Are Eastern Monarch Butterflies at Risk of Extinction?
Long-term declines in their overwintering populations are increasing the likelihood of extinction, according to a new study in Scientific ReportsRead more
Mission Areas L2 Landing Page Tabs
Federal policymakers and land managers are accountable to the public for how they invest public funds and for the outcomes of the policy and management decisions they make. Through a variety of economic analyses and custom modeling, SEA economists evaluate how investments and management decisions affect individuals, local communities, and society as a whole....
Natural-resource management increasingly demands skills in negotiation to engage a broad range of stakeholders in decisionmaking. Social and Economic Analysis (SEA) scientists incorporate the results of their published research on multi-party negotiation into training courses taught annually at the FORT. SEA researchers also work to understand how institutional...
Population models developed by USGS are the primary decision-support tools used for status assessments, and rely on estimates of adult survival and reproduction rates from mark-recapture studies.
The Least Bell's Vireo (Vireo bellii extimus) and southwestern willow flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus) are migratory species dependent on riparian habitat for breeding. Extensive loss and degradation of riparian woodlands throughout the southwestern U.S., coupled with increased parasitism by the brown-headed cowbird (Molothrus ater), have resulted in steep declines in these species...
The Challenge: Research that integrates population dynamics and ecological studies is needed to identify the causal factors involved in population declines and viability. For highly mobile organisms such as birds, “between-patch” movements and the use of different geographic sites and habitats at various stages of the annual cycle can make it difficult to measure the...
The Challenge: The Laysan Teal is an endangered, endemic, Hawaiian dabbling duck that has been pushed to the brink of extinction numerous times. The previous range includes the Main and Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, and its current range is less than 10 sq. km within the National Wildlife Refuges of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. This non-migratory...
Deserts in the southwestern United States are experiencing rapid changes due to human activities. The growth of human populations and development of cities and towns affect adjacent rare, threatened, and endangered species and their associated ecosystems in the Mojave and Sonoran deserts of southeastern California, southern Nevada, southwestern Utah, and western Arizona. ...
The Challenge: Several blue-ribbon panels have challenged the waterfowl management world to recognize the linkages between the two primary management frameworks: harvest management under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and habitat management under the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. Because these two frameworks seek to manage the same populations, there...
The Challenge: Florida manatees are threatened by watercraft-related mortality, the potential loss of warmwater habitat, red tide events, and other anthropogenic factors. The USFWS and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have regulatory authorities under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), and state statutes...
The Challenge: USGS Patuxent is a recognized world-leader in the application of structured decision making to problems in natural resource management. Scientists at Patuxent are adept at a number of the key skills required in SDM, including objectives elicitation, model development, decision analysis, optimization, monitoring design, and facilitation. In addition, Patuxent...
The Challenge: Threatened and endangered species have to be managed in the face of uncertainty, but traditionally, there has been reluctance to think about adaptive management of listed species. Management agencies with responsibility for threatened and endangered species need tools to help manage in the face of uncertainty, with the hope of reducing that...
White-Nose Syndrome (WNS) is a devastating disease that threatens the survival of hibernating bats in North America. Since first documented in the winter of 2005/2006, WNS has spread from a very small area of New York across at least two thousand kilometers and half or more of states and provinces in the U.S. and Canada.
Key seabird areas in southern New England identified using a community occupancy model
Seabirds are of conservation concern, and as new potential risks to seabirds are arising, the need to provide unbiased estimates of species’ distributions is growing. We applied community occupancy models to detection/non-detection data collected from repeated aerial strip-transect surveys conducted in 2 large study plots off southern New...O'Connell, Allan F.; Flanders, Nicholas P.; Gardner, Beth; Winiarski, Kristopher J.; Paton, Peter W. C.; Allison, Taber
Principles of effective USA federal fire management plans
Federal fire management plans are essential implementation guides for the management of wildland fire on federal lands. Recent changes in federal fire policy implementation guidance and fire science information suggest the need for substantial changes in federal fire management plans of the United States. Federal land management agencies are also...Meyer, Marc D.; Roberts, Susan L.; Wills, Robin; Brooks, Matthew L.; Winford, Eric M.
Effects of land use on greenhouse gas fluxes and soil properties of wetland catchments in the Prairie Pothole Region of North America
Wetland restoration has been suggested as policy goal with multiple environmental benefits including enhancement of atmospheric carbon sequestration. However, there are concerns that increased methane (CH4) emissions associated with restoration may outweigh potential benefits. A comprehensive, 4-year study of 119 wetland catchments was conducted...Tangen, Brian A.; Finocchiaro, Raymond G.; Gleason, Robert A.
Increasing elevation of fire in the Sierra Nevada and implications for forest change
Fire in high-elevation forest ecosystems can have severe impacts on forest structure, function and biodiversity. Using a 105-year data set, we found increasing elevation extent of fires in the Sierra Nevada, and pose five hypotheses to explain this pattern. Beyond the recognized pattern of increasing fire frequency in the Sierra Nevada since the...Schwartz, Mark W.; Butt, Nathalie; Dolanc, Christopher R.; Holguin, Andrew; Moritz, Max A.; North, Malcolm P.; Safford, Hugh D.; Stephenson, Nathan L.; Thorne, James H.; van Mantgem, Phillip J.
Using satellite vegetation and compound topographic indices to map highly erodible cropland buffers for cellulosic biofuel crop developments in eastern Nebraska, USA
Cultivating annual row crops in high topographic relief waterway buffers has negative environmental effects and can be environmentally unsustainable. Growing perennial grasses such as switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) for biomass (e.g., cellulosic biofuel feedstocks) instead of annual row crops in these high relief waterway buffers can...Gu, Yingxin; Wylie, Bruce K.
