights. Captured small mammals represented two Orders, seven Families, 14 Genera and 17 species. Four species accounted for 87.9% of all mammal captures (Peromyscus maniculatus, Microtus pennsylvanicus, Zapus hudsonius, Sorex cinereus). We used non-hierarchical clustering to partition the sites according to pre-transformed site species data. Small mammal community structure varied between these site clusters despite having consistent mammal species richness. The differences in mammal community structure appear to be associated with plant community and cover characteristics. These data suggest that small mammal community structure in western North Dakota is governed more by species niche requirements and less by larger ecosystem processes. Management strategies that prioritize plant diversity have little or no effect on mammal diversity. Management efforts, with respect to small mammal communities, should then be targeted towards desired species niche requirements.

Monday February 6, 2017 3:40pm - 4:00pm
Hawthorne

3:40pm

Technical Session. Quantifying Neonicotinoid Concentrations in Missouri Public Wetlands: The Relationship to Agricultural Land Use
AUTHORS: Kyle Kuechle, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, School of Natural Resources, University of Missouri; Elisabeth B. Webb, U.S. Geological Survey Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit; Doreen Mengel, Missouri Department of Conservation, Resource Science Division; Anson Main, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, School of Natural Resources, University of Missouri

ABSTRACT: Neonicotinoids are the most widely used and fastest growing class of insecticides commercially available for agricultural use in North America. Growing popularity of neonicotinoids is related to their broad range of application techniques, especially seed dressings, combined with structural abilities that target a wide variety of invertebrate pests. Ubiquitous use coupled with physico-chemical properties that enhance environmental mobility have led to neonicotinoids being detected in global surface waters including streams and wetlands of North America, representing a potential risk to beneficial aquatic organisms. Despite increased sampling efforts, little is known about neonicotinoid concentrations in intensively managed moist-soil wetlands common to Missouri and which factors influence their persistence and toxicity. To that end, we sampled water and sediment from 40 public wetlands under different common management regimes across Missouri during three sampling periods in 2016 (pre-plant, post-plant, and after autumn inundation). All samples were analyzed for the six most common neonicotinoid active ingredients. Clothianidin was the most commonly detected neonicotinoid in water samples collected pre-planting (26 of 39 wetlands) with a maximum detected concentration of 0.041 µg/L. We evaluated the relationship between watershed land-use as well as wetland management variables (e.g. crop planting) and concentration variability among wetlands, found neonicotinoid concentrations increased with the proportion of associated agricultural land use. Results of this study will be useful in determining neonicotinoid risk to aquatic invertebrates and wetland-dependent organisms reliant on these critical food resources for which Missouri wetlands are typically managed.

Monday February 6, 2017 3:40pm - 4:00pm
Grand Ballroom C

3:40pm

Technical Session. The Structure of Large Mammal Communities Facing Climate Change in Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, USA
AUTHORS: Michael Wheeler, Maximilian Allen, Regan Dohm, Bryn Evans, Emily Iehl, Marcus Mueller, Brittany Peterson, Timothy Van Deelen, Beth Wojcik - University of Wisconsin-Madison; Shawn Crimmins, University of Wisconsin-Stephens Point; Erik Olson, Northland College; Travis Bartnick, Kenneth Pemble, Julie Van Stappen - National Park Service

ABSTRACT: Mammals move between islands within archipelagos by swimming or crossing over ice in winter. Climate-change induced declines in ice cover on Lake Superior foreshadow changes in the population and community dynamics of species inhabiting this Great Lake’s island archipelagos. While Isle Royale presents a classic study of predator-prey and island biogeography theory, few studies examine the effects of climate change on island mammal communities in the upper Great Lakes region. We initiated a long-term camera trap study in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore (APIS) in order to investigate the implications of declining ice cover on large mammal communities. We deployed camera traps in September 2014 to inventory the mammal species on Stockton Island. After detecting the presence of Wisconsin’s only state endangered mammal, the American marten (Martes americana), our focus expanded to deployment and maintenance of camera traps on additional islands throughout the APIS. This study presents preliminary data on the mammalian carnivore populations of the APIS from 2014-2016. We tested how distance from mainland, island size, island habitat, human activity, and the presence of co-occurring predator species structured mammalian carnivore communities. The resultant data show how these communities may be affected by island biogeography, as well as impending climate change. 


Monday February 6, 2017 3:40pm - 4:00pm
Grand Ballroom D

4:00pm

Symposia Session - S1: Midwestern Reservoir Management and Assessment Strategies. A Mark-Recapture and Resampling Approach to Validate Standard Fisheries Assessment Methods
AUTHORS: Stephen M. Tyszko, Matt A. Hangsleben, Richard D. Zweifel, Jeremy J. Pritt, Joseph D. Conroy - Ohio Division of Wildlife

ABSTRACT: Standardizing fisheries assessment methods to minimize variation in catchability, maximize catch, and use appropriate sample sizes allows collection of rigorous datasets which in turn facilitate hypothesis testing and statistical inference.  Although there is a growing awareness of the importance of standardization, there are few examples where standard methods have been evaluated to confirm that the data they collect meet management needs.  We used mark-recapture methods to estimate Largemouth Bass Micropterus salmoides electrofishing catchability using Ohio Division of Wildlife standard methods and confirmed that those standard methods minimized catchability variation and maximized catch.  Using a resampling analysis, we confirmed that electrofishing CPUE statistically differed between reservoirs that had a real difference in Largemouth Bass density, thereby validating CPUE determined via standard Ohio methods as an index of density.  The resampling analysis also estimated statistical power and false positive rate as number of sample sites changed.  We are now using this approach to develop and validate a standard hoop net survey designed to sample Channel Catfish Ictalurus punctatus in Ohio reservoirs.  We fished tandem, baited hoop nets during a mark-recapture experiment from May - July, 2016 to estimate catchability and identify the temporal period with minimal variation and maximum catch.  Additional effort in 2017-2018 at reservoirs that likely differ in Channel Catfish density will allow tests for differences in CPUE and assessments of how power and false positive rate changes with sample size.  Here we describe a general, logical approach to validating standard methods, provide an example where the approach validated aspects of an existing standard survey design, show how the approach can be used to develop a new standard assessment, and demonstrate application of the approach to fundamentally different gear types.  

Monday February 6, 2017 4:00pm - 4:20pm
Garrat

4:00pm

Symposia Session - S2: Midwestern Agroecology and the Conservation of Grassland Birds. What Does Coffee Have to Do with Farmland Bird Conservation?
AUTHORS: Tom Will, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

ABSTRACT: As a commodity produced in the tropics and imported to North America, coffee shares a migratory path similar to that of Neartic/Neotropical migrant birds. Coffee can be grown in many different ways, some of which are demonstrably more beneficial to both migrant and resident tropical species. The choice made by North American consumers to drink bird-friendly certified coffee completes the coffee full life cycle: support for coffee grown organically under scientifically documented structural shading regimes results in greater biodiversity, healthier birds, and greater community health and economic benefit for both producers and farm workers during the migrant non-breeding season. Many of these migrant species will return each year to Midwestern working landscapes to breed, and recent research indicates that their condition and reproductive success appears to be directly linked to the agro-ecological productivity of both systems. Thus birds can be seen as ambassadors as well as indicators of a full life cycle that drives biodiversity and ecological sustainability. Likewise, consumer choice  has the potential as a change engine at local and policy scales for powering a movement leading to healthier landscapes for wildlife and people both nationally and internationally.

Monday February 6, 2017 4:00pm - 4:20pm
Arbor I/II

4:00pm

Symposia Session - S3: Ecology of the Missouri National Recreational River. Bird-Habitat Relationships in Floodplain Forests Along the Middle Missouri River
AUTHORS: Christopher L. Merkord, South Dakota State University; Mark D. Dixon, University of South Dakota; David L. Swanson, University of South Dakota

ABSTRACT: River floodplains historically provided much of the forested land cover in the northern Great Plains, most of it dominated by cottonwoods. Inundation by reservoirs, changes in land use, and alterations of water and sediment flow regimes, however, have combined to result in a sharp loss of forest and shrubland habitat, particularly of early successional habitat, likely with concomitant declines in populations of forest-associated wildlife species. Despite the grave future facing floodplain forests in this region, relatively little research has been devoted to understanding the ecology of wildlife species dependent on these forests. Here we seek to remedy this knowledge gap by identifying the bird species most sensitive to changes in floodplain forest structure, species composition, and landscape context along the middle Missouri River. We evaluated the response of a suite of forest bird species to variation in vegetation structure, forest type (cottonwood vs. non-cottonwood), and landscape metrics such as patch size using data on bird abundance in 76 forest patches in the Missouri River floodplain in South Dakota and Nebraska. We modeled bird abundance using binomial N-mixture models and explored bird community species composition in relation to environmental parameters using non-metric multidimensional scaling. We found that bird community composition varied primarily with forest age but also with forest type. In early-successional stands, Bell's Vireos and Orchard Orioles were associated with sparse stands with small stems, while in mid- to late-successional stands, American Redstarts, Brown Thrashers, and Eastern Wood-Pewees were associated with higher relative density of cottonwood trees. Our results highlight the importance of maintaining a floodplain landscape with a heterogeneous mosaic of cottonwood forest stands of various ages and provide land managers with valuable information on habitat use by many of the most iconic bird species of floodplain cottonwood forests.

Monday February 6, 2017 4:00pm - 4:20pm
Grand Ballroom A

4:00pm

Symposia Session - S4: Sustaining America's Diverse Fish and Wildlife Resources. Blue Ribbon Panel Relevancy/Transformation Working Group
AUTHORS: Steve Williams, President, Wildlife Management Institue

ABSTRACT: Society’s shifting demographics and changing attitudes about nature are affecting the relevancy of fish and wildlife conservation.  As the nation becomes more urban, ethnically and culturally diverse and disconnected from nature, the public’s perceptions and values associated with fish and wildlife are changing. Although core constituencies like hunters and anglers will continue to be key allies, there is a need to broaden stakeholder representation to ensure fish and wildlife conservation remains relevant and supported by people from all walks of life.  To remain relevant, state fish and wildlife agencies will need to adopt new structures, operations and cultures or risk compromising political support. The Blue Ribbon Panel is examining the impact of societal changes on the relevancy of fish and wildlife conservation and is in the process of making recommendations regarding agency transition and transformation.

Monday February 6, 2017 4:00pm - 4:20pm
Grand Ballroom E

4:00pm

Technical Session. Estimating the Survival of Unmarked Young from Repeated Counts: A Case Study with Ring-necked Pheasants
AUTHORS: Timothy P. Lyons, Illinois Natural History Survey, Prairie Research Institute and Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Kirk W. Stodola, Thomas J. Benson - Illinois Natural History Survey, Prairie Research Institute

ABSTRACT: Estimating juvenile survival is important to the management of both game and non-game species. Among game birds, brood survival is often the most influential demographic parameter on population growth. However, accurately estimating this parameter can be difficult as limited resources or concerns about animal welfare may preclude the use of unique marks, such as leg bands or radio-transmitters, to track survival. We developed a hierarchical Bayesian model that accurately estimates period survival from two flush counts of unmarked young accompanied by a marked adult, while also accounting for imperfect detection. We used this model to estimate brood survival of ring-necked pheasants (Phasianus colchicus) on private and public grasslands in east-central Illinois 2015-2016. We examined the effects of landscape context, vegetation composition, and weather on survival. During our study, brood survival was generally high, and averaged 68% in 2015 and 84% in 2016. Overall, our results suggest that structured flush counts combined with appropriate statistical methods can be used to generate accurate estimates of survival for dependent young in pheasants, and this approach may be effective for other species

Monday February 6, 2017 4:00pm - 4:20pm
Grand Ballroom B

4:00pm

Technical Session. Factors Correlated with Declining Antler Diameters of Yearling Deer in Michigan
AUTHORS: Gary J. Roloff, Michigan State University; Sean Sultaire, Michigan State University; Brent Rudolph, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Rebecca Cain, Michigan State University

ABSTRACT: Long-term declines in antler sizes of white-tailed deer can indicate reduced habitat quality, sub-optimal herd demographics, or inferior genetics. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources used a standardized technique to measure antler base diameters of deer brought to check stations.  Records from 127,032 yearling deer harvested in 39 southern Michigan counties from 1980 – 2015 indicated a statistically significant 35-year decline in yearling deer antler diameters (β126,992 = -0.023, t = -16.11, p < 0.001). We sought to understand habitat, climate, and herd variables correlated with the decline across this study area using linear mixed effects modeling, with County as a random effect. We looked at variables for the year of (T) and year preceding (T-1) deer harvest. We found significant negative effects for area of planted winter wheat (T-1), corn (T), soybeans (T), and number of days with snow on the ground (T). We found a significant positive effect of areas with unharvested corn and soybeans (T-1). Given our candidate models, our results indicated that yearling deer antler sizes in southern Michigan showed a significant relationship to crop dynamics. The negative effects of planted winter wheat, corn, and soybeans are likely linked to corn and soybean farming practices that result in bigger and cleaner fields, less waste grain, and loss of winter cover. Unharvested corn and soybeans during the winters when the deer are fawns appear to offset these negative impacts.  Our results also suggest that winter severity while deer are fawns negatively affects yearling antler sizes. Our study has implications for state wildlife management agency technical assistance and outreach programs to private landowners, specifically regarding how crop residuals are managed. Deer managers may also account for the influence of these variables when relying on yearling antler beam diameters as an index to condition of deer populations.

Monday February 6, 2017 4:00pm - 4:20pm
Hawthorne

4:00pm

Technical Session. Floodplain Inundation Mapping Under Nonstationary Hydro-climatic Conditions on the Lower Missouri River to Support Multi-objective Management of Conservation Lands
AUTHORS: Garth A. Lindner, University of Missouri; Edward A. Bulliner, US Geological Survey,Columbia Environmental Research Center ; Kristen Bouska, US Geological Survey, Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center; Craig Paukert, US Geological Survey, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit; Robert B. Jacobson, US Geological Survey, Columbia Environmental Research Center

ABSTRACT: Conservation lands within large river floodplains are difficult to manage due to both the stochastic nature of the flow regime and extensive anthropogenic modifications throughout river systems. Lack of hydro-climatic stationarity compounds these management challenges, where changing climate, land use, and water use can alter the timing, duration and magnitude of hydrologic events. Our objectives were to 1) engage land managers to identify science needs and provide tools for long-term management of floodplain conservation lands. Through a series of surveys and workshops with floodplain conservation land managers along the upper and middle Mississippi River and the lower Missouri River we evaluated management priority, management intensity, and available scientific information for management objectives and conservation targets. Metrics of inundation, including depth and extent of inundation, frequency of inundation, and duration of inundation, were considered the most useful metrics for management of floodplain conservation lands. Therefore, we developed floodplain inundation metrics for the historic period of record and under a future climate change scenario for the lower 500-miles of the Missouri River. Using modeled historic water surface elevations from 1930-2012, we developed daily 30-m grids of floodplain depth and synthesized these into composite grids that represent the expected areas inundated under discrete flood return intervals and also the average days inundated per year, during the growing season, and during the bird migratory season. These same composite grids were also generated under a climate change scenario of projected runoff changes for the Missouri River. Our results summarizing the differences between these scenarios are applicable for both managers and researchers to evaluate inundation patterns and associations to identify the optimal locations for 1) establishing vegetation communities, 2) nursery and foraging habitats for fish and birds, and 3) floodplain functions such as nutrient cycling.

Monday February 6, 2017 4:00pm - 4:20pm
Grand Ballroom D

4:00pm

Technical Session. Habitat Selection of Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) and Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in a Lake Michigan Tributary
AUTHORS: Mitchell Nisbet, Dr. Daniel Hayes - Michigan State University

ABSTRACT: Fish respond to habitat conditions at a variety of scales, and different species often select for different conditions within a scale.  In this study, we evaluated how juvenile brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) and rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) habitat use varied in a coldwater tributary to Lake Michigan.  At the site scale (i.e., 100 meter stretch of river), brook trout were generally found at lower order, colder sites with abundant gravel. Rainbow trout were most abundant at most sites sampled, and did not show as great a preference for cold sites as brook trout.  Within a site, brook trout tended to be found at microhabitat locations (i.e., < 0.25 meter) that were close to the stream shore, and that had gravel substrate and overhead cover.  In contrast, rainbow trout appeared to orient strongly to woody debris or overhead cover, but were less selective for near shore habitat.  Further, rainbow trout were distributed across a variety of substrates as long as woody debris was present.   These habitat preferences highlight the need to consider species-specific habitat requirements when doing habitat restoration or enhancement. Parallel to the observation that fish respond to habitat in a hierarchical way, restoration needs to proceed starting at the broad scale (e.g., is the water within the temperature preference of brook trout), and then consider meso- or micro-habitat conditions (e.g., addition of overhead cover should occur only where gravel occurs if one is managing for brook trout).  

Monday February 6, 2017 4:00pm - 4:20pm
Grand Ballroom F

4:00pm

Technical Session. Habitat Use and Pesticide Exposure in Northern Leopard Frogs in Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program Wetlands
AUTHORS: Jennifer Swanson, Iowa State University; Clay Pierce, US Geological Survey, Iowa Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Iowa State University; Kelly Smalling, US Geological Survey; Mark Vandever, US Geological Survey; Erin Muths, US Geological Survey, Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative

ABSTRACT: Amphibian populations are declining, with habitat alteration due to land use change consistently identified as one of the biggest contributing factors. In agricultural landscapes, habitat loss may interact with other stressors such as environmental contaminants to exacerbate declines. Much of the landscape in northern Iowa has been transformed from a mosaic of seasonal wetlands and grasslands to row crops. In 2001, the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) was created to help identify and restore wetlands lost through landscape modifications as a means to reduce nitrogen concentrations and loads to surface waters. These CREP wetlands may provide additional benefits, particularly as wildlife habitat. Our objective was to radio track northern leopard frogs (Lithobates pipiens) to record their movement at CREP wetlands and assess the pesticides with which they may come in contact in both the aquatic and terrestrial environment. Although these wetlands are surrounded by vegetative buffers, they are often in close proximity to agricultural fields where pesticides and fertilizers are applied. During the summers of 2015 and 2016 we radio tracked frogs (n=72) at two CREP wetlands in Iowa from May until August. Passive sampling devices (PSDs) were placed in locations frequented by frogs and analyzed for a suite of pesticides to examine exposure as the frog moves through the environment. Presence and concentrations of pesticides on PSDs will be compared to corresponding values found in a subset of frogs that were euthanized after they had been tracked. Frogs moved from their original capture points to a variety of habitats at each wetland and traveled up to 1,000m during the tracking period.

Monday February 6, 2017 4:00pm - 4:20pm
Grand Ballroom C

4:20pm

Symposia Session - S1: Midwestern Reservoir Management and Assessment Strategies. Using Standardized Data to Evaluate Fishery Regulations in Ohio Reservoirs
AUTHORS: Jeremy Pritt, Richard Zweifel, Joseph Conroy, Kevin Page, Stephen Tyszko - Ohio Division of Wildlife

ABSTRACT: The success of fisheries management actions is often difficult to assess because of dynamic fish population characteristics and variability in sampling. As a consequence, long time periods are often needed to statistically detect changes in in the response of fish populations to regulations, such as length and bag limits. Beginning in 2003, Ohio instituted a state-wide standardized sampling protocol for to monitor populations of a large suite of sport fishes, including Black Crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus) and White Crappie (P. annularis). From 2003-2010, a 229 mm minimum length limit and a 30 fish daily bag limit were implemented on crappie in 43 reservoirs across the state in order to increase the abundance and angler catch of large crappie. Using a mixed effects model framework to account for random variation among reservoirs and sample years, we used the standardized dataset to evaluate the effects of these crappie regulations on abundance of harvestable-sized fish, size structure (PSD), condition, mortality, and growth. For Black Crappie we found an increase in abundance of harvestable-sized individuals and PSD and a decrease in condition, mortality, and growth. For White Crappie, we found no change in abundance of harvestable-sized individuals, an increase in PSD and a decrease in condition, mortality, and growth. The success of the crappie regulation received mixed support. Although mortality declined and PSD increased (desired outcomes), decreases in growth and condition were concerning. The balance between decreases in mortality and decreases in growth likely determines the success or failure of crappie regulations on individual reservoirs. Our approach highlights the benefits of extensive, long-term, standardized sampling as we were able to integrate data across years and reservoirs to make powerful comparisons on a state-wide scale. We recommend that fisheries management agencies adopt a similar standardized approach for assessing fish populations and evaluating management actions.

Monday February 6, 2017 4:20pm - 4:40pm
Garrat

4:20pm

Symposia Session - S3: Ecology of the Missouri National Recreational River. Woodland Bird Use of Missouri National Recreational River Riparian and Farmstead Woodlot Habitats for Nesting and Migration
AUTHORS: David Swanson, Missouri River Institute - University of South Dakota

ABSTRACT: Woodland habitats in the Northern Prairie region are scarce, but support the highest bird numbers of any habitat in the region. Historically, such habitats consisted primarily of riparian corridor woodlands, such as those along the MNRR. These habitats have been greatly reduced and degraded over the past 150 years, during which time human-planted woodlots have appeared on the landscape. We investigated bird occurrence and nesting (nest success) and migration (fattening) performance in the two habitat types to address the question of whether anthropogenic habitats could substitute for lost riparian habitats within the MNRR. Nesting success was generally similar between the two habitat types, but several breeding species of MNRR riparian habitats occurred in low numbers or not at all in woodlots. Abundance and richness of Neotropical woodland migrant birds were generally similar between habitat types during both spring and fall migration periods. Moreover, measures of refueling performance, stress, and arthropod prey abundance in the two habitats were similar. These results suggest that anthropogenic woodlots can substitute, at least partially, for lost MNRR riparian habitats during breeding and migration. Importantly, however, some nesting species are mostly restricted to the larger and more vegetatively diverse woodland habitats of the MNRR, indicating that these habitats are of primary importance to conservation of these bird species.

Monday February 6, 2017 4:20pm - 4:40pm
Grand Ballroom A

4:20pm

Technical Session. Assessing Macroinvertebrate Assemblages: Gauging the Importance of Microhabitat in Qualitative Sampling Through the Analysis of Five Commonly Sampled Microhabitat Types in an Effluent Dominated Stream
AUTHORS: Samuel J. Gradle, Robert E. Colombo, Charles L. Pederson, and Jeffrey R. Laursen

ABSTRACT: Over the past several years, different macroinvertebrate sampling strategies were implemented in the Sangamon River above and below the effluent discharge of Decatur’s sanitary district near Decatur, IL. Although these techniques were effective at examining the overall community composition based on physical habitat they were not effective at detecting differences due to water quality. In the fall of 2015 an enhanced qualitative approach was adopted to better gauge the importance of microhabitat types to macroinvertebrate assemblages in the Sangamon River. In this approach we sampled from five different microhabitats (riffles, fine sediments, root wads, snags, and leaf packs) at six different sites (three upstream of effluent discharge, three below). Comparisons between sites and microhabitat types as well as sites above and below the effluent discharge were made using nonparametric multidimensional scaling (NMDS). Most microhabitats types showed a difference between upstream and downstream reaches. Two way ANOVA was used to compare macroinvertebrate biotic indices of each microhabitat type and the two reaches (upstream and downstream). Rootwads were one of the few microhabitat types present at each site that also had, on average, the highest diversity and richness of the microhabitats sampled. In general, for most of the individual microhabitats examined Simpson’s diversity scores, MBI values, and percent EPT significantly better downstream than upstream.  Beginning in summer 2016, in addition of sampling natural microhabitats artificial substrates were used in sampling to minimize variability among sites due to differences in physical characteristics. These samples are currently being processed.                                    

Monday February 6, 2017 4:20pm - 4:40pm
Grand Ballroom F

4:20pm

Technical Session. Factors Influencing Fish Mercury Concentrations Across Iowa Lakes
AUTHORS: Darcy Cashatt, Iowa Department of Natural Resources; Nathan Mills, Iowa State University, Michael Weber, Iowa State University; Clay Pierce, Iowa Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit

ABSTRACT: Mercury contamination in aquatic ecosystems is a global concern due to the health risks of consuming contaminated organisms, particularly fishes. Mercury concentrations in fishes are highly variable within and among systems, and factors influencing fish mercury concentrations across Iowa lake systems are unknown. Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus, n=275), white and black crappie (Pomoxis annularis, n=112; P. nigromaculatus, n=203), largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides, n=503), walleye (Sander vitreus, n=248), muskellunge (Esox masquinongy, n=30), and northern pike (E. lucius, n=45) were collected between April and October, 2013-2015, from natural lakes (n=8), constructed lakes (n=18), and reservoirs (n=4) and tested for mercury contamination. Various land use, water chemistry, and fish characteristics were used to explain differences in mercury concentrations across and within lakes. Mercury concentrations of Iowa fishes are generally low, and contained a high percentage of undetectable concentrations (< 0.05 mg Hg/kg; 43% of observations). Thus, we first used multiple linear regression to evaluate factors related to detected mercury concentrations. Second, we used logistic regression with detected and undetected observations to predict the probability of detecting mercury. Mercury concentrations were highest in muskellunge, northern pike, walleye and largemouth bass but lowest in black and white crappie and bluegill. Fish mercury concentration was strongly positively related to length and age. Lake mean depth, watershed area, lake area, latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates were positively related to fish mercury concentrations. Alkalinity was the only water quality metric related to mercury concentrations. Together, these factors explained 71% of the variation in fish mercury concentrations. The logistic model correctly predicted the probability of detecting mercury concentrations for 85% of the 1,416 fish sampled. Our study has implications for consumption advisories in Iowa.

Monday February 6, 2017 4:20pm - 4:40pm
Grand Ballroom C

4:20pm

Technical Session. Variations in Annual Ring-necked Pheasant Survival in Southwest Nebraska
AUTHORS: Jenny R. Foggia, Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Joseph J. Fontaine, U.S. Geological Survey Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

ABSTRACT: Variations in annual survival rates of Ring-necked Pheasants (Phasianus colchicus) are determined by a number of intrinsic factors, such as age and sex, and extrinsic factors, such as resource availability, climate, and management actions. Both consumptive (direct mortality) and non-consumptive (fear/stress) effects on survival are apparent among intensely harvested populations. A recurring challenge among management of harvested populations is determining whether mortality due to exploitation is additive or partially/completely compensatory. Previous studies of annual Ring-necked Pheasant survival have shown similar mortality trends among hunted and non-hunted groups exposed to hunting pressure, indicating that hunting mortality is compensatory. However, very little data exists which explores the role of hunting pressure on Ring-necked Pheasant survival when coupled with extreme climatic fluctuations, and whether or not the two interact to affect annual survival rates. In the absence of such data, it is unclear whether harvest mortality remains compensatory, or is additive to natural mortality, thus reducing overall survival rates. Using survival and climate data collected between 2011 and 2016, we will explore the relationship between hunting pressure and climate on annual Ring-necked Pheasant survival. Furthermore, using a unique study system in Southwest Nebraska, which restricts harvest to only male Ring-necked Pheasants, we are able to differentiate consumptive and non-consumptive impacts of hunting pressure on our population of interest. These data may be used to inform harvest regulations in subsequent years.   

Monday February 6, 2017 4:20pm - 4:40pm
Grand Ballroom B

4:20pm

Symposia Session - S2: Midwestern Agroecology and the Conservation of Grassland Birds. Symposium Closing Panel Discussion
ABSTRACT: Panel of the symposium presenters will discuss creating networks to sustain change; and
Leopold's land ethic and farming heritage in the Midwest—a transformative alliance

Monday February 6, 2017 4:20pm - 5:00pm
Arbor I/II

4:40pm

Technical Session. Fried Chicken: Identifying Areas of Thermal Refugia for Lesser Prairie-chickens in a Changing Climate
AUTHORS: Jonathan Lautenbach, Kansas State University; David Haukos, U.S. Geological Survey, Kansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit; Blake Grisham, Department of Natural Resources, Texas Tech University

ABSTRACT: As Earth’s climate continues to change, temperatures are predicted to increase, increasing the number of days that species experience thermal stress. Thermal stress can negatively influences survival and reproduction for many wildlife species, including the lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus), an imperiled prairie-grouse native to the southwestern Great Plains. The Great Plains is considered a climate change hotspot, and is expected to see an approximate 10° C increase in average temperatures during spring and fall. Understanding how the species copes with intensifying conditions will help inform managers on how to create landscapes that minimize thermal stress. We captured female lesser prairie-chickens during the spring and attached transmitters to track their movements. We sampled vegetation and microclimate conditions using Maxim Integrated Semiconductors at lesser prairie-chicken midday loafing locations and random locations across the landscape to identify what vegetation characteristics and landscape features lesser prairie-chickens use to minimize thermal stress. We found that female lesser prairie-chickens selected cooler microclimates for daytime loafing compared to random points; up to 17° ­C cooler in some instances. Midday loafing locations averaged 2 times the amount of forb cover and nearly 1.5 times greater visual obstruction compared to random locations. Additionally, at the landscape scale we found aspect was an important component to thermal cover, as north aspects had cooler microclimates and lesser prairie-chickens disproportionally used this feature for midday loafing. Currently, lesser prairie-chickens seek thermal refugia during the hottest days (>30° C); with continued warming, the frequency and intensity of these days is predicted to increase, increasing the need for thermal refugia. Identifying a management practice that increases overall vegetation cover (visual obstruction) and spatially heterogeneity with an abundance of forbs will be important to provide important thermal refugia for lesser prairie-chickens.

Monday February 6, 2017 4:40pm - 5:00pm
Grand Ballroom B

5:00pm

AFS NCD Business Meeting
Monday February 6, 2017 5:00pm - 6:30pm
Arbor I/II

5:00pm

6:00pm

Time on Own

Explore downtown Lincoln on Monday evening and experience a wide variety of restaurants in the Historic Haymarket District. The Haymarket is 7 blocks or 0.4 miles, a short walk or ride from the Cornhusker. Maps and local area information will be available at the Conference Registration Desk if you have questions or would like recommendations from the host team on where to dine. For a list of restaurants in the Haymarket District, visit http://www.exploredowntown.org/haymarket/dine

SHUTTLE DETAILS:  Take advantage of the shuttle service being provided for conference attendees which will be running loops from the Cornhusker Hotel to the Haymarket District for evening dining.  The shuttle will run from 6 PM to 10 PM between the Cornhusker (M Street entrance, North side of Hotel) and the Haymarket, making stops at 7th & R Street and 7th & P Street.  It's a big white bus, you can't miss it!!


Monday February 6, 2017 6:00pm - 10:00pm
N/A

6:30pm

Student/Professional Mixer

Come and join us for light hors d’oeuvres and conversation! This informal and casual event will provide a unique opportunity for students to meet, ask questions, and network with many fish and wildlife professionals from around the region. Professionals will be grouped by interest and employment type in a small room setting where students will meet professionals in a roundtable type rotation.


Monday February 6, 2017 6:30pm - 7:30pm
Renaissance Room

7:00pm

7:00pm

 
Tuesday, February 7
 

7:00am

7:00am

Speaker Ready Room

{All presenters MUST arrive and check-in here to upload their presentation at least 24 hours before scheduled presentation time. You can also use this room to review your presentation.}


Tuesday February 7, 2017 7:00am - 6:00pm
Boca Raton

8:00am

Symposia Session - S5: Playa Wetland Ecology. Use of Network Analysis to Prioritize Conservation of Playa Wetlands Based on Landscape Connectivity
AUTHORS: David Haukos, U.S. Geological Survey, Kansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Kansas State University; Gene Albanese, Kansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Kansas State University


ABSTRACT: Playa wetlands are primary sites of wetland habitat for wetland-dependent species in the western Great Plains of North America. These geographically isolated wetlands function as aquatic islands for native plant and wildlife populations that are reciprocally linked through the dispersal of individuals, propagules, and ultimately genes. The frequently changing ecological state among wet and dry conditions results in difficulty to prioritize individual playas for conservation actions. Therefore, much of the conservation effort has been opportunistic and lacks strategic planning. Because playas create a landscape-level network of >50,000 individual wetlands across 6 states, a novel framework to rank playas relative to the contribution of each playa to overall spatial connectivity was developed based on global connectivity quantified as a product of each playa. Using the Texas playa wetland network (TPWN) as a case study, we quantified changes to the structural and functional connectivity of the network to identify wetlands critical to the maintenance of global connectivity based on historic records, contemporary playa function, and forecasted future scenarios. The TPWN is characterized by small, dense, loosely connected wetland sub-networks at link distances (h) > 2 km but < 5 km. Transitions to a single, large sub-network connected by increasingly direct and redundant paths at broader spatial scales occurred when the proportion of wetland present (p) was relatively low (p = 0.2). This transition happens rapidly (h = 4 km, p = ∆0.2 - 0.4) as global connectivity becomes more sensitive to changes in wetland availability and configuration. We ranked the relative importance of individual playas to connectivity by targeting wetlands for removal based on network centrality metrics weighted by current and future estimates of habitat quality and probability of inundation. The persistence of wetland-dependent species depends on a connected playa network and prioritization of playa wetlands contributing to connectivity may enhance conservation.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 8:00am - 8:20am
Yankee Hill I/II

8:00am

Symposia Session - S6: Impact of Prescribed and Wild Fires on the Great Plains. Patch Burn Grazing Research Conducted in Working Rangelands of Nebraska: Preliminary Results, Ongoing Analyses, and Lessons Learned
AUTHORS: Stephen Winter, U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service; Britt Smith, Texas Tech University; Samuel Fuhlendorf, Oklahoma State University

ABSTRACT: During 2009–2011, a unique research opportunity was realized when multiple land managers cooperated to implement patch burn grazing on private rangelands and state-owned wildlife management areas across a large geographic area of Nebraska. The successful execution of this project resulted from effective planning and coordination among project sponsors, land managers, and researchers. In this project, the patch burn grazing treatment was compared to a more traditional method of applying prescribed fire to rangelands in a homogeneuous manner across management units. Data were collected on cattle performance, cattle utilization of select plant species, breeding bird communities, vegetation structure, and vegetation composition. Finished products include a report, a thesis, and published papers, but data continues to be analyzed and additional manuscripts are forthcoming. This presentation will showcase some of the research results, as well as highlight noteworthy aspects of the project that led to the realization of project objectives, and lessons learned that could inform future efforts.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 8:00am - 8:20am
Arbor I/II

8:00am

Symposia Session - S7: Uncommon Techniques with Predators and Prey. Introduction to Symposium
AUTHORS: Kevin Keeler, U.S. Geological Survey

ABSTRACT: An Introduction to the symposium "Uncommon Techniques with Predators an Prey"

Tuesday February 7, 2017 8:00am - 8:20am
Grand Ballroom A

8:00am

Technical Session. Larval Trematode Communities in Pulmonate Snails Collected from Northern Minnesota
AUTHORS: Scott Malotka, Robert Sorensen - Minnesota State University, Mankato

ABSTRACT: Larval trematode communities within their molluscan hosts represent excellent systems for ecological study. Community structure in free-living organisms often is influenced by competition, but past literature suggests that competition does not play a structuring role in the communities of freshwater snails due to the influence of spatial and temporal differences. Therefore, the purpose of this investigation was to determine the factors that could play a role in component communities of trematodes in 3 species of freshwater snails (Lymnaea elodes, Lymnaea stagnalis, and Helisoma trivolvis) during the month of August. A total of 556 snails were collected from Lake Winnibigoshish, Minnesota on August 9, 2016. Snails were transported back to the lab on ice and then isolated in 2 mL plastic containers and examined for shed cercariae. Cercariae were isolated and observed in live mounts with neutral red stain to help facilitate identification. Preliminary identification of cercariae revealed members of the family Echinostomatidae, Schistosomatidae, and Strigeidae. Interestingly, these results show a high prevalence of infection during the month of August for trematode species that are known to infect waterfowl, where other literature reports have shown these waterfowl trematodes to display higher prevalences later in the year during fall months. Overall, these results provide possible hypotheses that could describe larval trematode community structure during the month of August at Lake Winnibigoshish, MN.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 8:00am - 8:20am
Grand Ballroom D

8:00am

Technical Session. Population Dynamics and Precision of Age Structures of Black Crappie in North Cross Lake, Manitoba, CA
AUTHORS: McKenzie Hauger, University of Nebraska; Derek Kroeker, Manitoba Conservation; Kevin Pope, U.S. Geological Survey Cooperative Research Unit, University of Nebraska; Mark Pegg, University of Nebraska

ABSTRACT: Black crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus) is found throughout a wide range of habitats and is a common sport fish sought out by anglers throughout North America. Crappie age data provides a number of different details about a fish population, including growth, recruitment, and mortality which are necessary for fish management. We assessed the precision of ages among readers estimated using otoliths, fin rays and pectoral spines collected from North Cross Lake in Manitoba, CA. Using otoliths we also provided a population assessment for black crappie found in our study lake. We determined that the population consisted of fish ranging in ages from 2 to 9 years old, with varying total lengths between 194 to 340mm. Ages generated from pectoral spines and fin rays varied from estimates from otoliths despite precision being high among all structures. These results have important implications for managers looking to use non-lethal techniques as continued use may result in inaccurate estimates of population dynamics. 

