New Study Reveals the Limitations of the Surrogacy Approach to Conservation Planning

An area representative of the study site in Wyoming.

A new study in Conservation Biology reveals that trying to use conservation areas designed for a single aquatic group (such as fish) will protect common and rare fish species, but may not ensure that rare, endangered species of other aquatic groups (mussels, amphibians, or aquatic reptiles) are protected by conservation priority areas. This research likely has important implications for the future planning of protected areas like national parks and wildlife refuges.  Continue reading “New Study Reveals the Limitations of the Surrogacy Approach to Conservation Planning”

“Backpacks for Birds” explains golden-cheeked warbler migratory connectivity research

How do you ensure conservation of a species that spends less than half of its life on protected breeding areas? The first step is to learn where they go. That is not so easy when working with an organism like the golden-cheeked warbler, a Neotropical migrant that weighs one-third of an ounce (a little less than 10 g). Recently, biologists attached tiny light-level recorders to golden-cheeked warblers from five protected breeding populations in Texas to discover the wintering grounds and migratory pathways of this endangered species.  Continue reading ““Backpacks for Birds” explains golden-cheeked warbler migratory connectivity research”

Paige Schmidt gives presentation at Louisiana State University; serves as mentor to Native Student Professional Development Program

Dr. Paige Schmidt was recently invited by Louisiana State University’s School of Natural Resources to provide a seminar. Her presentation, “The role of science in the National Wildlife Refuge System: examples from Oklahoma and Texas” was well received. The examples she discussed included snowy plover monitoring at Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge (NWR); evaluation of environmental DNA to determine the distribution and abundance of aquatic karst species at Ozark Plateau NWR and the Ozark Highlands Emphasis Area; standardized surveys of white-tailed deer at 3 refuges; the development of a duck-energy-model to determine how management decisions influence energetic carrying capacity for wintering waterfowl at Sequoyah NWR; and evaluation of forest and landbird monitoring data at Little River NWR. In addition to her presentation, Paige met with undergraduate and graduate students to discuss internship and career opportunities in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Many faculty were particularly interested to know what skills she felt were most important for recent undergraduates so they could ensure students leaving their program would be well-trained for today’s natural resources issues.


Previously, Paige attended the 23rd Annual Wildlife Society Conference, in Raleigh, North Carolina. Paige is an active member, former Chair, and current Secretary/Treasurer of TWS’ Native Peoples’ Wildlife Management Working Group which is composed of wildlife professionals and students, tribal and non-tribal, who recognize native people’s cultural, spiritual, and ecological connections to the land. TWS and the Working Group have been exploring ways to promote the development of indigenous wildlife students; both believe one of the most-effective ways to support indigenous wildlife students is to give them an opportunity to attend and participate in TWS’s Annual Conference – the largest gathering of wildlife professionals in North America. TWS, with support from multiple federal agencies, implemented a competitive Native Student Professional Development Program. Individuals selected for this program receive grants to cover costs of conference attendance along with a one-year membership in TWS and the Native People’s Wildlife Management Working Group, subscription to The Wildlife Professional and The Wildlifer, discounts on TWS peer-reviewed publications, and access to the TWS website, blog, career center, mentoring program, and other online resources. During the conference, participants are mentored through the working group. Paige has served as a mentor to program participants for several years and considers this to be one of the most important aspects of her attendance at the annual conference.

Butler and Moon receive honors at the Texas Chapter of TWS

Dr. M. Butler proudly displaying the award

The Texas Chapter of the Wildlife Society met in February 2016 and recognized Dr. Matthew Butler as lead author for the “Best Technical Publication“. Specifically, the publication is the I&M protocol for surveying  whooping cranes at and around Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas  (get protocol). Co-authors include: Cinthia Eichhorn, the talented Data Manager and GIS expert for USFWS southwest, and Brad Strobel, now the head biologist at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin.


Dr. J. Moon establishing equipment to measure sea  level rise


Dr. Jena Moon, Texas Gulf Coast Zone Biologist, was voted in as the Vice President of the Texas Chapter of the Wildlife Society! Jena is an excellent selection for the Board, given her hard work, dedication to wildlife management, and effective collaboration with the public, private landowners, state and federal agencies, and non-profit organizations. In her role, Jena is anticipated to promote a positive public image for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Texas Chapter of the Wildlife Society, and the wildlife profession.

Congratulations to Matt, Cinthia, Brad and Jena!

Southwest Inventory and Monitoring Program assists with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service banding program

Big Grass Crew preparing for a banding session

During the month of August 2014, Region 2 Division of Biological Science’s Jeremy Edwardson (Wildlife Biologist, Okmulgee, OK), partook in U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s high priority waterfowl banding program in Canada. The waterfowl banding program is a large-scale effort that is essential in monitoring migrating waterfowl and provides crucial information on migratory bird hunting and harvest assessments. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service representatives and other organizations from across North America gather to assist with the banding program every year and is part of a cooperative agreement among Canada, United States, and Mexico. Continue reading “Southwest Inventory and Monitoring Program assists with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service banding program”