Welcome to the interactive web schedule for the 2019 Midwest Fish & Wildlife Conference! Please note, this event has passed. To return to the main Conference website, go to: www.midwestfw.org.

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CONFERENCE SCHEDULE UPDATES & CHANGES: As a result of the prolonged government shutdown, we experienced a number of cancellations and changes to the schedule. Cancellations and changes are listed here (as of January 26, 2019). 

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Forest [clear filter]
Monday, January 28

2:00pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-06) Beaver as a Provider of Ecological Services for Fish and Wildlife
AUTHORS: Kerry Fitzpatrick, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Through their dam-building and feeding activities, beaver alter the hydrology, channel morphology, biogeochemical pathways, and community productivity of streams. The literature documents that streams with beaver are substantially different from those without beaver: • Beaver are a primary disturbance regime in northern hemisphere forests. They create wetlands, forest openings, and early successional patches in what would otherwise be mature forest.• Beaver ponds increase riparian habitat, create favorable conditions for aquatic plants, and sub-irrigate nearby vegetation. Riparian plant communities are biologically more diverse in the presence of beaver.• Beaver create conditions, favorable for an entire suite of wildlife species, that are in limited supply in streams without beaver. For some wildlife, beaver-created habitat is essential to maintain a large portion of their populations.• Beaver have been shown to reduce peak flood levels, maintain flow during droughts, and reduce the variability of flow compared to streams without beaver dams.• Water that flows out of beaver dams has lower turbidity and sediment levels than that entering ponds, resulting in cleaner substrates downstream than would occur without beaver.• The stair-step profile of streams with beaver have a lower kinetic gradient, which reduces scouring and erosion. Streams with a history of beaver are more braided, wider, and have larger and deeper pools.• Streams with beaver capture and process organic matter more efficiently and closer to its source than streams without beaver. High nutrient levels and solar exposure yield the high productivity associated with beaver ponds and meadows.• Water passing through beaver ponds has an elevated acid neutralizing capacity, which can modify the pH of water originating from acidic sources such as peat bogs, conifer forests, or tannic streams.Beaver are increasingly being used as an economical stream restoration tool. This presentation outlines the rationale for maintaining or re-introducing beaver for the ecological services they provide.

Monday January 28, 2019 2:00pm - 2:20pm EST

2:20pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-06) Early Successional Habitats in Riparian Zones
AUTHORS: Brent A. Rudolph, Ruffed Grouse Society and American Woodcock Society

ABSTRACT: Optimal trout habitat consists of clear water with low silt and fine sediments, high dissolved oxygen, and cold, relatively stable temperatures, and well-vegetated, stable stream banks. Though sunlight can enhance stream productivity, small trout streams in particular are considered optimal at 50% to 75% midday shade. To maintain these conditions, fisheries and forestry managers often apply stream buffers within which many or all silvicultural treatments are restricted or entirely prohibited. These buffers may be universally applied regardless of stream geomorphology or potential trout production, and justified as necessary safeguards of any potential enhancement of fish production. This static application of constraints on forest management, however, may exacerbate the already considerable concern regarding recent declines of early successional habitat and associated disturbance-dependent wildlife species in the eastern United States. Some habitat types highly preferred by ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus) and American woodcock (Scolopax minor) are highly ephemeral, and providing a sufficient amount, size, and distribution of habitat patches depends upon well-planned and sustainable rotational cutting to provide the necessary disturbance. In this presentation, I will describe the increasing obstacles forestry and wildlife managers face when attempting to apply the even-aged management most effective at producing grouse and woodcock habitat on both private and public land, and demonstrate why riparian habitats in particular are important for grouse and especially woodcock. I will then review the variable management policies regarding application of stream buffers by land management agencies in the upper Midwest/Great Lakes region, and demonstrate how different riparian buffers intersect with key forest types and restrict opportunities to create habitat. I will encourage managers to ensure that buffers are evaluated or at least objectively planned and implemented to consider such management implications in addition to promoting high quality fisheries.

Monday January 28, 2019 2:20pm - 2:40pm EST
Tuesday, January 29

10:20am EST

(WILDLIFE: MAMMALS) Managed Forests Provide Roosting Opportunities for Indiana Bats in South-central Indiana
AUTHORS: Scott Bergeson, Purdue University-Fort Wayne; Joy O'Keefe, Indiana State University