Tuesday February 7, 2017 8:00am - 8:20am
Grand Ballroom B

8:00am

Technical Session. Spatial Covariance of Angling Pressure and Catch Among Nebraska Water Bodies and Application to Social-ecological Systems
AUTHORS: Mark A. Kaemingk, Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Christopher J. Chizinski, School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Keith L. Hurley, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission; Kevin L. Pope, U.S. Geological Survey-Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, and School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

ABSTRACT: Large-scale spatial synchrony is widely observed among plant and animal populations but could also have application to social-ecological systems. To date, this phenomenon has not been tested within recreational fisheries despite its potential benefits. We examined angling pressure, catch and release, and catch and harvest rates across multiple Nebraska water bodies during 2009 to 2015. Specifically, we used monthly (April-October) estimates of these variables to evaluate spatial covariance and the scale or extent of synchrony among water bodies. Results demonstrate that angling pressure is more synchronous compared to estimates of catch across different fish species. Therefore, factors responsible for patterns in angling pressure and catch are likely different and operate at divergent spatial and temporal scales. We discuss levels of support for dispersal (travel costs), predator-prey (angler and fish), and the Moran effect (climate) to explain these patterns and their application to recreational fisheries. Understanding large-scale spatial synchrony in coupled social-ecological systems will greatly benefit our ability to identify and manage these systems across the most appropriate spatial and temporal scales.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 8:00am - 8:20am
Grand Ballroom E

8:00am

Technical Session. Trophic Dynamics of Flathead Catfish in the Lower Channelized Missouri River Bordering Nebraska
AUTHORS: Dylan Turner, Mark Pegg, Martin Hamel — University of Nebraska-Lincoln

ABSTRACT: Flathead Catfish Pylodictis olivaris are often considered apex predators where they exist and can have detrimental effects on native prey species where introduced, yet little information regarding the role of predation by native Flathead Catfish on game fish and species of concern exists. Furthermore, modifications to rivers (e.g., channelization, revetment, and construction of dams) have likely increased the amount of suitable habitat and influenced the trophic dynamics available for Flathead Catfish, ultimately leading to greater abundances of this predator.  To determine the influence Flathead Catfish have on other species within the lower channelized Missouri River, we posed three overarching research questions: 1) what is the diet composition of Flathead Catfish; 2) is there a difference in mean stomach fullness of Flathead Catfish among seasons; and 3) how much are Flathead Catfish consuming in the channelized Missouri River during each season?  We used pulsed gastric lavage to collect stomach contents (470 diet samples from 780 Flathead Catfish) across three distinct seasons; May-June (spring), July-August (summer), and September-October (fall).  The four most common diet items by weight found in catfish stomachs include: Siluriformes, Decapoda, Ephemeroptera, and unidentified fish.  The proportion of stomachs with prey items present was similar in spring (74%) and summer (72%) but lower in the fall (37%).  Mean stomach fullness did not significantly differ between season for each size class.  Continued work to develop a bioenergetics model to estimate total daily and annual prey consumption will aid in understanding the pathway of energy throughout the food web within the channelized Missouri River.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 8:00am - 8:20am
Grand Ballroom C

8:00am

Overview of Symposium (S6). The Impact of Prescribed and Wild Fires on the Great Plains
Organizer(s)/Convener(s): 
Doug Whisenhunt; doug.whisenhunt@ne.usda.gov 

Abstract: This symposium depicts a variety of research projects, wildlife habitat responses and successful models of entities, agencies and private landowners working together to implement large-scale prescribed fires and the impacts of wildfires on the private lands of Nebraska. The Great Plains ecosystems in Nebraska evolved under the disturbance regimes of fire and herbivory by large ungulates. Native wildlife were dependent on these disturbance events to provide the heterogenous mosaic of habitat necessary for maintenance of successful populations.

Settlement by European man disrupted the fire cycle, and altered the grazing regime, greatly impacting the dynamics of the wildlife populations that occupy these landscape.

The native vegetative communities that escaped the plow and the bulldozer have become dramatically altered by landscape fragmentation, modern day management practices and policies. The natural fire regime is one of the primary systems that has been impacted. One of the most devastating results has been the encroachment of invading woody species into native grasslands. Millions of acres of the remaining grasslands in Nebraska have become forested to the point of creating a monoculture. In many cases, this habitat shift has caused a corresponding change in wildlife species that occupy the areas, shifting from a grassland community to a forest dwelling community and creating potential for increased wildfire danger. Starting in the year 2000, Nebraska private landowners have banded together to bring prescribed fire back to tens of thousands of acres of native grasslands to reclaim lost forage and wildlife habitat.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 8:00am - 12:00pm
Arbor I/II

8:00am

Overview of Symposium (S7). Uncommon Techniques with Predators and Prey: Applying Novel Methods for Atypical Fish Diets
Organizer(s)/Convener(s): 
K. Keeler-U.S. Geological Survey Great Lakes Science Center; kkeeler@usgs.gov
P. Armenio -U.S. Geological Survey Great Lakes Science Center
D. Castle-U.S. Geological Survey Great Lakes Science Center
E. Roseman- U.S. Geological Survey Great Lakes Science Center 

Abstract: Diet analysis is one of the most common ways to understand the basic ecology of a fish species. And while this information can be useful for an individual species, it can also be vital in documenting the overall health of a multitude of species during large ecosystem changes. Whether perturbations come about through invasive species, habitat degradation, or overfishing, analyzing individual diets can provide insight into why these broader population changes occur. However, dissection, processing, and analyzing an individual diet, let alone numerous diets, is an often time-consuming procedure. Continually, given the wide-range of habitat types, life-stages, and invasive species present in aquatic systems, not every fish species, nor every diet item, is often analyzed in the same manner suggesting issues of standardization. Presentations will showcase more novel diet analyzing methods (such as stable isotopes, fatty acid profiles, or sub-sampling procedures) for atypical fish species and/or their diet items (such as rare or newly introduced species) while working in a number of aquatic environments, or providing a comparison of processing individual diets with these newer methods.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 8:00am - 12:00pm
Grand Ballroom A

8:00am

Wild Jobs Café

Students – Be sure to stop by the Wild Jobs Café on Monday (anytime between 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM) and Tuesday (8:00 AM - 4:00 PM) Interact with potential employers, meet students and professionals within your area of interest, and get expert advice on interviewing and resume writing among other topics. Come often and stay as long as you’d like. Ongoing through the day on Monday and Tuesday, members of the Wild Jobs Cafe Subcommittee will be available for one-on-one discussions. Professionals – Be sure to stop by and share your expertise as well as job or graduate school opportunities!


Tuesday February 7, 2017 8:00am - 4:00pm
Renaissance Room

8:00am

Workshop: Great Plains Native Fish Conservation Areas Network

ORGANIZER: Tim Birdsong, Great Plains Landscape Conservation Cooperative and Great Plains Fish Habitat Partnership, timothy.birdsong@tpwd.texas.gov

PRESENTERS: Timothy Birdsong, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department / Great Plains Landscape Conservation Cooperative; James Broska, Great Plains Landscape Conservation Cooperative; Gary Garrett, University of Texas at Austin; Jessica Graham, Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership; Steven Krentz, Great Plains Fish Habitat Partnership; Ben Labay, Siglo Group

OVERVIEW: Rivers of the Great Plains have been dramatically altered with agricultural irrigation significantly depleting groundwater supplies and resulting in concomitant reductions in spring flows.  The erection of dams has fragmented rivers and altered natural flow patterns, at times leading to 90% reductions in flow magnitude in downstream river segments.  These and a myriad of other interrelated issues – land use changes, degradation of water quality, instream habitat degradation, and the negative effects of non-indigenous species – threaten freshwater biodiversity in the region.  If unchecked, these issues will likely continue to contribute to the imperilment and loss of regional freshwater biodiversity.  Innovative conservation approaches are needed to restore aquatic habitats and conserve freshwater biodiversity, while simultaneously supporting human needs (e.g., flood control, municipal and agricultural water supply, water quality protection, water-based recreation).  These holistic, integrated approaches will become increasingly necessary as conflicts and competition for available freshwater resources become unavoidable.  Native Fish Conservation Areas represent a voluntary, collaborative conservation approach that promotes watershed-scale strategies for addressing competing demands on aquatic resources.  The approach is particularly relevant in rivers of the Great Plains where aquatic species have experienced population declines, primarily associated with anthropogenic changes in watersheds where large-scale preservation opportunities are limited.  To guide delivery of a network of Native Fish Conservation Areas in the Great Plains, a conservation prioritization was recently conducted that identifies priority rivers considered native fish “strongholds,” and that are recommended as focal areas for watershed-scale conservation investments.  This workshop will provide a detailed overview of this conservation prioritization and obtain input from participants on the priority watersheds recommended for inclusion in the Great Plains Native Fish Conservation Areas Network.  Additionally, the workshop will outline critical elements of the Native Fish Conservations approach, and spotlight case studies in delivery of Native Fish Conservation Areas from the southern and western US.  The workshop will include a series a facilitated thematic breakout sessions used to obtain expert input on conservation actions that could be taken to conserve native fishes within the proposed Great Plains Native Fish Conservation Areas Network (e.g., improved land management practices within associated watersheds, barrier removal, water rights acquisition, flow agreements, changes to water management plans, etc.).  Finally, the workshop will be used to gather input on priority data and science needs that must be addressed in order to effectively guide and evaluate conservation actions within the Great Plains Native Fish Conservation Areas Network. Input from workshop participants will be used to inform development of a regional conservation agenda and to guide investments in research, habitat restoration, and other actions by the workshop organizers and other conservation funding organizations. Workshop invitations are being distributed to active conservation partners of the workshop organizers.  However, the workshop is open to all students and professionals interested in the cooperative conservation of native fishes, their habitats, and other aquatic resources in the Great Plains.

INTENDED AUDIENCE: Professionals and students at all levels

FEES: No Charge. Sign-up on registration form. 


Tuesday February 7, 2017 8:00am - 5:00pm
Grand Ballroom F

8:00am

Overview of Symposium (S5). Playa Wetland Ecology
Organizer(s)/Convener(s): 
Dana Varner*, Rainwater Basin Joint Venture; Dana_Varner@fws.gov
Mark Vrtiska, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
Lisa Webb, U.S. Geological Survey, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit 

Abstract: Playas are shallow, ephemeral wetlands which are an important aquatic resource within the Great Plains region. Each playa has a unique watershed that funnels runoff from precipitation and snowmelt to the wetland at its terminus. A thick clay layer in the soil slows water percolation so most water loss occurs through evaporation or plant transpiration, although playas are also a significant path of groundwater recharge to the Ogallala aquifer. Playas provide crucial habitat for wetland-dependent wildlife, including waterfowl, shorebirds, waterbirds, reptiles, and amphibians. Currently, a majority of playas are found on private property within an agricultural landscape. For this reason, partnerships with private landowners are especially important in regards to playa conservation and research.

On March 17, 2011, the RWBJV and Playa Lakes Joint Venture co-hosted the first Playa Wetland Ecology Symposium in Grand Island, Nebraska. More than 80 people attended, representing 23 government agencies, conservation organizations, and universities from 11 states. Building on the success of the previous symposium, this event will again bring together a group of regional partners to share the most recent results and findings of playa research and conservation programs.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 8:00am - 5:00pm
Yankee Hill I/II

8:20am

Symposia Session - S5: Playa Wetland Ecology. How Playa Wetlands Influence Landscape Biodiversity: Small Depressions with Big Benefits
AUTHORS: Willow Malone, Kansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Division of Biology, Kansas State University; David A. Haukos, US Geological Survey, Kansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Division of Biology, Kansas State University

ABSTRACT: Playa wetlands are keystone ecosystems of the Great Plains supporting large numbers of migratory and resident avian species. Playas support a unique biotic community composition, while providing resources and habitats for waterfowl, grassland passerines, and other migratory birds. Playas provide the unique function of the primary recharge points for the Ogallala Aquifer. The largest threats to playas include watershed disturbance and anthropogenic modifications. Understanding effects of landuse on biodiversity of the playas is crucial for the conservation planning. Avian and floral diversity are key indicators of ecological function and provide a quantitative assessment of playa functionality. Our study was conducted in the western portion of the Smoky Hill River, Kansas, watershed, a landscape dominated by irrigated cropland. Our objective was to determine the relative contribution of playas to the biodiversity of the landscape and compare avian and floral communities in playa wetlands surrounded by grassland versus cropland watersheds. We conducted breeding bird surveys using point counts in >25 playa wetlands with crop or grassland watersheds and in paired, non-playa sites. We recorded avian relative abundance, species richness, and occupancy. We recorded plant species composition using step-point transects. There was no difference in avian diversity between playas in a cropland watershed and surrounding non-playa areas. Avian diversity and richness in grassland watersheds were 25% and 55% greater than surrounding non-playa areas, respectively. Furthermore, avian diversity and richness were greater by 38% and 66% in inundated playas than dry playas. Plant communities had a 66% greater diversity and 58% greater richness in playa wetlands surrounded by a grassland watershed than a cropland watershed. As the majority of playa wetlands are located on private lands, it is important to reduce watershed disturbance and anthropogenic influence on playa wetlands to maintain landscape heterogeneity and biodiversity at local, regional, and continental scales.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 8:20am - 8:40am
Yankee Hill I/II

8:20am

Symposia Session - S6: Impact of Prescribed and Wild Fires on the Great Plains. Secretive Marshbird Response to Wetland Plant Management in Prairie Pothole Minnesota
AUTHORS: Nina Hill, University of Minnesota, Minnesota Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit; Tom Cooper, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Douglas H. Johnson, U.S. Geological Survey (emeritus); David E. Andersen, U.S. Geological Survey, Minnesota Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit


ABSTRACT: Many marshbird species are difficult to detect and existing avian survey methods (e.g., Breeding Bird Surveys) do not provide reliable estimates of population size or trends.  It is unclear how these species have responded to historic widespread land-use conversion throughout the Prairie Pothole Region, nor to further recent alteration of remaining wetland habitat by invasive plants.  To better understand these relationships, we used the Standardized North American Marsh Bird Monitoring Protocol to evaluate differences in marshbird abundance and occupancy of wetlands associated with different vegetation management strategies in west-central and northwestern Minnesota.  In our west-central Minnesota study area we established 18 survey routes to examine differences in marshbird abundance among 4 levels of management histories of prescribed burning and conservation grazing during the period 2000-2015.  In our northwestern Minnesota study area we surveyed 8 large wetlands to assess marshbird use before and after herbicide application to control hybrid cattails (Typha x glauca).  During the 2015 and 2016 spring breeding seasons we conducted a total of 465 surveys resulting in 1299 observations of 10 focal species of marshbirds in west-central Minnesota, and a total of 238 surveys resulting in1141 observations of 14 focal species in northwestern Minnesota.  Preliminary results suggest that some species of marshbirds were associated with the high intensity of vegetation management in our west-central Minnesota study area, indicating that a combination of fire and grazing influenced marshbird habitat quality.  Our results also provide reference information on distribution and relative abundance of marshbirds in western Minnesota landscapes that can be used to inform land management.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 8:20am - 8:40am
Arbor I/II

8:20am

Symposia Session - S7: Uncommon Techniques with Predators and Prey. Factors Affecting Levels of Larval Lake Sturgeon (Acipenser Fulvescens) Predation by Piscivorous Fishes in the Black River, MI
AUTHORS: Justin Waraniak, Michigan State University Department of Fisheries & Wildlife; Edward Baker, Michigan Department of Natural Resources; Kim Scribner, Michigan State University Department of Fisheries & Wildlife

ABSTRACT: Predation is a major factor affecting recruitment during early life stages of many fish species. Levels of predation of larval fish have been difficult to quantify using visual identification of morphological features, which can be quickly digested. Development of genetic tools has made predation studies on larval fish more feasible because prey DNA is detectable in predator digestive tracts much longer than physical remains can be identified. Potential fish predators (N=1155) of lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) larvae were collected in four 500-m transects dominated by sand (N=2) and gravel (N=2) substrates over 17 days during 2015 and 2016. Sampling of larvae dispersing from spawning areas was also conducted to estimate the nightly abundance of larval lake sturgeon and other potential prey (larvae of other fish species and macroinvertebrates) available to predators. The gastrointestinal (GI) tracts of predatory fish were dissected. DNA was extracted from the GI tract contents, and sturgeon-specific PCR primers that amplify part of the cytochrome oxidase subunit I region of mitochondrial DNA were used to detect the presence of lake sturgeon DNA. Analysis of samples from 2015 shows that the molecular assay was more successful identifying incidences of predation on lake sturgeon larvae (detecting lake sturgeon DNA in 26 of 353 samples) than visual morphological analysis (identifying lake sturgeon remains in one of 353 samples).  For all data, binomial logistic regression was used to assess the relative contributions of biotic (e.g. predator species, biomass of larval sturgeon in the drift) and abiotic variables (e.g. habitat substrate type, lunar phase) to variation in incidences of larval lake sturgeon predation. 

Tuesday February 7, 2017 8:20am - 8:40am
Grand Ballroom A

8:20am

Technical Session. Effect of Elevated Nutrients and Sediments on Growth of Juvenile Black and White Crappies
AUTHORS: David Bogner, University of Illinois; David H Wahl Illinois Natural History Survey

ABSTRACT: Anthropogenic influences can cause dramatic increases in turbidity through sediment and nutrient inputs to lakes and reservoirs. Increased nutrients can affect fish growth via increased productivity whereas increased sediments can decrease reactive distance and reduce feeding rates. Our objective was to evaluate the effect of increased nutrients and sediments on growth of juvenile Black Crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus) and White Crappie (Pomoxis annularis). We selected these species as they exhibit similar feeding ontogeny and co-occur in many systems but are hypothesized to respond to turbidity differently with Black Crappie being more negatively affected. We examined growth in mesocosms with nutrient and sediment additions over a four week period using species as a split-plot within a full factorial model of nutrients and sediments. Environmental variables were collected weekly and averaged over the course of the study and used as covariates. We detected a significant effect of sediment on change in weight with Black Crappie expressing greater growth than Black White except in the presence of increased turbidity. Our results highlight the importance of parsing out the drivers of increased turbidity to better understand the effects on fish growth.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 8:20am - 8:40am
Grand Ballroom B

8:20am

Technical Session. Factors Influencing Angler Fishing Behavior
AUTHORS: Brian S. Harmon, Nicholas W. Cole - Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska; Christopher J. Chizinski, School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska; Kevin L. Pope, U.S. Geological Survey-Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, and School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska

ABSTRACT: Within a waterbody, fishing pressure is non-uniform, non-random, and not ideally distributed according to fish or catch rates. Thus, other factors must influence where and how anglers fish, but within a waterbody, these factors remain understudied. The outcomes of a fishing trip are a result of both angler fishing behavior and the behavior of sportfish. We attached a portable GPS and camera to anglers' fishing rods at two waterbodies located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. We analyzed angler movement (cumulative shoreline covered, total distance) and activity (number, location, and distance of casts) to assess angler behavior. We compared angler movement and activity to angler specialization and trip-specific objectives to elucidate angler fishing behaviors. Data on where and how anglers fish could be used for recreational fishery management.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 8:20am - 8:40am
Grand Ballroom E

8:20am

Technical Session. Trends in Larval Fish Abundance in the Missouri River, Nebraska
AUTHORS: Ryan L. Ruskamp, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission; Mark A. Pegg, University of Nebraska, Lincoln; Gerald E. Mestl, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

ABSTRACT: The Missouri River has been highly altered by impoundments and channelization which has resulted in significant declines in many native fish species. Since the floods of 2010 and 2011 there have been notable declines in the condition of pallid sturgeon and other native species and a large increase in the number of invasive Silver and Bighead carps. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission have been studying the larval fish community at multiple sites on the Missouri river bordering Nebraska since 1983, long-term data sets such as this can provide invaluable insight as to the impacts of these types of events. The objectives of this study are to quantify the temporal and spatial variations in the larval fish community (species richness) and structure (abundance) and attempt to relate this variation to physical conditions in the river such as discharge, water management and water quality.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 8:20am - 8:40am
Grand Ballroom C

8:20am

Technical Session. True Metabolizable Energy of Submersed Aquatic Vegetation for Dabbling Ducks
AUTHORS: Sarah E. McClain, Western Illinois University, Illinois Natural History Survey; Dr. Heath M. Hagy, Illinois Natural History Survey; Dr. Christopher N. Jacques, Western Illinois University

ABSTRACT: Aquatic systems in the Midwest have been highly modified since the beginning of the 20th century, including channelization, damming, and dredging of most large rivers (e.g., Illinois, Mississippi, Ohio, Missouri) and disconnection from their natural floodplains with networks of levees. While the loss of submersed aquatic vegetation from hydrologically-connected wetlands and backwater lakes along the Illinois and Mississippi rivers is well-documented, information is unavailable to determine the implications of these losses on energetic carrying capacity for waterfowl, especially dabbling ducks. The objective of this study is to estimate true metabolizable energy of six species of submersed aquatic vegetation common to the Upper Midwest for dabbling ducks. We have conducted feeding trials using wild-caught mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) during autumn 2015 and wild-caught gadwall (Anas strepera) in autumn 2016. Feeding trials consist of a 48−hour fast, precision feeding of focal submersed aquatic vegetation (e.g., Stuckenia pectinata) followed by a 48−hour period in a metabolic chamber to collect excreta. Gross energy of test foods and excreta were determined using a Parr oxygen bomb calorimeter, and were corrected for digestion efficiency to ascertain true metabolizable energy. We expect the true metabolizable energy of submersed aquatic vegetation to be less than that of seeds, tubers, and other hard mast. True metabolizable energy analysis will be completed during autumn 2016 and will be included in the presentation. Our data will be useful to conservation planners for estimating energetic carrying capacities of semi-permanently-flooded marsh habitats, which will aid in projecting impacts of wetland management alternatives (i.e. semi-permanently-flooded marsh versus moist-soil management). Understanding the true metabolizable energy of submersed aquatic vegetation will allow managers to assess the impacts on dabbling ducks of wetland habitat change over time or in response to stressors (e.g., hydrologic connectivity with rivers/lakes, climate change).

Tuesday February 7, 2017 8:20am - 8:40am
Grand Ballroom D

8:40am

Symposia Session - S5: Playa Wetland Ecology. Mapping Wetland Inundation Conditions in Spring Migratory Season for Playa Wetlands in Nebraska
AUTHORS: Zhenghong Tang, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Community and Regional Planning Program,
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

ABSTRACT: Inundation is a critical parameter of wetland hydrologic performance. Playa wetlands in Nebraska provide globally important habitats for migratory waterfowl. Inundation condition is an important indictor to measure playa wetland functionality. By using Landsat images and Google Earth Engine, we mapped the spring inundation condition of Nebraska playas during 1985-2015. The results show that a significant portion of the playa wetlands were not functioning with either ponding water or supporting hydric vegetation during the peak of the waterfowl spring migration season during past 30 years. The findings confirmed that the hydrological conditions of the majority of playas in Nebraska have changed due to the historical human activities since 1850s. The inundated wetlands displayed some level of function and are candidates for protection and/or partial restoration, and the un-inundated wetlands are candidates for full restoration. The study also found that wetlands in areas enrolled in conservation easements had a significantly high level of playa inundation status than non-conserved wetlands during spring migratory seasons in the past decades.  The findings confirm that watershed-level hydrologic restoration and within wetland restoration is crucial to recover the inundation conditions of playa wetlands.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 8:40am - 9:00am
Yankee Hill I/II

8:40am

Symposia Session - S6: Impact of Prescribed and Wild Fires on the Great Plains. Who is the Nebraska Prescribed Fire Council and What Do They Do?
AUTHORS: Alicia Hardin, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission; Scott Stout, Nebraska Prescribed Fire Council; Brian Teeter, Pheasants Forever/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

ABSTRACT: This presentation will give the history and purpose of the Nebraska Prescribed Fire Council, as well as show the challenges that prescribed fire managers face in Nebraska.  A study on the acceptance of prescribed fire by Nebraska fire chiefs will be discussed during the presentation.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 8:40am - 9:00am
Arbor I/II

8:40am

Symposia Session - S7: Uncommon Techniques with Predators and Prey. Walleye in the Western Basin: What Diets Reveal About Foodweb Changes After Multiple Species Invasions of Western Lake Erie
AUTHORS: Dana Castle*, U.S. Geological Survey Great Lakes Science Center and University of Toledo, Department of Environmental Sciences; Ed Roseman, U.S. Geological Survey, Great Lakes Science Center; Kevin Keeler, U.S. Geological Survey Great Lakes Science Center and University of Toledo, Department of Environmental Sciences; Carson Prichard, U.S. Geological Survey Great Lakes Science Center and Central Michigan University, Department of Biology; Robert Hunter, U.S. Geological Survey, Great Lakes Science Center and Michigan State University, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife; Chris Vandergoot, Ohio Department of Natural Resources; Mark Rogers, U.S. Geological Survey, Great Lakes Science Center, Lake Erie Biological Station; Kristen Hebebrand, University of Toledo Department of Environmental Sciences; Brian Schmidt, U.S. Geological Survey, Great Lakes Science Center; Christine Mayer, University of Toledo Department of Environmental Sciences; William Taylor, Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University

ABSTRACT: Lake Erie supports the world’s largest walleye (Sander vitreus) population, where they play an important role as a top predator and provide valuable ecological and economic benefits. In western Lake Erie, year-class strength is measured as the survival of age-0 fish to their first fall after larval walleye transition to demersal juveniles. Therefore, foraging patterns and food web interactions during the larval and juvenile stages critically influence the sustainability of Lake Erie walleye. To determine factors (temperature, prey energy density, rate of consumption, etc.) that influence larval and juvenile walleye growth over time, including the impacts of invasive species on diet, we compared a historic (1994-95) and current (2014) dataset. Using the R-based Fish Bioenergetics 4.0, we (1) determined which factors are most likely to influence individual growth between time periods and (2) predicted impacts of likely prey community scenarios on walleye diet, such as an increase in the proportion of round goby (Neogobius melanostomus) consumed. We found walleye collected in 2014 maintained higher consumption rates throughout the summer and fall to achieve similar growth rates as fish collected during the 1990s, likely due to consumption of less energy-dense invasive species (round goby, Bythotrephes, Dreissenids). The model predicted that this rate of consumption would continue to rise as walleye consumed a higher proportion of round goby. Despite foodweb and diet changes between time periods, mean fall lengths of walleye were similar, suggesting similar growth rates. Revelation of differences in the underlying factors affecting larval and juvenile growth rates over time and under varying prey scenarios can provide fishery managers unique insight about age-0 walleye growth and recruitment.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 8:40am - 9:00am
Grand Ballroom A

8:40am

Technical Session. Developing Plasma-Lipid Indices and Evaluating Triglyceride Catabolism Rates in Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis)
AUTHORS: Eric Smith, Western Illinois University; Chris Jacques, Western Illinois University; Mike Anteau, USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center; Heath Hagy, Forbes Biological Station/Frank C. Bellrose Waterfowl Research Center

ABSTRACT: The continental breeding population of lesser scaup (Aythya affinis) has declined markedly over the past 30-40 years. Multiple factors have likely contributed to the long-term decline in the continental scaup population including reductions in recruitment, a decline in survival of female scaup relative to males, and decreases in forage quality and the amount of forage consumed by scaup throughout the Midwest. Decreases in aquatic vegetation and invertebrates as food sources have direct impacts on migrating lesser scaup and other wetland-obligate species. Nutrient acquisition and storage during migration are important for survival and reproduction; specifically, lipids have been identified as an important nutrient for endurance flights and egg production. Plasma-lipid metabolites (Triglyceride and β-hydroxybutyrate) have been used for estimating rates of lipid accumulation or catabolism in wild birds which can be useful in assessing the relative quality of habitat during migration. However, further development and refining of plasma-lipid indices is needed to understand the effects of wetland degradation on migratory waterfowl. Further, a paucity of information exists about the rate at which triglycerides are catabolized and what effect diet has on metabolite concentrations. Using wild birds held in short-term captivity to create such an index allows for control in the amount and type of ingesta and feeding rates that could be a potential source of bias in the plasma-lipid metabolite index. We held wild lesser scaup in short-term captivity to develop an index for examining whether individuals are accumulating or catabolizing lipids by regressing known mass changes with plasma-lipid metabolite concentrations. Triglyceride and β-hydroxybutyrate predicted 56% of the variation in one-day mass changes (F = 24.20, df = 2 and 37, P < 0.001). We are currently analyzing finer scale mass changes (< 24 hrs.) and rates of triglyceride catabolism which will be available for the presentation.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 8:40am - 9:00am
Grand Ballroom D

8:40am

Technical Session. Development of a Standardized Protocol for Use of Fin Rays in Estimating Age of Muskellunge
AUTHORS: Derek P. Crane, Coastal Carolina University; Jeff L. Hansbarger, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources; Michael L. Hawkins, Coastal Carolina University; Dan A. Isermann, USGS-Wisconsin Cooperative Fishery Research Unit; Jeffrey M. Kampa, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Kevin L. Kapuscinski, Lake Superior State University; Jonathan R. Meerbeek, Iowa Department of Natural Resources; Michael P. Rennicke, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Timothy D. Simonson, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

*Authors Hansbarger through Simonson contributed equally to this project and are listed alphabetically.

