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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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Habitat [clear filter]
Monday, January 28
 

10:30am EST

(FISHERIES: LIGHTNING TALK) Movements and Habitat Use of Muskellunge in Green Bay, Lake Michigan
AUTHORS: Robert Sheffer, Wisconsin Cooperative Fishery Research Unit, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point; Daniel Dembkowski, Wisconsin Cooperative Fishery Research Unit, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point; Steven Hogler, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Joshua Raabe, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Daniel Isermann, U.S. Geological Survey, Wisconsin Cooperative Fishery Research Unit, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

ABSTRACT: Green Bay and its tributaries support a world-class fishery for trophy muskellunge that attracts anglers from across North America. The Lower Fox River and Green Bay muskellunge population is largely supported by stocking because natural recruitment is limited, possibly due to habitat limitations. While previous work has identified potential spawning locations, it is unknown whether muskellunge hatch at these locations and habitat attributes associated with successful hatching have not been determined. Our objectives are to: 1) determine the proportion of muskellunge spawning in tributaries to lower Green Bay or in Green Bay proper; 2) determine the proportion of adults that return to stocking locations to spawn; 3) determine if muskellunge return to the same spawning locations in consecutive year; 4) define habitat conditions that result in successful hatching and 5) characterize general movement patterns of muskellunge. We will identify spawning sites of tagged muskellunge (N = 60) using radio and acoustic telemetry and conduct spawning habitat surveys. Presence or absence of eggs and larvae at spawning sites will be used to develop predictive maps of suitable habitat throughout the Green Bay ecosystem.

Monday January 28, 2019 10:30am - 10:40am EST
VETERANS MEETING ROOM A/B

10:40am EST

(WILDLIFE: URBAN-WILDLIFE CONFLICT) Aspects of Municipalities Associated with Occupancy and Abundance of Chimney Swifts in Illinois
AUTHORS: Maureen L. Hurd, Thomas J. Benson – Illinois Natural History Survey and Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Michael P. Ward, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

ABSTRACT: The Chimney Swift (Chaetura pelagica) is a bird species of conservation concern in Illinois and one of many aerial insectivores experiencing population declines across North America. While causes of declines are unknown, habitat availability and changes in insect populations are likely contributing factors. Chimney Swifts historically nested in tree cavities, but switched to nesting primarily in masonry chimneys as North American settlements expanded. With the growing trends of chimney caps and gas/electric heating, available chimneys are disappearing, and the loss of available nest sites may be driving Chimney Swift declines. Like other aerial insectivores, Chimney Swifts may also provide valuable pest control services and action may be needed to maintain this benefit. To investigate potential causes of declines in Illinois, we examined the influence of habitat and landscape factors on Chimney Swift abundance. We conducted surveys for swifts in 126 municipalities throughout Illinois and recorded the number of uncapped masonry chimneys at each survey point. We used these data along with landscape-level data such as composition of land cover surrounding points, areal extent of municipality, and age distribution of buildings. We found that 97% of municipalities were occupied by Chimney Swifts, but abundance varied considerably. Swifts were detected at 72.5% of survey points. Chimney Swift abundance was most heavily influenced by the number of uncapped masonry chimneys at survey points. Our results suggest that although Chimney Swifts are still widespread, contemporary building practices will continue to drive population declines and management should focus on approaches for providing and preserving suitable nesting sites.

Monday January 28, 2019 10:40am - 11:00am EST
VETERANS MEETING ROOM C/D

11:00am EST

(CANCELLED) (FISHERIES: GREAT LAKES 1) Quantifying Oxythermal Habitat Availability for Coldwater Species in the Central Basin of Lake Erie
AUTHORS: Joseph D. Schmitt, Christopher S. Vandergoot, Richard T. Kraus – USGS Great Lakes Science Center, Lake Erie Biological Station

