What’s the deal with LCCs?

Do you have questions about Landscape Conservation Cooperatives?  Well, you’re not alone!  Just like the climate, things with the LCCs are changing fast and you’ve got questions and the LCC’s (hopefully) has some answers…questions such as

Why were LCC’s established? How do LCC’s meet unfilled conservation needs? How does the network add value to existing conservation efforts?

Answers to these questions and many, many more can be found here

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! We wanted to share the monthly highlights from Sequoyah NWR.  The Refuge mentioned a new I&M project kicking off at Sequoyah in 2012. Thanks for the participation and support.

Monthly Highlights for Sequoyah NWR

Sequoyah hosted the 6th annual youth waterfowl hunt in cooperation with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation Law Enforcement Division. Local students, ages 13-15 were asked to submit their names in a random drawing to be eligible to participate in the two day program. Day one consisted of classroom activities. Participants were taught shotgun safety, duck calling, decoy setup, duck identification, and dog handling. The second day, the youth were escorted by Game Wardens and members of Delta Waterfowl Assoc. to a guided hunt on the refuge. The students were very successful in harvesting a number of mallards, gadwall, and coots. Everyone involved had a wonderful time.
Refuge staff conducted a small maintenance burn on the entrance area of the refuge. The burn was conducted to remove invasive vegetation that was growing in the native wildflower plot adjacent to the parking lot. A second maintenance burn was conducted earlier in the month to remove a large slash pile that was created when staff removed several trees around the perimeter of a wetland.

The refuge is currently developing cooperative farming contracts for the 2012 season. These contracts specify the amounts and locations of the refuge’s share of standing grains.
Record spring rains resulted in optimal moist-soil vegetation for migratory and wintering waterbirds. To monitor waterbird response to wetland management, the refuge in conjunction with the Indian Nations Audubon Society has conducted bi-weekly surveys (starting in August) of waterfowl, shorebirds, and wading birds. These surveys provide refuge management with insights into the success of moist-soil production, species response to the timing of flood-ups and draw-downs, and the phenology of the various waterbirds utilizing the refuge.

Sequoyah has embraced the USFWS’s new Inventory and Monitoring (I &M) Department. At the refuge, the I & M Department has helped to design new studies that answer pertinent management problems at the refuge, and have helped to refine existing studies so that they are more biologically and statistically grounded. Sequoyah has volunteered to be the site of a pilot study for a newly designed landscape-level waterfowl survey. This survey will look at waterfowl use at a landscape scale, and will provide insights into the values of wetland and agricultural areas to wintering and migratory dabbling ducks and snow geese. In conjunction with Region 2 Migratory Game Bird Coordinator and the I &M Department, Sequoyah will be the focus of wetland soil seed bank testing. This will provide guidance on how to promote desirable wetland vegetation, as well as how to avoid nuisance species such as Giant Cutgrass and Sesbania.

Long time employee, Claude Phelps, retired at the end of December. Claude had over 16 years with the Service as a heavy equipment operator. Claude’s attention to detail and ability to expertly operate all types of heavy equipment made him a valuable asset to the Refuge and Service. His creative thinking on how to tackle projects and willingness to get the job done and done right the first time will be greatly missed by the staff.
Refuge Outdoor Rec. Planner, Chad Ford, completed the stations Aviation Safety Plan. The plan thoroughly covers all aspects for safe and effective aerial flights that the refuge will complete in the coming years.

The refuge conducted two adult muzzleloader deer hunts during the month of December. During the two 2 day deer hunts, 107 hunters harvested 22 deer across the refuge. The staff would like to thank all the volunteers who contributed their time in helping run the check station.

I&M research highlighted at the Crane Festival at Bosque del Apache NWR

Ryan DeVore is a graduate student working with USFWS I&M efforts to answer applied resource management questions.

Elk (Cervus elaphus) abundance has recently increased at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico.  The Refuge’s primary management objective is to provide habitat and food for waterfowl and sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis) that overwinter at the Refuge or use it during their migration.  To provide an adequate amount of nutrition for the birds, corn fields are planted on the refuge.  Elk are believed to be depredating the corn crops, thereby interrupting the Refuge’s management strategy.  The objectives of this study are to investigate elk movement patterns, habitat use, and survival, and depredation of corn by elk.  To examine these factors, we are marking and tracking adult elk with radio- or GPS collars.  We will monitor collared elk into November 2013 to estimate cause-specific mortality rates, their habitat preferences, and their seasonal and temporal movement patterns.  We will also estimate crop damage due to elk and recruitment rates of elk calves into the adult population.  Refuge staff will use results of this study to adjust their management practices and establish a harvest plan to manage elk abundance.  The intended outcome will be to minimize the amount of crop damage by elk on the Refuge.

Ryan M. DeVore, Department of Natural Resources Management, Texas Tech University, P.O. Box 42125, Lubbock, TX 79409, Warren B. Ballard, Department of Natural Resources Management, Texas Tech University, P.O. Box 42125, Lubbock, TX 79409, Matthew J. Butler, Division of Biological Services, National Wildlife Refuge System, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 1306, Albuquerque, NM 87103, Stewart Liley, New Mexico Game and Fish, One Wildlife Way, Santa Fe, NM 87507,  Ashley Inslee, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 280, San Antonio, NM 87832, John Vradenburg, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 280, San Antonio, NM 87832

Thanks Refuges!

Dear Refuge Managers:

This note is to thank you for completing the “Planning and Review of Inventory and Monitoring on Refuges” database (PRIMR).  All Refuges in Region 2 have populated and submitted PRIMR to the RO.  We are the first region in FWS to accomplish this.  Outstanding!

Cinthia Eichhorn, our I&M Data Manager, is now merging all Refuge I&M information into one database.  This database will be made available to the WO and all R2 Refuges by 12/19/11.  Cinthia is also generating an executive summary and maps to help communicate the I&M being conducted (or sought) on Refuges.  Such data will be broken up by state, LCC, and Zone.  These deliverables are meant for a broad audience, and will be available in a few weeks.

Zone Biologists and LMRDs will also be examining PRIMR to assist with evaluating which I&M efforts begin formal protocol development and/or peer review.  This exercise occurs in collaboration with you and your staff.  Indeed, your staff will soon have PRIMR data to examine the information too, which reinforces this process.

As mentioned earlier, our approach is adaptive.  Not everything we do on Refuges will receive protocols or peer review.  Moreover, the topics selected may reflect those we can address and serve to initiate the process, instead of addressing more complicated issues that could stretch us thin. In short, it may be preferable to start simple and then build in greater complexity. 

The most important outcome, is to ensure that the I&M we do is relevant and informative to your management.  To help guarantee this, I&M projects that are recommended for protocol and/or peer review receive your signature of concurrence.  Without your approval, nothing moves forward.

For any questions or concerns please feel free to contact your local LMRD, Zone Biologist, Kris Metzger (I&M Coordinator) or Grant Harris (Biological Sciences).

Thanks again!

aaron


Aaron M. Archibeque
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Regional Chief – NWRS
Region 2, Albuquerque NM
(505) 248-6937

News

At the end of November 2011 the Inventory and Monitoring Program completed the first major step in development of the Refuge level Inventory and Monitoring plans.  This first step was completion of all 48 Wildlife Refuges  ‘survey of surveys’.  The I&M team will collate this information and use it to identify FWS monitoring priorities. We intend to make this information available to all interested parties.