ABSTRACT: Accurate and precise age estimation are essential for understanding Muskellunge population characteristics such as growth and mortality. Counting annuli on cleithra is believed to provide accurate age estimates for Muskellunge, but removal of cleithra requires sacrificing fish. Previous research suggests that counting annuli on sectioned fin rays may be a reliable, non-lethal technique for estimating age of Muskellunge < age 10; however, this method has not been validated using modern annuli viewing techniques on fin rays from known-age fish and standardized methods for collecting and preparing Muskellunge fin rays have not been developed. Standardization of collection and preparation procedures will result in more consistent estimation of Muskellunge ages, and subsequently, more accurate estimates of muskellunge population characteristics. To develop standardized procedures for processing fin rays for age estimation of Muskellunge, we investigated the effects of section width (0.8, 1.0, 1.2 mm), section location (base vs. 1 cm from the base) and anal fin ray number (3 vs. 4) on accuracy and precision of age estimates using a sample of 84 known-age fish from Iowa (age range = 3-21 years). Age estimates from paired samples of pelvic and anal fin rays were also compared to determine the effects of fin location on accuracy and precision of estimates. Ongoing research is using the developed protocol to estimate the accuracy and precision of age estimates based on fin rays from a larger sample size that covers a broader geographic range.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 8:40am - 9:00am
Grand Ballroom B

8:40am

Technical Session. Factors Affecting Fishing License Purchase Patterns and Angler Retention in Iowa
AUTHORS: Jeff Kopaska, Julie Tack, George Scholten - Iowa Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: The Iowa DNR Fisheries Bureau (IDNR) is funded by the sale of fishing and hunting licenses and equipment. Continued license sales are critical to provide the funding to effectively manage Iowa fisheries. After years of simply selling fishing licenses, IDNR partnered with the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation in 2005 to assess fishing promotional efforts. These efforts were initiated in response to declining or fluctuating fishing license sales. Fishing promotional campaigns have varied from localized efforts to statewide and from specific target populations to all anglers. Using new strategies to sell more fishing licenses makes financial resources available to be invested in maintaining and improving fishery resources. Radio and television advertising, live events, magazines, letters, postcards and emails have been used to promote fishing to potential license buyers. An evaluation of fishing promotion efforts from 2005 to 2015 showed that lift ranged from 0.1% to 4.6%. License sales patterns indicate that weather and economic conditions strongly influence fishing license sales. Results from these assessments include: inexpensive postcard and email reminders can be effective; inconsistent anglers would fish more often if a friend or relative invited them; weather has a major influence on a person’s decision to buy a fishing license

Tuesday February 7, 2017 8:40am - 9:00am
Grand Ballroom E

8:40am

Technical Session. Macrhybopsis Species Response to a Missouri River Top-Widening Project
AUTHORS: Thad Huenemann, Gerald Mestl - Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

ABSTRACT: A river top-widening project on Lower Little Sioux Bend, named Deer Island, is located at river kilometers 1,079 to 1,083 in the upper portion of the channelized Missouri River along Nebraska’s eastern border. A major construction project began in 2012 and was completed by fall of 2014. At approximately 55 hectares, this project represents the largest channel widening project completed under the proposed restoration action to create shallow water habitat in the Missouri River. An investigation of trends associated with the Macrhybopsis species (i.e. chubs) and available habitat using a newly developed habitat preference function at the site in 2015 will be presented. A further investigation of different modeled flow regimes across the post constructed site and available habitat for Macrhybopsis species will also be discussed.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 8:40am - 9:00am
Grand Ballroom C

9:00am

Symposia Session - S5: Playa Wetland Ecology. Using a Landscape Design Approach to Develop an Implementation Plan to Conserve Playas
AUTHORS: Anne Bartuszevige, Alex Daniels, Kyle Taylor - Playa Lakes Joitn Venture

ABSTRACT: Landscape design is a conservation planning process that integrates societal goals and values with established biological conservation goals, using science grounded in landscape ecology to describe future scenarios where specific and measurable biological goals can be attained. Playa Lakes Joint Venture is using this process to identify and prioritize areas for playa conservation throughout the region. With input from partners, we developed scenario-based models of  important anthropogenic drivers that would effect change on the landscape, identified playas where conservation effort would best be spent and identified conservation opportunities with partners to bring a landscape design to fruition. Our partnership identified commodity crop development, wind energy development, oil and gas development, aquifer depletion and climate change as the most important drivers in the western Great Plains. We developed models of crop development risk and wind development risk using current literature. To understand climate impacts we used published models of sediment accumulation under climate change conditions. We combined the ecological models with results from human dimensions research about landowner attitudes to playa conservation. The result is a cutting-edge, progressive plan that allows our partnership to envision a future of playa conservation and achievement of waterfowl conservation goals, within the context of landowner conservation values.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 9:00am - 9:20am
Yankee Hill I/II

9:00am

Symposia Session - S6: Impact of Prescribed and Wild Fires on the Great Plains. Loess Canyon Rangeland Alliance
AUTHORS: Scott Stout, Loess Canyon Rangeland Alliance, Vice President & Landowner

ABSTRACT: The Loess Canyon Rangeland Alliance was formed in 2002 by some local landowners and some agency people that had a common goal of reducing the encroachment of Eastern Red Cedar into the local landscape. From 2002-2005 the LCRA burned around 2000 acres, from 2006 till present day we’ve totaled around 55,000 acres with the average burn size of around 1000 acres. The LCRA has a constant 75% or better mortality rate on all ERC. Landowners helping other landowners to accomplish a common goal is how the LCRA was founded on and is how it is operated today. The economic benefits are what keep landowners involved and what keeps drawing new members every year. The LCRA is focused on getting more fire on the land to restore our native range back to a grass prairie but doing it in a safe and effective way. Our hopes is that it may increase profittability for it's members.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 9:00am - 9:20am
Arbor I/II

9:00am

Symposia Session - S7: Uncommon Techniques with Predators and Prey. An Empirical Test of Quantifying the Diets of Fish with Fatty Acid-Based Models
AUTHORS: Austin Happel, Illinois Natural History Survey; Jeremy Pike, The College at Brockport; Sergiusz Czesny, Illinois Natural History Survey; Jacques Rinchard, The College at Brockport

ABSTRACT: Biochemical methods of describing diets have become common place in ecological studies.Recently, models have been developed to explore the potential of quantifying diet compositions using fatty acid profiles. Current theory is that wild individuals can be compared to the fatty acid profiles of consumers fed known diets using quantitative models to estimate their diet compositions. We set out to empirically test this idea through a novel feeding experiment using natural prey species. Our hypothesis was: If fatty acid profiles reflect dietary origins, then computer models could be used to predict components of a known diet fed to fishes. Using three different freeze-dried prey species, we generated diets consisting of various prey compositions that were fed to Lake Trout for periods of 8 and 12 weeks. Neither quantitative model performed as well as expected based on previous applications, despite using data from a controlled feeding experiment that qualitatively met expectations when viewed through nMDS. For reasons that are complex, mixed diets assimilated into Lake Trout in patterns that are less predictable than expected. We could not find any consistencies with growth indices or lipid accrual, but suspect that sampling specific lipid fractions or tissues would be more accurate than our results using whole body lipids indicate. We conclude that quantitative models using fatty acid profiles likely perform well at describing large differences in foraging habits, but may not provide accurate data on minute variations in diet compositions of fishes.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 9:00am - 9:20am
Grand Ballroom A

9:00am

Technical Session. Evaluation of the Fishing Impoundments and Stream Habitats (FISH) Program
AUTHORS: Susan Steffen, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism; William K. Blair, Emporia State University; David Breth, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism

ABSTRACT: As part of the Fishing Impoundments and Stream Habitats (FISH) program, KDWPT leases access rights of privately-owned ponds, stream, and river sites. The goal of the FISH program is to make it easier for people to go fishing by providing easily accessible, free locations close to home. We evaluated the FISH program by conducting creel surveys at nineteen FISH properties from March 1 to October 31, 2012. Our objectives were to measure angling pressure, catch and harvest, and level of importance of the program to anglers’ fishing participation. Of the nineteen properties sampled, the estimated number of anglers ranged from 3,744 at the Marmaton River site to 4 at the Delaware River site. Mean number of anglers was 616 anglers (SD = 843.83, N = 19) and mean pressure was 622.37 angler-hours (SD = 535.37, N = 19). Harvest was minimal; 54% of the total harvest was White Crappie Pomoxis annularis at the Marmaton River site. Overall, 37% of released fish were Bluegill Lepomis macrochirus and 34% were Largemouth Bass Micropterus salmoides. Anglers estimated an average of 52% (SD = 33.05, N = 121) of their fishing trips in the previous twelve months occurred at FISH properties. Eighty-four percent (84%) rated the FISH program as important or extremely important to his or her overall fishing participation. Seventy-seven percent (77%) rated the on-site property at which he or she was interviewed as important or extremely important to his or her overall fishing participation. The FISH program should continue because it is important to a segment of the Kansas angling population and provides additional fishing opportunities with minimal cost.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 9:00am - 9:20am
Grand Ballroom E

9:00am

Technical Session. Fish Community Response to a Restored Side Channel and Backwater Area on the Lower Platte River, Nebraska
AUTHORS: Caleb Uerling, Dr. Martin Hamel, Dr. Mark Pegg — University of Nebraska-Lincoln

ABSTRACT: Large river ecosystems are complex systems made up of a wide range of habitat types that support an abundance of biota. The existence of some of these habitat types (e.g., side channels, backwaters, and wetlands) is highly dependent on the rivers ability to interact with its floodplain. Many rivers around the world are being disconnected from their floodplain due to increased anthropogenic changes to the system. Restoring river connectivity to the floodplain after anthropogenic alteration is often a challenge and the success or failure of these projects can be dependent on a large number of variables ranging from habitat complexity to environmental influence. In this study, we examined the response of the fish community to a restored side channel on the lower Platte River, Nebraska. Specifically, we looked at how habitat variables such as discharge and temperature affect the fish community occupying the side channel. Following the reconnection of the side channel, the fish community assemblage shifted from few, mostly non-native species, to a diverse community of primarily native species. Despite the infancy of the reconnected side channel, an adjacent backwater area had a higher diversity of fish species than the side channel or the main stem Platte River, suggesting that different floodplain habitats may complement each other in providing benefits to large river systems. Continued monitoring will provide insight to determine the optimal type of off-channel habitats to construct for future mitigation projects.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 9:00am - 9:20am
Grand Ballroom C

9:00am

Technical Session. Growth Potential and Genetic Diversity of Yellow Perch (Perca flavescens) in South Dakota
AUTHORS: Alex J Rosburg, Department of Natural Resource Management, South Dakota State University; Brian G Blackwell, South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks; Steven R Chipps, U.S. Geological Survey, South Dakota State University Cooperative Fisheries Research Unit; Justin A VanDeHey, College of Natural Resources, University of Wisconsin Stevens Point; Wesley A Larson, U.S. Geological Survey, Wisconsin Cooperative Fisheries Research Unit

ABSTRACT:
Yellow perch (Perca flavescens) represent a valued sport fish throughout their range and are an important prey species for piscivorous fishes. In South Dakota, two distinct population types of Yellow Perch have been characterized that differ in growth, survival, and recruitment patterns. High quality populations exhibit fast growth, high mortality, low population densities, and inconsistent recruitment. In contrast, low quality populations are characterized by slow growth, low mortality, high population densities, and relatively consistent recruitment. The role of genetics in contributing to these population characteristics is currently unknown. To address these questions, we used a combination of laboratory and common garden growth experiments to compare relative growth and survival of age-0 yellow perch from the two population types. We then used high-throughput RAD sequencing to scan the yellow perch genome for genetic markers associated with population type. The laboratory and common garden experiments showed no significant differences between weight standardized specific growth rates of perch from the high and low quality populations. Results from the RAD sequencing revealed that population characteristics are not likely linked to genetic differences between population types. Thus, population attributes appear to be shaped more by biotic and abiotic attributes than heritable differences between populations.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 9:00am - 9:20am
Grand Ballroom B

9:00am

Technical Session. Selective Harvest: Evaluating Differences in Body Condition of Lesser Snow and Ross’s Geese by Harvest Technique During the Light Goose Conservation Order
AUTHORS: Drew N. Fowler, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Unit, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, University of Missouri; Mark P. Vrtiska, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission;Elisabeth B. Webb, U.S. Geological Survey, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Unit, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, University of Missouri

ABSTRACT: Despite the liberalizations of hunting regulations and implementation of a conservation order in 1999, current efforts appear ineffective in reducing lesser snow goose (Chen caerulescens caerulescens) and Ross’s goose (C. rossii) populations (“light geese”). One factor potentially contributing to continued population growth may be the inadvertent harvest of poorer conditioned birds more vulnerable to decoy tactics, thereby limiting the impact of sustainable population reduction. Thus, we examined potential differences in body condition of light geese harvested over decoys and geese from the general population that might provide insight for harvest susceptibility. Light geese were opportunistically collected over decoys and jump or pass shooting by hunters and researchers at peak spring migration through Arkansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Dakota during the 2015 Light Goose Conservation Order. Specimens were assessed for body condition using standard lipid and protein proximate analyses and were scaled to an adjusted body size using morphological measurements. We used generalized linear models to determine if variation in total lipid and protein levels among individuals was explained by harvest method, harvest region, adjusted body size, sex and age. Competitive models explaining variation in lesser snow goose body condition indicate an effect of harvest method on lipid levels as well as an interaction between harvest region and sex, suggesting that lipid level accumulation does not occur at the same rate between males and females among the sampled regions. Interestingly, competing models to explain variation in protein levels did not include harvest type but rather age, adjusted body size and region, where protein levels progressively decreased throughout migration. Therefore, lipid content alone is likely the best explanatory factor determining light goose harvest susceptibility over decoys. Finally, these data may elucidate potential tradeoffs between acquisition and storage of lipid and protein reserves for successful migration and breeding in arctic nesting geese.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 9:00am - 9:20am
Grand Ballroom D

9:20am

Symposia Session - S5: Playa Wetland Ecology. Predictions of Future Ephemeral Springtime Waterbird Stopover Habitat Availability Under Global Change
AUTHORS: Daniel R. Uden, Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Craig R. Allen, U.S. Geological Survey, Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Andrew A. Bishop, Rainwater Basin Joint Venture; Roger Grosse, Rainwater Basin Joint Venture; Christopher F. Jorgensen, Rainwater Basin Joint Venture; Theodore G. LaGrange, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission; Randy G. Stutheit, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission; Mark P. Vrtiska, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

ABSTRACT: In the present period of rapid, worldwide change in climate and landuse (i.e., global change), successful biodiversity conservation warrants proactive management responses, especially for long-distance migratory species. However, the development and implementation of management strategies can be impeded by high levels of uncertainty and low levels of control over potentially impactful future events and their effects. Scenario planning and modeling are useful tools for expanding perspectives and informing decisions under these conditions. We coupled scenario planning and statistical modeling to explain and predict playa wetland inundation (i.e., presence/absence of water) and ponded area (i.e., extent of water) in the Rainwater Basin, an anthropogenically-altered landscape that provides critical stopover habitat for migratory waterbirds. Inundation and ponded area models for total wetlands, those embedded in rowcrop fields, and those not embedded in rowcrop fields were trained and tested with wetland ponding data from 2004 and 2006–2009, and then used to make additional predictions under two alternative climate change scenarios for the year 2050, yielding a total of six predictive models and 18 prediction sets. Model performance ranged from moderate to good, with inundation models outperforming ponded area models, and models for non-rowcrop-embedded wetlands outperforming models for total wetlands and rowcrop-embedded wetlands. Model predictions indicate that if the temperature and precipitation changes assumed under our climate change scenarios occur, wetland stopover habitat availability in the Rainwater Basin could decrease in the future. The results of this and similar studies could be aggregated to increase knowledge about the potential spatial and temporal distributions of future stopover habitat along migration corridors, and to develop and prioritize multi-scale management actions aimed at mitigating the detrimental effects of global change on migratory waterbird populations.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 9:20am - 9:40am
Yankee Hill I/II

9:20am

Symposia Session - S6: Impact of Prescribed and Wild Fires on the Great Plains. Long-term Legacy Effects of a Mixed-severity Wildfire in Eastern Ponderosa Pine
AUTHORS: Caleb P. Roberts, Victoria M. Donovan - Department of Agronomy & Horticulture, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Craig R. Allen, USGS Nebraska Wildlife Cooperative Research Unit; Larkin Powell, School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Carissa Wonkka, Department of Agronomy & Horticulture, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; David G. Angeler, Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences; David Wedin, School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Dirac Twidwell, Department of Agronomy & Horticulture, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

ABSTRACT: Although one of the most-studied systems in the world, relatively little is known of the long-term legacy effects of extreme fire in Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) systems. We sought to identify and assess legacy effects of a severe wildfire by contrasting structural and community patterns across a burn severity gradient 27 years post-wildfire. We conducted our study within and adjacent to the burn perimeter of the 1989 Fort Robinson wildfire in Nebraska’s Pine Ridge region. At 56 sampling units across unburned, low severity, moderate severity, and high severity burn patches, we measured structural elements (tree density and coarse woody debris cover) and biological communities (shrub and bird). We detected legacy effects across a burn severity gradient in all observed structural and community elements. For all elements, high severity patches differed from unburned patches. Tree density and bird communities showed similar legacy effects, with distinct patterns between all severity types (P P=0.59). Coarse woody debris cover showed a dichotomous pattern: high and moderate severity patches were similar (P=0.44) but differed from low severity and unburned patches (PPP=0.76). Our study demonstrates that the diversity and heterogeneity fire creates in Ponderosa Pine systems can persist for multiple decades after the fire event. Multiple fires, with a gradient of burn severities, occurring at different times, likely create a shifting mosaic which acts to foster diverse, unique communities and enhance the spatiotemporal resilience of Ponderosa Pine systems across landscapes. To foster long-term structural and community diversity in Ponderosa Pine systems, land managers should allow a range of burn severities and consider the potential impacts of post-fire management practices, such as salvage logging, that may reduce variation amongst patches.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 9:20am - 9:40am
Arbor I/II

9:20am

Symposia Session - S7: Uncommon Techniques with Predators and Prey. Tackling Tubenose Gobies (Proterorhinus semilunaris): Lessons Learned from Diets of the Other Great Lakes Goby
AUTHORS: Kevin Keeler, Cooperative Ecosystems Studies Unit University of Toledo; Jason Fischer, University of Toledo; Jason Ross, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; Jason Barnucz, Fisheries & Oceans Canada; Michael Thomas, Michigan Department of Natural Resources; Zachary Fyke, Michigan State University; Tim O'Brien, U.S. Geological Survey-Great Lakes Science Center, Edward Roseman, U.S. Geological Survey-Great Lakes Science Center

ABSTRACT: Understanding the role of a newly introduced species in an ecosystem is an often complex issue, typically involving several years of studies to determine any detrimental impact to native species. The Laurentian Great Lakes has been a prime location for species invasion in the previous century. Diet analysis is one of several tools that provide a snapshot into potential prey and/or predators of these non-native species and competition with native species. The Tubenose Goby (Proterorhinus similunaris) was introduced into the Great Lakes from the Ponto-Caspian in the early 1990’s. Despite its invasion occurring concomitantly with Round Goby (Neogobius melanostomus), Tubenose Goby populations have remained low with minimal range expansion. Not surprisingly, a smaller population has meant little information exists regarding their diets and growth in the Great Lakes making it difficult to gauge its impact, if any, on the foodweb. During U.S. Geological Survey monitoring of nearshore fishes in the St. Clair-Detroit River System (SCDRS), beach seine collections occurred during summer 2014 within the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers. Age, growth, and diet data from Tubenose Goby was collected from the surveys within the SCDRS. CPUE was highest in the Middle Channel of the St. Clair River (16.4/haul) and at Gross Ile in the Detroit River (3.5/haul). For both rivers, total length ranged from 12 mm to 63 mm and was exponentially related to preserved weight. An otolith increment analysis indicated ages ranged from 0 to 6 years. Otolith length was positively linearly related to fish length, but fish length explained only 75% of the variability in age. Tubenose Goby diets consisted of a variety of benthic invertebrates and zooplankton accounting for a majority of food items by weight. Information presented builds upon the limited collection amount of Tubenose Goby data within the Great Lakes region.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 9:20am - 9:40am
Grand Ballroom A

9:20am

Technical Session. An Evaluation of Channel Catfish X Blue Catfish Hybrids in Two Small Kansas Impoundments
AUTHORS: Ben C. Neely, Sean T. Lynott, Jeff D. Koch - Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism

ABSTRACT: Channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus x Blue Catfish I. furcatus hybrids (hereinafter hybrid catfish) are increasingly being used in commercial aquaculture because they grow more rapidly and uniformly than Channel Catfish. Additionally, rapid growth of hybrid catfish in aquaculture allows 5 to 7-in fish to be stocked in fall as age-0 fish. This circumvents problems associated with overwintering Channel Catfish and stocking as age-1 fish. However, their application in recreational fisheries remains largely unknown. We stocked equal numbers of hybrid catfish and Channel Catfish in two small (approximately 100 surface acres) impoundments in southeast Kansas in 2013, 2014, and 2015 to evaluate retention of freeze brands, somatic growth, and relative body condition. Freeze brands were retained by nearly 80% of fish up to 15-in TL. Hybrid catfish reached 15-in TL as age-1 fish in fall or age-2 fish in spring. This was nearly one year sooner than Channel Catfish that reached 15-in TL as age-2 fish in fall or age-3 fish in spring. Weight at length did not differ for hybrid catfish and Channel Catfish up to 21-in TL. Results presented herein demonstrate that hybrid catfish might be suitable for stocking in Kansas waters when rapid growth is desired. However, Channel Catfish remain an important sport fish to Kansas Anglers. Social components of stocking hybrid catfish in place of Channel Catfish should be thoroughly evaluated.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 9:20am - 9:40am
Grand Ballroom B

9:20am

Technical Session. Contributors to Angler Satisfaction in the Southern Lake Michigan Fishery
AUTHORS: Elizabeth Golebie, Craig A. Miller - Illinois Natural History Survey

ABSTRACT: The heavily urbanized Illinois and Indiana shoreline of Lake Michigan supports a high angling population, which provides social and economic benefits to the surrounding communities, and has a noticeable impact on the lake ecosystem. As the IDNR continues to adjust and update management strategies, studies regarding angler satisfaction may provide another measure of success of the management plan and help predict angler responses to future changes in both the fish population and IDNR regulations. Additionally, in order to reverse the trend of declining angler effort, particularly in the yellow perch fishery, the variables that contribute to angler satisfaction, which may in turn predict angler behavior, must be understood. Our objective was to understand the factors that contribute to angler satisfaction in the southern Lake Michigan fishery. Our address list was assembled from contact information collected from anglers surveyed during the 2015 creel surveys conducted by the Illinois Natural History Survey and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Anglers who provided their email address were invited to participate in an internet survey run through Qualtrics, and anglers who provided their mailing address received a survey packet in the mail. Questions were identical on the mail and internet surveys and pertained to time spent fishing and species caught, perceptions of fish populations, satisfaction, management preferences, expenditures, and demographic information.  We used logistic regression models to examine the relative importance of variables that may influence satisfaction, including both activity-specific catch-related variables, and activity general components. We then compared the logistic regression models across angler subgroups. Understanding satisfaction variables in the Lake Michigan fishery can better inform management approaches that will maintain both a healthy fish population and a satisfied angler population.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 9:20am - 9:40am
Grand Ballroom E

9:20am

Technical Session. Count Bias and Disturbance of Waterfowl During Aerial Surveys
AUTHORS: Andrew D. Gilbert, Western Illinois University, Illinois Natural History Survey; Heath M. Hagy, Illinois Natural History Survey; Christopher N. Jacques, Western Illinois University; Aaron P. Yetter, Illinois Natural History Survey

ABSTRACT: Aerial waterfowl surveys have been conducted in the Illinois and Mississippi River floodplains since 1948.  These traditional surveys provide an index of waterfowl population size and are used to track migration events, set harvest regulations, and for research purposes.  New methods are being evaluated to estimate population size by randomizing survey locations and estimating count bias.  We used double sampling to determine a correction factor for waterfowl estimates during fall aerial surveys.  Immediately before an aerial survey, a ground observer surveyed waterfowl in predetermined locations from an elevated, unobstructed location where probability of detection was assumed to be 100%.  Aerial counts were divided by ground counts for all common species and foraging guilds to determine count bias.  Preliminary results indicate that mean detection rate for all waterfowl was 96.0% (SE=7%). Mean detection rate was 94.4% (SE=8%) for ducks, 105.2% (SE=11%) for dabbling ducks, 74.8% (SE=11%) for diving ducks, 53.3% (SE=8%) for mergansers, and 92.4% (SE=9%) for geese. Observers also documented disturbance to waterfowl caused by aerial surveys.  Preliminary findings indicated 18.4% (SE=2%) of waterfowl, 12.2% (SE=2%) of ducks, 11.5% (SE=2%) of dabbling ducks, 4.5% (SE=1%) of diving ducks, 13.0% (SE=3%) of mergansers, and 28.6% (SE=4%) of geese exhibited negative responses (i.e., flew short distances, swam away, changed behavior significantly) to aerial surveys.  Preliminary findings indicated that 5.5% (SE=2%) of waterfowl, 2.0% (SE=1%) of ducks, 1.2% (SE=1%) of dabbling ducks, 0.7% (SE=1%) of diving ducks, 4.3% (SE=1%) of mergansers, and 15.1% (SE=3%) of geese abandoned survey sites and did not return following aerial surveys.  With our findings, traditional aerial surveys conducted in the Mississippi and Illinois River floodplains can be adjusted for count bias and compared with population estimates from randomized surveys to compare cost and time efficiency of aerial survey techniques.  

Tuesday February 7, 2017 9:20am - 9:40am
Grand Ballroom D

9:20am

Technical Session. Origin and Movement Patterns of Channel Catfish Within a Large-river Network: An Otolith Microchemistry Approach
AUTHORS: Jonathan Spurgeon, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Mark Pegg, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Norman Halden, University of Manitoba

ABSTRACT: Variation in movement and source of immigrants among habitats is fundamental to understanding population structure and differing life-history strategies of large-river fishes inhabiting riverine-networks. We evaluated movement and natal origin of channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus between main-stem and tributary environments using otolith microchemistry. We assessed both water and otolith chemistries using univariate and multivariate statistical approaches. Water and otolith chemistries differed among river segments, and channel catfish were correctly classified to environment of capture between 75% and 96% of the time. We also assessed natal origins of channel catfish, and 92% were predicted to be of tributary origin. Movement behaviors suggested the channel catfish population consisted of a combination of non-migrants, migrants that return to natal environments, and random dispersers. Changes in the otolith microchemistry signatures of channel catfish suggests connectivity among main-stem and tributary environments, and indicate tributaries may support demographic processes at large-spatial scales. Consideration of the importance of habitats in both main-stem and tributary systems at different life-stages may, therefore, benefit conservation and management of large-river fishes. 

Tuesday February 7, 2017 9:20am - 9:40am
Grand Ballroom C

9:40am

Symposia Session - S6: Impact of Prescribed and Wild Fires on the Great Plains. A Vanishing Grassland Biome: Consequences and Innovative Solutions
AUTHORS: Dirac Twidwell, University of Nebraska

ABSTRACT: Long-term and tightly coupled interactions among climate, vegetation, fire, herbivores, and humans are responsible for the creation and maintenance of the grasslands that typify the Great Plains biome, but changes to these interactions are leading to a biome-level shift from grassland to woodland. Many woody plant species in the Great Plains have the propensity to resprout following defoliation. However, the biome shift from grassland to woodland is primarily associated with the encroachment of two non-resprouting, fire-sensitive trees, Ashe juniper (Juniperus ashei) and Eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana). I discuss the profound impacts of Juniperus invasion to biodiversity and other ecosystem services valued in the Great Plains. I then discuss the problems of scale that are preventing contemporary management approaches from successfully managing Juniperus invasions, and the innovative solutions that are emerging to conserve remaining grasslands and to restore those grasslands that have been converted to Juniperus woodland.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 9:40am - 10:00am
Arbor I/II

9:40am

Technical Session. Analyzing Social Capital and Participation in Commons: A Case Study from Nanasawa Satoyama Landscape Japan
AUTHORS: Bidur Khadka, Ph.D. candidate, Yokohama National University, Japan

ABSTRACT: Commons are usually referred as resources where a large number of people have access. Those resources may be oceanic ecosystem from which fish can harvest or a forest from which timber or different forest products can harvest. Hardin purposes a theory to manage the commons, as local people doesn’t have the capacity to manage the commons so there needs to centrally force regulation or privatize the common pool resources. But Elinor Ostrom came with the completely different idea to manage the commons. She purposes “people are able to govern the commons on the sustainable way by appropriate governance and institution with no or little enforcing from government”. This research paper explores the pattern of social capital, participation, and co-management in Nanasawa satoyama area, Japan. It also explores different forms of governance model which were adopted by local people based on local people vision and criteria. The objective of this research is to analyze social capital and participation Nanasawa satoyama conservation area. This study will explore the different forms of social capital and participation in satoyama area. Nanasawa satoyama is not confined with the only biodiversity but it’s a place to conserve culture and a good example of management of governance and institution. Local people have deep emotional value with lots of inspiration and collectivity of social capital. It has also found that coordination between government, volunteer and a local action group was very strong. The trust in between the group was also high with good cooperation. It has also observed that Nanasawa satoyama has a culture of working together, bringing traditional and scientific knowledge together, encourage participation, revitalize the natural resources and use of natural resources and organic food.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 9:40am - 10:00am
Grand Ballroom E

9:40am

Technical Session. Modeling Transition Rates of Sandhill Cranes Using a Multi-state Model and Estimating Population Trends with N-mixture Models
AUTHORS: Mike Wheeler, Tim Van Deelen - University of Wisconsin, Madison; Jeb Barzen, International Crane Foundation


ABSTRACT: Long-term trends in Midwestern sandhill crane populations indicate positive growth despite much yearly variability, and continued monitoring will be required for effective management. This study is being conducted to explore relationships between life-history stage and recruitment in sandhill crane populations, as well as to estimate the size of the study population. Since 1990, the International Crane Foundation (Baraboo, Wisconsin) has collected long-term re-sightings data on territorial and non-territorial sandhill cranes in southcentral Wisconsin. We used these data in a multi-state model to estimate survival and state-transition probabilities of different demographic groups. Primary sessions were on an annual basis, with observations being recorded during the breeding and chick rearing seasons. State variables were Territorial and Non-territorial, and classifying birds in either category was based on behaviors observed during re-sightings. Results suggest high annual survival rates (~90%) and low annual rates of territory acquisition or loss (~5%). N-mixture models were used to estimate population size with visual observation data independent of the mark-resight models. With estimates of population trends through time, we calibrated our matrix model to produce more realistic estimates of recruitment. Preliminary results suggest that survival of territorial adults and their continued tenure on territory have appreciable effects on growth rate – hence availability of suitable territories may regulate growth rates. Consequently, management of crane populations in the Midwest may depend on creating habitats that support territory establishment.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 9:40am - 10:00am
Grand Ballroom D

9:40am

Technical Session. Movement of Spotted Bass and Shorthead Redhorse in the Highly Flow Regulated Lower Osage River, Missouri
AUTHORS: Elisa Baebler, Craig Paukert - Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit

ABSTRACT: Streamflow on the Lower Osage River in Missouri is regulated by Bagnell Dam, a hydroelectric facility located 132 km upstream of the confluence with the Missouri River. The discharge released from the dam fluctuates daily and water depth can rise and fall 5 m, resulting in dynamic habitat conditions. This study used radio telemetry to track the daily movement of Spotted Bass and Shorthead Redhorse during high flow, low flow, and changing flow conditions. Twenty-three fish of each species were implanted with radio transmitters in March 2016 in a reach approximately 19 river km downstream of the dam. Fish movement was tracked by boat four times per month during daylight hours. Preliminary results from spring and summer 2016 show that the median movement rate of Spotted Bass was 11 m/hr in the spring and 16 m/hr in the summer. Shorthead Redhorse movement rates in the spring were 41 m/hr and were 23 m/hr in the summer. Movement rate and displacement varied between individual fish within both species and was highly variable among flow conditions. The results of this study can be used to determine the impacts of season and discharge on fish movement in the Lower Osage River and can inform managers about fish response to environmental change.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 9:40am - 10:00am
Grand Ballroom C

9:40am

Technical Session. Quantification of Daily Otolith Increments in Young of Year Asian Carp
AUTHORS: Emily A. Szott, James T. Lamer - Department of Biological Sciences, Western Illinois University; James H. Larson, Brent Knights, Jon Vallazza - Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center, U.S. Geological Survey; Levi Solomon, Andrew Casper - Illinois River Biological Station, Illinois Natural History Survey; Rich Pendleton, Hudson River Estuary Program/Cornell University, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation; Jun Wang, Shanghai Ocean University

ABSTRACT: Silver and bighead carp are invasive species established throughout the Mississippi River Basin. Many studies and resources have been dedicated to their management. However, information on hydrological spawning triggers and growth of young of year Asian carp is still lacking. Here, daily incremental growth annuli from otoliths are used to estimate birth and growth of young of year Asian carp. We collected young of year Asian carp from the LaGrange Reach of the Illinois River following a spawning event in August 2014. Total length of each fish was measured, and the fish separated into 5 mm length groups (15-79 mm). Otoliths were extracted, mounted to slides, polished, photographed, and aged. Otolith microstructure was validated using young of year Asian carp from Chinese aquaculture. Preliminary results show the collected Asian carp range from 32 to 103 days old, placing their birthdays between April 25 and July 5, 2014. Validation determined that 10-20 day old fish can accurately be aged within ±1.4 days, and 30-50 day old fish can accurately be aged within ±4 days. Further study of age will help determine spawning periodicity and hydrological spawning triggers. Ultimately, the ability to determine daily growth rates of young of year Asian carp will help in the management of these invasive species.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 9:40am - 10:00am
Grand Ballroom B

10:00am

10:20am

Symposia Session - S5: Playa Wetland Ecology. Is Food Availability a Limited Resource for Waterfowl During Spring Migration? An Energetic Assessment of Playas in Nebraska’s Rainwater Basin
AUTHORS: Travis J Schepker, University of Missouri; Ted LaGrange, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission; Elisabeth Webb, U.S. Geological Survey, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit

ABSTRACT: Despite a 90% decrease in wetland habitats and ongoing degradation from urban and agricultural land use, Nebraska’s Rainwater Basin (RWB) serves as a critical staging area for migratory waterfowl using the Central Flyway. During spring, waterfowl rely on playa wetlands in the RWB for opportunities to acquire energy and protein needed to complete migration and initiate egg production. Given the RWB’s annual role in sustaining relatively large waterfowl densities with limited wetland habitat, it is necessary that conservation managers obtain accurate estimates of wetland derived food resource availability to calculate energetic carrying capacity. Previous efforts estimated food density on actively managed public wetlands, however there is limited information on food density estimates at passively managed private wetlands which account for over 50% of the RWBs total wetland inventory or private wetlands that are routinely farmed. We assessed spring food availability for dabbling ducks at public, cropped, and Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) wetlands in the RWB during 2014 and 2015. Overall, seed density was greatest in cropped wetlands (mean= 608kg/ha), followed by public (mean= 590kg/ha), and finally WRP wetlands (mean= 561kg/ha). Energetic quality (true metabolizable energy) for available forage was also greatest at cropped wetlands (mean= 2.3kcal/g), followed by WRP (mean= 1.8kcal/g), and finally public wetlands (mean= 1.7kcal/g). Forage density in the RWB appears comparable to other landscape scale studies at similar latitudes, however energetic quality of forage produced was significantly less than the estimate currently used by managers in the RWB (2.5kcal/g). To our knowledge this is the only study that has evaluated these metrics at wetlands enrolled in WRP during spring. Given the relatively favorable seed production observed in this study, conservation and inundation of WRP and cropped wetlands may be a viable option to increase energetic carrying capacity for dabbling ducks in other regions.


Tuesday February 7, 2017 10:20am - 10:40am
Yankee Hill I/II

10:20am

Symposia Session - S6: Impact of Prescribed and Wild Fires on the Great Plains. Changing Wildfire Trajectories and Future Implications for Great Plains Ecosystems
AUTHORS: Victoria Donovan, Carissa Wonkka, Dirac Twidwell - University of Nebraska-Lincoln

ABSTRACT: Large wildfires are increasing across the globe, dramatically altering the structure and function of terrestrial ecosystems. Understanding changes in the trajectory of wildfire regimes is thus crucial for managing ecological systems in the future. Evidence suggests that wildfires are increasing in portions of central North America, an area where large wildfires have been largely absent or rare over the last century. We assessed changes in large wildfire (>400 ha) regimes in the Great Plains of the United States using 30-years of large wildfire monitoring data. The number and size of large wildfires surged in the Great Plains in the last decade. For the entire biome, an average of only 33.4
+ 5.6 large wildfires occurred each year from 1985-1994, whereas mean annual large wildfire occurrence increased to 116.8
+ 5.5 wildfires per year from 2005-2014. Changes in the number of wildfires occurred the most in southern and western-central ecoregions. Total acres burned by large wildfires increased approximately 400% over the last three decades, with the most rapid increases occurring along the entire western edge of the Great Plains biome. The probability of wildfire occurrence and seasonal shifts in wildfires also show novel departures in the most recent decade, but those changes are manifesting most rapidly in the southeastern and northeastern ecoregions, respectively. In this paper, we discuss how the changing trajectory of wildfire in the Great Plains biome needs to be considered as part of future wildlife conservation planning.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 10:20am - 10:40am
Arbor I/II

10:20am

Symposia Session - S7: Uncommon Techniques with Predators and Prey. Using Stable C and N Isotopes to Characterize Large-scale Spatial and Temporal Variation in the Diets of Lake Michigan Fishes
AUTHORS: Ben Turschak, Harvey Bootsma — Univeristy of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, School of Freshwater Sciences

ABSTRACT: Nutrient abatement measures and the invasion of dreissenid mussels in Lake Michigan have coincided with major declines in offshore productivity and a redirection of nutrients and energy to nearshore areas. As a consequence, much greater research and management emphasis has been placed on understanding the role of nearshore areas in Laurentian Great Lake food webs.  We used stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes to elucidate differences in primary energetic source and trophic level of Lake Michigan fish species from 2010-2012 across 8 nearshore and 3 offshore study sites.  In order to assess diet shifts during the period of dreissenid mussel proliferation and major ecosystem changes, we compared the 2010-2012 dataset with a dataset from 2002-2003—prior to dreissenid proliferation. Results suggest that local productivity processes—measured using remote sensing techniques—as well as regional diet differences correlate strongly with large scale spatial variation in nearshore fish C isotopes.  Stable N isotope ratios varied little spatially suggesting that allochthonus N loading plays little direct role in Lake Michigan’s nearshore foodweb structure.  Magnitude and direction of the C isotope shift from 2002-2003 to 2010-2012 indicated significantly greater reliance upon nearshore benthic energy sources among nearly all fish taxa as well as profundal invertebrates. We propose that the carbon isotope shift has likely resulted from the offshore transport of nearshore benthic algal production, direct reliance upon nearshore prey items, or some combination of both. N isotopic changes over time were more variable but further illustrate restructuring of the Lake Michigan food web.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 10:20am - 10:40am
Grand Ballroom A

10:20am

Technical Session. Development of a Fish-Based IBI for Lakes in Eastern South Dakota
AUTHORS: Daniel Nelson, Dr. Melissa Wuellner, Dr. Nels Troelstrup - South Dakota State University; Dr. Brian Blackwell, South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks

ABSTRACT: Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) was developed as a means to assess the biological impact of water quality issues in U.S. waters.  Most IBIs used today are fish-based and have been developed for lotic systems but few have been developed for lentic systems.  In South Dakota, 15% of lakes do not presently meet beneficial uses, and this number may increase due to more recent land conversion activity within watersheds on the eastern side of the state. The goal of this study is to develop a fish-based lake IBI for eastern South Dakota lakes using extant annual standardized gill and trap nets data collected by the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks from 58 lakes. Fish were categorized into metric classes reflecting their tolerance to disturbance. A suite of 63 potential metrics were evaluated for how each responded to various degrees of human disturbance occurring within watersheds. Preliminary analysis indicated that six metrics (e.g., abundance of native Centrarchidae, percent insectivores, percent moderately tolerant species, percent top carnivores, and richness of Cyrpinidae)best described levels of disturbance between lakes. Future analysis will examine/confirm the use of these metrics for the rapid bioassessment of ecosystem persistence. 