ABSTRACT: Populations of coldwater fishes such as burbot Lota lota, lake whitefish Coregonus clupeaformis, and lake trout Salvelinus namaycush have declined in Lake Erie, while cisco Coregonus artedi have been extirpated. Warming temperature regimes and the re-eutrophication of Lake Erie have increased the frequency of harmful algal blooms and hypoxic events, which can reduce oxythermal habitat availability. Using vertical profile data collected in the central basin from 2008-2017, we developed generalized additive models to explore spatial, seasonal, and interannual trends in oxythermal habitat availability for lake trout, cisco, lake whitefish, and burbot based on published oxythermal niche benchmarks. Habitat availability was usually temperature-limited rather than oxygen-limited, and significant (P<0.05) monthly and interannual variations in habitat availability were detected for most species. In general, oxythermal habitat was most limited during August and September; moreover, significant interannual trends in habitat availability were also detected, with 2016 having the most extreme habitat reduction for many species due to record high temperatures. Understanding the spatiotemporal dynamics of oxythermal habitat availability will be important for the conservation and restoration of these fishes in our changing climate. Moreover, these models can be integrated with climate predictions to better understand how warming temperatures will affect coldwater habitat in the future.

Monday January 28, 2019 11:00am - 11:20am EST
CENTER STREET ROOM A

11:00am EST

(WILDLIFE: WETLAND CONSERVATION) Habitat Relationships of Virginia Rails and Soras in Impounded Marshes Within the Western Lake Erie Basin of Ohio
AUTHORS: Nicole Hengst, The Ohio State University; James Hansen, The Ohio State University; Brendan Shirkey, Winous Point Marsh Conservancy; John Simpson, Winous Point Marsh Conservancy; Robert Gates, The Ohio State University

ABSTRACT: Secretive marsh bird populations are threatened by habitat loss throughout their ranges. In Ohio, Virginia rails (Rallus limicola) and soras (Porzana carolina) are species of concern and legally harvested. Very little work has been conducted to understand movements and habitat selection by Virginia rails and soras in coastal wetlands of the western Lake Erie basin. Managed wetlands are an important source of rail habitat in Ohio, yet little is known about how manipulation of water levels to produce food and cover for waterfowl affects migrating and breeding rails. Virginia rails and soras were captured and fitted with VHF radio-transmitters and tracked daily during March-September, 2016-2018. Twenty-seven percent of radio-marked rails migrated or dispersed from the study site within 1-2 days of capture in May-August. Mean home range sizes were 6.51 and 3.67 ha (SE = 1.40, n = 57 and SE = 0.95, n = 7) for Virginia rails and soras, respectively. Of the 166 radio-marked rails that remained at the study site at least one day after capture, 138 used only one impoundment unit at the study site. This allowed us to examine movement patterns of Virginia rails and soras in response to water level changes during 2016-2018. Vegetation surveys were conducted in 2018 to compare differences in habitat characteristics between locations of radio-marked rails and random points and to identify wetland habitat characteristics that rails select for as water levels change. Vegetation surveys were conducted weekly at individual radio-locations and at the end of the growing season within home ranges of radio-marked rails. Twenty-two percent of the weekly surveys indicated rails using areas dominated by cattail (Typha spp.) with water cover <40% and medium interspersion. This work will provide additional understanding of rail ecology and aid in better informed wetland management for rail species in northern Ohio.

Monday January 28, 2019 11:00am - 11:20am EST
CENTER STREET ROOM D

2:00pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-02) Validating a Habitat Suitability Index Model for the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake in Southern Michigan
AUTHORS: Stephanie A. Shaffer, Michigan State University; Henry Campa, III, Michigan State University; Daniel Kennedy, Michigan Department of Natural Resources; Gary Roloff, Michigan State University