ABSTRACT: There is a growing interest in the effects of timber harvest on forest-dwelling bats due to the potential for timber harvest to reduce available habitat. We conducted a study to determine how endangered Indiana bats (Myotis sodalis) select summer roosts within a Midwestern forest managed for timber. In the summers of 2012–2014, we tracked 4 male and 11 female Indiana bats to 49 roosts (n<sub>male </sub>= 24, n<sub>female </sub>= 25) in south-central Indiana, USA. We collected multi-scale data on roosts and associated available trees, randomly located throughout the same landscape. We generated 10 matched pairs conditional logistic regression models based on a priori hypotheses on roost selection and ranked them using Akaike’s Information Criteria. Plausible models explaining female roost selection included those coding for typical Indiana bat maternity roosts and typical tree-cavity bat roosts. Females selected roosts under exfoliating bark on large (17 ± 2 m in height and 34.8 ± 3.0 cm in diameter) standing dead trees and in bat boxes with high solar exposure (28.0 ± 6.0 % canopy closure above roosts). For males, the model coding for predator avoidance was the most plausible explanation of roost selection. Males selected for roosts under exfoliating bark on tall trees (23 ± 2 m; 71% snags) surrounded by snags (4.5 ± 0.7 snags/0.1 ha plot) and live trees (30.4 ± 2.7 live trees/0.1 ha plot). Females roosted in or 10 m from harvest openings and first-stage shelterwood cuts more than expected (15 of 25 roosts) based on their availability on the landscape. Males roosted in harvest openings as expected (3 of 24 roosts). Our results demonstrate that a managed Midwestern forest provides an array of roosts for Indiana bats and that Indiana bats do not actively avoid roosting near harvest openings in this forest.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 10:20am - 10:40am EST

10:40am EST

(WILDLIFE: MAMMALS) Camera Trap Efficacy for Determining Mammal Occupancy in Northern Hardwood Forests, Michigan
AUTHORS: Melissa D. Starking, Michigan State University; Gary Roloff, Michigan State University; Michael Donovan, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Northern hardwood forests cover > 2 million ha in Michigan and are managed for ecological and timber values. The mammal community of these forest systems provides important ecological and recreational functions. As part of a long-term study on forest regeneration techniques and wildlife interactions, we deployed an unbaited 25-camera grid (1 camera every 0.49 ha) across a 12 ha hardwood site in the Upper Peninsula, Michigan. We collected data from May 2017 through June 2018. We tagged photos to species and used standard photo verification processes. We documented a wide functional range of mammals, including small mammals (deer mice, flying squirrels), mesocarnivores (marten, fisher, bobcat, coyote), and larger herbivores (deer) and a carnivore (wolves). We quantified number of cameras needed to reliably detect white-tailed deer, snowshoe hare, black bear, and marten. We report on amount of sampling needed to represent detectable mammal species using relatively localized areas in managed northern hardwood forests in Michigan.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 10:40am - 11:00am EST

11:00am EST

(SYMPOSIA-10) Timber Rattlesnake Habitat Use: A Thermal Landscape Perspective
AUTHORS: William Peterman, Andrew Hoffman, Annalee Tutterow – Ohio State University

ABSTRACT: Temperature is of paramount consideration for ectothermic animals. Numerous studies have previously described multiscale habitat selection and use in timber rattlesnakes (Crotalus horridus). However, there is currently limited understanding of how habitat use and selection are related to the thermal landscape. The primary objectives of this study are to understand how the thermal landscape is affected by land use and forest management, and how spatial and temporal habitat use by timber rattlesnakes relates to the thermal landscape. To create a down-scaled near-surface air temperature model, we deployed remote temperature loggers across our focal landscape in Southeast Ohio. We then used fine-scale LiDAR data to derive spatial topographic surfaces as well as surfaces describing forest structure. Using these models, we related the predicted spatial-temporal air temperatures to field observations of radio telemetered snake locations, as well to snake body temperature data collected using internal temperature data loggers.Our near-surface air temperature and snake body temperature models both fit the data well with high predictive power. Unsurprisingly, we found that gravid females, on average, occupied areas of the landscape with higher temperatures than non-gravid snakes. We have observed large differences in parturition dates in our population. Females that give birth earlier in the summer are occupying areas that are warmer than areas occupied by females that give birth later in the summer. Our study provides a novel perspective of habitat use in timber rattlesnakes, and adds to the limited knowledge of timber rattlesnake ecology in the Midwest. A clear understanding of the landscape features affecting near-surface air temperatures and the spatial thermal ecology of timber rattlesnake has the potential to facilitate more effective and targeted habitat management.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 11:00am - 11:20am EST

2:00pm EST

(WILDLIFE: UPLAND 1) Effects of Pipeline Right-of-Way Habitat Management on Early Successional Songbirds in Eastern Ohio
AUTHORS: Lewis M. Lolya, Gabriel Karns, Stephen N. Matthews –The Ohio State University