Tuesday February 7, 2017 10:20am - 10:40am
Grand Ballroom B

10:20am

Technical Session. In Pursuit of a Silver Bullet: Does Standardized Sampling Need to Accommodate Seasonal and Regional Influences on Fish Richness Across Large Rivers of Missouri?
AUTHORS: Corey Dunn, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia; Craig Paukert, US Geological Survey, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia

ABSTRACT: Fish richness patterns are largely unknown in Missouri’s “mid-sized” rivers interspaced between wadeable streams and the great rivers. Our objective was to develop standardized fish sampling protocols for these rivers. We conducted 35 surveys across nine sites and two regions (Ozarks, Plains). We used six active and passive gears to repeatedly sample sites in spring, summer, and fall from summer 2014 – spring 2016. We asked, 1) Does fish richness vary seasonally and between regions? 2) Were gears similarly effective across seasons and regions? and 3) Can efficiency be improved by minimizing redundancy among gears? We assessed gear effectiveness via species-accumulation curves (i.e., effort vs. percentage of detected richness). We used Monte-Carlo simulation to reduce the full protocol into the most efficient nested combinations of gear and effort that still detected high levels of richness. Average richness per site ranged from 31–49 species in the Plains and 47–71 in the Ozarks, which was approximately 200–300% of the historical average richness reported per survey within each region. While assemblage composition changed seasonally, species richness remained constant (mean richness ± 90% confidence interval: spring = 50.1 ± 7.9, summer = 50.6 ± 9.5, fall = 51.1 ± 9.4). Species-accumulation curves constructed by combining all gears were asymptotic indicating nearly all species were detected during each survey; however, the most effective single gear (boat electrofishing), on average only detected 60% of richness. Protocols emphasizing electrofishing, seining, fyke nets, and benthic trawling minimized redundancy among gears. For example, the most efficient protocols for detecting 75% and 90% of species richness with 95% confidence only required 30% and 59% of initial survey effort, respectively. Overall, findings demonstrated richness was spatially variable but seasonally consistent. Despite logistical challenges, standardized monitoring within mid-sized rivers is achievable, but will require an efficient and diversified approach.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 10:20am - 10:40am
Grand Ballroom C

10:20am

Technical Session. Inland Fisheries Habitat Management: Lessons Learned from Wildlife Ecology and a Proposal for Change
AUTHORS: Greg G. Sass, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Andrew L. Rypel, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Joshua D. Stafford, U.S. Geological Survey

ABSTRACT: The habitat concept in inland fisheries has been less studied than wildlife ecology.  Since 1950, the cumulative number of publications about “freshwater or inland habitat and fisheries management” has been 60-95% less than those considering “habitat and wildlife management”.  The number of publications about “marine, river, and stream habitat and fisheries management” has also generally exceeded those for “lake habitat and fisheries management”.  We provide a perspective comparing inland fish and wildlife habitat management systems and highlight lessons from wildlife ecology that could benefit inland fisheries.  We reason that wildlife habitat management has become widespread and accepted because humans share habitats with wildlife and positive/negative responses to habitat restorations/loss are directly observable.  We recommend that inland fisheries habitat studies and restorations include opportunities for humans to directly observe the ecological benefits of such practices.  To support aquatic habitat management efforts, we suggest dedicated funding solutions be considered to mitigate aquatic habitat loss. In theory, such a system would provide benefits to inland fish populations that parallel those provided to wildlife through state and federal stamps.  Although aquatic habitat conservation and restoration may not solve management issues as rapidly, it will promote long-term sustainability and resiliency of diverse inland fish populations.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 10:20am - 10:40am
Grand Ballroom E

10:20am

Technical Session. Range Overlap Between Mid-Continent and Eastern Populations of Sandhill Cranes Revealed Through GPS Tracking
AUTHORS: David Wolfson, University of Minnesota; John Fieberg, Department of Fisheries, University of Minnesota; Tom Cooper, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Jeff Lawrence, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; David Andersen, Minnesota Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit

ABSTRACT: Sandhill cranes are long-lived birds with relatively low recruitment rates, making accurate knowledge of abundance and distribution critical for well-informed harvest management. Minnesota is the only state to contain breeding populations of both the Eastern Population (EP) and Mid-Continent Population (MCP) of greater sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis tabida). Historically, the breeding range of MCP cranes in Minnesota was restricted to the extreme northwestern portion of the state, whereas the breeding range of EP cranes was limited to the east-central part of the state with a large area of separation between the two populations. Whereas MCP cranes have exhibited stable population estimates over time, EP cranes are currently experiencing a significant increase in population size and a concurrent increase in breeding range. Our objectives were to evaluate the current range boundaries of the 2 populations and to determine the extent of overlap on their breeding, staging, and wintering grounds. We captured and attached Global Positioning System-Global System for Mobile Communications (GPS-GSM) transmitters to 50 cranes in the zone between the historical breeding range boundaries of the 2 populations during April-November of 2014 and 2015. Movements of captured cranes revealed that the EP has greatly expanded its range while the MCP has experienced more moderate range expansion. Results of this study provide the first documentation of overlap between the breeding ranges of EP and MCP sandhill cranes. Our results also suggest that staging areas in northwestern Minnesota are being used by both populations and there is overlap in migration corridors, as evidenced by a crane that used both the Mississippi and Central flyways.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 10:20am - 10:40am
Grand Ballroom D

10:40am

Symposia Session - S5: Playa Wetland Ecology. Anatid Forage Preferences, Habitat Use and Distribution Patterns During Spring Migration in the Rainwater Basin, Nebraska
AUTHORS: Jeff Drahota, Dustin Casady, Mery Casady - U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

ABSTRACT: We evaluated ingested items of ducks feeding in Rainwater Basin wetlands for 6 different duck species (n=471) that are locally abundant during spring migration.  Ingested items were identified to genus and weighed. The most frequently consumed items were wetland-derived seeds (73.7 ± 1.8% aggregate mass).  Invertebrates consumed infrequently with only 1.4% aggregate mass consumed by all ducks. PRE seed mass available for all wetlands sampled was 635.6 ± 58.8 kg/ha.  Removed seed mass (POST migration) correlated to the amount of mass available (r2 = 0.605, P = 0.0001) prior to spring migration. Mean seed abundance across wetlands sampled was 3.14 ± 0.39 seeds/cm2. The most abundant seeds found were annual smartweeds (23.8%) and sedges (21.1%). The numbers of seeds removed was also correlated to the number of seeds available (r2 = 0.320, P = 0.0007) and the mean number of seeds removed from all wetlands available (ponding depth >0.5 - 2. Significantly more seeds were removed (Z = -4.33, P = 0.0001) from annual stands (  = 3.83 ± 0.54 seeds/cm2) than from perennial stands (  = 0.69 ± 0.48 seeds/cm2). Duck body condition did not influence dietary preference for any species or either sex (n=220 hens and 251 males) within species. Ducks appear to focus on the most efficient foraging habitats (many seeds available) during spring stopover. Wetland management is used to increase wetland-derived energy available for waterfowl creating efficient foraging patches yet many wetlands never pond water during spring migration.  We recommend future conservation delivery programs focus on implementing wetland restoration practices that increase ponding frequency during spring migration so that more energy is available to waterfowl that will provide more opportunities to forage efficiently, and therefore support population objectives identified in the North American Waterfowl Management Plan.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 10:40am - 11:00am
Yankee Hill I/II

10:40am

Symposia Session - S6: Impact of Prescribed and Wild Fires on the Great Plains. Thermal Imaging of Fires to Better Understand Fire-Vegetation-Wildlife Interactions
AUTHORS: Christine Bielski, Dirac Twidwell - University of Nebraska-Lincoln

ABSTRACT: Heterogeneity in plant composition and structure across multiple spatiotemporal scales is fundamental to maintaining wildlife populations. Grassland birds, for example, are a major conservation concern of the 21st century that rely on structural heterogeneity to create a variety of habitat types necessary for high levels of diversity. The relationship between spatial heterogeneity and diversity is also evident in many small mammal and insect populations. Disturbances, such as fire, create heterogeneity in plant composition and structure. Fine-scale variability in fire intensity and severity can also lead to landscape-level changes in vegetation over time. However, technological limitations exist in our current approach to quantifying fine-scale variability in fire behavior across large areas. This study examines the potential for infrared technology to improve the amount and resolution of spatial fire behavior data in experimental landscapes. We use a LumaSense MC320LHT Thermal Imager that detects temperatures ranging from 200°C to 1600°C. In collaboration with LumaSpec RT software, fire behavior can be monitored every half second for a 320 x 240 cell array where the dimensions of each cell may range from sub-meter to thousands of meters. For a given fire, a real-time infrared video as well as hundreds of millions of temperature readings may be archived for later use and analysis. We aim to use this information to better understand fine-scale fire behavior and it’s impacts on vegetation structure across multiple scales. Such information is fundamental to improving our use of prescribed fire to promote habitat necessary for sustaining wildlife populations.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 10:40am - 11:00am
Arbor I/II

10:40am

Symposia Session - S7: Uncommon Techniques with Predators and Prey. Continued Utilization of Diporeia by Benthivores: A Diet Comparison of Lake Huron Deepwater Sculpin, 2003 to 2014
AUTHORS: Dustin A. Bowser, USGS Great Lakes Science Center; Patricia A. Thompson, Division of Forestry and Natural Resources, West Virginia University; Kevin M. Keeler, Cooperative Ecosystems Studies Unit, University of Toledo; Timothy P. O'Brien, USGS Great Lakes Science Center; Stephen Riley, USGS Great Lakes Science Center; Ed Roseman, USGS Great Lakes Science Center

ABSTRACT: Monitoring changes in diets of fish is essential to understanding how food web dynamics respond to changes in native prey abundances. In the Great Lakes, Diporeia, a benthic macroinvertebrate and primary food of native benthivores, declined following the introduction of invasive Dreissena mussels and these changes were reflected in fish diets. We examined the diets of deepwater sculpin Myoxocephalus thompsonii collected in bottom trawls during 2010-2014 in the main basin of Lake Huron, and compared these results to an earlier diet study (2003-2005) to assess if their diets have continued to change after a prolonged period of Dreissena mussel invasion and declined Diporeia densities. Diporeia, Mysis, Bythotrephes, and Chironomidae were consumed regularly and other diet items included ostracods, copepods, sphaerid clams, and fish eggs. The prey-specific index of relative importance calculated for each prey group indicated that Mysis importance increased at shallow (≤55 m) and mid (64-73 m) depths, while Diporeia importance increased offshore (≥82 m). The average number of Diporeia consumed per fish increased by 10.0% and Mysis decreased by 7.5%, while the frequency of occurrence of Diporeia and Mysis remained comparable between time periods. The weight of adult deepwater sculpin (80 mm and 100 mm TL bins) increased between time periods; however, the change in weight was only significant for the 80 mm TL group (p < 0.01). Given the historical importance of Diporeia in the Great Lakes, the examination of deepwater sculpin diets provides unique insight into the trophic dynamics of the benthic community in Lake Huron.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 10:40am - 11:00am
Grand Ballroom A

10:40am

Technical Session. Latitudinal Trends in the Age and Growth of Freshwater Drum Along the Mississippi River
AUTHORS: Joshua Abner, Tyler Ham, Edward Sterling - Southeast Missouri State University; Quinton Phelps, Missouri Department of Conservation

ABSTRACT: Effects of latitude are present in age and growth data for multiple groups of organisms, including fishes.  Widely distributed species are subject to broad environmental gradients with differences in temperature, light, and growing season length, which translate to variations in the dynamic rate functions of populations (i.e., recruitment, growth, mortality).  To persist under broad conditions, populations must exhibit substantial morphological, physiological, and genetic differences.  When evaluating wide geographic distributions of fishes in a large river system, one particular interest is the effect of latitude on growth and body size.  Bergmann’s Rule states that as latitude increases, body size increases.  Equally, the Converse of Bergmann’s Rule states that as latitude increases, body size decreases.  The goal of this study was to investigate effects of latitude on age and growth of Freshwater Drum (Aplodinotus grunniens) in the Mississippi River. 715 specimens were collected from 1992-1996 along a broad latitudinal range of the river at each of the six Long Term Resource Monitoring (LTRM) field stations. From our analyses, we determined that drum from northern locations grow slower, and are consequently smaller at each age class than their southern counterparts.  One potential hypothesis to explain these results relates to colder water temperatures and shorter growing seasons in more northern latitudes. This research has significant implications for understanding Freshwater Drum population dynamics in the Mississippi River.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 10:40am - 11:00am
Grand Ballroom C

10:40am

Technical Session. Population Dynamics of Flathead Catfish in Lake Mitchell, South Dakota
AUTHORS: David Lucchesi, South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks; Matthew Wagner, Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, & Parks; Tanner Stevens, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; Brian Graeb, South Dakota State University

ABSTRACT: The unauthorized introduction of flathead catfish (Pylodictis olivaris) into Lake Mitchell presented a unique opportunity to study the population dynamics of this species in a South Dakota impoundment.  We collected flathead catfish using daytime low frequency electrofishing during nine sampling events from June 2013 through June 2015 to examine population characteristics including abundance, recruitment, mortality, growth, condition, and diet.  We were most effective at collecting flathead catfish in the month of June, and catch per hour (CPUE) increased with the addition of a chase boat.  The number of flathead catfish in Lake Mitchell was estimated at 1,348 individuals (95% CI = 459-1,455; density = 4.97/ha) in 2014 and 1,197 individuals (95% CI = 931-1,461; density = 4.42/ha) in 2015.  Individuals from 12 year classes ranging from 1 to 13 years old were present. The population exhibited consistent recruitment, and annual mortality was estimated at 39%.  Flathead catfish grew quickly exceeding stock length at age-3 and quality length at age-5; however, growth slowed in 2015.  Similarly, condition of substock and stock-quality length fish declined in 2014 and 2015, respectively.  The decline in growth and condition coincided with the recruitment of a large year class in 2012 and may be an early indicator of intraspecific competition.  Diets of Lake Mitchell flathead catfish primarily consisted of crayfish (Orconectes spp.) and fish, mostly Centrarchidae.  Based on our findings, we believe that the Lake Mitchell flathead catfish population is in its growth phase, possibly close to carrying capacity. Future studies are necessary to assess if this population will eventually experience a decline in growth and abundance similar to other introduced flathead catfish populations.   

Tuesday February 7, 2017 10:40am - 11:00am
Grand Ballroom B

10:40am

Technical Session. The Art of Conservation Planning for Waterfowl in the Midwest – Does It Matter How We Allocate Our Resources?
AUTHORS: Heath M. Hagy, J. Conner England, Joshua M. Osborn, Aaron P. Yetter, Jeffrey M. Levengood, Margaret Kenna*; Illinois Natural History Survey, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

ABSTRACT: State and Federal Agencies, non-profit organizations, and other entities have processes for allocating wildlife habitat resources across the landscape. For example, the Upper Mississippi River and Great Lakes Region Joint Venture establishes habitat objectives for non-breeding waterfowl in the Midwest using daily ration models to estimate energetic carrying capacity.  Agencies and other conservation partners use these stepped-down habitat objectives to prioritize wetland restoration, enhancement, and creation activities.  Although much progress has been made in the 30 years since the North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP) was implemented, agencies still struggle to allocate habitat conservation activities in locations and at scales where birds can respond to and maximally benefit from wetland conservation actions.  We conducted research on lesser scaup (Aythya affinis) to develop a predictive model to simulate their response to habitat conservation activities on the landscape.  The continental lesser scaup population declined by more than 40% from the late 1970s to the mid-2000s, and currently the breeding population is still 20% below the NAWMP goal.  Research indicates that poor condition of females resulting from inadequate food sources during spring migration may be contributing to reduced populations.  We determined food density and foraging behavior at foraging and random locations in wetlands across the Midwest during spring migration 2012–2015 to better understand the response of lesser scaup to food densities.  Using this information, we created an individual-based model to predict how lesser scaup would respond to habitat enhancement and creation along the Illinois River, an important spring migration stopover site in the Midwest. We will demonstrate how conservation planners can use this model to evaluate the habitat conservation activities before expending valuable resources to maximize benefit for lesser scaup.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 10:40am - 11:00am
Grand Ballroom D

11:00am

Symposia Session - S5: Playa Wetland Ecology. Modeling Nonbreeding Distributions of Wetland Birds in Response to Climate Change
AUTHORS: Gordon C. Reese, Susan K. Skagen - U.S. Geological Survey

ABSTRACT: To assess species vulnerability to climate change and identify areas that may contribute to a robust conservation network, we developed species distribution models of several en route migratory shorebirds and wintering waterfowl across the southern Great Plains of North America. We used Random Forests and data from eBird, a citizen-science program, to model bird distributions relative to latitude, calendar date, land-use, wetland area, terrain ruggedness, and time-matched weather data. We compared probabilities of occurrence in ‘model space’ by projecting models to five representative models from the fifth phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) for the time periods 1981-2010 (hindcast) and 2041-2070 (forecast). At the regional extent, differences in ensemble (averages across climate models) probabilities of shorebird occurrence ranged from -0.015 to 0.045 among species, and relatively large increases in the probability of occurrence were predicted early in spring migration. Additionally, the models predicted spatial shifts for several shorebird species. Species using the western and northern portion of the study area exhibited the greatest likelihood of declines, whereas species with a more easterly distribution had the greatest predicted increase in probability of occurrence. Averaged across the entire region, the probability of occurrence of wintering mallards and northern pintail are expected to increase by 0.046 and 0.061, respectively, with northward shifts apparent for both species. We illustrate a conservation application of our methods by evaluating the predicted changes within individual protected areas. When incorporated into partner land-management decision tools, results at regional and local extents can be used to identify wetland complexes with the greatest potential to support wetland birds in the nonbreeding season under a wide range of possible climate scenarios.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 11:00am - 11:20am
Yankee Hill I/II

11:00am

Symposia Session - S6: Impact of Prescribed and Wild Fires on the Great Plains. Laws Drive Biome-level Transformation of Grassland to Eastern Redcedar Forest
AUTHORS: Carissa L Wonkka, Dirac Twidwell - University of Nebraska - Lincoln

ABSTRACT: Eastern redcedar is invading open grasslands, where it has previously been rare, across vast portions of the Great Plains. This biome-level transformation has precipitated declines in many grassland-obligate species across multiple trophic levels. Many grassland avian species are not found in areas with greater than 10% redcedar cover and grassland transition to forest is viewed as one of the leading causes for the decline of prairie grouse species. This transformation has been linked to a reduction in the intensity and spatial extent of fires following European settlement of the Great Plains. However, the extent of cedar invasion varies across the region. We hypothesize that this variability is largely driven by differences in societal norms and policies regarding fire use, which determine conditions under which fire management can occur and the resulting range in fire intensities and scales of application available for meeting management goals. We developed a simulation model to explore the influence of laws and policies on Eastern redcedar invasion in the Great Plains. This modeling exercise identified laws and policies that influence fire management as major drivers of the transition from grassland to redcedar forest. For instance: 1) stringent liability standards decrease the number of managers who are willing to burn, thereby decreasing the spatial extent of fire in an area and allowing greater spread of redcedar into uninvaded areas 2) burning restrictions during periods of drought limit opportunities to burn under conditions where high fire intensities and attendant reductions in cover of mature redcedar can be acheived. Understanding the effects of laws and policies on redcedar invasion is necessary to assess trade-offs associated with legislatively limiting the scale and intensity of fire available to mangers and to avoid unintended consequences when developing legislation aimed at protecting grassland species.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 11:00am - 11:20am
Arbor I/II

11:00am

Technical Session. Effects of Competition, Predation, and Environment on Recruitment of a Pelagic Forage Fish, Lake Herring Coregonus Artedi, in a Missouri River Reservoir
AUTHORS: Nicholas Kludt, South Dakota State University; Mark Fincel, South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks; Eli Felts, South Dakota State University; Brian Graeb, South Dakota State University

ABSTRACT: Recruitment is influenced by both biotic and abiotic pressures, but questions remain about the relative magnitude of these influences. We examined how Lake Herring Coregonus artedi year class strength was affected by two predators (Walleye Sander vitreus, Chinook Salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and a competitor (Rainbow Smelt Osmerus mordax). Walleye were assessed using standard gill net survey CPUE, and Lake Herring, Chinook Salmon and Rainbow Smelt were assessed using hydroacoustics. We also evaluated the effects of ice-up, ice-out, temperature, overwinter reservoir drawdown, and annual discharge on Lake Herring year class strength. The a priori AIC multi-model analysis revealed increased Lake Herring year class strength, defined using catch-curve regression residuals, was associated with decreased large Walleye (>510 mm) and Rainbow Smelt abundances, which accounted for 91% of ΣAICc(W). Environmental variables explained only 6% ΣAICc(W), with each individual environmental term contributing less weight than the intercept model. Chinook Salmon abundance was analyzed separately due to differing data range, and did not influence Lake Herring year class strength. Odds ratios from a subsequent post hoc AIC multi-model analysis ranked the large Walleye model as 10.95 more likely to explain Lake Herring year class strength than the Rainbow Smelt model, and 23.63 more likely than the intercept model. Community time series suggest an interaction between Rainbow Smelt abundance and Walleye numbers. In flood years (1997, 2009, 2011), Rainbow Smelt populations declined and >380 mm Walleye abundance decreased within 3 years. The typically low density Lake Herring population produced strong year classes in these periods. The removal and re-establishment of predatory and competitive pressures following reservoir hydrologic cycles may have contributed to the ephemeral nature of Lake Herring year class production. Although not directly impacting year class strength, large flood events may have triggered the release of biotic regulation of recruitment.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 11:00am - 11:20am
Grand Ballroom B

11:00am

Technical Session. Elucidating Mechanisms Structuring Crappie Recruitment in the Middle Mississippi River
AUTHORS: Tyler Ham, Southeast Missouri State University; Dr. Quinton Phelps, Missouri Department of Conservation

ABSTRACT: Understanding the factors that influence fluctuations in fish populations is key to effective management. In this study, our aim was to elucidate the primary factors driving crappie (Pomoxis spp.) recruitment in the Middle Mississippi River (MMR). The highly variable recruitment patterns associated with crappie life history coupled with the ecological and recreational importance of these fish make crappie an ideal species to gauge recruitment trends over time. To do such, we utilized the Long Term Resource Monitoring (LTRM) element database to determine crappie catches from 1992-2015 and with this data generated a recruitment index using the residual method (Maceina 1997). We determined which of a set of a priori models best describe crappie recruitment trends in the MMR using Akaike’s Information Criterion corrected for small sample sizes (AICc) as a model selection means. From this, we found that both the preceding number of flood days and mean size of the year, as well as the interaction of the two factors, best described the trends seen in crappie recruitment in the MMR. From this, we developed a conceptual framework to better begin to understand the trends we were seeing with the hopes of broadening our focus to begin to understand shifts in the fish community as a whole in the MMR. The information garnered from this study is valuable to numerous stakeholders, including researchers, managers, and anglers. 

Tuesday February 7, 2017 11:00am - 11:20am
Grand Ballroom C

11:00am

Technical Session. Wintering Ecology of Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) in the Greater Chicago Metropolitan Area
AUTHORS: Kendra Slown, Southern Illinois University Carbondale; Dr. Michael Eichholz, Southern Illinois University Carbondale; Heath Hagy, Illinois Natural History Survey

ABSTRACT: There is evidence that the wintering distributions of migratory subarctic-breeding Canada geese (Branta canadensis) have been shifting northward for decades. One such population of subarctic-breeding Canada geese is the Mississippi Valley Population (MVP) of the Mississippi Flyway. MVP geese historically wintered in Arkansas and Mississippi where winter food was relatively plentiful and the climate was mild. Terminal wintering areas of MVP geese moved to Southern Illinois and Western Kentucky and Tennessee as agricultural waste grain became available in winter during the early and mid 20th century. More recently, MVP geese have been wintering in the greater Chicago metropolitan area (GCMA) in Northeastern Illinois. This urban area may be the terminal wintering latitude for many migrating subarctic-breeding geese during mild winters.
This shift in wintering distribution has been attributed to changes in agricultural practices, global warming, northern refuges, and the decoy effect of temperate-breeding geese wintering in northern regions. An alternative hypothesis is high food availability during fall combined with safe, relatively disturbance free wintering locations has allowed geese to modify their wintering strategy from actively feeding in wintering locations that provided adequate food sources to maintain body condition throughout winter, to a strategy where they acquire large reserves prior to winter then minimize feeding activity and thus energy expenditure during winter and using the endogenous reserves previously acquired.
To test this hypothesis we compared body condition and behavior between geese wintering in the GCMA during 2014-2016 with body condition and behavior of geese wintering in Southern Illinois during 1984-1989, as reported by Dr. Robert Gates. We will present preliminary data.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 11:00am - 11:20am
Grand Ballroom D

11:20am

Symposia Session - S5: Playa Wetland Ecology. A Multiscale Approach to Habitat Selection: Implications for Shorebird Conservation in the Southern Great Plains
AUTHORS: Craig A. Davis, Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Oklahoma State University

ABSTRACT: Millions of shorebirds annually migrate through interior North America between their Arctic breeding grounds and temperate and tropic wintering grounds in Central and South America. During migration, shorebirds rely on stopover sites, which are mostly wetlands, to refuel depleted energy and nutrient reserves that are critical for continuing migration, survival, and reproduction. Playas and other wetlands throughout the Southern Great Plains provide critical stopover habitat for migrating shorebirds. Given that these wetlands are spatially and temporally dynamic, developing conservation strategies for shorebirds can be challenging. In fact, because the habitat-use patterns of migrating shorebirds depend not only on the characteristics of the individual stopover wetland (e.g., availability of food resources and appropriate habitat conditions), but also on the composition of the landscape surrounding the wetland, development and implementation of large-scale conservation efforts for shorebirds must incorporate a multiscale approach. In this presentation, I will highlight our past research efforts that have examined shorebird habitat-use patterns at multiple scales from two study areas (playas in western Texas and ephemeral wetlands in central Oklahoma) in the Southern Great Plains and discuss the implications of these results as they pertain to present and future shorebird conservation efforts for the Southern Great Plains.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 11:20am - 11:40am
Yankee Hill I/II

11:20am

Symposia Session - S6: Impact of Prescribed and Wild Fires on the Great Plains. Sandhills Task Force: Facilitating Private/Public Partnerships to Address Eastern Red Cedar Encroachment
AUTHORS: Shelly Kelly, Sandhills Task Force

ABSTRACT: The Sandhills Task Force (STF) is a grass-roots non-profit organization that promotes and facilitates conservation on private lands in the Nebraska Sandhills while promoting private profitable ranching.  Eastern red cedar is arguably the biggest threat to the native Sandhills rangeland. Recently, the STF has formed a partnership with the US Forest Service to create the Flagship Private Lands Prescribed Burning Program where highly trained USFS employees can effectively train local landowners on prescribed burn techniques and safety while conducting prescribed burns to control eastern red cedar invasion. This new partnership will dovetail with current STF partnerships with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and others. 

The STF is lead by 16 Board of Directors; 9 of which are ranchers with the remaining members representing federal, state, and other agencies. The STF is positioned to facilitate effective partnerships between private landowners and conservation professionals because they are acutely aware of the invasive cedar encroachment problem and they understand that conservation efforts are needed to ensure success in the ranching industry in the future.  

Prescribed burning has not been viewed as an accepted practice in most parts the Sandhills, but the STF is committed to educating landowners and the public about the benefits of using that tool and fostering and advancing the present knowledge base in safe and effective prescribed burn techniques. 

Tuesday February 7, 2017 11:20am - 11:40am
Arbor I/II

11:20am

Technical Session. Does Use of Steel Shot Result in Greater Waterfowl Crippling? Using Harvest Data to Determine Effectiveness of Non-toxic Shot
AUTHORS: Craig A. Miller, Brent D. Williams - Illinois Natural History Survey

ABSTRACT: The Illinois Waterfowl Hunter Harvest Survey has been collecting waterfowl harvest and crippling data from hunters since 1981. Lead shot was banned for waterfowl hunting in Illinois beginning with the 1994 waterfowl season. We employed time series analysis to investigate efficacy of non-toxic (“steel shot”) regulations on waterfowl crippling rates for ducks and geese among Illinois hunters across the 33 years of waterfowl harvest data. Crippling trends prior to 1994 (R2 = -0.356) suggest the same trend in decline as that from 1994 to the present (R2 =
-0.353); however, number of crippled ducks was greater prior to the lead shot ban. Crippled ducks per 100 ducks bagged showed a steady trend prior to the ban (R2 = 0.001) and declined after the ban was in place (R2 = -0.617) with number of crippled ducks greater prior to 1994. Standardizing crippled ducks per hunter per day produced differing trends: Cripples were greater and trend line showed declining rate (R2 = -0.153) prior to the ban; trend for crippled ducks (R2 = -0.540) showed greater rate of decline following the ban. Trends for geese showed crippled geese per year increasing (R2 = 0.478) prior to the ban, and declining afterwards (R2 = -0.178). Trends for crippled geese per 100 bagged were similar to ducks: R2 = 0.0003 prior to the ban and R2 = 0.-535 after it was in place. Trend for crippled geese per hunter per day was increasing prior to the ban (R2 = 0.142) and declined afterwards (R2 = 0.331). Discussion will focus on effectiveness of  lead shot ban on waterfowl crippling in Illinois and use of harvest data for trends.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 11:20am - 11:40am
Grand Ballroom D

11:20am

Technical Session. Influence of Hydrologic Conditions on the Short-term Growth of Minnesota River Fishes
AUTHORS: Cameron Brock, Shannon J. Fisher - Minnesota State University, Mankato

ABSTRACT: Most lotic systems of south-central Minnesota are set in a landscape dominated by intensively drained row-crop agriculture.  The Minnesota River system has experienced a range of changing hydrologic conditions, including increased magnitude, timing, and frequency of high flows.  Flow disruptions, even on limited temporal scales, can alter energy flow and impair preferred habitats for many fishes including but not limited to, Emerald Shiners Notropis atherinoides, Spotfin Shiners Cyprinella spiloptera, and Carpiodes spp.  Correlation analyses and mixed models were used to evaluate fish growth increments as a function of various flow conditions.  Preliminary results suggest that hydrologic conditions that facilitate floodplain connections, even for brief temporal periods, may influence growth of juvenile fishes in the Minnesota River.  These influences, however as anticipated, appear to be beneficial for some species and detrimental to others.  Therefore, conservation actions will vary based on the targeted species and desired outcomes.  