High-tech or field techs: Radio-telemetry is a cost-effective method for reducing bias in songbird nest searching
We compared the efficacy of standard nest-searching methods with finding nests via radio-tagged birds to assess how search technique influenced our determination of nest-site characteristics and nest success for Golden-winged Warblers (Vermivora chrysoptera). We also evaluated the cost-effectiveness of using radio-tagged birds to find nests. Using...Peterson, Sean M.; Streby, Henry M.; Lehman, Justin A.; Kramer, Gunnar R.; Fish, Alexander C.; Andersen, David E.
Delineation of marsh types from Corpus Christi Bay, Texas, to Perdido Bay, Alabama, in 2010
Coastal zone managers and researchers often require detailed information regarding emergent marsh vegetation types (that is, fresh, intermediate, brackish, and saline) for modeling habitat capacities and needs of marsh dependent taxa (such as waterfowl and alligator). Detailed information on the extent and distribution of emergent marsh vegetation...Enwright, Nicholas M.; Hartley, Stephen B.; Couvillion, Brady R.; Michael G. Brasher; Jenneke M. Visser; Michael K. Mitchell; Bart M. Ballard; Mark W. Parr; Barry C. Wilson
When do we need more data? A primer on calculating the value of information for applied ecologists
Applied ecologists continually advocate further research, under the assumption that obtaining more information will lead to better decisions. Value of information (VoI) analysis can be used to quantify how additional information may improve management outcomes: despite its potential, this method is still underused in environmental decision-making...Canessa, Stefano; Guillera-Arroita, Gurutzeta; Lahoz-Monfort, José J.; Southwell, Darren M; Armstrong, Doug P.; Chadès, Iadine; Lacy, Robert C; Converse, Sarah J.
Rapid water quality change in the Elwha River estuary complex during dam removal
Dam removal in the United States is increasing as a result of structural concerns, sedimentation of reservoirs, and declining riverine ecosystem conditions. The removal of the 32 m Elwha and 64 m Glines Canyon dams from the Elwha River in Washington, U.S.A., was the largest dam removal project in North American history. During the 3 yr of dam...Foley, Melissa M.; Duda, Jeffrey J.; Beirne, Matthew M.; Paradis, Rebecca; Ritchie, Andrew; Warrick, Jonathan A.
Estimating the abundance of the Southern Hudson Bay polar bear subpopulation with aerial surveys
The Southern Hudson Bay (SH) polar bear subpopulation occurs at the southern extent of the species’ range. Although capture–recapture studies indicate abundance was likely unchanged between 1986 and 2005, declines in body condition and survival occurred during the period, possibly foreshadowing a future decrease in abundance. To obtain...Obbard, Martyn E.; Stapleton, Seth P.; Middel, Kevin R.; Thibault, Isabelle; Brodeur, Vincent; Jutras, Charles
Statistical guidelines for assessing marine avian hotspots and coldspots: A case study on wind energy development in the U.S. Atlantic Ocean
Estimating patterns of habitat use is challenging for marine avian species because seabirds tend to aggregate in large groups and it can be difficult to locate both individuals and groups in vast marine environments. We developed an approach to estimate the statistical power of discrete survey events to identify species-specific hotspots and...Zipkin, Elise F.; Kinlan, Brian P.; Sussman, Allison; Rypkema, Diana; Wimer, Mark; O'Connell, Allan F.
A collision risk model to predict avian fatalities at wind facilities: an example using golden eagles, Aquila chrysaetos
Wind power is a major candidate in the search for clean, renewable energy. Beyond the technical and economic challenges of wind energy development are environmental issues that may restrict its growth. Avian fatalities due to collisions with rotating turbine blades are a leading concern and there is considerable uncertainty surrounding avian...New, Leslie; Bjerre, Emily; Millsap, Brian A.; Otto, Mark C.; Runge, Michael C.
USGS and the Vietnam Biodiversity Conservation Agency partner to protect the biodiversity of Vietnam.
FORT ecologist, Ellis Margolis, spoke with a reporter from the Albuquerque Journal on August 19, 2016 about a new fire history project in the Taos Valley Watersheds, New Mexico.
American pikas – small herbivores that typically live in rocky slopes, known as talus, across many mountain ranges in the American West – are disappearing from some locations across the West due to climate change, according to a study by the U.S. Geological Survey and some of its partners.
The Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Geological Survey have published a hub to enable easy visualization and access to geospatial data about the west’s “sagebrush sea.” This will help guide sagebrush conservation efforts during the 2016 fire season and beyond.
U.S. Geological Survey scientists will present their research at the Ecological Society of America meeting from Aug. 7-12, 2016, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The theme is "Novel Ecosystems in the Anthropocene."
Information relating to fish biology, locations and effects of climate change will help guide future research and management decisions
A new fact sheet documenting the development of the Missouri River Pallid Sturgeon Effects Analysis (EA) is now available from the U.S. Geological Survey. The EA is an effort to assess how Missouri River management has affected—and may affect—the endangered pallid sturgeon population.
The USGS and Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute deployed a long-range autonomous underwater vehicle, named Tethys, in Lake Michigan on August 1. The deployment will last approximately 25 days. Tethys is continuously measuring amounts of algae and fish food called zooplankton across vast distances to help scientists better understand the base of the changing Lake Michigan food web.
New Center Director to sustain NOROCK’s tradition of productivity and partnership in generating ground-breaking science relevant to resource managers in the Northern Rocky Mountains and beyond.