Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Strategic habitat conservation for beach mice: Estimating management scenario efficiencies

December 18, 2020

The Perdido Key beach mouse (Peromyscus polionotus trissyllepsis), Choctawhatchee beach mouse (P. p. allophrys), and St. Andrew beach mouse (P. p. peninsularis) are 3 federally endangered subspecies that inhabit coastal dunes of Alabama and Florida, USA. Conservation opportunities for these subspecies are limited and costly. Consequently, well‐targeted efforts are required to achieve their downlisting criteria. To aid the development of targeted management scenarios that are designed to achieve downlisting criteria, we developed a Bayesian network model that uses habitat characteristics to predict the probability of beach mouse presence at a 30‐m resolution across a portion of the Florida Panhandle. We then designed alternative management scenarios for a variety of habitat conditions for coastal dunes. Finally, we estimated how much area is needed to achieve the established downlisting criterion (i.e., habitat objective) and the amount of effort needed to achieve the habitat objective (i.e., management efficiency). The results suggest that after 7 years of post‐storm recolonization, habitat objectives were met for Perdido Key (within its Florida critical habitat) and Choctawhatchee beach mice. The St. Andrew beach mouse required 5.14 km2 of additional critical habitat to be protected and occupied. The St. Andrew beach mouse habitat objective might be achieved by first restoring protected critical habitat to good dune conditions and then protecting or restoring the unprotected critical habitat with the highest predicted probability of beach mouse presence. This scenario provided a 28% increase in management efficiency compared to a scenario that randomly protected or restored undeveloped unprotected critical habitat. In total, when coupled with established downlisting criteria, these quantitative and spatial decision support tools could provide insight into how much habitat is available, how much more is needed, and targeted conservation or restoration efforts that might efficiently achieve habitat objectives.

Publication Year 2021
Title Strategic habitat conservation for beach mice: Estimating management scenario efficiencies
DOI 10.1002/jwmg.21983
Authors James P. Cronin, Blair Tirpak, Leah L Dale, Virginia E Robenski, John M. Tirpak, Bruce G. Marcot
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Wildlife Management
Index ID 70215497
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Wetland and Aquatic Research Center