Tuesday February 7, 2017 11:20am - 11:40am
Grand Ballroom C

11:20am

Technical Session. Movement and Survival (initial and Short-term) of Stocked Yearling Muskellunge in Spirit Lake, Iowa
AUTHORS: Jonathan Meerbeek, DJ Vogeler - Iowa Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Muskellunge angling opportunities in Iowa are a direct result of stocking since natural reproduction is extremely limited. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) maintains these fisheries via stocking yearling Muskellunge. Recently, adult populations in some lakes have decreased, despite increased stocking rates and frequencies. Current mark-recapture studies found that stocked yearling survival has decreased precipitously as well. Transportation stress and predation are thought to be partially responsible for poor yearling Muskellunge survival. For example, in an effort to prevent the spread of zebra mussels, the Iowa DNR treats all water that leaves their hatchery facilities with the Edwards Treatment procedure. This additional treatment in conjunction with extended transport time may have direct and indirect effects on stocked yearling Muskellunge survival. The objective of this project was to evaluate post-stocking survival of stocked yearling Muskellunge in Spirit Lake, Iowa and to compare cohort survival via three stocking techniques: (1) stocked directly at ramp; (2) transported to holding tanks at Spirit Lake Hatchery and allowed to recover for 36 hours prior to being stocked at boat ramp; (3) transported off-shore via boat and stocked. Twenty Muskellunge yearlings (mean TL = 12.9”) from each stocking technique were implanted with radio tags and fish were tracked periodically up to 108 days post-stocking. All yearling Muskellunge stocked from the ramp experienced low Initial mortality (2.4%). Fish stocked offshore were difficult to detect via radio telemetry and initial mortality could not be estimated. Known mortality over 100-d was 10%, 35%, and 20% for direct, hatchery holdover, and offshore stocked fish, respectively. Overall, short-term (100-d) mortality was at least 22%. A logistic regression model found that total length at time of stocking significantly influenced yearling Muskellunge survival. Based on these data, production techniques that result in larger fish size will benefit Muskellunge populations in Iowa.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 11:20am - 11:40am
Grand Ballroom B

11:40am

Symposia Session - S5: Playa Wetland Ecology. Challenges for Shorebird Habitat Management in an Increasingly Dynamic Climate
AUTHORS: Caitlyn Gillespie, Klamath Bird Observatory; Joseph J. Fontaine, U.S. Geological Survey, Nebraska Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit

ABSTRACT: Finding and taking advantage of stopover habitat is essential for the success of long-distance migration; yet birds must frequently make habitat decisions in unfamiliar environments. For species such as shorebirds that depend on ephemeral wetland systems in mid-continental North America, stopover habitat is naturally unpredictable and has become increasingly altered by land-use change.  The increasingly sparse distribution of wetland habitat creates challenges for management, because while managers may manipulate water levels in preparation for early spring migrants such as waterfowl, the phenology of shallow-water and mudflat habitat for shorebirds changes rapidly in response to local weather events.  While drought and land-use change may limit wetland availability during spring migration, unpredictable severe thunderstorms also have the potential to enhance or create shorebird stopover habitat, as shorebirds will use shallow agrarian wetlands in highly agricultural landscapes.  In the Rainwater Basin, we monitored habitat use of Calidris shorebirds at managed wetlands during spring migration in 2013 and 2014 and also monitored how the size and structure of wetlands and the surrounding landscape responded to local weather events.  We discuss the implications of drought and unpredictable rainfall events on the persistence of shorebird habitat in highly altered landscapes and managed wetland complexes, and suggest future avenues for research and discussion of how severe weather events in combination with forecasted climate and land-use change may impact species that rely on highly unpredictable habitat.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 11:40am - 12:00pm
Yankee Hill I/II

11:40am

Technical Session. Biology and Potential Community Influences of Tadpole Madtoms and Stonecats in the Minnesota River
AUTHORS: Shannon J. Fisher, Cameron Brock - Minnesota State University, Mankato

ABSTRACT: Tadpole Madtoms Noturus gyrinus and Stonecats Noturus flavus are an often overlooked and underappreciated component of the Ictaluridae species found in the Minnesota River.  With high reproductive potential, these two species can be found at high density and therefore have a potentially substantial place in riverine foodwebs.  However, insufficient data are available to evaluate the potential associations of Tadpole Madtom and Stonecat with other recreationally important species.  We assessed the biology of these two species from Minnesota River samples to obtain data regarding population dynamics and food habits.  These preliminary findings were then compared with literature and other previously secured information for other Ictaluridae species of the Minnesota River.  The populations were dominated by relatively young individuals, however this may be the result of gear bias.  Food habits were similar to those reported from other populations and were, however, very similar to those reported for other important recreational and commercial fishes.  Therefore, further consideration of the potential influence Tadpole Madtom and Stonecat may exert on the foodweb would be a worthy effort.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 11:40am - 12:00pm
Grand Ballroom C

12:00pm

1:20pm

Symposia Session - S5: Playa Wetland Ecology. Influence of Playa Wetlands and the Conservation Reserve Program on Native Invertebrate Pollinator Communities in the Llano Estacado
AUTHORS: Angela Begosh, Loren M. Smith, Scott T. McMurry - Oklahoma State University

ABSTRACT: In 2006 the first reports of massive die-offs of managed honey bee hives posed urgent questions of how society would deal with the implications of the loss of pollinator services. Native invertebrate pollinators have the potential to augment the agricultural role of honey bees; however, these populations are threatened by factors that include habitat degradation, agricultural practices, invasive exotic plant species, competition and disease from managed bees, and climate change. Our objective is to determine how the predominant land uses in the Southern High Plains of Texas (native grassland, Conservation Reserve Program, and cropland) affect invertebrate pollinator species richness, diversity and abundance, and more specifically, if CRP land hosts a diverse pollinator population given it consists primarily of non-native upland grasses. We also examined how playa wetlands, refuges of floral diversity in a semi-arid landscape, contribute to pollinator habitat. We used blue vane traps placed in the playa basins and adjacent uplands in each land use to compare pollinator diversity, richness, and abundance. We used targeted net collection, where we collected pollinators from the flowers upon which they fed, to allow us to determine what plant species pollinators utilize and the role playa plants serve in invertebrate pollinator habitat. Vegetation structure analysis indicated the vegetation characteristics of each land use are most important in influencing pollinator diversity. Initial analysis indicates that when land use effects are significant, CRP pollinator diversity is lower than cropland and/or native grasslands and there wasn’t a significant difference between uplands and playas. We will examine factors contributing to low CRP pollinator value and make recommendations for future CRP conservation practices to enhance pollinator habitat and maximize ecosystem services of the uplands influencing playas embedded in CRP lands.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 1:20pm - 1:40pm
Yankee Hill I/II

1:20pm

Symposia Session - S8: Fate of Freshwater Mussels. Invasive Mussel Collaborative: Connecting People, Science and Management
AUTHORS: Erika Jensen, Great Lakes Commission; Sandy Morrison, U.S. Geological Survey; Sarah Cook, Great Lakes Commission; *Cecilia Weibert, Great Lakes Commission

ABSTRACT: Scientists have been searching since the early 1990s for effective methods to control invasive zebra and quagga mussels (Dreissena polymorpha and D. rostriformis bugensis, respectively) as a way to help mitigate their negative impacts. Recent advances in biocontrol technology represent an exciting potential technique to manage invasive mussels. These advances are also leading to new questions and opportunities for managers and scientists. In light of this new opportunity, diverse management goals must be identified and understood and knowledge gaps addressed in order to move forward with a joint and strategic approach to managing invasive mussels for positive ecological and economic benefits. This presentation will focus on how the Invasive Mussel Collaborative is providing a framework for communication and coordination to share information and lessons learned, guide supporting research, and inform management actions. This collaborative approach is helping to identify the needs and objectives of resource managers, prioritize the supporting science, recommend communication strategies, and ultimately align science and management goals into a common agenda.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 1:20pm - 1:40pm
Grand Ballroom A

1:20pm

Technical Session. Building Partnerships and Alignments to Advance Conservation on Private Lands
AUTHORS: Margaret O'Gorman, President, Wildlife Habitat Council

ABSTRACT: Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) partners with corporations, their employees, fellow conservation organizations, government agencies and community members to recognize and encourage wildlife habitat projects for conservation and education. WHC works almost exclusively with the private sector to advance meaningful conservation efforts on corporate lands of all types. It does this by helping meet a business need with conservation, connecting land managers into a conservation context, and recognizing the efforts through its signature Conservation Certification program. In its efforts to ensure that meaningful conservation is being implemented on corporate lands, WHC advises members to partner with local, state and national entities - both NGO and government - and create conservation programs that align with existing conservation strategies like State Wildlife Action Plans, local watershed goals and regional conservation initiatives. Through the Conservation Certification application process, WHC develops a metric of conservation success to communicate the intent, actions and outcomes of private sector conservation, which assists with community and stakeholder outreach. Margaret O'Gorman will highlight companies who have advanced biodiversity through partnerships and alignments, and will offer strategies on how to leverage collaborations for conservation.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 1:20pm - 1:40pm
Hawthorne

1:20pm

Technical Session. Creating Social Habitat for Women and Novice Adult Hunters
AUTHORS: Emily E. Iehl, Univeristy of Wisconsin-Madison; Alanna Koshollek, Aldo Leopold Foundation; Keith Warnke, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Timothy R. Van Deelen, University of Wisconsin-Madison

ABSTRACT: Traditional modes of conservation must evolve with the changing demographics and values of Americans. As the number of hunters continues to fall throughout the U.S., the Aldo Leopold Foundation, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources have partnered to better welcome alternative groups into the state’s hunting community, which is overwhelmingly dominated by middle-aged white men. The process of Hunter Recruitment, Retention, and Reactivation has been well-researched since the 1980s, but few studies have targeted the involvement of women, novice adults, and other minority groups. By modeling attributes of over 97,500 first-time license buyers; and combining this statistical analysis with one-on-one interviews with novice women hunters; we hope to create social habitat for non-traditional hunters in food-oriented Learn to Hunt programs.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 1:20pm - 1:40pm
Grand Ballroom E

1:20pm

Technical Session. Implementation of a 228.6 Mm Crappie Minimum Length Limit at Two Indiana Impoundments
AUTHORS: Andrew Bueltmann, Sandy Clark-Kolaks, David Kittaka, Dan Carnahan - Indiana Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Dogwood (1,414 acres) and Hardy Lake (741 acres) are two Indiana impoundments which support highly utilized Crappie fisheries. In both impoundments Black Crappie are more abundant than White Crappie and are all under a 25 bag limit regulation. From 1997 to 2015 Indiana’s Department of Natural resources (IDNR) have surveyed Crappie in both lakes on numerous occasions. All surveys used standard trap nets and Smaller Lake Michigan trap nets to sample Crappie in either the spring or fall. Every fish collected was measured to the nearest millimeter and weighed to the nearest gram. A subsample of Black Crappie were sacrificed each survey for otolith ageing for establishment of a length age key. The Fisheries Analysis and Modeling Simulator was used to model the populations yield (in kilograms) under various length limits ranging from no length limit to a 254 mm length limit using a Beverton-Holt, yield per recruit model. Results suggested under a 228.6 mm minimum length limit number harvested would decrease, but yield harvested (in kilograms) would increase by approximately 37.7%. Therefore, IDNR implemented a 228.6 mm length limit at the beginning of 2016 for both impoundments.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 1:20pm - 1:40pm
Grand Ballroom B

1:20pm

Technical Session. Larval Fish Populations Differ Spatiotemporally on a Large Unimpounded River
AUTHORS: Jordan J. Pesik, Eastern Illinois University; V. Alex Sotola, Texas State University; Sharon Rayford, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; Robert E. Colombo, Eastern Illinois University

ABSTRACT: Little is known about larval fish communities in riverine systems. Since larval fish assemblages have been shown to vary on localized spatial and temporal scales, we were interested in comparing assemblages in a large river to identify environmental influences on assemblage structure. The Wabash River is the twelfth longest river in the contiguous United States and is the longest unimpounded river East of the Mississippi River. A major tributary of the Wabash River, the White River, effectively doubles the discharge of the Wabash at their confluence. Samples were collected by boat-mounted ichthyoplankton net for five minutes at twenty-one sites along the lower 200 miles of the Wabash River. Catch per unit effort (number of fish per cubic meter, CPUE) was Log-transformed for all analysis. Preliminary results indicate the White River alters assemblage composition below its confluence throughout the year. The spatial and temporal differences in larval fish assemblages between the upper and lower reaches indicate fundamental differences in environmental characteristics are preferred for larval development on a familial scale. During the spring and summer of 2016, we will be adding tributaries of the Wabash River for sample collection.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 1:20pm - 1:40pm
Grand Ballroom C

1:20pm

Technical Session. The Influence of Conspecific Cues and Predator Presence on Anuran Breeding Habitat Selection Decisions
AUTHORS: Valerie L. Buxton, University of Illinois; Michael P. Ward, Illinois Natural History Survey and University of Illinois; Jinelle H. Sperry, Engineer Research and Development Center and University of Illinois

ABSTRACT: Conspecific cues and predator presence may influence breeding habitat decisions made in certain species. In anurans, conspecific cues may attract individuals to breeding ponds while predators may deter them from ponds. From 2014-2016, we have conducted experimental studies in Indiana, Illinois, and Arizona on several anuran species to determine whether individuals are attracted to artificial breeding ponds containing playbacks of conspecifics. We found that Cope’s gray treefrogs and Mexican spadefoots exhibit a strong response to playbacks, while Wood frogs, American toads, and Arizonza treefrogs exhibit weak or no response. In addition, in 2016 we examined how predator presence affects breeding pond selection in Western chorus frogs in two separate experiments. In one experiment, we added mosquitofish predators to half of our experimental ponds and monitored pond colonization. In another experiment, we introduced an additional cue to complicate the decision making process and monitored colonization of ponds in response to treatments of conspecific breeding cues only (i.e. egg masses), predators only, and conspecific cues and predators. In the former predator experiment, we found that frogs laid significantly fewer eggs in ponds with fish compared to fishless ponds, while in the latter experiment we found no significant differences in number of eggs deposited among the three treatments. Collectively, our results suggest that anurans use different biotic cues in selecting breeding sites but cue use may potentially vary by species and location.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 1:20pm - 1:40pm
Arbor I/II

1:20pm

Technical Session. There’s an App for That: Digital Data Entry in Fisheries
AUTHORS: Kirk D. Steffensen, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

ABSTRACT: We are in the era of instantaneous information needs; whether it is the weather forecast for tomorrow’s fishing trip, the sun rise-set schedule or latest fishing reports. Anglers are always interested in the most recent sampling or creel results. Traditionally, biologist record field data on standard paper data sheets which then needs to be key-punched, run through quality assurance queries and analyzed before reporting the annual changes or trends, generally months later. Digital data provides real-time data availability but does require a significant upfront budget and application development. Digital data entry then saves substantial time on the back end by running built-in error check queries and automatically running data assessments. For the past four years, the Missouri River Recovery Programs which includes the Pallid Sturgeon Population Assessment Project and the Habitat Assessment and Monitoring Project have been using a digital data entry format via the US Army Corps of Engineers developed SturgeonApp. The use of the SturgeonApp has greatly reduced data entry errors and have provided real-time data availability and assessment to monitor recovery concerns. This presentation will introduce our digital data entry devices and methods then show the associated benefits.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 1:20pm - 1:40pm
Grand Ballroom D

1:20pm

Overview of Symposium (S8). Fate of Freshwater Mussels 20+ Years after the Dreissenid Invasion
Organizer(s)/Convener(s): 
Diane Waller, US Geological Survey, Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center; dwaller@usgs.gov (member of Invasive Mussel Collaborative)
Michelle Bartsch, US Geological Survey, Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center; mbartsch@usgs.gov (member of Mussel Coordination Team). 

Abstract: The arrival of dreissenid mussels to the Great Lakes in the late 1980s exacerbated the decline of native freshwater (unionid) mussel communities that were already imperiled from habitat loss and degradation. Dreissenids have since spread throughout the Midwest with varying effects on native mussels, ranging from complete extirpation in some habitats to co-existence in others. The symposium will focus on the state of unionids 20+ years after the initial dreissenid invasion, the future outlook for unionids as dreissenids continue to expand their range, and management actions to prevent and reverse further loss of native communities. Presentations will be invited that document changes in unionid communities from the initial invasion of dreissenids to the present, including examples from habitats in which unionids have been extirpated to those in which they continue to survive. The symposium will continue with presentations on dreissenid control strategies for protection or restoration of unionids, including projects that partner public resource agencies with private landowners to control dreissenid mussels in native mussel habitat. The session will conclude with a moderated discussion to prioritize management needs for dreissenid control in select unionid habitats to protect existing communities or restore extirpated populations.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 1:20pm - 5:00pm
Grand Ballroom A

1:40pm

Symposia Session - S5: Playa Wetland Ecology. Can Cattle Grazing Improve Waterfowl Habitat in Reed Canarygrass (Phalaris arundinacea) Invaded Wetlands?
AUTHORS: Heidi L. Hillhouse, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

ABSTRACT: The Rainwater Basin region of Nebraska is a key stopover location during spring waterfowl migrations. The availability of appropriate food resources is a major management concern, with preferred food sources being seeds of annual and perennial wetland plants. Reed canarygrass (Phalaris arundinacea) is a widespread invasive species in wetlands. The abundant aboveground biomass produced by reed canarygrass suppresses more desirable seed producing species and blocks access to any seeds that are produced. Grazing is commonly used to manage regional wetlands, but there is little information on how the timing of grazing affects management goals related to wetland vegetation, including seed production and removal of reed canarygrass biomass. We selected three wetlands with a history of recent grazing and evaluated seed production and end of season reed canarygrass biomass in response to four grazing treatments across three years. Treatments included grazing until June 15th, July 15th, August 15th (standard practice), and ungrazed.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 1:40pm - 2:00pm
Yankee Hill I/II

1:40pm

Symposia Session - S8: Fate of Freshwater Mussels. Twenty-six Years of Change in the Hudson River’s Bivalve Populations
AUTHORS: David L. Strayer, Heather M. Malcom - Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies

ABSTRACT: It is well known that dreissenid mussels kill unionid mussels by overgrowing them, resulting in rapid (4-7 years) extirpation of unionids from many lakes and rivers in North America. Our 26-year study of the freshwater tidal Hudson River shows that other kinds of interactions between these bivalves may be important as well, and that unionids may persist for decades. Three species of unionids (Elliptio complanata, Anodonta implicata, Leptodea ochracea) were abundant in the Hudson before the zebra mussel invasion, each with 10s to 100s of millions of animals in the river. After 1992, all three unionids suffered steep declines in recruitment, adult survival, body condition, and population size. However, exploitative competition for food, not fouling, appears to be the primary mechanism behind these declines. Around the year 2000, the body size (but not the number) of dreissenids in the Hudson fell in response to large increases in dreissenid mortality from blue crab predation and other causes. At the same time, unionid condition, recruitment, and adult survival all rose substantially, suggesting that bivalve body size may affect the strength of competition between unionids and dreissenids. Despite very large year-classes of juvenile unionids since 2005, populations are not recovering because these juveniles are experiencing very high mortality from a crushing predator. This suggests the importance of apparent competition from a shared predator, the blue crab. The net effect of these complex interactions in the Hudson apparently will lead eventually to extirpation of the unionid community, albeit over >25 years.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 1:40pm - 2:00pm
Grand Ballroom A

1:40pm

Technical Session. Adjacent Land Use as a Driver of Species Diversity in Ditches
AUTHORS: Ashlee Nichter, Andrew Gregory - Bowling Green State University

ABSTRACT: The greatest threats to biodiversity are habitat-fragmentation, loss and degradation resulting from intensive human land use. Conversion for agricultural development has resulted in prairie ecosystems becoming one of the most endangered ecotypes on the planet. Remnant patches of prairies are now confined to local reserves and linear landscape features such as ditches, field margins and riparian buffers. Most research and conservation efforts have focused on reserve areas as the primary target of conservation; however, due to high interconnectivity and water quality protection laws, linear landscape features may actually be viable biological reserves. However, continued deterioration and fragmentation of linear landscape features from adjacent land use negatively impacts vegetation composition and diversity in these features, resulting in highly invaded novel ecosystems. Resultantly, few have evaluated the potential of these marginal natural vegetative features to act as biological reserves. We measured both vegetation diversity and composition of 80 linear landscape features throughout northwest Ohio. We then buffered each feature at 1Km and extracted a metric of human use intensity within each buffered region. For the human use intensity data set we used the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Global Human Footprint database. We found that the Human Influence Index (HII) has a significant negative influence on species richness (r2=0.04; P=0.04), but does not have any significant impact on species diversity (Shannon Diversity Index; P=0.29). Further we found that percent shrub coverage was positively correlated to HII (r2=0.088; P=0.006) and negatively correlated with percent coverage of C3 (r2=0.077; P=0.01) and C4 grasses (r2=0.87; P=0.006). These data suggest that linear landscape features, although highly invaded, may have potential as biological reserves, which has implications for the long standing SLOSS debate. 

Tuesday February 7, 2017 1:40pm - 2:00pm
Hawthorne

1:40pm

Technical Session. Are Fish Avoiding You? Behavioral Syndromes and Fishing-induced Behavioral Change in Ambloplites Rupestris
AUTHORS: Alexis D. Fedele, Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, and School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Christopher J. Chizinski, School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Joseph J. Fontaine, U.S. Geological Survey—Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, and School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Kevin L. Pope, U.S. Geological Survey—Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, and School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln


ABSTRACT: Studies demonstrate that catch-and-release angling may result in reduced catchability over time, which suggests angling-induced behavioral change. Further, behavioral syndromes have also been suggested to influence a fish’s vulnerability to angling. Using Rock Bass Ambloplites rupestris in laboratory experiments, we assessed the influence of behavioral syndromes on a fish’s ability to alter its behavior in response to anglers over seven consecutive days of fishing. Ration level and lure type, which consisted of a wire with a worm, a simple worm on a hook, and a roadrunner jig with a worm, were also varied across treatments to assess the role of hunger and visual cues on a fish’s propensity to be caught. Bolder indviduals exhibited a greater probability of capture across treatment types compared to shier individuals. Ration level did not appear to have an affect on an the probability of capture. The lure treatment exhibited a lower initial probablity of capture than the worm and control treatments across behavioral types, with the control treatment showing little change over fishing days. The learned avoidance of capture has strong implications for fishing-induced evolution, efficacy of management regulations and satisfaction of anglers.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 1:40pm - 2:00pm
Grand Ballroom B

1:40pm

Technical Session. Assessing Compliance with Electronic Deer Harvest Registration
AUTHORS: Ben Beardmore, Bob Holsman, Brian Dhuey, Dan Storm - Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources


ABSTRACT: Wisconsin eliminated mandatory in-person deer registration stations in 2015, and moved to online or phone-in harvest registration instead. Because data from mandatory check stations has historically served as the back-bone for deer population estimates, verifying that hunters were participating in the system became critical for ensuring that deer population estimates continued to be accurate. Given the considerable change to the Wisconsin culture of registering harvested deer and the challenges of assessing registration compliance when physical tags no longer existed, social science staff were asked to devise a way to help assess the compliance rates with electronic deer registration. Drawing insights from research on socially undesirable behaviors, we developed and tested a novel questionnaire design that would allow us to measure compliance rates within the deer hunter population without individuals having to implicate themselves as having failed to register a deer. Preliminary results of the study revealed high rates of compliance in the first year of E-registration and were consistent with findings from a comparison of registration data with hunter reports of deer harvests on surveys. This approach holds promise for using surveys to capture noncompliance rates on a whole suite of behaviors in the future.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 1:40pm - 2:00pm
Grand Ballroom D

1:40pm

Technical Session. Developing Future Conservation Leaders: The GLADE Model
AUTHORS: Janice Schnake Greene, Missouri State University

ABSTRACT: The Green Leadership Academy for Diverse Ecosystems (GLADE) is a week-long academy for high school students in southwest Missouri. GLADE is an immersion in the outdoors sponsored by the Greater Ozarks Audubon Society, Missouri State University and the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC). Students participate in leadership activities to learn about different types of leadership. They participate in bird banding, water quality studies, and learn about pollinators and biodiversity through interactions with agency personnel and volunteers. They work with MDC employees to restore giant river cane habitat along a creek in the Bull Shoals Lake watershed. A unique aspect is that students have an opportunity to apply for grant funds for follow-up conservation projects in their home communities. An overview of the program will be presented along with a review of community projects and a seven-year evaluation on knowledge and attitudes. Follow-up interviews with students show that many have entered college for a conservation-related career or are involved in other conservation activities and consider GLADE a “transformative” experience.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 1:40pm - 2:00pm
Grand Ballroom E

1:40pm

Technical Session. Evolution of Host-Parasite Interactions in Fragmented Landscapes
AUTHORS: Johanna Fornberg, Johannes Foufopoulos - University of Michigan

ABSTRACT: Native parasites can play an important role in wildlife communities, as population regulators and as competitors with their hosts. Understanding the dynamics and implications of native parasites and pathogens is necessary to predict effects of introduced disease in a wildlife community. Island populations are considered to be particularly susceptible to introduced disease; however the ecology and distribution of native diseases in island systems are underrepresented in current literature. We present research on host-parasite interactions in isolated populations of island-dwelling Podarcis erhardii with native malarial parasites (family Hepatozoon). Research was conducted across 23 Aegean islands in a land-bridge island system which vary in age (time of isolation) and area (km2). We analyzed the nature of host-parasite interactions by studying 1) how infection and parasitemia varies based on island characteristics; 2) how immune function varies across islands; and 3) how infection and parasitemia relate to physical condition of individuals. We study these questions using a combination of field and laboratory work; laboratory work is still ongoing through the end of the calendar year. We expect to find the following, based on our hypotheses: 1) infection and parasitemia will be lower in populations on islands which are smaller (km2) and/or have been isolated for a longer period; 2) immune function will correlate positively with infection and parasitemia (i.e. immune function will be weaker in populations on smaller islands and/or more isolated islands; 3) physical condition will be reduced (based on infection and parasitemia of individuals). This study will provide insight to the impacts of island biogeography on host-parasite evolution and interactions.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 1:40pm - 2:00pm
Arbor I/II

1:40pm

Technical Session. Larval Fish Assemblages Differ Spatially and Temporally Among Tributaries of Two Large River Systems
AUTHORS: Jordan J. Pesik, Eastern Illinois University; Daniel R. Roth, Eastern Illinois University; David H. Wahl, Illinois Natural History Survey; Robert E. Colombo, Eastern Illinois University

ABSTRACT: Little is known about larval fish communities in riverine systems. Since larval fish assemblages have been shown to vary on localized spatial and temporal scales, we were interested in comparing assemblages within and among tributaries of large rivers to better understand their ecology in tributaries and importance to the larger system. Two river systems were included in this study. The Wabash River is the twelfth longest river in the contiguous United States and is the longest unimpounded river East of the Mississippi River. In comparison, the Illinois River is a large and highly impounded river. Three major tributaries of each river were selected for sampling (Mackinaw, Spoon and Sangamon Rivers from the Illinois River system; Embarras, Little Wabash and Vermilion Rivers from the Wabash River system). Fish larvae were collected biweekly at three sites from each tributary to capture upper river, middle river, and lower river conditions. Three gears were used in larvae collection. We used anchor-mounted ichthyoplankton drift nets and quatrefoil light traps at all sites, and added boat-mounted ichthyoplankton net sampling at all lower river sites due to the necessity of large boat access. Catch per unit effort (number of fish per cubic meter, CPUE) was Log-transformed for analysis. Eleven families of fishes have been identified so far, of which Catostomidae and Cyprinidae are the most abundant. Preliminary results indicate the Wabash River system is more productive than the Illinois River system. Additionally, lower river sites seem to be more productive than upper river sites. While the flow and accumulation of resources inherent to a river’s longitudinal gradient may explain the differences in productivity among reaches within tributaries, we still need to elucidate the large scale differences between these two river systems influencing larval fish abundance and structure.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 1:40pm - 2:00pm
Grand Ballroom C

2:00pm

Symposia Session - S5: Playa Wetland Ecology. Ask the Experts: What We Can and Cannot Say About Playas and Recharge
AUTHORS: Anne M. Bartuszevige, Miruh Hamend - Playa Lakes Joint Venture

ABSTRACT: Playas are a primary source of recharge to the High Plains (Ogallala) Aquifer. Playa Lakes Joint Venture (PLJV) has been communicating this message to landowners and conservation partners for over a decade as a reason to conserve playas. Recent results from a focus group study revealed that the message is being understood by landowners, but they are skeptical that the amount of water recharged through playas is enough to help save the aquifer. Landowners wanted to hear numbers and to hear the information from trusted resources. PLJV assembled scientists that studied playas and playa hydrology at a summit in Lubbock, Texas in November 2015. The purpose of the summit was to answer concerns expressed by landowners and to develop communications messages vetted by this group of scientists. The scientists agreed that the amount of recharge through playas is not enough to offset the amount of water being extracted for irrigation. However, recharge through playas can support rainfed production systems and can help support small municipalities. In addition, water entering the aquifer through playas is cleaner than water recharging through other areas and thus, provide clean water for household use. The results from the playa summit have been integrated into PLJV’s communications messages and are helping to guide the development of playa conservation programs.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 2:00pm - 2:20pm
Yankee Hill I/II

2:00pm

Symposia Session - S8: Fate of Freshwater Mussels. Effects of Dreissenids on Unionid Communities in the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers
AUTHORS: Heidi L. Dunn, Ecological Specialists, Inc.; Patricia Morrison, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge; Janet Clayton, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Dreissenid mussels invaded Midwestern rivers in early 1990’s, following navigation routes from the Great Lakes down the Illinois River and into the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. They have steadily moved upstream with commercial traffic and are part of the riverine ecosystem in Midwestern commercially navigable rivers. They encrusted unionids in the lower and upper Ohio River by 1994 and 1998, respectively. Unionid encrustation in the Mississippi River occurred in the lower pools before 1995 and upper pools in 1998/1999. Fearing unionid extirpation from big rivers, Dreissenid infestation spurred regulatory agencies to consider moving unionids into refugia and developing monitoring and propagation programs. Initial unionid community monitoring revealed significant mortality in beds heavily infested with Dreissenids. At six sites monitored in the Ohio River, Dreissenid infestation increased from 1994 to 1999, from < 100 per square meter to over 25,000 per square meter. In late August 2000, they appeared to crash riverwide. However, unionids are better adapted than Dreissenids to drought and flood conditions, and many can burrow below Dreissenid encrusted substrate. Dreissenid abundance generally declines in late Spring (perhaps due to high water velocities) and continues at a low level through summer months (perhaps due to high water temperature). Juvenile settlement is noticeable in the fall, and infestation of unionids is generally highest in early Spring. No unionid species have been extirpated and mussel beds continue to persist, although at lower than historic densities. However, substrate in many Mississippi River mussel beds has changed from gravel/cobble/sand to Dreissenid shells full of silt and sand. Nevertheless, unionids are persisting in this substrate type. Unionids in unregulated rivers do not seem as affected. Dreissenids are found in smaller unregulated rivers, but typically only a few Dreissenids colonize unionids rather than the 1000s that encrust unionids in larger regulated rivers with commercial traffic.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 2:00pm - 2:20pm
Grand Ballroom A

2:00pm

Technical Session. A Watershed in Motion: Understanding Changing Dynamics Across Time and Space
AUTHORS: Emma Brinley Buckley, University of Nebraska-Lincoln and NET Television; Mary Harner, Departments of Communication & Biology, University of Nebraska at Kearney; Michael Forsberg, Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education & Communication, University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Michael Forsberg Photography; Michael Farrell, Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education & Communication, University of Nebraska-Lincoln and NET Television

ABSTRACT: Time-lapse imagery offers a passive technique for visual monitoring and recording of changing natural systems. With over forty time-lapse camera installations, the Platte Basin Time-lapse (PBT) project is a multimedia endeavor documenting a stressed watershed throughout the Great Plains to contribute to scientific research, while simultaneously supporting science communication and other forms of public engagement. We are exploring methods for streamlining visual and automated image analysis so that standard techniques may be applied across cameras to increase the spatial scale. For example, we use batch classification of images to quantify water inundation in aquatic systems lacking monitoring data to assess hydrologic fluctuations in relation to water quality. In addition, we pair time-lapse images with other data to visually illustrate changing dynamics. In this presentation we highlight on-going projects and share ways that other researchers may engage with PBT. We invite you to explore more at www.plattebasintimelapse.com.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 2:00pm - 2:20pm
Grand Ballroom D

2:00pm

Technical Session. Age-Period-Cohort Modeling to Project Size, Composition, and License Revenue Contributions of Michigan’s Future Hunting Population
AUTHORS: Brent Rudolph, Michigan Department of Natural Resources; Richelle Winkler, Michigan Technological University; Chris Henderson, Michigan State University

ABSTRACT: Michigan has a strong hunting tradition, ranking among the top states nationally for annual deer hunting participants. As is the case for most states, however, hunting participation has been declining in recent years. We developed an Age-Period-Cohort regression model utilizing 19 years of Michigan resident firearm deer hunting license sales (1995 through 2013) to assess trends and project the future hunting population. We assessed differences by gender and regionally from county to county. Results identified cohort effects across all regions, indicating strong generational influences on hunting participation. Males born between 1955 and 1970 have an increased likelihood to hunt, with these cohort effects minimizing the typical effects age has on decreasing participation. Projections indicate nearly 22% of the male firearm deer hunting population in 2035 will be ≥65 years old, compared to 13% at present. Recent female cohorts (born since 1987) show an increased likelihood to hunt in comparison to prior generations. Projections indicate females may constitute about 20% of the firearm deer hunting population in Michigan by 2035, compared to just 10% at present. Despite these effects, the reduced likelihood recent male cohorts (born since 1980) have to hunt is projected to drive a >20% decline in the overall firearm deer hunting population by 2035. The attendant projected drop in license purchases equates to a $6,500,000 reduction in revenue, or about 18% of the recent overall budget for Michigan’s Wildlife Division. Efforts to improve recruitment and retention will be challenged to counter significant generational effects, though continuing to facilitate participation of young females represents the best opportunity. We encourage agencies to also use projections such as ours to explicitly plan how to meet wildlife conservation goals and the changing needs of a demographically different hunting population in the face of declining traditional revenue sources.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 2:00pm - 2:20pm
Grand Ballroom E

2:00pm

Technical Session. Historic Food Webs Discern Ecosystem Changes in a Large River
AUTHORS: Mark Pyron, Robert Shields, Mario Minder, Jesse Becker - Ball State University

ABSTRACT: Food webs can be studied by analyzing tissue of organisms for C and N isotope ratios. We studied food webs in the Wabash River, Indiana in an attempt to identify correlates of a shift in fish assemblages that occurred in the 1990s. We compared recent food webs to historical food webs by using our fish collections or museum specimens as tissue sources. Our first approach was a bulk tissue analysis of carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios. This allowed us to examine trophic levels and potential carbon sources. Our more recent approach is compound specific amino acid isotope analysis, which allows to identify primary producers as sources for all consumers.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 2:00pm - 2:20pm
Grand Ballroom C

2:00pm

Technical Session. How Do Nectar Quality, Pollen Quality, and Flower Abundance Influence Pollen Collection of Bumblebees (Bombus spp.) in Northern Virginia?
AUTHORS: Preston Thompson, Bowling Green State University

ABSTRACT: Abstract
Bumblebees collect pollen, which contains protein and lipids, for larvae production. Bumblebees also drink nectar, which contains sugar, to increase energy levels. We asked the questions 1) How do plants vary in pollen rewards? 2) How do plants vary in nectar rewards? and 3) How do rewards affect pollen collection? We analyzed data from a previous study on B. impatiens and B. griseocollis. For our study we collected pollen from Verbascum thapsis, Securigra varia, Carduus acanthoides and Solanum carolinense. We also collected nectar for Nepeta cataria, Carduus acanthoides and Asclepias syriaca. We analyzed the amount of pollen produced per flower and the amount of protein produced per flower for each species of interest. Verbascum, Carduus and Solanum had relatively high amounts of pollen per flower compared to Securigera. Carduus contained the highest amount of protein per flower while Solanum and Securigera contained the lowest amount of protein per flower. Our results conclude Asclepias had the most nectar volume per flower compared to Carduus and Nepeta. Asclepias had the highest sugar mass compared to Carduus and Nepeta. Asclepias had the most nectar produced per plant compared to Carduus and Nepeta. Asclepias had the most total sugar produced per plant. Our results conclude B. impatiens went to flowers with high protein but were less abundant, while B. griseocollis went to flowers with low amounts of protein but were more abundant.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 2:00pm - 2:20pm
Hawthorne

2:00pm

Technical Session. Snake Fungal Disease affects Survival and Behavior of Free-ranging Massasauga Rattlesnakes
AUTHORS: Sasha Tetzlaff, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Michael Ravesi, Camp Grayling Joint Maneuver Training Center; Evin Carter, University of Tennessee at Knoxville; Brett DeGregorio, US Army ERDC-CERL; Matthew Allender, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Bruce Kingsbury, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne

ABSTRACT: Snake Fungal Disease (SFD) caused by Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola is an emerging fungal pathogen that has been detected in numerous snake species. However, the survival and behavior of free-ranging individuals with this disease has yet to be reported. Here, we radio-tracked 24 Massasauga Rattlesnakes (Sistrurus catenatus) with and without SFD in northern Michigan during 2013–15 to explore how this pathogen affects survival, movement, thermoregulation, microhabitat selection, and exposure. Five snakes were considered to have SFD, either from positive qPCR results for Ophidiomyces (n=4) or clinical signs consistent with disease yet tested negative (n=1). The annual survival rate of snakes with SFD (0.16) was less than one third of control snakes that did not have SFD (0.59). SFD snakes moved distances ≥20 m less frequently than controls and were thus fully exposed less often. Microhabitat selection appeared similar between groups, but SFD snakes were more often associated with habitats broadly characterized as early successional. Monthly body temperatures of SFD snakes differed from controls only at the end of the active season, which corroborates observations of diseased snakes basking on the surface when controls had already retreated belowground at overwintering sites. Our findings collectively suggest SFD affects individual behavior during peak activity periods and when snakes are preparing to overwinter. Massasauga Rattlesnakes with this disease ultimately have reduced survival rates compared to those which do not. This is the first study reporting the effects of SFD on free-ranging individuals, but how this translates to potentially altered population dynamics remains to be investigated.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 2:00pm - 2:20pm
Arbor I/II

2:00pm

Technical Session. The Effects of Electrofishing Waveform on Immobilization Thresholds for Blue Catfish
AUTHORS: William Morris, Missouri Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit; University of Missouri;
Craig Paukert, U.S. Geological Survey, Missouri Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit; University of Missouri; Zach Ford, Missouri Department of Conservation; Andy Turner, Missouri Department of Conservation; Jan Dean, Dean Electrofishing, LLC


ABSTRACT: Electrofishing is a common sampling technique used to collect catfish. However, there is a need to standardize electrofishing protocols to better assess the status and trends of catfish populations. Applying the power transfer theory, our objective was to determine if the immobilization threshold (i.e., minimum voltage needed to immobilize fish) for Blue Catfish differed by electrofishing waveform, with the goal of determining the most efficient settings to collect Blue Catfish. We compared immobilization thresholds between 40 pulsed DC waveforms for 200 Blue Catfish ranging from 35 to 50 cm. Waveforms ranged from eight to 300 pulses per second (hz), with duty cycles ranging from 10 to 40% at each pulse frequency. Each Blue Catfish was placed in a controlled tank with steel electrodes on each end attached to a backpack electrofisher and voltage was increased from one volt until immobilization was observed. The voltage at which twitch, immobilization, and surface responses were observed were independently recorded for each trial by four observers. High frequency waveforms (80-300 hz) had the lowest immobilization thresholds, but only 24% of the fish showed a surface response under the five waveforms with the lowest average immobilization threshold. Four low frequency (8-12 hz) waveforms, which are more commonly used for Blue Catfish collection, produced a surface response in >80% of fish, but immobilization thresholds for these waveforms varied from the 10th lowest (12 hz) to the highest (8 hz) of all waveforms tested. Our results suggest that Blue Catfish may be best immobilized by high frequency waveforms, but the lack of a surfacing response under these waveforms may make them less efficient at capturing fish in a natural setting. A better capture prone response (i.e. surfacing) is produced under lower frequency waveforms where more of a threshold buffer exists between twitch and immobilization.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 2:00pm - 2:20pm
Grand Ballroom B

2:20pm

Symposia Session - S5: Playa Wetland Ecology. Trade-offs in Ecosystem Services: Hunter Use and Landowner Perceptions of Wetlands in an Agrarian Landscape
AUTHORS: Joseph J. Fontaine, U.S. Geological Survey Nebraska Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit, University of Nebraska–Lincoln; Lindsey Messinger, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; Michelle Lute, WildEarth Guardians; Caitlyn Gillespie, Klamath Bird Observatory; Dustin R. Martin, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries; Kent Fricke, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism


ABSTRACT: Trade-offs are inherent among the services an ecosystem can provide, and in some cases they may be extreme.  Conflicts between those interested in potentially disparate services provided by an ecosystem underlie many of the challenges natural resource managers face, but so too do misconceptions about how different user groups perceive and take advantage of those services.  If managers are expected to balance among competing interests they must understand how different users value the services provided.  In the Great Plains wetlands are renowned for improving water quality, erosion control, wildlife diversity and recreational opportunity; however, wetlands also act to limit other services, most notably arable land.  Here we explore the use and perception of the services provided by wetland ecosystems from the perspective of two user groups presumed to be in conflict: public land hunters and stewards of private land production agriculture.  In doing so we hope to provide managers with information and a basic framework for balancing the cultural resources provided through outdoor recreation with the provisioning resources provided by agriculture across an intensively management landscape. 

