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Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units program—2018 year in review

March 1, 2019

The Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units (CRU) program had an interesting and challenging year in 2018. We made significant strategic advances on many fronts and had setbacks in others.

Our relationship with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the agency we belonged to from 1935 to the mid-1990s, was further reinforced through strategic efforts with the Service’s Science Applications senior staff. This is bearing fruit in terms of research collaborations and funding support. As part of a larger effort between the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Ecosystems Mission Area and the Service’s endangered species program, we are also collaborating to address science needs for species in pre-listing status. Barry Grand, Unit Supervisor (South), has been instrumental in this effort.

Tom Edwards of the Utah Unit has met with representatives of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies to promote training of leaders and “hands dirty” biologists in species distribution modeling. The Association passed a unanimous resolution endorsing the training at their midyear meeting in March. Tom held a workshop at the annual meeting of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies in September, and future workshops, supported by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will be held bringing State agency and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists together to work on species of common concern.

Wyoming Unit Leader Matt Kauffman’s pioneering work in identifying and mapping big-game migration corridors has captured the attention of conservationists far and wide. In the spring, the Secretary of the Interior signed Secretarial Order No. 3362, "Improving Habitat Quality in Western Big-Game Winter Range and Migration Corridors" directing efforts of several U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) bureaus to collaborate with States in identifying and protecting big-game corridors in 11 States. Matt has conducted several workshops that directly support the Secretarial order, and more are planned. Corridor mapping efforts supported by the USGS and the DOI, based in the States and coordinated by Matt, are unfolding.

Unit Administrative Officer Shana Coulby and her staff hosted a training program for university support staff at USGS National Headquarters in March. Shana’s team did a superb job, and the camaraderie among all was evident.

We co-sponsored the third in a series of workshops at the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference in March on bridging the gap between science and management.

The State Department requested that we coordinate a workshop that would bring CRU scientists and other U.S. representatives together with Brazilian, Colombian, and Peruvian scientists and decision makers to develop best practices to minimize environmental damage from infrastructure development in the Amazon and to collaborate on science needs. The workshop was held in Iquitos, Peru, in the heart of the Amazon during August.

Our cooperator community, represented by the National Cooperators Coalition, was very active in response to the President’s budget proposal that would have redirected funding for the CRU program to other priorities. Their efforts are reflected in the House and Senate marks on the fiscal year 2019 budget that not only restored funding, but recommended increases.

You will see in this report many other accomplishments of our individual scientists and students during 2018. It was an impressive and productive year! What you won’t see chronicled is the work of the CRU headquarters staff and University support staff. These folks are extraordinary in their dedication to working with cooperators and scientists to solve problems and ensure the important work gets accomplished with minimal interference. We are truly fortunate to have such skilled and dedicated folks in the trenches.

I was fortunate to visit several units during 2018. For me, this is the most enriching part of my duties. I get to see firsthand the work our scientists do, the incredible students being mentored, and meet our cooperators on their turf.

As we look forward towards the horizon, 2019 looks brighter for the CRU program. Efforts by our cooperators to generate support for filling our vacancies are materializing. Our cadre of scientists is second to none, and the breadth and depth of our work are nothing short of impressive. Thanks to all who are part of this cooperative endeavor—conservation is the ultimate winner in our efforts!

Publication Year 2019
Title Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units program—2018 year in review
DOI 10.3133/cir1452
Authors John F. Organ, John D. Thompson, Dawn E. Childs, Donald E. Dennerline
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Circular
Series Number 1452
Index ID cir1452
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Coop Res Unit Atlanta