Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

Species Biology

Research into life history, successful conservation, and recovery of threatened and endangered species listed under the Endangered Species Act; trust species that are protected by law; sensitive species that are declining, rare, or uncommon and are identified as candidates for future listing consideration; and species of management concern that warrant management or conservation attention as identified by a natural resource management agency

Filter Total Items: 41
Date published: June 28, 2018
Status: Active

Effects of population density on prevalence of chronic wasting disease, physical condition, and vital rates of elk at Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota

CWD is a degenerative neurological disease caused by infectious proteins called prions.  Although documented cases are invariably fatal, infected elk commonly survive for several months or longer, passing prions directly to other individuals and into the environment, where they bind to surfaces or soils and can persist for years.  CWD reached Wind Cave National Park about 1997 and rapidly...

Contacts: Glen Sargeant
Date published: June 28, 2018
Status: Active

Improving wildlife habitat through management and restoration of native prairies on lands under Fish and Wildlife Service ownership

The extent of native prairie throughout the north-central United States has sharply declined since European settlement, and much that remains has been invaded by introduced cool-season grasses, reducing floristic diversity and quality. On lands under its ownership, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working to restore native prairie integrity by reducing occurrence of introduced species...

Contacts: Terry Shaffer
Date published: June 28, 2018
Status: Active

Decision support for restoration and management of Service-owned native prairies: Implications for grassland bird communities

More than 100,000 ha of native tallgrass and mixed-grass prairies are managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in the northern Great Plains.  Although prairies in this region evolved with grazing, fire, and climatic variability, management of FWS grasslands often has been passive and involved extended periods of rest.  In 2008, the USGS and the FWS initiated a collaborative effort,...

Contacts: Lawrence Igl
Date published: June 28, 2018
Status: Active

Evaluation of conservation grazing versus prescribed fire to manage tallgrass prairie remnants for plant and pollinator species diversity

With scarcely 2% of native tallgrass prairie remaining today, it is imperative that we wisely manage what little remains to conserve prairie-dependent plants, pollinators, other animals and ecosystem processes.  Two commonly used methods of prairie management are prescribed fire and conservation grazing.  Either method may present trade-offs with respect to conservation of vulnerable plant,...

Contacts: Diane Larson
Date published: June 27, 2018
Status: Active

Understanding consequences of management strategies for farmed wetlands to ecosystem services in the Prairie Pothole Region

NPWRC is leading a partnership with North Dakota State University to examine ecological, social, and financial considerations of farming practices within temporarily-ponded wetlands.  Farmers seemingly strive to maximize crop production on their land; yet, they may be able to be more successful with more information on costs and benefits of certain management practices. There has been a long...

Contacts: Michael Anteau
Date published: June 27, 2018
Status: Active

Importance of wetlands in intensively farmed landscapes to duck production

The Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) of the northern Great Plains annually hosts 50–80% of North America’s ducks during the breeding season. The PPR ecosystem has a number of stressors, intensive agriculture being chief among them. Accordingly, there are significant government and private funds that go to conservation for the purposes of improving duck production in the PPR. The current...

Contacts: Michael Anteau
Date published: June 27, 2018
Status: Active

Evaluating wetland-ecosystem health using real-time nutrient dynamics of ducks

Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center (NPWRC) leads a collaborative effort, spanning several studies, with the objective of improving techniques to assess the quality of spring migration habitat for ducks. Spring is a critical time in in the life cycle of migratory ducks because during migration they experience peak energetic needs at a time when food resources are often at their scarcest...

Contacts: Michael Anteau
Date published: June 27, 2018
Status: Active

Inventory, mapping, estimation, and monitoring of least tern and piping plover habitats on the upper Missouri River using satellite imagery

Emergent sandbar maps of the Missouri River produced by Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center continue to be used by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to monitor and manage critical breeding habitat for the endangered Interior population of least terns and the threatened Northern Great Plains population of piping plovers.  These maps have been created and...

Contacts: Mark Wiltermuth
Date published: June 27, 2018
Status: Active

Can wetland water-management influence mercury bioaccumulation in songbirds and ducks at National Wildlife Refuges with mercury problems?

During summer 2017, Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center (NPWRC) initiated a collaborative research study focused on understanding if water-level management of wetlands at refuges can influence mercury bioaccumulation in wetland-dependent migratory birds.  Birds are susceptible to the effects of mercury and can serve as indicators of contamination in ecosystems. We examined mercury...

Contacts: Michael Anteau
Date published: June 27, 2018
Status: Active

Quantifying the effects of land-use change and bioenergy crop production on ecosystem services in the Northern Great Plains

Rising commodity crop prices, increased federal subsidies for biofuels, such as corn-based ethanol and soy-based biodiesel, and reduction in U.S. Farm Bill conservation programs have facilitated rapid land-use changes in the Northern Great Plains (NGP).  Although renewable biofuels are touted as a mechanism for increasing energy security and potentially reducing greenhouse gas emissions,...

Contacts: Clint Otto
Date published: June 26, 2018
Status: Active

Spatiotemporal dynamics of grassland songbird populations in response to energy development in an agricultural landscape

The recent expansion of unconventional oil and gas development in the Williston Basin of North America has raised concerns among managers about potential negative effects of such development on grassland birds. Others, however, have argued that agricultural land use in the region has had a much larger impact and that energy development may be a comparatively small stressor for grassland birds...

Date published: June 26, 2018
Status: Active

Monitoring and modeling wetland chloride concentrations in relationship to oil and gas development

Extraction of oil and gas via unconventional methods is becoming an important aspect of energy production worldwide. Studying the effects of this development in countries where these technologies are being widely used may provide managers in other oil producing parts of the world with some insight in terms of concerns associated with development. Rapid increases in energy development in North...