Tuesday February 7, 2017 2:20pm - 2:40pm
Yankee Hill I/II

2:20pm

Symposia Session - S8: Fate of Freshwater Mussels. Spatial Variation in Biofouling of a Unionid Mussel (Lampsilis siliquoidea) by Dreissenid Mussels in the Great Lakes
AUTHORS: James H. Larson, U.S. Geological Survey, Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center; Mary Anne Evans, U.S. Geological Survey, Great Lakes Science Center; Robert J. Kennedy, U.S. Geological Survey, Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center; Sean W. Bailey, U.S. Geological Survey, Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center; Jeff Schaeffer, U.S. Geological Survey, Great Lakes Science Center; William B. Richardson, U.S. Geological Survey, Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center

ABSTRACT: Invasion of North American freshwaters by two non-native mussel species (Dreissena polymorpha and D. rostriformis bugensis) has caused declines in several mollusk families.  Impacts to native Unionidae mussels are particularly acute, as dreissenid mussels biofoul these native mussels, impairing their ability to open and close their shell, acquire food and move.  In the North American Great Lakes, unionid mussel populations were already in decline prior to the dreissenid invasion, but initial expectations post-invasion were that dreissenid mussels would completely extirpate unionid mussels from large areas of the Great Lakes.  While unionid populations have declined dramatically, unionids persist where some refugia appear to exist.   One potential explanation for the persistence of these unionid populations is high variability in the distribution of dreissenid biofouling.  To assess this possibility, we deployed caged unionid mussels and Hester-Dendy samplers into nearshore waters of the Great Lakes.  Several stations were sampled in the western basin of Lake Erie, Saginaw Bay in Lake Huron, Grand Traverse Bay and Green Bay of Lake Michigan.  Caged unionids were deployed over three years (2014-2016).  The measured biofouling rates are highly variable and suggest very large differences in biofouling rates in association with particular nearshore habitats, especially rivermouths.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 2:20pm - 2:40pm
Grand Ballroom A

2:20pm

Technical Session. Detection and Occupancy of the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake Across Southern Michigan
AUTHORS: Stephanie A. Shaffer, Henry Campa, III, Gary Roloff - Michigan State University; Daniel Kennedy, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: The eastern massasauga rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus catenatus; EMR) is a species of special concern in Michigan and is currently proposed for federal listing as threatened. Additionally, EMRs are listed as threatened or endangered in every other state and province within its range hence improved techniques for reliably determining site occupancy during the active season are critical. In the summer months of 2015 and 2016 we developed and conducted 167 EMR detection surveys throughout southern Michigan at 20-ha sites within four study areas, Seven Lakes State Park (Seven Lakes), Baker Audubon Sanctuary (Baker), Ives Road Fen (Ives), and Liberty/Grand River Fen (Liberty), where EMR occupancy was confirmed with radio telemetry. We temporally replicated visual encounter surveys using randomized observers and start times (surveys of the same site were conducted at least approximately 24 hours apart). We a priori identified environmental (e.g., air temperature, ground surface temperature, solar radiation, and humidity) and surveyor (e.g., individual, level of experience) variables thought to be important to EMR detection and recorded that information for each survey. We detected 18 EMR across all surveys.  The number of EMR detected per study area were: 6, 3, 1, and 8 at Seven Lakes, Baker, Ives, and Liberty, respectively. An intercept-only detection model (i.e., no site or environmental covariates) with fixed occupancy indicated a detection probability of 0.11 (SE = 0.03). We report on our more heavily parameterized detection models and, based on our top-ranking model, estimate the minimum number of surveys needed to reliably detect EMR. We offer our models as a standardized method for determining occupancy of EMR at specific locations throughout southern Michigan. 

Tuesday February 7, 2017 2:20pm - 2:40pm
Arbor I/II

2:20pm

Technical Session. Exploring Linkages Between Hunting and Fishing Permit Sales Among Upland Game Permit Holders
AUTHORS: Alisha Grams, Nathaniel Price, Matthew Gruntorad - School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Kevin Pope, U.S. Geological Survey, Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, and School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska, Lincoln; Christopher J. Chizinski, School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Joseph J. Fontaine, U.S. Geological Survey, Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, and School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska, Lincoln

ABSTRACT: With the sales of licenses generating over $1 billion in economic returns for Nebraska, the value of hunters and anglers is essential to managing the states’ natural resources. However, this dependence upon licenses makes Nebraska vulnerable to declining participation in outdoor recreation. Education programs can only do so much to increase participation, but understanding how hunters and anglers use the resources, the different types of users, and movement among different groups of participants will better inform managers on what they can do to help. We determined associations among types of hunting and fishing permits sold and churn among permit purchases. In 2015, 64% of hunters (i.e. those purchasing a hunting permit or hunt / fish combo permit) are also anglers (i.e. purchased a hunt / fish combo or fish permit). However, only 28% of anglers also purchased a hunting or hunt-fish combo permit.  Understanding associations among user groups will provide managers with tools to develop strategic planning towards recruitment and retention programs.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 2:20pm - 2:40pm
Grand Ballroom E

2:20pm

Technical Session. Freezing and Flooding: Factors Affecting Centrarchid Sportfish Populations in the Lower Illinois River
AUTHORS: Jason DeBoer, Illinois River Biological Station; Andrea Fritts, U.S. Geological Survey; Mark Fritts, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; Rich Pendleton, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation; Levi Solomon, Illinois River Biological Station; TD VanMiddlesworth, North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality; Andrew Casper, Illinois River Biological Station

ABSTRACT: The frequency and seasonality of key hydrologic events like floods and droughts can strongly regulate populations of fishes in Midwestern floodplain rivers. Geomorphology and hydrologic connectivity often play important mitigating roles by providing access to seasonal refugia. However, human-manipulated water-level fluctuations from lock and dam operations, and anthropogenically increased sedimentation, can limit connectivity and degrade refugia quality, which can strongly affect populations of nest-building fishes like centrarchids. We believe that centrarchid populations in the Lower Illinois River are limited by poor habitat quality in backwater areas plagued by anthropogenically derived sedimentation; these areas are used by centrarchids for spawning, nursery, and overwinter habitat throughout the region. In this presentation, we will explore recent dynamics in centrarchid population cycles (i.e., relative abundance and growth) that we believe are directly predicated on extreme weather events acting in opposite directions. Although moderate to severe flooding provides much-needed access to inundated terrestrial habitat for spawning and rearing, harsh winter weather can create intolerable abiotic conditions in poor-quality backwater habitats, thereby increasing overwinter mortality of centrarchid populations. As a consequence of this episodic push-pull dynamic, centrarchid populations in the Lower Illinois River exhibit pronounced boom-bust cycles that populations in the Upper Illinois River, where hydrology and connectivity are less degraded, do not. It is imperative that backwater habitats in the Lower Illinois River are improved to allow for more consistent production and increased longevity of centrarchid populations in this region.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 2:20pm - 2:40pm
Grand Ballroom C

2:20pm

Technical Session. Murphy's Law of Aquaponics
AUTHORS: Brittney Adams, University Nebraska at Kearney; Nate Bickford, University Nebraska at Kearney

ABSTRACT: We are all to familiar with Murphy’s Law, the one that states what can go wrong, will go wrong. Murphy’s Law has help with some of the most important scientific finding (i.e. antibiotics), but often it just … hurts.
Aquaponics is the combination of hydroponics and aquaculture. It uses fish held in tanks in combination with produce. The water from the tanks is filtered through media (gravel, sand, etc.) that house bacteria. The bacteria in turn break down the fish waste to nitrate and nitrite which is then transported via water to the agricultural produce. Aquaponics is gaining in popularity worldwide, because of its many possibilities. It can grow biomass (fish and vegetables) quickly, cut down on the carbon foot print, it has chemical free qualities, allows for zero food miles, and it can use otherwise discarded materials to maintain and build the systems, as well as increase food security decreasing food deserts in urban and rural areas.
We had three different set of experiments each had 10 ten gallon tanks. Each experiment was observed for a six-month time period, nutrient readings, fish health, plants health and production weights were all recorded. Each experiment manipulated a different aspect of production factors. We began to notice that things were not working well in our systems so we made changes. The data indicated that the changes we made were beneficial for systems. This talk will show you just how bad murphy’s law can hurt.


Tuesday February 7, 2017 2:20pm - 2:40pm
Grand Ballroom B

2:20pm

Technical Session. Nest Success and Species Composition of Nest Predators in Dry Evergreen Forest of Northeast Thailand
AUTHORS: Daphawan Khamcha, George A. Gale -Conservation Ecology Program, School of Bioresources and Technology, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (Thailand)



ABSTRACT: Nest survival and nest success are key parameters that can be used to estimate and predict changes in avian populations. We investigated nest success and defined nest predators in dry evergreen forest in the Sakaerat Environmental Research Station (SERS) in northeastern Thailand. During the breeding season from February to August we searched for nests along two, 1km transects starting at the edge into the forest interior. To assess the nest predator species, video cameras and camera traps were placed on active nests of selected species. During the breeding seasons of 2014 -2016 we found 307 active nests from 24 species. The overall Mayfield nest success was 7.7% and the predation rate was high (84%). From video cameras and camera traps set at 156 nests from 17 species, we detected 95 predation events and recorded 12 nest predator species. Snakes were the main predator (30%) followed by Pig-tailed Macaque (Macaca leonina) (23%), Common Green Magpie (Cissa chinensis) (17%) and raptors (14%). Nest success in our study was quite low compared with other studies in tropical forests including our previous study in a nearby old-growth evergreen forest, which was typically closer to 20%. The predation rate in SERS was also higher than other studies. Species composition of nest predators was similar to other studies in the region but the top nest predator in the regional studies was the Pig-tailed macaque (~40% of predation events). It seems that the predation by Pig-tailed Macaque was compensated by snakes in SERS. The mechanisms that cause such high predation rates in SERS are still unclear, however differences in the predator community and behaviors affected by edge effects and habitat fragmentation may be significant factors.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 2:20pm - 2:40pm
Grand Ballroom D

2:20pm

Technical Session. The Ecology of the Monarch Butterfly Relative to Density, Host Plant Occurrence and Habitat Use in the Flint Hills
AUTHORS: Caroline Skidmore, Kelsey McCullough - Kansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Kansas State University; David Haukos, U.S. Geological Survey, Kansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit

ABSTRACT: Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) were once abundant across North America, but populations have declined by 81% in the last decade. Population declines, principally within the central Great Plains (CGP), and consideration for listing under the Endangered Species Act makes research on the ecology, population trends, and habitat requirements of the Monarch especially relevant. Knowledge of the habitat use patterns of Monarchs is necessary to improve conservation efforts in the CGP. Specifically, modeling occurrence of milkweeds (Asclepias spp.) will assist in management of Monarchs throughout their range. Although much of the Monarch’s range within the CGP consists of cropland, understanding Monarch habitat requirements in native prairies should also be a focus. Documenting Monarch response to prairie management strategies will assist in conservation planning. We measured Monarch density in tall-grass prairie managed using haying, grazing, and prescribed fire at Fort Riley Military Reservation (FRMR) and Konza Prairie Biological Station (KPBS) in the Flint Hills of Kansas. Our objectives were to (1) derive temporal population density estimates of Monarchs during May-August (2) compare average population density responses among management strategies and (3) create models to predict the influence of vegetation composition on the density of adult Monarch butterflies and predict the occurrence of milkweed within FRMR and KPBS. We conducted repeated transect surveys of Monarch butterflies among 37 and 25 transects in FRMR and KPBS during 2015 and 2016, respectively. Concurrently, we recorded locations of ~100 milkweed clusters. The greatest density of Monarchs was found in transects with high fire return interval or hayed. Monarch densities greatly increased within the Flint Hills in August due to their migration south. These results provide a direction for Monarch conservation, expressing the need to manage their habitat through high fire return intervals and haying.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 2:20pm - 2:40pm
Hawthorne

2:40pm

Symposia Session - S5: Playa Wetland Ecology. Best Management Practices for Rainwater Basin Wetlands
AUTHORS: Dana Varner, Science Coordinator, Rainwater Basin Joint Venture 

ABSTRACT: For playa wetland habitats in the Rainwater Basin (RWB) region, moist-soil dominated plant communities are ideal because of the large amount of seeds they produce, which are a high-quality waterfowl food.  Bare soil, including mudflat and shallow open water areas, also is desired as it is an early successional state that typically develops into a productive moist-soil community.  Late successional plant communities that are dominated by cattail, river bulrush, or reed canarygrass provide fewer seeds for waterfowl or may even preclude wetland use.  Monitoring data collected on public lands in the RWB from 2009-2013 were used to learn more about the effects of several wetland management treatments on vegetation communities. We found that grazing, herbicide spraying, prescribed fire, and disking were more effective than resting in many situations.  Management treatments were more effective at promoting moist-soil vegetation when applied in multiple, consecutive years. Treatments led to a higher percentage of points in a desirable community if applied when invasive plant communities were at a lower density (i.e., 26% - 50%) and not yet dominant (i.e., >75%).  Long-term planning and implementation can greatly improve the effectiveness of vegetation management, as within-year and across-year treatment interactions have clear effects on outcomes.  

Tuesday February 7, 2017 2:40pm - 3:00pm
Yankee Hill I/II

2:40pm

Technical Session. Assessing Habitat Management for an Isolated Population of Aspidoscelis Sexlineata (Six-Lined Racerunner) Using Focal Animal Sampling and Visual Encounter Surveys
AUTHORS: Reine Ecker, Brionna Schrag, Melanie Schott, Teresa Yoder-Nowak, Danielle Potts -University of Michigan-Flint

ABSTRACT: The six-lined racerunner (Aspidoscelis sexlineata) is a small whiptail lizard that is common throughout most of its range, which includes the Midwest and Southeast United States as well as part of Mexico. However, only one known, isolated population exists in Michigan, estimated at 450 individuals and inhabiting 4.13 hectares of south-facing hillside in Murphy Lake State Game Area, Tuscola County, Michigan. Previous research suggests that this population is a glacial relict rather than an introduced population. Due to its limited habitat and possible native status, the six-lined racerunner was declared a Threatened species in Michigan in 2009. These lizards are known to benefit from habitat disturbance, so as part of an adaptive management project trees and brush were removed from randomly selected plots in the lizards’ habitat to improve and maintain habitat quality. During the summer of 2014, prior to habitat modification, preliminary behavioral and occupancy data were collected within the plots using focal animal sampling (FAS) and visual encounter surveys (VES). Percent canopy cover and percent brush cover for each plot were also recorded. Herbicidal treatment of woody vegetation in treatment plots was applied during the fall of 2014, followed by manual removal of dead vegetation in the spring of 2016. Post modification data were collected in the summer of 2016 using the same methods as pre modification data collection. Data were then compared between pre and post modification and between treated and untreated plots to determine the effects of woody vegetation removal on six-lined racerunner behavior and occupancy. 

Tuesday February 7, 2017 2:40pm - 3:00pm
Arbor I/II

2:40pm

Technical Session. Diet Contents and Dietary Selectivity of Fishes in the U.S. Great Basin
AUTHORS: Mario Minder, Robert Shields, Mark Pyron - Ball State University; Emily Arsenault, Mike Thai, Jim Thorp - University of Kansas; Olaf Jensen, Rutgers University

ABSTRACT: The Great Basin Rivers are home to a large variety of fishes, both native and invasive. As part of a larger macrosystems project, we analyzed stomach contents from fish collected on the Carson, Humboldt, and Bear Rivers in Nevada, Idaho, and Utah. Using the Manly-Chesson diet selectivity index we compared the contents of our stomachs to results of invertebrate surveys performed concurrently with our fish sampling. The results of this study will be used in conjunction with future sampling efforts in Mongolia and the Yellowstone River.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 2:40pm - 3:00pm
Grand Ballroom C

2:40pm

Technical Session. New Insights into the Common Predators of Grassland Wildlife
AUTHORS: Timothy P. Lyons, Illinois Natural History Survey, Prairie Research Institute, and Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Julia A. Nawrocki, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Thomas J. Benson Illinois Natural History Survey, Prairie Research Institute; Robert L. Schooley, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Michael P. Ward, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

ABSTRACT: Much of the information about the identity of the primary predators of game and non-game wildlife is often inferred from indirect evidence such as landscape patterns in prey mortality, indices of potential predator activity or abundance, or are extrapolated from a select few studies which may not be representative of dynamics in different places or at different points in time. Consequently, management actions intended to reduce predation may be ineffective because the primary predators are misidentified. In grasslands, ring-necked pheasants (Phasianus colchicus) and eastern cottontails (Sylvilagus foridanus) are important game species and predation of these animals is largely attributed to nocturnal predators such as mesocarnivores. The extent to which pheasants and cottontails are preyed on by diurnal predators, such as raptors, is unclear but determining the role these predators play is important to the effective management of both game species. We used automated telemetry systems deployed in three grassland landscapes in east-central Illinois to address to address several questions about the identity of the predators of pheasants and cottontails. We used activity data from our automated systems to classify predation events as nocturnal or diurnal and determined whether predator identity differed between prey species, among seasons, or among landscapes. Our study helps to clarify the identity of the primary predators of two important game species. This type of information can help address questions about predator-prey relationships and can assist wildlife managers attempting to reduce the impact of predation on species of interest.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 2:40pm - 3:00pm
Grand Ballroom D

2:40pm

Technical Session. Pipelines to Pollination: Implications of Vegetation Management on Marcellus–Utica Natural Gas Pipeline Rights-of-way
AUTHORS: Gabriel Karns, Claire Beck - The Ohio State University, School of Environment and Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Long-term and steady declines of native bee and Lepidopteran populations are well documented.  Within highly-modified landscapes, overall pollinator habitat has deteriorated but these very environments hold at least one important opportunity for pollinator habitat conservation—rights-of-way (ROWs).  Specific to our study, pipeline ROWs are required to be clear of woody encroachment and remain some form of early successional habitat.  To gain baseline knowledge for pipeline ROWs in the Marcellus–Utica region, we sampled non-woody vegetation and Lepidopteran (butterflies and skippers) and native bee populations within 24 study plots, May−August 2016, in eastern Ohio.  Each plot was sampled 4 times in 3-week sequential intervals.  Plot locations were surrounded by pole-stage forests and buffered from adjacent land cover types to avoid potential confounding.  Surveys documented 88 flowering plant species.  Flowering bloom abundance peaked during the third sampling interval and decreased in the fourth, but flowering diversity increased throughout and peaked at summer’s end.  We documented 32 Lepidopteran species, and Lepidopteran species richness and abundance peaked during the final sampling interval.  Correlational analysis indicated positive associations between flower abundance and Lepidopteran abundance (r2=0.480), Lepidopteran abundance and ROWs width (r2=0.455), and flowering species richness and Lepidopteran species richness (r2=0.515).  Pipe zone-border zone concepts and Integrated Vegetation Management practices provide mechanisms for managers to reduce mechanical vegetation maintenance (e.g., periodic mowing) and stabilize high-quality habitat for pollinators predominantly using through conservation application of selective herbicides.  Analysis of native bee data and experimental herbicide treatments are forthcoming to examine pollinator response to vegetation management strategies for pipeline ROWs.  Pipeline ROWs already contribute important pollinator habitat to the region and the potential for greater positive change through modified vegetation management practices is promising.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 2:40pm - 3:00pm
Hawthorne

2:40pm

Technical Session. Tooth Replacement Rate of Carcharodon carcharias (Linneaus, 1758)
AUTHORS: John Clay Bruner, Department of Biological Sciences and Laboratory for Vertebrate Paleontology, University of Alberta


ABSTRACT: Analysis of 31 jaws of Carcharodon carcharias, from specimens ranging in total length from 143.5 to 460.9 cm, finds a range in tooth replacement rate of the Second Lateral tooth family of (Upper/Lower) 106.24/113.59 days for young individuals to 225.90/242.18 days for old individuals using the Strasburg Plot Method. The Second Lateral tooth family of the upper and lower jaws gives the best estimates of tooth replacement rate. Upper and lower jaws demonstrate fluctuating asymmetry within the number of tooth positions. The range in dental formulae of the upper/lower jaw for this sample is: 11 to 15 - 0 - 12 to 14 / 11 to 16 - 0 - 11 to 15. One male (NOAA-NMFS Tag #610, TL 149.5 cm) taken off New Jersey in the Northwest Atlantic, has a very minute parasymphysial tooth in the upper right jaw. This is the first report of a parasymphysial tooth present in a White Shark and is considered here as an atavistic character. Using the tooth replacement rate of 106.24 days/tooth, and previous reports of near term White Shark embryos with 3 to 4 full tooth sets present in their alimentary canals, an estimate of when tooth replacement begins prior to parturition and therefore a minimum estimate of gestation period for the White Shark can be calculated as 425 days.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 2:40pm - 3:00pm
Grand Ballroom B

3:00pm

3:20pm

Symposia Session - S5: Playa Wetland Ecology. How Will Playa Plant Communities Respond to a Changing Climate? Inferences from a Greenhouse Experiment
AUTHORS: Rachel K. Owen, School of Natural Resources, University of Missouri; Elisabeth B. Webb, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, U.S. Geological Survey; Keith W. Goyne, School of Natural Resources, University of Missouri

ABSTRACT: Playas are shallow, recharge wetlands located throughout the High Plains and provide many essential ecosystem functions, including nutrient filtration, groundwater recharge, and wildlife habitat; however, predicted increases in temperature and precipitation intensity over the next century may alter ecosystem services associated with playas. Changes in playa hydroperiod (frequency, duration and depth of inundation) may affect vegetative communities and soil function, which could alter available food resources for migratory water birds in the Central Flyway. Regional climate models predict increased temperatures and precipitation intensity in the next thirty years. We are conducting a six-month greenhouse experiment on playa soils from Nebraska and Texas to quantify treatment effects (based on predicted climate changes) on seed bank plant production, soil chemical properties, ion speciation, and ecological tipping point. Soil mesocosm containers are being subjected to four hydroperiod treatments, representing historic and future climate conditions. Local data were used to create the historic climatic simulation and CMIP5 – BCCA downscaled atmosphere ocean general circulation models (AOGCMs) for the RCP 4.5 emission scenarios (years 2071-2099) were used to develop future climatic simulations. Plant and seed biomass will be measured by dry weight at the end of the experiment. Plant species composition and plant physiological response are measured biweekly using the Simpson’s Diversity Index and chlorophyll content of the dominant species, respectively. Daily soil moisture readings are being used to track treatment conditions and deionized water is added as needed to maintain appropriate conditions. Soil temperature and redox potential are measured continuously using a data logger and sensors. Soil solution samples are collected following heavy rainfall events using suction lysimeters and bulk soil samples are collected biweekly. Results of this experiment will identify vegetative and soil properties most sensitive to hydroperiod alteration and identify the greatest potential risks to playa ecosystem functions in a changing climate.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 3:20pm - 3:40pm
Yankee Hill I/II

3:20pm

Symposia Session - S8: Fate of Freshwater Mussels. Our St. Croix River: Battleground for Invading Zebra Mussels
AUTHORS: Byron N. Karns, National Park Service, St. Croix National Scenic Riverway



ABSTRACT: In 1992, zebra mussels were discovered in the Mississippi River as it flows through the Twin Cities, Minnesota.  Twenty one river miles downstream lay the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, a unit of the National Park System. Renowned for its recreational and biological resources, the St. Croix River is nationally significant for its richness and abundance of freshwater mussels (up to 40 species).  With the greatest diversity of unionids in the Upper Mississippi watershed, the Riverway has the potential to be severely impacted by zebra mussels.
Since 1992, the National Park Service (NPS) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) have led an interagency task force designed to halt/slow the spread of zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) into the St. Croix Riverway.  In 1993, a St. Croix Zebra Mussel Prevention Plan was developed and implemented by the task force.Still a guiding force behind policy and procedure on the Riverway, the Prevention Plan was the first of its kind in the United States, and remains a model for federal and state agencies in the U.S. and Canada.  Key elements of the plan include education/information, inspection/access management, monitoring, infestation control, and research.  Up to seven years after the Prevention Plan was introduced, no reproducing population of zebra mussels had been detected in the St. Croix River.  A new element for the task force since 2000 has been the formation of an agency-staffed scuba-dive team to directly monitor the river for zebra mussels.  With the creation of this dive team, staffed with members of the NPS and the USFWS, the river has been annually surveyed by trained biologists and experts, all of whom sit on the task force.  Thus, monitoring conclusions and recommendations were made with a unique degree of first-hand information.
 
 

Tuesday February 7, 2017 3:20pm - 3:40pm
Grand Ballroom A

3:20pm

Technical Session. Impacts of Land Use on Habitat suitability and forage for honey bees in the Northern Great Plains
AUTHORS: Matthew Smart, Clint Otto (USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, Jamestown, ND)

ABSTRACT: Recent land use changes across the Northern Great Plains have resulted in declining availability of habitat suitable for supporting managed honey bee colonies. We use apiary registration records to map areas experiencing high rates of land use change near established apiaries, and provide logistic models quantifying how apiary site selection by beekeepers is influenced by land use. Finally, we highlight plant taxa that are utilized by honey bee colonies positioned in agricultural landscapes in the region.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 3:20pm - 3:40pm
Hawthorne

3:20pm

Technical Session. Isolation Not Dragon Predation Caused Unicorn Extinction in Pre-historic Sky Island: Fairy-tale Creatures Teach Spatial Ecology in Ohio
AUTHORS: Andrew J. Gregory, Ashlee N. Nichter - School of Earth Environment and Society, Bowling Green State University

ABSTRACT: Educators are finding it increasingly difficult to engage millennial learners. For the millennial, with instant access to information over the internet, nothing taught is valid until confirmed via Google. This skepticism is both a boon and a bane to student learning, as some students get hung up on idiosyncratic trivia and miss the point of lessons designed to teach know how skills. Moreover, millennial learners tend to have a difficult time synthesizing what they learn into a novel finding. Their innate instinct is to look information up on the internet to find the answer, and they will reject their own conclusions if they are not the same as what the internet tells them they should have concluded. In the spring of 2016, I was teaching graduate/undergraduate level class in spatial ecology to a room full of millennial learners. In an attempt to side-step the afore mentioned issues with teaching menials, I created a series of lessons using dragon and unicorn spatial ecology and demography to teach concepts related to measuring the effects of isolation and synchrony on local meta-population dynamics. For the final exam, students had to apply a life stage analysis of unicorns and dragons inhabiting a sky island meta-population to determine if dragon predation or isolation caused of unicorn extinction. I found the use of fairy tale creatures freed students from preconceived biases and the use of simulated data for these creatures ensured that student could not simply look information up on the web, but had to find their own solutions based on their own analysis. Students had mixed success at accomplishing this. Approximately 80% of the class utilized a valid approach to solve the problem, but only 34% of the student’s problem could accurately synthesize their findings into a coherent narrative

Tuesday February 7, 2017 3:20pm - 3:40pm
Arbor I/II

3:20pm

Technical Session. Trends in Nebraska Deer Hunter Satisfaction
AUTHORS: Matthew Gruntorad, Christopher Chizinski - University of Nebraska-Lincoln

ABSTRACT: Deer hunting is one of the most popular types of hunting activities in Nebraska. An important expectation of wildlife managers is to provide quality deer hunting experiences for hunters. Using an online survey, completed by individuals who hunted deer in Nebraska in 2015, we utilized six characteristics to compare satisfaction among deer hunters in Nebraska with their overall deer hunting experience. Satisfaction was modelled with ordinal logistic regression against residency, weapon type, land hunted, where they were from (urban or non-urban), if they harvested a deer, and the type of deer they were targeting (antlered or antlerless). Our results suggest that, overall, Nebraska deer hunters are satisfied. The greatest influence on hunter satisfaction was whether a hunter successfully harvested a deer. Firearm hunters were likely to be more satisfied than primitive weapon hunters, and private land hunters were likely to be more satisfied than public land hunters. Hunters from an urbanized origin were likely to be more satisfied than non-urbanized hunters, and non-residents were likely to be more satisfied than Nebraska residents. However, the type of deer sought had no influence on hunter satisfaction. Over recent years the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission has gone through a number of measures to meet the expectations of the hunting public, including increasing: season length, bag limit, permit types, legal weapons, public land options, and youth opportunities.  These measures have improved the quality of the hunting experience by sportspersons, and led to greater overall satisfaction.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 3:20pm - 3:40pm
Grand Ballroom E

3:20pm

Joint CESU Annual Meeting
Tuesday February 7, 2017 3:20pm - 4:40pm
Yankee Hill III

3:40pm

Symposia Session - S5: Playa Wetland Ecology. Modeling Greenhouse Gas Flux in Playa of the Rainwater Basin of Nebraska
AUTHORS: Zhuoqing Li, Loren M. Smith, Scott T. McMurry - Department of Integrative Biology, Oklahoma State University; Dale W. Daniel, Stearns, Conrad and Schmidt Consulting Engineers, Inc.

ABSTRACT: We developed models to measure greenhouse gas (GHG) flux in playa wetlands and their immediate watersheds in the Rainwater Basin of Nebraska. Playas are shallow depressional recharge wetlands that primarily receive water through runoff. Therefore, any land use treatment in playa watersheds affects GHG flux. Flus was modelled in three land uses: ACEP (Formerly WRP), Reference condition, and Cropland. The Wetlands Reserve Program is the dominant conservation program in the Rainwater Basin of Nebraska. The WRP land use generally had lower greenhouse gas flux emissions than other two land uses. We developed two series of models to simulate GHG flux. One model sets dynamically monitors and assesses the GHG flux based on 8-day composite MODIS products issued by USGS. Another model set simulates and predicts GHG flux transformation according to alternative environmental or program scenarios, to make policy makers and landowners more clearly understand what would be changed after conservation. 

Tuesday February 7, 2017 3:40pm - 4:00pm
Yankee Hill I/II

3:40pm

Symposia Session - S8: Fate of Freshwater Mussels. Significance of Dreissenids in Native Freshwater Mussel Restoration
AUTHORS: Megan Bradley; Nathan Eckert; Doug Aloisi - U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

ABSTRACT: Freshwater mussels are one of the most threatened taxa in North America. More than half of the 78 known species in the Midwest are listed as federally endangered, threatened or as state species of special concern.   The source of this imperilment is varied but includes the introduction of non-native mussels.  Dreissena polymorpha and bugensis continue to present threats to extant mussel populations but also present significant challenges to the restoration and recovery of native mussels.  There are progressively more tools available to restore and recover native mussels, however nearly all depend on collecting mussels from the wild.  In the Midwest only under the very best circumstances does there exist the opportunity to collect these animals from waters free of dreissenids.  Therefore biologists must be strategic in collecting and transporting these vital organisms.  This extends beyond wild animals to hatchery reared animals since some of the very best growth results from wild water and even cultured juvenile native mussels must be handled as potential vectors for dreissenid introduction.  Beyond this expected challenge, these unwelcome organisms also present other problems for the naïve native mussel restorer; biofouling of wild culture containers and concomitant increased investment in container cleaning, cost in time and money of cleaning and replacing gear used in infested waters and the additional time animals spend in either quarantine or cleaning and therefore the increased stress and potential loss.  