ABSTRACT: Early successional bird species have exhibited population declines across Ohio, coinciding with a state-wide loss in young forest and shrub-scrub habitats. Additionally, forest fragmentation and land use conversion has increased with accelerating shale gas development. Pipeline right-of-ways (ROWs), which represent the largest proportion of the shale gas footprint, hold potential for early successional habitat management. This potential has been demonstrated for analogous electric ROWs, but minimal research is available for corridors with underground infrastructure. Our goals are to assess early successional avian response to forest edge-cutback techniques along pipeline ROWs and to understand avian utilization of the pipeline-forest interface. Forest-edge plots (control=11, experimental=12) were established at 10 sites across four counties in Eastern Ohio. Avian point counts, nesting surveys, and vegetation sampling were conducted within each plot. A total of 93 nests of 13 species were monitored. The proportion of failed to fledged nests was 47%, with EATO showing low nest success across sites (Fail=62%). Overall incidence of nest parasitism was higher in edge treatment ROWs (n=9) than in control (n=6). 79 total species were observed across all sites during point counts. Several species showed increased occurrence in ROW plots compared to forest plots ([alpha codes] BHCO, COYE, EATO, FISP, INBU, and NOCA) while others were more prevalent in interior forest (ACFL, OVEN, and REVI). SCTA, EAWP, and ACFL were more prevalent in experimental ROW plots than control. The opposite trend was seen for INBU, potentially due to limited forest regrowth following recent treatments. These results may demonstrate that birds exhibit species-specific selectivity for habitat structure characteristics along pipeline corridors. Although pipeline edges may provide nesting habitat, high occurrence of nest parasitism may indicate the presence of habitat traps. Furthermore, as experimental cutback zones regrow, we hypothesize increased use over time of those edges by shrub-scrub dependent birds. 

Tuesday January 29, 2019 2:00pm - 2:20pm EST

2:40pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-12) The Power of Partnering with State Agencies to Achieve Conservation
AUTHORS: Matthew Perlik, Ohio Department of Transportation

ABSTRACT: Over the last 10 years, Ohio DOT has spent over $40 million on landscape conservation and restortation projects. This money provides an enormous contribution to protected and restored lands throughout the 34th smallest state (by area) in the US with less than 5% public lands. ODOT has developed a program that works with non-profits, for profits, universities, federal agencies, and fellow state agencies to deliver aquatic and terrestrial conseration that is lower cost, exceeds ecological improvement requirements, and is delivered faster than traditional methods. This process has expanded preserved lands, lands for recreation, and the holdings of entities dedicated to conservation. Using recent case studies, this paper will focus on the challenges and successes of working with a state DOT to deliver successful conservation within a highly developed state landscape.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 2:40pm - 3:00pm EST
Wednesday, January 30

10:20am EST

(CANCELLED) (SYMPOSIA-16) Agriculture and Wildlife Coexistence in the Midwest United States
AUTHORS: Gary J. Roloff, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University

ABSTRACT: The Midwest region of the United States supports abundant wildlife and diverse agriculture, with both substantially contributing to regional and national economies and livelihoods. Recreation associated with wildlife has a positive economic impact, estimated to generate over $34 billion annually for 8 Midwestern States. The annual market value of crops and livestock exceed $76 billion. Wildlife often represents a cost to farmers through crop and livestock depredation and food safety risks, but some producers benefit through recreational leasing of their properties. State level wildlife damage data are limited and outdated, but suggests that agricultural losses in the Midwest are significant. Resources available to producers in the Midwest for integrated wildlife damage management (IWDM) vary greatly, but are generally underutilized or ineffectual, and in some cases simply nonexistent. Challenges include political and social barriers to managing valued wildlife species as pests, complex regulatory jurisdiction over wildlife damage control, lack of dedicated personnel assigned to wildlife damage response, and limited IWDM tools. Many IWDM tools do not scale to crop production contexts, provide only limited or temporary efficacy, or are not economically viable. The Agriculture and Wildlife Coexistence symposium will focus on updating our understanding of wildlife damage assessments, mitigation, and philosophies with a focus on wildlife-agriculture co-existence in the Midwest region.

Wednesday January 30, 2019 10:20am - 10:40am EST

11:20am EST

(CANCELLED) (SYMPOSIA-16) Identifying and Managing Wildlife Damage to Forests
AUTHORS: Jimmy Taylor, USDA National Wildlife Research Center

ABSTRACT: Forests are integral components of the global climate, yet the material products that trees provide are essential to sustain human quality of life (e.g., paper, fuel, lumber, poles, fruit, etc.). Growing healthy forests requires years of planning, investment, and adaptive management. Wildlife impacts on regenerating forests following wildfire or harvesting can be extensive. Wildlife damage by ungulates, rodents, and rabbits during the first five years of tree growth greatly hinder reforestation efforts following wildfire or harvest, while foraging by other mammals such as bears, beavers, and porcupines damage mature trees after stands have gained significant economic value. The costs associated with silvicultural applications are highly variable as are the costs of preventing wildlife damage to trees. Furthermore the cumulative effects of combined management techniques are unknown in forestry management. Allowing wildlife damage can result in 1) decreased volume and revenue at harvest, or 2) extending harvest rotation lengths of stands, simultaneously extending long-term interest payments and decreasing net returns. We will describe methods to identify species-specific damage to trees and methods to reduce damage, including repellents, exclusion, and behavioral modification. We also will describe pros and cons of these methods. Applying appropriate techniques and improving cost-benefit analyses will provide forest managers with knowledge to refine forest management strategies.

Wednesday January 30, 2019 11:20am - 11:40am EST