Tuesday February 7, 2017 3:40pm - 4:00pm
Grand Ballroom A

3:40pm

Technical Session. Evaluating Fall Harvests with Practicable Wild Turkey Management Models: Incorporating Observation Uncertainty and Regulation Cycle
AUTHORS: Sydney E. Manning, Bryan S. Stevens, David M. Williams - Michigan State University Boone and Crockett Quantitative Wildlife Center

ABSTRACT: Stabilization of wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) populations and high demand for recreational harvest has made it desirable to understand performance of harvest management systems. Existing models assume harvests vary annually about some target level, but the precise relationship between regulations and realized harvest rates is not clear. Similarly, decisions are often made at multi-year intervals with imperfect information on abundance, yet these complexities are not incorporated into harvest models. Therefore, our objective was to assess performance of fall turkey harvest under a set of plausible management models that incorporated multi-year regulation cycles and observation uncertainty. We used stochastic simulation to assess performance of fall harvests for 5 management systems representing combinations of population assessment and regulation cycle frequencies. Because performance of harvests is sensitive to sex-specific harvest vulnerabilities, we simulated each management system under 3 levels of relative vulnerability (females less, equally, and more vulnerable than males), resulting in 15 simulation scenarios. For each scenario we conducted 1,000 replications of a 100 year population projection under each simulated harvest rate (0-15%). When hen vulnerability to harvest was high there were thresholds in performance metrics at fall harvest rates of 10–12%, where increases to harvest resulted in abrupt changes to performance. These thresholds resulted in decreased ability to maintain large populations through time and reduced annual harvest. Risk of population decline was negligible with annual decisions, but increased under multi-year cycles. We demonstrated that multi-year regulation cycles can be effective systems for sustaining turkey populations in the presence of observation uncertainty, but only when realized hen harvest is low. Existence of thresholds in responses of populations to fall harvest suggests multi-year management cycles are very risky when hen vulnerability is high. Thus, careful monitoring of hen harvest is important to ensure thresholds are not approached when implementing multi-year management cycles.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 3:40pm - 4:00pm
Arbor I/II

3:40pm

Technical Session. Quantifying the Impact of Thermal Data Loggers on Nest Survival and Estimation of Daily Survival Rate
AUTHORS: Matt Stephenson, Lisa Schulte Moore - Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Iowa State University; Robert Klaver, U.S. Geological Survey, Iowa Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Unit.

ABSTRACT: Nest survival estimates are most powerful when visits to the nest are spaced as closely as possible, but this must be balanced against the danger of frequent visits influencing the outcome of the nest as well as trading time spent checking nests against spending more time increasing the sample size.  iButton® brand thermal data-loggers provide an inexpensive method for monitoring the interior temperature of nests on a minute-to-hourly basis without frequent visits by an observer.  Several authors have investigated whether iButtons have an impact on nest survival, but studies so far have been limited in the number of species investigated, the sample size attained, or the sophistication of the analysis. 
We investigated whether iButtons impact nest survival for 249 nests including 10 species of grassland and shrub nesting birds on farms in central Iowa, whether Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) egg-accepting and egg-rejecting species were impacted differently, and whether iButtons improve the estimation of daily survival rate by modeling nest survival in Program MARK.  Preliminary results suggest insertion of iButtons into nests may cause a low level of nest abandonment for some species, but data analysis is ongoing.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 3:40pm - 4:00pm
Grand Ballroom D

3:40pm

Technical Session. The Economic Benefits of Publicly Accessible Hunting Lands
AUTHORS: Lindsey N. Messinger, Farmland Wildlife Populations and Research Group, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; Michael T. Winkler, Pheasants Forever; Joseph J. Fontaine, U.S. Geological Survey, Nebraska Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit, University of Nebraska-Lincoln


ABSTRACT: Outdoor recreation is a multi-billion dollar industry in the United States with significant contributions to local, state, and federal economies and job markets. Quantifying the economic contribution of outdoor recreation lands is increasingly important to justify their continued support and preservation. While the economic benefits of outdoor recreationists on large, public and private areas like National Parks and ski resorts have increasingly been quantified, there is still little known about the economic contribution of smaller-scale public and private recreation lands such as public access hunting lands. Throughout the Great Plains, small wildlife management areas, waterfowl production areas, and private lands open to public use attract thousands of hunters annually.  However, quantifying the economic contribution of these hunters is challenging given how these properties are used and managed. Through in-person interviews of hunters in Nebraska, we gathered information about regional use of publicly accessible lands including trip length, travel distance, and lodging. By assigning economic value to these variables, we take a first step as quantifying the economic contribution and potential of small, publically accessible hunting lands. We found that hunting trips vary across distinct regions within Nebraska and by hunting season. With this information, local communities (especially rural communities) and wildlife managers may be better equipped to provide hunters with continued and additional resources, maximizing the economic benefits of public access hunting lands and providing justification for persistence.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 3:40pm - 4:00pm
Grand Ballroom E

3:40pm

Technical Session. The Nebraska Beneficial Insect Protection Plan, a Current Conservation Effort
AUTHORS: Judy Wu-Smart, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Department of Entomology

ABSTRACT: Beneficial insects provide critical ecological services such as pollination (bees, butterflies, beetles), pest control (natural enemies), nutrient cycling (dung beetles, soil dwellers), bioremediation and biological indicators (aquatic insects) of the quality of our environmental surroundings. In addition, insects play a critical role in the food web and provides a food source for many amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Therefore, protecting beneficial insect communities is vitally important in the preservation of our ecosystem and sustainability of land and wildlife stewardship. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Issue Team is leading a conservation effort in collaboration with numerous organizations and industry partners to develop a protection plan that will provide research-based best management practice guidelines and educational programing to promote healthier and more balanced ecosystems.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 3:40pm - 4:00pm
Hawthorne

4:00pm

Symposia Session - S5: Playa Wetland Ecology. Agricultural Contaminants in the Rainwater Basin
AUTHORS: Michelle L. Hellman, Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, School of Natural Resources; Craig R. Allen, Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit; Ted LaGrange, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission; Daniel D. Snow, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, School of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: The Rainwater Basin (RWB) is a region of Nebraska characterized by shallow precipitation-fed wetlands. Following European settlement, more than 90% of historic wetlands were filled or farmed through. The remaining wetlands exist in an area of intensive agriculture that has further isolated wetlands and may expose them to contaminants from upland row crops. While much research has been conducted assessing the effects of fertilizers and pesticides on wetlands and wetland organisms, the potential impact of more novel chemicals like strobilurin fungicides and neonicitinoid insecticides is still poorly understood. In 2014, more than 100,000lbs of fungicide was applied to cornfields in the Nebraska; 72,000lbs of this was pyraclostrobin (National Agricultural Statistics Service). These contaminants may be transported into Rainwater Basin wetlands via runoff and once in the wetland may impact the health of resident amphibians. To assess this we collected monthly surface water samples in June, July, and August, and soil sediment samples in August. We screened for a suite of agrichemicals including fungicides, atrazine, and neonicitinoids. Contaminant concentrations detected can be used to prioritize conservation concerns in the Rainwater Basin and will inform a future investigation of chronic effects of exposure to developing larval anurans.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 4:00pm - 4:20pm
Yankee Hill I/II

4:00pm

Symposia Session - S8: Fate of Freshwater Mussels. Potential Use of Zequanox® for Conservation of Freshwater Mussels
AUTHORS: James Luoma, Diane Waller, Todd Severson, Jeremy Wise, Kerry Weber - USGS – Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center; Denise Mayer, New York State Education Department - New York State Museum Field Research Laboratory

ABSTRACT: After invasion of a water body, the impacts of dreissenids on unionid populations range from moderate to extirpation. In 1999, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services’ Genoa National Fish Hatchery launched a unionid mussel program to propagate the federally listed Higgins Eye Pearlymussel which was facing extinction after the introduction of zebra mussels into the Mississippi River. A key component of the propagation program, cage culture, requires the stocking of glochidia-infested fish into cages placed in the river. The mussels are allowed to excyst from the fish and grow in the cages for up to 18 months before collection for relocation. Proper cage site selection is paramount to avoid sedimentation and dreissenid fouling has rendered formerly productive cage sites unusable.
Zequanox®, an EPA registered biopesticide for controlling dreissenid mussels in open waters, contains killed cells of a specific strain of Pseudomonas fluorescens as the active ingredient and has demonstrated specificity towards dreissenids. We conducted safety and efficacy studies to evaluate the use of Zequanox® for managing dreissenids during unionid propagation and for conserving unionid populations within dreissenid-infested waters. Our field studies included tank-exposures in which we evaluated the safety of Zequanox® exposure to seven species of subadult/adult unionid mussels by exposing mussels to the maximum label concentration (200 mg Zequanox®/L) for up to 3x the recommended exposure duration of 8-h and assessing survival ~30 days after exposure. In a second field study we evaluated the efficacy of Zequanox® for removing dreissenids adhering to unionid mussels. In this study, Zequanox® was applied within 2.25-m2 in-lake enclosures up to the maximum label concentration for 8 hours. The survival of unionids and the reduction in adhering zebra mussels was assessed ~ 20 days after exposure. Study methods, comparisons of unionid survival, and reduction in adhering zebra mussels will be discussed.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 4:00pm - 4:20pm
Grand Ballroom A

4:00pm

Technical Session. Evaluating the Sensitivity of Density Estimates in a Spatial Capture-Recapture Model of Black Bears in the Northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan
AUTHORS: Jennifer Smith, Michigan State University; David Williams, Michigan State University; Mike Wegan, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Dwayne Etter, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, William Porter, Michigan State University

ABSTRACT: Accurate and precise estimates of density are fundamental to the conservation of wildlife populations. Advances in non-invasive monitoring techniques and their application to traditional capture-recapture models have benefited efforts to reliably estimate abundance. However, traditional capture-recapture models do not directly assess effective sampling area, which prevents direct estimation of density. Spatial capture-recapture (SCR) models address this issue by modeling detection as a function of distance. Because detection probability depends on the distance of detectors from individual activity centers, the layout of detectors (i.e., spacing) influences our ability to estimate density. In 2003, efforts to estimate black bear (Ursus americanus) abundance in the northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan, were initiated by establishing an array of hair snares. This array was designed to achieve coverage of a large geographic area. Capture data for 2003 and three additional years (2005, 2009, 2013) was analyzed using non-spatial capture-recapture models. Recent management interests have resulted in a desire for spatially-explicit density estimates for bears using the existing data and snare array. We evaluated the robustness and sensitivity of the density estimate produced using SCR models across a range of plausible scenarios based on the current layout of hair snares. We summarize the results of 81 simulated scenarios that varied the parameters of density, the detection function (g0 and sigma), and number of sampling occasions. The simulations indicated estimates of density from the current trap array design are biased high. We discuss aspects of the current array that contribute to this bias and describe efforts to evaluate alternative designs. In order to effectively manage wildlife populations, it’s crucial to recognize and understand the limitations of our methodologies, particularly when we attempt to apply new tools to previously collected data.


Tuesday February 7, 2017 4:00pm - 4:20pm
Arbor I/II

4:00pm

Technical Session. How We Hunt: Modeling the Future of Pheasant Behavior
AUTHORS: Lyndsie S. Wszola, Nebraska Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit, University of Nebraska–Lincoln; Joseph J. Fontaine, U.S. Geological Survey, Nebraska Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit, University of Nebraska–Lincoln

ABSTRACT: Human harvest of wild populations can cause rapid morphological, behavioral, and life history evolution. Such rapid evolution is often accompanied by dramatic population declines, yet the connections between harvest, evolution, and demography are poorly understood. Intensive harvest significantly decreases genetic diversity, reducing both effective population size and individual fitness. Such a reduction in genetic and phenotypic diversity could reduce populations’ ability to cope with natural environmental stochasticity. We are using a novel combination of empirical observation and evolutionary simulation to investigate whether harvest-induced evolution drives population decline by inhibiting evolutionary responses to environmental stochasticity. From 2014 to 2016, we deployed GPS loggers on wild pheasants and pheasant hunters in Southwest Nebraska. We used the resulting location datasets in conjunction with fine-scale habitat data to assess how hunters and pheasants choose habitat at fine spatial and temporal scales. We found that hunters and pheasants both choose habitat near crop fields, and that hunters additionally choose habitat near roads and trails. We are now using these mechanistic models of hunter and pheasant movement to build agent-based models in which we investigate how strong directional selection pressure from hunters influences prey phenotypic diversity and population trends.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 4:00pm - 4:20pm
Grand Ballroom D

4:00pm

Technical Session. Promoting Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Partnerships Through State-Funded Grant Programs
AUTHORS: Clay Buchanan, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: During the last hunting license restructure, the Michigan DNR promised to provide greater benefits to stakeholders. One of the tools used to fulfill this promise was the implementation of grant opportunities for a wide range of citizens, non-governmental organizations, and agencies.  Grants leverage the resources and interests of conservation partners and range from a few thousand dollars to more than $150,000 which can be used to restore a one acre forest opening or a 600 acre grassland complex. The process of receiving a grant includes a competitive application and scoring process that assesses and balances the merit of the proposed project with the habitat goals of the MDNR and the benefits of long-term partnership building. Grants are awarded annually and well distributed across the state. Over the last 4 years, the Wildlife Division of the MDNR had awarded over $4 million to partners resulting in habitat restoration on thousands of acres. Congruently, the program has fostered and strengthened conservation partnerships that we believe will bring about long-term regulative, policy, habitat, and wildlife population benefits. Feedback from partners suggests higher satisfaction and trust pertaining to Michigan DNR activities and continued future cooperation. While the outputs of this program appear wholly beneficial, there are a number of accompanying issues. Administration, on both ends is rather burdensome, although we have made dramatic attempts to reduce the administrative workload. An unsuccessful applicant annually offers negative feedback to legislators after review of their project score, rank, and funding decision. As a program, it is relatively easy to measure and express success in meeting acreage goals as proposed in grant applications, however, defining partnership success is more difficult or abstract. This presentation will discuss the grant program framework and the mix of qualitative and quantitative benefits and costs of a state administered habitat grant program.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 4:00pm - 4:20pm
Grand Ballroom E

4:00pm

Technical Session. Using Plant-pollinator Interaction Data to Make a National Impact
AUTHORS: Katie Lamke, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Department of Entomology; Clint Otto, USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, Jamestown, ND; Judy Wu-Smart, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Department of Entomology

ABSTRACT: Wild bees provide important ecological services and can be indicators of well-functioning ecosystems. As the agricultural landscape continues to increase, so does the demand for pollination services and in many areas we are seeing a decline in the diversity and abundance of wild bees. The U.S. Geological Survey has developed the Pollinator Library which is user-friendly tool that displays plant-pollinator interactions from various small and large scale studies. Over time as more data is combined, we will be able to make better informed decisions when creating effective pollinator seed mixes and identifying land management techniques that promote healthy pollinator communities.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 4:00pm - 4:20pm
Hawthorne

4:20pm

Symposia Session - S8: Fate of Freshwater Mussels. Review of Rapid Response Tools Used to Control Invasive Dreissenid Mussels
AUTHORS: Michelle Bartsch, Diane Waller, Eric Lord - U.S. Geological Survey, Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center

ABSTRACT: Early detection and rapid response plans (EDRRP) are important components of dreissenid control efforts that focus on containment and eradication of a newly identified dreissenid population. A review of rapid response projects found that adverse effects to nontarget (native mussel) organisms are an important component of EDRRP protocols and the decision-making process on the implementation of a control plan. Native mussels are especially at risk during treatment applications since they are immobile and likely to be in areas where dreissenids colonize. We evaluated the available toxicity data on current and proposed molluscicides for dreissenid mussel control to determine the potential risk of control treatments to unionid mussels and will discuss strategies for future research.  

Tuesday February 7, 2017 4:20pm - 4:40pm
Grand Ballroom A

4:20pm

Technical Session. A Descriptive Analysis of Regal Fritillary (Speyeria idalia) Habitat Utilizing Biological Monitoring Data along the Big Bend of the Platte River, NE
AUTHORS: Andrew J. Caven, Kelsey C. King, Joshua D. Wiese, and Emma M. Brinley Buckley

ABSTRACT:  Speyeria idalia populations have declined as much as 95 percent over the last 3decades. Here we critically evaluate prairie habitat components along the Platte Riverin central Nebraska that S. idalia populations require in an effort to better instructconservation efforts. We utilized S. idalia count data from long-term monitoringtransects where vegetation, soils, land management, and flooding frequency data arealso collected to describe the habitat constituents associated with S. idalia presence.We utilize comparative statistics, Pearson's correlation analysis, and Random ForestAnalysis to model S. idalia habitat on land owned and managed by a smallconservation NGO. Our findings suggest that S. idalia occupies specific habitat nicheswith a preference for well-drained soils (Inavale series) dominated by facultative uplandplants, most prominently Andropogon gerardii. S. idalia is positively associated withlarge connected tracts of relict prairie containing Viola sororia and very moderatemanagement regimes that remove shrubby cover (negatively associated) and promoteforb cover (positively associated), while providing ample recovery time on burned andgrazed patches for litter development (positively associated). Random Forest Analysisdescribes the presence of Viola sororia, percent forb cover, and habitat connectivity asthe top 3 habitat variables of importance in predicting the presence of S. idalia. Ourfinding that habitat connectivity is a major predictor of S. idalia presence suggestsmany populations may be both spatially and genetically isolated. S. idalia's futuredemands the preservation of tallgrass prairie fragments under management regimesthat promote healthy populations.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 4:20pm - 4:40pm
Hawthorne

4:20pm

Technical Session. Characterizing Individual Variation in Resource Selection of Elk in Missouri
AUTHORS: Kyle Redilla, Michigan State University; Trenton Smith, Missouri Department of Conservation; Barbara Keller, Cervid Program Supervisor, Missouri Department of Conservation; Joshua Millspaugh, University of Montana; Robert Montgomery, Michigan State University

ABSTRACT: Resource selection functions (RSF) have become one of the most popular choices among ecologists for understanding space use from animal telemetry data. Inference is typically desired at the population level, and a common technique is to pool data from all animals in a population and fit a model, where coefficients at the individual level are considered random effects drawn from a population-level distribution. This technique has been shown to be valuable for understanding broad scale selection, but when the focal population may be comprised of various intrinsic categories (e.g. age class) or clustered spatially (e.g. two sub-populations occupying different areas of the landscape), valuable information could be lost by pooling for RSF analyses. We investigated the individual variation in resource selection in a population of elk (Cervus elaphus) introduced into the Missouri Ozarks and monitored between 2011 and 2013. We modeled elk location data collected from Global Positioning System (GPS) collars using a Bayesian discrete choice RSF fit to each individual, and explored results in two ways: in terms of the variability among individual RSF coefficients, and in a model selection approach, comparing the importance of variables in predicting selection. Multivariate analyses revealed patterns among selection coefficients in both magnitude and inclusion in models that varied dramatically across individuals with no obvious clustering by age/sex class. Our work demonstrates that there is likely important ecological variation that can be masked when RSF analyses are aggregated at the population-level. This has implications for identifying the ecological contexts in which routine RSF analyses may flourish or fail. We discuss the implications for our work, highlight the importance of considering resource selection at the level of each individual, and present techniques and considerations for developing individual analyses.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 4:20pm - 4:40pm
Arbor I/II

4:20pm

Technical Session. Ethno-Geographical Relation to Wildlife Crime in Nepal: Analysis of Case Reported in National Print Media
AUTHORS: Ganesh Puri, Department of Forest Nepal; Gangaram Regmi, Global Primate Network Nepal; Yajna Timilsina, Institute of Forestry Pokhara Nepal

ABSTRACT: The wildlife crime has escalated rapidly, which is one of the most serious threats for survival of globally threatened species. There are very few studies about illegal wildlife trade in Nepal, where media related study is virtually none. Hence, the reported cases of the wildlife crime on national print media i.e. Kantipur and Gorkhapatra of the last five years in Nepal were collated to understand coverage of wildlife crime in Nepal. The study followed the content analysis methods on analysis of information. Altogether 193 wildlife crime cases were recorded over the last five years in two national print media where 370 individuals including 30 foreigners were involved. The dominance suspected group involving in the crime are of Janajati mostly Tamang, and followed by Chhetri, Bramin, Madeshi, Dalit and Chepang. Tatopani-Sindhupalchok, Kimathanka-Sankhuwasabha, and Tinkar-Darchula boarders are frequently used as an exit point for illegal wildlife trade in North where as Chadani Dodhara-Kanchanpur border in southern belt. The coverage of wildlife related news in print media is very low; only 2 cases/month; and received less importance. The media are not in the forefront to report wildlife related crimes and does not remain in their priority reporting too. Media personnel should be sensitized to increase their attention towards conservation issues so that wildlife authorities can implement wildlife laws effectively to mitigate wildlife crime in Nepal.


Tuesday February 7, 2017 4:20pm - 4:40pm
Grand Ballroom E

4:20pm

Technical Session. Using Database Driven Web Content to Improve Anglers Access to Information
AUTHORS: Jeff Kopaska, Brandon Burnett - Iowa Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Web page and technology management is a continual challenge for natural resources agencies. Staff familiar with technology are often ill-informed of natural resources issues and concepts, whereas natural resources experts are regularly disconnected from technological advances. Staff with an understanding of both realms are uncommon, and as such are usually stretched thin because of the demands placed on their time and skill sets. Beginning in 2004, agency fisheries personnel in Iowa began to record management activities regarding waterbodies in an online data system. This effort was initiated as a mechanism to catalog historical, relevant data in advance of retirements that would cause a loss of institutional knowledge. Subsequently, weekly fishing reports, fish survey data, water quality data, fishing regulations, stocking records and local amenities have also been integrated into online data systems. Online mapping software has also been integrated, allowing bathymetric data and fishing structure locations to be displayed along with other relevant fishery information. Recent developments in web page management (content management systems) have allowed static web pages to be replaced with templates that dynamically create individual web pages from data warehoused in the aforementioned data systems. Web based data storage system developments allow local natural resources staff to maintain their records, while simultaneously maintaining current contents on web pages. These improvements allow anglers to access their most frequently requested information immediately, with no additional staff time expended.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 4:20pm - 4:40pm
Grand Ballroom D

4:20pm

Symposia Session - S5: Playa Wetland Ecology. Round Table Discussion
AUTHORS: Dana Varner, Science Coordinator, Rainwater Basin Joint Venture

ABSTRACT: Coming soon!

Tuesday February 7, 2017 4:20pm - 5:20pm
Yankee Hill I/II

4:40pm

Technical Session. Bird-Window Collisions: A Comparison of Migration Phenology and Collision Rates on a University Campus in Indiana
AUTHORS: Sarah E. Fischer, Kamal Islam - Ball State University

ABSTRACT: Windows can be problematic for birds because of their reflectivity. Birds have difficulty in detecting glass and often collide with windows. Though it is difficult to estimate exact numbers, these collisions may account for up to one billion avian mortalities in the U.S. each year. Many buildings on university campuses can be fatally harmful to a diverse array of species. We conducted research over a two-year period at twelve buildings on the Ball State University campus in Muncie, Indiana, to compare migration phenology, determine which species and families are most affected, and determine which windows are the most problematic in terms of collision rates. From August 2014 - May 2016, 158 carcasses representing 46 species from 18 families were collected. The highest mortality rates occurred in the Parulidae (n=41), Turdidae (n=38), and Emberizidae (n=27) families. Overall, collision rates were highest during fall migration, but the highest monthly rate occurred in May 2016. There were three “hotspots” on campus that caused the highest collision rates: Worthen Arena (n=39), Bracken Library (n=38), and the Architecture Building (n=38). We plan to use our results to recommend methods that can reduce collision rates at the most problematic “hotspots” on campus. Additionally, these data can provide future insight for architects to help promote bird-safe buildings and communities.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 4:40pm - 5:00pm
Arbor I/II

5:00pm

5:00pm

Wildlife Acoustics Product Workshop
Learn firsthand how to use the SM4, a programmable, weatherproof recorder capable of capturing months of acoustic data. Please RSVP at sales2017@wildlifeacoustics.com.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 5:00pm - 6:00pm
Garrat

5:00pm

5:30pm

6:00pm

Research-in-Progress Student Poster Session

A Student Research-in-Progress Poster session will be held in conjunction with the Poster Social, and will feature submissions from undergraduate, M.S., and Ph.D. students including: research that is in progress, or is a proposed research project (with a focus on study design), results from completed undergraduate research projects, or student chapter class or group research project. Attendees are strongly encouraged to visit with these students and provide feedback on their research.


Tuesday February 7, 2017 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Olive Branch Room

6:00pm

Trade Show & Poster Social

Visit with exhibitors and authors of contributed posters. Don’t miss out on the NEAFS/NETUS Chapter raffle! Win a muzzle loader or Orvis fly rod and many more natural resource prizes! Light hors d’ oeuvres and complimentary soda and beer (while supplies last) are available, as well as a cash bar.


Tuesday February 7, 2017 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Lancaster Ballroom

6:00pm

Poster Display. Abstract Correction for Meretsky and Fischman
AUTHORS: Meretsky and Fischman
Please use this abstract - the computer jumped to Complete on the earlier one before it was complete. This submission is for the LCC symposium, and will be the only poster in that session, so far as we are aware. Kirstin Shaw and Gwen White from the ETPBR LCC are aware of the submission and expecting it.

ABSTRACT: Graduate programs related to environmental sciences and policy and to natural resource management can be valuable partners for conservation agencies and organizations. Indiana University's School of Public and Environmental Affairs requires graduate students to complete capstone courses that undertake semester-long projects for client organizations. Capstone classes work with nonprofit organizations including the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA), as well as for agencies including the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Working with client representatives, students have assessed State Wildlife Action Plans, reviewed national wildlife refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plans, provided groundwork for AFWA's blue-ribbon panel on fund-raising for nongame wildlife, provided recommendations for evaluating the National Water Quality Initiative, and assessed state capacity for imperiled species recovery. Whereas agencies often look to academic programs at land-grant universities that require theses and dissertations, capstone classes from professional programs provide groups of students that can approach projects from several angles simultaneously. Any single class can include students with advanced training in ecology and conservation, environmental management and policy, statistics, nonprofit management and philanthropy, program evaluation, and policy analysis. Students in these programs are usually trained to work with clients, to manage projects, and to synthesize information and communicate results to client-specified audiences that are more often managers and policy makers, not the researchers who are the usual audience for theses and dissertations. Working together, with client guidance, student groups can undertake projects that agencies and organizations list as high priorities but must forego due to staffing and financial limitations. In our experience, conservation agencies and organizations are unaccustomed to reaching beyond land-grant universities to take advantage of students in professional programs. We summarize relevant projects and provide guidelines for success in these promising partnerships.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Lancaster Ballroom

6:00pm

Poster Display. Age and Growth Demographics of Asian Carp in the Upper Mississippi River
AUTHORS: Cortney Cox, Western Illinois University; Jim Lamer, Western Illinois University; Allie Lenaerts, Western Illinois University; Boone LaHood, Western Illinois University; Greg Whitledge, Southern Illinois University; Brent Knights, United States Geological Survey; Kevin Irons, Illinois Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Fish age and growth can be used to infer density-dependent competition, resource availability, age at maturity, and habitat suitability.  Understanding these dynamics are especially important when assessing the impacts of invasive species.  Bighead and silver carp are invasive species that have established throughout much of the Mississippi River Basin.  Lock and Dam 19 on the Mississippi River has slowed their upstream migration and delayed their establishment in the Upper Mississippi River.  Aging structures obtained from populations above Lock and Dam 19 allow us to determine growth rates and age at maturity in these recently established and poorly understood, low-density populations.  Using commercial fishing methods, we have collected length and weight data from 1864 silver carp and 500 bighead carp.  Pectoral spines, postcleithra, and vertebrae have been removed from 644 silver carp and 270 bighead carp, 30 fish per each 50mm size class, to quantify age and growth from bighead carp and silver carp in pools 16-19 on the Mississippi River.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Lancaster Ballroom

6:00pm

Poster Display. American Marten Habitat Suitability in the Northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan
AUTHORS: Angela Kujawa, Grand Valley State University; Paul Keenlance, Grand Valley State University; Alexandra Locher, Grand Valley State University; Robert Sanders, Little River Band of Ottawa Indians; Joseph Jacquot, Grand Valley State University

ABSTRACT: American marten (Martes americana) are slender-bodied mesocarnivores in the mustelid family. Across their range, marten have experienced habitat loss and fragmentation due to logging and fire, coupled with overharvesting. These factors led to marten being extirpated from Michigan’s Lower Peninsula (LP) in 1911, with reintroduction efforts beginning in 1985. Marten are commonly considered habitat specialists, associating with old-growth forests with a coniferous component. In Michigan’s Northern LP, marten have been found to utilize areas with large diameter trees, high basal areas and ~70% or greater canopy closure. Although marten are known to inhabit the LP, their range in not fully known. This study aims to determine habitat preferences of known marten populations in the LP to create a habitat suitability model across the Northern LP. Marten locations in the area, that have been collected since 2011 via VHF radio-telemetry and GPS collars, will be used to estimate home ranges and delineate habitat preferences. Variables determined to influence selection of an area as a home range will be used to create a habitat model which will be applied across the Northern LP to obtain a gradient of low to high quality marten habitat. Noninvasive sampling methods will be used to validate the model. A unit of one female’s home range in Michigan’s LP (6.24km2) will be used as the unit of measurement during validation. This study will provide novel research that managers can use to improve degraded habitat and conserve adequate habitat, benefiting Michigan’s marten populations.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Lancaster Ballroom

6:00pm

Poster Display. An Attempt to Quantify the Usefulness of Thermal Imagers for Locating Grassland Bird Nests
AUTHORS: Matt Stephenson, Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Iowa State University; Lisa Schulte Moore, NREM, ISU; Robert Klaver, U.S. Geological Survey, Iowa Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Unit.

ABSTRACT: Studies of bird nest survival require large sample sizes to draw robust inferences, but nests of grassland birds are often cryptic and difficult to locate.  Thermal imaging cameras promise to help quickly pinpoint warm nests against cool background temperatures, reducing search time and disturbance to vegetation around nests and reducing bias toward easy to find nests.  Previous authors have qualitatively reported thermal imagers to be helpful under specific thermal conditions occurring early in the morning and on cool overcast days.  This study is an attempt to quantitatively describe the usefulness of a thermal imaging camera in finding nests of grassland and open country nesting birds under a broader set of thermal conditions.  We searched 125 0.1-0.2 ha plots for bird nests once a week from early May to early July.  Searches were conducted by two pairs of observers alternating weekly.  One observer pair had access to a thermal imager and the other did not.  Capture histories were created for all nests discovered in plots and availability of a thermal imager was modeled as a covariate were placed on the detection probability.  Preliminary results suggest that under a broad range of thermal conditions, having access to a thermal imaging camera does not increase the detection rate of grassland and open country nests, but data analysis is ongoing.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Lancaster Ballroom

6:00pm

Poster Display. Analysis of Age in the Black Crappie (Pomoxis Nigromaculatus) Using Scale Structures
AUTHORS: Endora K. Roberts, Minnesota State Univeristy, Mankato; Nathan Hodgins, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Changes to existing fish species are critical to successful management of sport fisheries as introduction of a different top predators occurs. Effects of growth on a naturally reproducing sport fish, Black Crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus) was monitored during changes in fisheries management from stocked Walleye (Sander vitreus) as a top predator to stocked Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) and stocked Walleye as top predators (1999). Black Crappie were collected and measured to the nearest millimeter and scales were aged from Fox Lake in Martin County, Minnesota. Annual sampling of Fox Lake has occurred since 1991. Mean length-at-age and mean age-at-length of Black Crappie were analyzed within and among grouped years from pre and post Muskellunge management (1994-1996 and 2010-2012). Preliminary results indicate possible stunted growth prior to Muskellunge management and increased growth after Muskellunge management. Additionally, older Black Crappie are more common after Muskellunge stocking. Management of a lake with a low abundance top predator may be beneficial to other lower trophic level sport fish including Black Crappie.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Lancaster Ballroom

6:00pm

Poster Display. Application of Photo-identification Software Using Spot Patterns of African Civets (Civettictis Civetta) in the Northern Tuli Game Reserve, Botswana
AUTHORS: Jessica McDaniel, School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska - Lincoln; Andrei Snyman, Department of Biological Sciences, California State University - Los Angeles; John P. Carroll, School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

ABSTRACT: The African Civet (Civettictis civetta) is a secretive, nocturnal mammal distributed over a broad part of the African continent. This species has been widely utilized for musk production, which has led to declining populations. As a result, Botswana populations are listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Appendix III. In order to provide effective conservation, status assessment measures of abundance are necessary. Camera trapping is now widely used to detect nocturnal and secretive species. We believe that the unique spot patterns found on civets provides opportunity to develop individual identification for application in CMR abundance estimates. We are using photographs from 6 years of camera trapping studies to create a database of civet photos. These photos are processed through Automated Photo-identification Software (APHIS) using two techniques. Spot Pattern Matching (SPM) uses referenced points to create spot coordinates to form a fingerprint-like statistic in the matching portion of the pre-processing stage. The SPM method comes from an I3S software that is implemented within APHIS. Image Template Matching (ITM), a method specific to only APHIS, uses patterns in pixels to determine a match through a pre-processing stage. Using both methods, we were able to match these patterns on African civets because it allowed for the full mid-body of the civet and all of its characteristic to be accounted for, thus increasing the likelihood of finding the correct match. We are testing individual recognition efficacy indirectly using the multiple photo settings on the camera traps creating multiple images of known animals. We believe that the combination of camera trapping and individual identification of civets will allow streamlined and cost effective analyses of distribution and abundance.  

Tuesday February 7, 2017 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Lancaster Ballroom

6:00pm

Poster Display. Assessment of Monarch Butterfly Habitat and Productivity in Urban Spaces: Methods and Approaches
AUTHORS: Nigel Golden, University of Massachusetts - Amherst; Abigail Derby Lewis, Chicago Field Musuem

ABSTRACT: The monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) population in North America is experiencing long-term declines tied to a variety of causes, including pollution, loss of milkweed, land use change, and climate change on its over-wintering habitat in Central Mexico. Empirical evidence indicates that these declines are driven primarily by habitat loss coupled with the increase in usage of glyphosate-resistant crops. Preliminary research results from the interagency and interdisciplinary Monarch Conservation Science Partnership indicates that stabilizing monarch populations will require a "conservation strategy across all land types" with a focus on all land use sectors, including and particularly urban areas. In summer 2016, the Field Museum of Natural History initiated an Urban Monarch Landscape Conservation Design with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife and other institutions to explore systematically how urban areas can contribute to monarch butterfly conservation and to ultimately determine what are the ecological and social influences that affect monarch productivity. The project, “A Monarch’s View of Urban Landscapes” aims to enhance the coordination of monarch conservation within Chicago, IL, and three other metropolitan areas (St. Paul-Minneapolis, Kansas City, and Austin) along the I-35 migratory flyway. To accomplish this, the Field Museum created and used four different collection methods to develop a model that estimates habitat contribution by different land use sectors. Using a mixture of natural area inventories, metro-transect sampling, qualitative interview site, and productivity data, we estimated how Chicago can contribute towards monarch butterfly conservation. This presentation will describe what those methods are, lessons learned from sampling in urban areas, and where to go from here.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Lancaster Ballroom

6:00pm

Poster Display. Assessment of Painted Turtle Age and Size from Long-term Pond Study
AUTHORS: Ellen Dolph, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Larkin Powell, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

ABSTRACT: Painted turtles (Chrysemys picta) are a species found throughout the United States and are often studied because of their wide range and variability. There is not, however, a great deal of knowledge on growth patterns of painted turtles. We used data from a long-term, single pond study to create a model of painted turtle age based on size measurements of individual turtles captured and recaptured over more than ten years. The long-term nature of the study, with uniquely-marked individuals that are recaptured through time at a single pond, allows it to be used for finding growth relationships.  The painted turtle data was collected every summer at a single pond near Cedar Point Biological Station in Ogallala, NE. Turtles were captured using floating basking traps or hoop nets and were then measured.  We used growth models based on fisheries studies of recaptured individuals to predict future size based on current size. Age-growth curves were then used to predict size of turtles across ages.  We provide evidence that growth is gender-specific and is affected by drought patterns. Such insight is especially important as climates continue to change.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Lancaster Ballroom

6:00pm

Poster Display. Associations Among Habitat Characteristics and Meningeal Worm Prevalence in Eastern South Dakota
AUTHORS: Christopher N. Jacques, South Dakota State University; Jonathan A. Jenks, South Dakota State University; Robert W. Klaver, U.S. Geological Survey; Shelli A. Dubay, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

ABSTRACT: Few studies have evaluated how wetland and forest characteristics influence prevalence of meningeal worm (Parelaphostrongylus tenuis) infection of deer throughout the grassland biome of central North America. We used previously collected prevalence data (i.e., county-level) to evaluate associations between habitat characteristics and probability of meningeal worm infection in white-tailed deer (WTD) across eastern South Dakota, USA. The highest-ranked binomial regression model for detecting probability of meningeal worm infection was spring temperature (SPRT) + summer precipitation (SUMP) + percent wetland (PLAND_WET); weight of evidence (wi=0.71) favored this model over alternative models, though predictive capability was low (ROC=0.62). Probability of meningeal worm infection increased by 1.3- and 1.6-fold for each 1 cm and 1 C increase in summer precipitation and spring temperature, respectively. Similarly, probability of infection increased 1.2-fold for each percent increase in wetland habitat. Our findings highlight the importance of wetland habitat in predicting meningeal worm infection across eastern South Dakota. Future research evaluating the relationships between climatic conditions (e.g., drought, wet cycles) and deer habitat selection on maintaining P. tenuis along the western boundary of the parasite is warranted.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Lancaster Ballroom

6:00pm

Poster Display. Attractants for Asian Carp Larvae
AUTHORS: Ben H. Stahlschmidt, U.S. Geological Survey; Amy E. George, U.S. Geological Survey; Duane C. Chapman, U.S. Geological Survey

ABSTRACT: Asian carp, considered undesirable invasives in North America, spawn in the mainstem of large rivers. After a period of embryonic and larval drift, larvae move into backwaters and other nursery habitats. Swimming ability at this stage is relatively strong and therefore it is likely that larvae have substantial control over nursery habitat selection. However, it is unknown how larvae sense and select nursery habitat. This experiment tested whether certain olfactory stimuli can be used to attract larval Asian carp. This knowledge could potentially be used to attract larvae to targeted areas, which would facilitate removal and disposal. Following initiation of horizontal swimming behavior (coinciding with gas bladder inflation), daily preference tests of attractants were administered to larvae of bighead (Hypophthalmichthys nobilis), silver (H. molitrix), and grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) until the development of the second gas bladder chamber. Fifty larvae of each species were collected and observed each day until the end of the experiment. Chemotactic responses were determined by comparison of tested substances (algae, water taken from holding facilities of conspecifics, rotifers, alarm pheromones, and Asian carp feces) to a control (well water) in a modified Y-maze. Larvae throughout the experiment showed no response to any of the attractants, and largely remained in the no-preference zone of the Y-maze. It is unclear at this point whether larval Asian carp are responding to chemotactic stimuli or to some other stimuli such as water flow or temperature when moving from the main river to the backwater habitats.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Lancaster Ballroom

6:00pm

Poster Display. Bat Community Ecology of Myotis Septentrionalis in Northeastern Iowa
AUTHORS: Francis E Tillman, University of Dubuque; Meagan J Albon, University of Dubuque; Madeleine E Zuercher, University of California-Berkeley; Gerald L Zuercher, University of Dubuque; David E Koch, University of Dubuque; Rasika G Mudalige-Jayawickrama, University of Dubuque

ABSTRACT: Effigy Mounds National Monument is a nationally-protected park along the Mississippi River in northeastern Iowa that contains diverse topography and associated upland and lowland forests interspersed with upland prairie. The park is home to at least seven bat species, the Federally Threatened Myotis septentrionalis is one of those and is the focus of this research. M. septentrionalis is one of the species being impacted by White-nose syndrome, which is a deadly pathogen of bats caused by the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd). Spatial and temporal patterns of bat communities were evaluated using acoustic detection and mist-netting methods. Exposure to Pd by all captured bat species was determined via swabbing the muzzles of captured bats and testing the isolated DNA. Currently, the exposure rate is ~5%. Finally, roost-site habitat characteristics for female Myotis septentrionali was determined using telemetry. Several Myotis septentrionalis were tracked to their nesting trees in 2015 and 2016. Comparison of summer roost site habitat to park-wide available habitat indicates little selection beyond tree height. Our results suggest that Pd is present at the park and that Effigy Mounds National Monument is an important protected area for bats, especially Myotis septentrionalis.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Lancaster Ballroom

6:00pm

Poster Display. Bayesian Hierarchical Modeling of Ozark Mountain Cold Water Stream Temperatures
AUTHORS: Bridget Whitehead, University of Missouri; Joanna Whittier, University of Missouri; Del Lobb, Missouri Department of Conservation; Jacob Westhoff, Missouri Department of Conservation, and Craig Paukert, U.S. Geological Survey, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit

ABSTRACT: Water temperature is a primary driver of aquatic community distribution and composition. Knowledge of stream water temperature can help inform management practices for trout and other temperature sensitive aquatic species. From 2002 to 2014, the Missouri Department of Conservation collected daily water temperature data at 106 cold water stream sites in the Ozark Region between July 1st and September 15th. Our objective was to examine patterns in water temperature over the collection period and forecast trends in the future. We developed a Bayesian hierarchical model of daily mean water temperature as a function of both static site characteristics and time-varying climatological variables, in which coefficients for regression on air temperature, solar radiation, and precipitation varied based on the site's groundwater influence and upstream watershed area. Groundwater influence was measured by the distance to the nearest upstream spring and, where available, the magnitude of the spring. The model also incorporated AR(1) correlation structure across days, reflecting the residual correlations in water temperatures on nearby days. This structure is crucial for prediction of consecutive day statistics, such as the maximum number of consecutive days above 70F. Based on mean squared prediction error and posterior predictive distributions, the model was able to predict water temperature in the current time period (2002 – 2014) with a reasonable magnitude of uncertainty. In order to predict stream temperatures in the future, we used downscaled climate data which provided future climate simulations at the regional level based on several global climate models. We calibrated the downscaled climate data to match distributions of observed data by applying the Doksum shift function for the period 1990 – 1999. We present inferential results describing relationships between the predictors and water temperature, as well as climate based predictions for summer water temperatures in 2032, 2042, 2062, and 2087.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Lancaster Ballroom

6:00pm

Poster Display. Benthic Foragers Selecting for the New Zealand Mud Snail
AUTHORS: James Beaubien, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University; Jerrod Lepper, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University; Mitchell Nisbet, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University; Daniel Hayes, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University

ABSTRACT: James Beaubien

Jerrod Lepper

Mitchell Nisbet

Daniel Hayes

Department of Fisheries and Wildlife
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824

Tags:  New Zealand Mud Snails, invasive species, predation

New Zealand Mud Snails have recently invaded the Great Lakes region, and during the past 2-3 years, have been found in several rivers in the state of Michigan.  The Pere Marquette River is the first river where this species was detected in inland waters, and the population of mud snails has grown dramatically since first detection.  Fishery managers have concern over the potential impact this species will have on the important fisheries of the Pere Marquette and other rivers, however, little is known about the ecology of this species in the Great Lakes region.  New Zealand mud snails have been documented to be consumed by trout, and have even been shown capable of surviving through their gastrointestinal tract.  To our knowledge, there have been no investigations of foraging by other fish species on New Zealand mud snails.  Species like mottled sculpin, white sucker, and redhorse sucker might be anticipated to be more efficient foragers than trout due to their feeding ecology.  As such, we collected specimens of these species at sites infested with New Zealand mud snails and uninfested sites to determine whether these species consume mud snails, and if the presence of mud snails alters their foraging preferences.  

Tuesday February 7, 2017 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Lancaster Ballroom

6:00pm

Poster Display. Brood Rearing Resource Selection of Greater Sage-Grouse on the Eastern Fringe of Their Range
AUTHORS: Lindsey Bischoff, South Dakota State University; Dr. Andrew Gregory, Bowling Green State University; Dr. Jonathan Jenks, South Dakota State University; Travis Runia 

ABSTRACT: Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) are a species of conservation concern throughout the Intermountain West, and have been nominated for listing under provisions of the US Endangered Species Act eight times. Consequently, numerous studies have documented drivers of demographic performance at the core of their distribution; however, relatively few studies have examined sage-grouse inhabiting the eastern extent of their range in South Dakota.  Identifying sage-grouse resource selection during the critical brood rearing period can enhance management of the species and their habitat. In the spring of 2016, we monitored 27 radio-collared female sage-grouse. We detected 20 nests, seven of which successfully hatched. We located broods 2 times per week for the first four weeks following hatch. We indexed vegetation structure using Daubenmire frames and Robel poles, and collected arthropods via pitfall trapping and sweep netting weekly at used sites, as well as two paired random sites within 1.55km of each used site. This resulted in a total of 21 use sites and 42 paired random sites being sampled. Arthropods were grouped into the following orders to be counted and weighed; Coleoptera, Orthoptera, and Hymenoptera and “others”. Vegetation was compared among brood use sites and random sites using a MANOVA test. Brood sites were significantly different from random sites (p=0.034), specifically, differing in Robel readings (p=0.0004) and grass height (p=0.0002). We used a Wilcoxon rank sum test and MANOVA to determine if arthropod count and mass differed between brood sites and random sites. The only significant variable between used and random sites was the number of “other” arthropods collected (p=0.052).  Understanding sage-grouse resource selection during the brood rearing period may help us assess current agricultural and other land management practices while mitigating anthropogenic land modification. 

Tuesday February 7, 2017 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Lancaster Ballroom

6:00pm

Poster Display. Butterfly Survey of Restored Croplands and Native Prairies in the Northern Loess Hills of Western Iowa
AUTHORS: Logan Anderson, Morningside College; James Stroh, Morningside College

ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to determine the success of the establishment of butterfly habitat on land formerly used as cropland and compare cropland butterfly abundance with butterfly abundance on native upland dry prairies. In June, July and August of 2016 three native tall grass prairies and two croplands restored specifically for butterfly habitat were surveyed using the “Pollard Walk” in Plymouth and Monona counties of western Iowa. Results were compared for total number of butterflies and total number of species detected per hour.  Restored croplands had significantly more butterflies detected per hour (p < 0.01); however there was no significant difference in the number of species detected per hour between the two habitat types. In addition, the restored cropland surveys encountered mostly generalist species (e.g. orange sulfurs, red admirals, etc.), while all of the native prairies included regal fritillaries, a species typically found in native dry-mesic to xeric prairies in Iowa.  Our results suggest that croplands specifically restored as habitat for butterflies can be successful attractants for many lepidopteran species, especially those considered as generalists. This would include the monarch (Danaus plexippus), a species whose recent decline has been reported in the scientific literature and one we found frequently in the restored butterfly habitat.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Lancaster Ballroom

6:00pm

Poster Display. Changes of Native Bee Diversity in Agriculture Systems Due to Additional Habitat
AUTHORS: Madison Almquist, Lake Superior State University; Dr. Gregory Zimmerman, Lake Superior State University

ABSTRACT: Bees, along with other pollinators, are necessary for many plants to reproduce. Although many agricultural crops are self-pollinated, pollinators can still cause an increase of yield for agriculture crops, thus creating incentive for farmers to put in extra habitat to attract these organisms. The purpose of this study was to assess different additional habitats in terms of increasing pollinator abundance. The habitats were a specifically designed pollinator habitat (CP-42) that is meant to attract pollinators through the use of floral resources, Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), wetlands, and a drainage ditch with a border of CRP. Bee populations were evaluated using pan traps consisting of a colored 12 oz bowl (blue, white, or yellow) attached to a plant stand and then elevated above the crop’s canopy. The bowls were filled with a soapy water solution and left for 24 hours. Any bees caught in the trap were identified to genera. There was no detectable relationship between the different genera identified and the additional habitat that neighbored the agricultural field (p=0.73). When looking at the sizes of the different bee genera at the fields there was no significant difference detected (p=0.67). Although there was no distinction detected in the genera and the body sizes of these genera in the samples, these additional habitats are still important due to the undisturbed ground and other nesting supplies available for the bees to utilize.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Lancaster Ballroom

6:00pm

Poster Display. Common Snapping Turtle Monitoring and Assessment in Illinois
AUTHORS: Katie Mainor; James T. Lamer, Western Illinois University; Mike McClelland, Illinois Department of Natural Resources; Emily Szott; Ashley Stanley

ABSTRACT: Common snapping turtles (Chelydra serpentina) inhabit waterways throughout Illinois and are harvested recreationally for sport and consumption. Seasons and bag limits are in place, but additional data are needed to identify management objectives for common snapping turtle harvest in Illinois. We are using mark and recapture (survival), size structure, sex ratio, and fecundity data to populate stage-based life tables needed to inform better management practices and harvest regulations for common snapping turtles in Illinois. We measured carapace and plastron dimensions, recorded sex and weight, and marked all trapped turtles (n=356) with passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags from eight locations in Illinois from May 21st - August 7th, 2015 and from May 19th – September 9th, 2016. Demographic structure varied between populations, but combined data resulted in sex ratios of 57% male, 34% female, and 8% Juveniles. In a Chi-Square analysis three of the eight populations had sex ratios significantly different from 1:1. Data from 2015-2016 will be presented using stage-based life tables, mark-recapture population estimates, and population prediction models based on the demographic rates of each population. The models will be made to replicate long term impacts of harvest scenarios.          

Tuesday February 7, 2017 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Lancaster Ballroom

6:00pm

Poster Display. Comparing Swimming Performance of Bluntnose Minnows Pimephales Notatus in Lentic and Lotic Systems
AUTHORS: Crystal C. Nichols, Ball State University and Jason C. Doll, Ball State University

ABSTRACT: Abstract Anthropogenic perturbations, such as culverts, can affect fish species distribution and potentially prevent fish movement. These structures often reduce stream width, thereby increasing water velocity to a rate at which fish cannot overcome. Increased velocities may inhibit species distributions because movement is largely dependent on the physical ability of the fish to cross these barriers. Further, individuals within a species also possess varying swimming abilities based on their sex, size, and the habitat they occur in. Thus, our objective is to assess swimming performance of the Bluntnose Minnow Pimephales notatus. Swimming performance was measured using a flow chamber in which the fish was placed in, following the UCrit procedure. After an hour acclimation period fish were subjected to velocities starting at five and then increasing by five until the fish is unable to keep swimming. We compared Ucrit across habitat where the fish were collected (lentic vs. lotic), sex, and body size on the swimming performance of Bluntnose Minnows.  We described swimming performance of Bluntnose Minnows across habitat, sex, and body size. Our results can be used to understand potential hydraulic barriers for this species.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Lancaster Ballroom

6:00pm

Poster Display. Comparison of Methods for Characterization of Fish Thermal Habitat
AUTHORS: Ryan Andrews, Michigan State University; Dan Hayes, Michigan State University

ABSTRACT: The response of fish to human alterations of habitat conditions is of critical management and policy importance.  For example, withdrawal of groundwater from stream ecosystems can result in altered thermal regimes, and changes in fish populations.  A challenge for policy makers and managers, however, is the high degree of variability in fish population data and varying responses of fish to habitat conditions.  Several methods have been used to set policy guidelines to protect fish from anthropogenic habitat changes.  In this study, we evaluated three methods of setting temperature benchmarks for stream fishes in Michigan.  The first method (WWAT), implemented by Zorn et al. focuses on optimal thermal range for fish, the second method (TITAN) developed by Baker and King searches the data for threshold response, and the third method (CART) is a general tool for categorizing data into discrete bins.  We found that TITAN and CART generally identified similar benchmarks, whereas WWAT often resulted in a different benchmark.  Each benchmark responded to different features in the data, and as such, begs the question of what the main policy goal is.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Lancaster Ballroom

6:00pm

Poster Display. Comparison of Swimming Speeds in Larval Bighead, Silver, and Grass Carp
AUTHORS: Amy E. George, U.S. Geological Survey; Tatiana Garcia, U.S. Geological Survey; Benjamin H. Stahlschmidt, U.S. Geological Survey; Duane C. Chapman, U.S. Geological Survey

ABSTRACT: Several species of Asian carp, including bighead, silver, and grass carp are invasive in the waterways of central North America, and diploid grass carp are being found in the Great Lakes and their tributaries. Questions about recruitment potential motivate a need for accurate models of egg and larval dispersal. In order to improve these dispersal models, quantitative data on swimming behaviors and capabilities during early ontogeny are needed. We measured ontogenetic changes in routine and maximum swimming speeds of bighead, grass, and silver carp larvae. Daily measurements of routine swimming speed were taken for two weeks post-hatch using a still camera and the LARVEL program, a custom image-analysis software. Larval swimming speed was calculated using the larvae location between pairs of subsequent image frames and their time frame. Using an endurance chamber, we determined the maximum speed of larvae (post-gas bladder inflation, starting at 4 days post-hatch) for four to eight weeks post-hatch. For all species, larval swimming speeds showed similar trends with respect to ontogeny: increases in maximum speed and decreases in routine speed. Maximum speeds of bighead and grass carp larvae were similar and generally faster than silver carp larvae. Routine swimming speeds of all larvae were highest before gas bladder inflation, most likely because gas bladder inflation allowed the fish to maintain position without swimming. Downward vertical velocities of pre-gas bladder inflation fish were fastest. Grass carp larvae had the highest swimming speeds in the pre-gas bladder inflation period, and the lowest speeds in the post gas bladder inflation period. Knowledge of swimming capability of these species, along with hydraulic characteristics of a river, enables further refinement of models of embryonic and larval drift.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Lancaster Ballroom

6:00pm

Poster Display. Comparison of Two Sampling Techniques and Management Effects on Herptile Fauna of Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge, Northwest Missouri
AUTHORS: Darrin M. Welchert, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge; Mark S. Mills, Missouri Western State University; Jordan J. Meyer, University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point




ABSTRACT: Often in ecological studies one sampling technique is not sufficient enough to collect a broad spectrum of data even on a single class of organisms. Sampling basis is not unique to amphibian and reptile studies.  For this study from 2009 – 2014 cover boards and drift fences were used to sample herptiles on three main habitat types including Loess Hills (forest and prairie), upland and bottomland prairie on Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge (SCNWR) in Northwest Missouri.  SCNWR is comprised of 2,994 ha including 2,711 ha of bottomland and 283 ha of Loess Hills.  The objectives of this study was to document species richness and relative abundance of herptiles in different habitat types and to assess the effects of habitat management techniques including prescribed fire and woody plant control on amphibians and reptiles.  Over 20 species were documented between the three different habitat types.  Fossorial species such as prairie ringneck snakes (Diadophis punctatus) were more common under cover boards where more mobile species such as prairie racerunners (Aspidoscelis sexlineatus) were captured in drift fences.  Species richness and relative abundance varied among techniques and habitat types.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Lancaster Ballroom

6:00pm

Poster Display. Deer Recruitment in Wisconsin: New Estimation Methods
AUTHORS: Beth Wojcik, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Tim Van Deelen, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Dan Storm, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources


ABSTRACT: As the product of factors influencing reproduction and neonate survival, white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) recruitment is the most variable component of deer herds. This variability applies both spatially and temporally as numerous density dependent and independent factors affecting recruitment change in relation to ecological location, weather, predation risk, deer density, and hunter harvests. Because of the numerous factors influencing recruitment, it can be difficult to untangle one specific cause for changes in observed measurements. In regions of Wisconsin, recruitment measurements have recently declined for unknown reasons. Traditional methods for measuring deer recruitment have involved herd composition counts from roadside surveys. The opportunistic and convenient nature of these surveys has likely resulted in small sample sizes and biased estimates. Our goal is to investigate new methods of surveying deer which may provide improved reliability and precision of recruitment estimates.  Research will occur during August and September of 2016 and 2017 in 10 counties representing 4 regions (Northern Forest, Central Forest, Central Farmland, and Southern Farmland) of Wisconsin. We standardized roadside surveys by establishing routes, training observers, and creating procedural protocols. Influence of habitat type, survey time, weather, and deer behavior on detectability, sample size, and precision was examined. Standardized roadside surveys in areas with good visibility and high deer populations (woodlots intermixed with hay/alfalfa/soybean fields) resulted in many deer observations, but few deer were observed in habitats with poor visibility from roadsides and low deer populations (heavily forested and corn-dominated landscapes). Methods providing improved estimates of recruitment will allow wildlife managers to better compare spatial and temporal differences of recruitment, monitor recruitment trends, and model population size.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Lancaster Ballroom

6:00pm

Poster Display. Depth Distribution of Juvenile Bluegill Sunfish in an Oligotrophic Wisconsin Lake
AUTHORS: David Lonzarich, University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire, Nate Sylte, University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire, Emma Donley, University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire

ABSTRACT: A large literature has accumulated on the factors affecting the distribution and abundance of lake-dwelling juvenile Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus).  Among the factors most often linked to patterns of habitat use in this species are vegetation cover, predation risk and food availability.  In this study, conducted in a deep oligotrophic, warm-water Wisconsin lake, we used trapping surveys and underwater observation to document variability in bluegill densities along a depth gradient from 1 to 7 meters.  Pine Lake, located in northwestern Wisconsin is one of the deepest and clearest lakes in the state.  Secchi depths during summer routinely exceed 6 meters and the epiliminion extends to a depth of 7.5 meters.  Sampling waters at depths of 1, 3, 5 and 7 meters, we collected juvenile bluegill with minnow traps and estimated fish densities from dive surveys in late summer 2016.  We also measured zooplankton densities, and estimated vegetation type and cover from all depth strata. Minnow trap surveys revealed a dome-shaped distribution of fish with the highest numbers collected at 5 meters (10 fish/trap) and the lowest at 1 meter (2.8 fish/trap).  Dive surveys, however, revealed a linear relationship with depth, with the deepest locations containing the highest sunfish densities.  In fact, we often encountered extraordinarily large aggregations (10s of thousands) of Bluegill juveniles (and other species) at individual dive locations near 7 meters, just above the thermocline.  This depth also typically contained dense, uniform stands of vegetation and the highest zooplankton densities.  While supporting the conventional view concerning habitat selection in juvenile Bluegill, our findings suggest that lake trophic status (which affects the depth of the epilimnion and of vegetation) may help inform our understanding of distribution patterns of juvenile bluegill in lake ecosystems.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Lancaster Ballroom

6:00pm

Poster Display. Determining Potential Bias by Chaoborus During Hydroacoustic Surveys of Prey Fish Biomass in Ohio Reservoirs
AUTHORS: Rebecca A. Dillon, The Ohio State University; Joseph D. Conroy, Ohio Division of Wildlife; Stuart A. Ludsin, The Ohio State University

ABSTRACT: Hydroacoustic surveys provide lake-wide estimates of prey fish distribution, density, and biomass. These surveys, however, do not exclusively detect the target of interest. For example, the aquatic larval stage of the dipteran Chaoborus, a macroinvertebrate commonly found in inland lakes and reservoirs, has two air bladders which make it resonate well at a frequency (200 kHz) used for hydroacoustic surveys of prey fish. Although Chaoborus occupies deeper water during the day, it migrates into the water column at night and may contribute greatly to total acoustic backscatter, biasing hydroacoustic surveys. The Ohio Division of Wildlife conducts annual hydroacoustic assessments of prey fish biomass using 200-kHz transducers but has not accounted previously for potential bias due to the presence of Chaoborus. To determine this potential bias, we combined multi-frequency (70- and 200-kHz) hydroacoustic surveys with discrete-depth (n = 3 depths) pump and vertical net (153-micrometer mesh) tows to provide zooplankton and Chaoborus density estimates and horizontal, and discrete-depth (n = 2 depths) paired ichthyoplankton net (500-micrometer mesh) trawls to provide fish density estimates. Surveys were completed monthly during April–August 2016 in Alum Creek Lake. Combining multiple sampling approaches identified all acoustic scatters and provided in situ density estimates. We found Chaoborus on all dates sampled, with greater densities in samples collected at night. Hydroacoustic data indicated lower prey fish biomass from the 70-kHz transducer data compared to the 200-kHz transducer data, indicating bias from Chaoborus. Additional analyses will more fully quantify the seasonal contribution by Chaoborus to total acoustic backscatter and its effect on hydroacoustic estimates of forage fish biomass.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Lancaster Ballroom

6:00pm

Poster Display. Dispersal of Vertebrates Among Islands in a Riverine Ecosystem
AUTHORS: Jana Green, Northeastern State University; Justin Currie, Northeastern State University; Ryan Farney, Northeastern State University; Michael J. Shaughnessy Jr., Northeastern State University

ABSTRACT: We sampled riverine ecosystems in Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge during July, August and September 2016. Three islands and one mainland site were sampled using Y-shaped pitfall arrays consisting of 10 pitfalls connected by drift fences. Small mammals, reptiles and amphibians were collected in pitfall traps. Additionally, walking surveys were conducted for larger reptiles and amphibians that could potentially avoid getting caught in the pitfall traps. We captured or detected four species of amphibians in three families Microhylidae, Ranidae and Hylidae. Only one species of lizard has been observed on islands, Sceloporus undulatus. Two species of semiaquatic snakes have been observed, Nerodia and Agkistrodon and four species of turtles in two families; Kinosternidae and Emydidae. Few mammals have been captured in all habitats to date. Island habitats have produced only insectivores, while the mainland site has produced both rodents and insectivores. Our preliminary data suggest that the role of islands as habitats for terrestrial vertebrates in freshwater riverine systems may vary. Additional field work scheduled for 2017 is expected to better highlight the varying dispersal abilities of small mammals, reptiles and amphibians to riverine islands as well as clarify their functional role for different vertebrate groups in their surrounding ecosystem.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Lancaster Ballroom

6:00pm

Poster Display. Distribution and Phenology of Didymosphenia Geminata in the St. Marys River, a Great Lakes Connecting Channel
AUTHORS: Joseph Stutesman, Lake Superior State University Student, Ashley Moerke, Professor at Lake Superior State University

ABSTRACT: Distribution and Phenology of Didymosphenia geminata in the St. Marys River, a Great Lakes Connecting Channel
Authors: Joseph Stutesman, Jonathan Edwards, and Ashley Moerke
Affiliation: School of Biological Sciences, Lake Superior State University, Sault Sainte Marie, MI 49783
Abstract
In recent decades, blooms of Didymosphenia geminata (Didymo), a stalk-producing diatom, have been observed more frequently in rivers throughout the world. In 2015, Didymo was documented blooming in the rapids of the St. Marys River, which was the first reported occurrence of Didymo blooms in Michigan waters. Didymo blooms can affect macroinvertebrates, fisheries, and aesthetics in streams and rivers, and therefore managers are interested in controlling these blooms. The objective of this study was to document distribution and quantify the density and blooming patterns (phenology) of Didymo in the upper St. Marys River (Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan and Ontario) in relation to water quality. Twenty-eight sites in the Eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan were sampled for water quality and Didymo in mid-summer 2016 to document distribution. At two sites in the Main Rapids, water quality (e.g., conductivity) was measured in situ and rock scrapes were collected biweekly from May to September 2016 to quantify Didymo cell and stalk density. Didymo was present in 16 of the 28 locations sample, but presence was limited to sites ~30 km downstream of the rapids. Didymo was absent from tributary samples. Densities of Didymo cells and stalks were highest in the Main Rapids in late spring and declined throughout summer. These findings suggest that Didymo is currently restricted to the river, and blooms are highest in the in late spring, which may correspond to fish hatching and emergence timing. These data will serve as a baseline for monitoring Didymo change in Michigan waters.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Lancaster Ballroom

6:00pm

Poster Display. Ecotypic Variation in Physiological Reaction Norms in Wintering Lizards: A Common-environment Experiment Using Populations from Two Latitudes
AUTHORS: Madeline Michels-Boyce, Department of Biological Sciences, Minnesota State University, Mankato; John Krenz, Department of Biological Sciences, Minnesota State University, Mankato; Nora Ibargüengoytía, Departamento de Zoología, INIBIOMA-CONICET, Centro Regional Universitario Bariloche, Universidad Nacional del Comahue

ABSTRACT: In order to survive winters in harsh climates, organisms often prepare for winter by storing energy and retreating to a suitable refuge. Additionally, ectothermic organisms may physiologically prepare for wintering (brumation) by either tolerating freezing temperatures or avoiding them in warmer refuges. In lizards, both a decreasing temperature and a shortening photoperiod can be the proximate cause of the onset of brumation, but it is unclear whether these two cues are used independently or conjointly to stimulate physiological changes. As is true for many vertebrates, there is little known about ecotypic variation in adaptation to cold climate in lizards. To detect such ecotypic variation, we collected five-lined skinks (Plestiodon fasciatus) from two latitudes (Minnesota/Wisconsin and Texas). To distinguish the effects of photoperiod and temperature on brumation, we propose to expose both groups to either decreasing or constant regimes of each variable. We predict that lizards will respond the strongest when given both photoperiod and temperature cues. We also predict that the lizards from the high latitude will store more energy and have lower critical thermal minima than lizards from the low latitude. The presence of north-south ecotypic variation in cold adaptation would be an important consideration in species conservation in the face of climate change.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Lancaster Ballroom

6:00pm

Poster Display. Effects of Distance from Water Control Structures on Furbearer Detection on Track Plates in Crex Meadows Wildlife Area, Grantsburg, Wisconsin
AUTHORS: Lisa Zoromski, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point; Cady Sartini, PhD., University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point; Robert Hanson, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Paul Petersen, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources


ABSTRACT: Non-invasive sampling techniques may be impacted by site-specific variables such as prey availability. Track plates with the aid of lure or bait are relatively inexpensive and a commonly used non-invasive technique for sampling furbearers. Aquatic prey of many furbearers appear to congregate around water control structures, making these structures attractive areas to sample furbearer populations through non-invasive means. The purpose of this study was to compare furbearer detection at varying distances from water control structures at four wetland flowages at Crex Meadows Wildlife Area in Grantsburg, Wisconsin. Chalked track plates with lure were placed along the dikes in 50-m increments up to 250-m away from water control structures. Track identification with plate distance from structures was recorded each morning from July 1-11, 2016.  Chalk and lure were reapplied daily after each plate check. This sampling technique was shown as a simple and effective way of detecting furbearer tracks, with 13 plates visited, mainly by raccoon (Pryocyon lotor). Data are in the process of being analyzed. We predict that across the four flowages, track plates closer to structures will show higher detection of furbearers. Understanding site-specific factors that impact detection can help improve non-invasive sampling techniques, such as track plate placement from water control structures.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Lancaster Ballroom

6:00pm

Poster Display. Effects of Invasive Non-Native Aquatic Macrophytes on the Foraging and Diet Composition of Small-sized Fish
AUTHORS: Natália Carniatto, Programa de Pós-graduação em Ecologia de Ambientes Aquáticos Continentais, Universidade Estadual de Maringá; Rosemara Fugi, Núcleo de Pesquisas em Limnologia, Ictiologia e Aquicultura, Universidade Estadual de Maringá

ABSTRACT: The effects of non- native invasive aquatic macrophytes on native communities have been reported for different types of ecosystems. In Rosana Reservoir, located in the Paranapanema River, Brazil, Urochloa arrecta, an aquatic grass native to Africa, occupies extensive coastal areas, and co-occurs with the native Eichhornia azurea, both emerging and rooted. In this context, the aim of this study is to evaluate the effects of invasive macrophyte on the composition and breadth of small-sized fish diet, using the native macrophyte as a control. Fish were collected in monospecific patches using Plaxiglas floating traps. Stomach contents were analyzed and differences in diet composition between macrophytes were tested by a MRPP, and the niche breadth was evaluated by Levins’ Index. The diet of Hemigrammus marginatus was predominantly composed of microcrustaceans (mainly Cladocera), Hyphessobrycon eques by invertebrates and microcrustaceans (mainly Chironomidae and Copepods), while the Pyrrhulina australis was predominantly composed of invertebrates (mainly Collembola) and Serrapinnus notomelas of algae and microcrustaceans (mainly Zygnemaphyceae and Cladocera). The MRPP result showed that the diet composition of three of the four species was significantly different between E. azurea and U. arrecta. This result is justified by the difference in consumption of invertebrates between the two different macrophytes. In addition, some items were exclusive in one of the macrophytes, as Tecameba, Harpacticoida and Decapod in E. azurea, and Lepidoptera and Odonata in U. arrecta. Hyphessobrycon eques and Pyrrhulina australis had the highest trophic niche breadth values when associated with U. arrecta (0.49 and 0.31 respectively), and Hemigrammus marginatus and Serrapinnus notomelas when associated with E. azurea (0.35 and 0.42 respectively). These results suggest that the two macrophytes are used as a foraging place, however, the composition and especially the abundance of invertebrates associated with macrophytes should differ, resulting in different availability of resources for the fish.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Lancaster Ballroom

6:00pm

Poster Display. Environmental Variables Influencing Raccoon Exposure to Parvovirus in Wisconsin
AUTHORS: Amanda Kamps, USDA-APHIS; Shelli Dubay, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point; Christopher N. Jacques, Western Illinois University; Cady Sartini, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

ABSTRACT: Generalist species, such as raccoons (Procyon lotor), are able to adapt to urban environments, but how urbanization influences exposure of raccoons to parvoviruses is unknown.  Our objective was to identify potental effects of land cover (i.e., percent grassland, wetland, forest, agriculture, housing units) and intrinsic (i.e., age, sex) variables on exposure of urban racccon populations to parvovirus.  From 2008-2010, we sampled trapper-harvested raccoons near Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin for antibody against canine parvovirus (CPV).  Harvest locations for adult raccoons were entered into ArcMap 9.3 and buffered by a 0.81-km radius to represent a circular approximation of a home range for each raccoon.  Housing units were obtained from the 2000 US Census and land cover variables were obtained from the USGS 2001 National Landcover Database.  Overall, 60% (n = 164) of raccoons were exposed to parvovirus.  The highest-ranked model for predicting expsoure of raccoons to parvovirus was age + housing units + grassland + agriculture + forest + wetland.  Support for this model was substantial (wi = 1.00) and prediction capability was acceptable (ROC = 0.75); all other models were noncompetitive (wi < 0.001).  Adult raccoons with more forested habitat and fewer housing units within buffered home ranges were more likely exposed to parvoviruses than juveniles, potentially because parvovirus is fatal to young animals or because these individuals may not have been exposed to the virus.  Parvovirus may remain viable for longer periods of time in forested environments compared with urban areas characterized by warmer temperatures and more direct sunlight.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Lancaster Ballroom

6:00pm

Poster Display. Evaluating Differences in Invertebrate Communities Between Remnant and Restored Prairies in Missouri
AUTHORS: Joseph LaRose, University of Missouri, Division of Plant Sciences.; Deborah Finke. Un