ABSTRACT: The eastern massasauga rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus catenatus) is a federally threatened species ranging throughout the Great Lakes region. Conservation concerns for the species include declining availability of suitable areas due to habitat degradation and fragmentation. Our goal was to quantify habitat suitability for massasaugas using the Bailey (2010) habitat suitability index (HSI) model and validate this model throughout southern Michigan at 27 20-ha study sites. Sites were selected based on historical or current presence of massasaugas. Following methods described in the HSI model, in 2015 and 2016 we measured vegetation characteristics at 10 - 12 randomly selected locations within each site. As described by the HSI model, we quantified % live herbaceous cover (optimal suitability 60-100%), % dead herbaceous cover (51.5-96%), stem density of trees and shrubs > 3 m (0-58 per ha), basal area of trees and shrubs > 3 m (0-12.1 m2/ha), % area of early deciduous upland (0-57%), and % area of early deciduous wetland (23-73%). To validate the model, we used a resource selection probability function to identify disproportionate use by massasaugas of microhabitat structures defined as important for massasaugas by the HSI model (i.e., % live and dead herbaceous cover, number and average DBH of stems). Based on HSI modeling, habitat suitability rankings for massasauga locations compared to random locations throughout the study sites corroborated structures defined as “optimal” for the species by the HSI model. The resource selection probability function illustrated a positive relationship between massasauga use and the amount of live and dead herbaceous cover, and a negative relationship between use and the number and average DBH of woody stems. Our validation of the Bailey (2010) HSI model indicates that this habitat model is applicable when defining massasauga habitat throughout habitats of varying quality within Southern Michigan.

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

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
VETERANS MEETING ROOM A/B

2:40pm EST

(WILDLIFE: WATERFOWL) Stepping down a Regional Waterfowl and Wetlands Conservation Decision Support Tool
AUTHORS: Matthew D. Palumbo, Jacob N. Straub – University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

ABSTRACT: The goals of the 2012 North American Waterfowl Management Plan target a combination of biological and social objectives that are prioritized regionally through Joint Venture (JV) partnerships. The Upper Mississippi River and Great Lakes (UMRGLR) JV developed a decision support tool (DST) to assist in implementing these objectives. The DST is based on six spatially explicit model-based maps, each representing a biological or social objective weighted by input from regional decision makers. The DST depicts areas of relative value to meet the combined six objectives and therefore identifies areas for regional managers to target conservation for waterfowl and people. In 1992 Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources developed their own state-based conservation plan to achieve waterfowl population and habitat objectives.  This ‘WI Plan’ was based on a spatial hierarchy of priority regions, areas, and townships that were delineated from estimated waterfowl densities and habitat, geo-political boundaries, and expert opinion. Since 1992 managers have been working to implement conservation practices based on this system. However much has changed since this time thus, our objective was to revise the 92 WI Plan and provide an updated spatially-explicit tool to drive waterfowl habitat conservation efforts in the upcoming decades. Using the framework of UMRGLR JV, we developed six updated model-based maps representing waterfowl and human objectives specific to Wisconsin.  These maps have allowed WI conservation managers to visualize how conservation practices would be prioritized under various ranks of biological and social values. The WI DST will assist state managers with redistributing priority regions based on eco-physiographic boundaries and quantitative ranking based on the underlying biological and social data of the tool. The DST of UMRGL JV and WI demonstrate the value of incorporating spatio-temporal variation of biological and social data for conservation managers to prioritize practices.

Monday January 28, 2019 2:40pm - 3:00pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM D

3:20pm EST

(FISHERIES: FISH CONSERVATION) Distributions Across an Island: Using SDMs to Conserve an Imperiled Sucker
AUTHORS: Seth J. Fopma, South Dakota State University; Brian D.S. Graeb, South Dakota State University; Tammy Wilson, National Park Service

ABSTRACT: Described as an “island on the prairie” the Black Hills are a small range of mountains arising from a sea of short and mid-grass prairies. Upwelling from the center of the hills, flowing outward are numerous, cold-water streams lacking connectivity to regional cold-water networks. Many species that inhabit local streams are subsequently isolated from conspecific populations, posing unique management challenges. Climate change, predicted to alter local climatic patterns (intensified wet and dry cycles, general warming), potentially further limits species distributions within the island. Mountain Sucker (Catostomus platyrhynchus) is listed as a management indicator species for the Black Hills of South Dakota by South Dakota’s department of Game Fish and Parks, and is used as a proxy for regional ecosystem health. Surveys conducted between 2008 and 2010 revealed that populations had been in decline in both distribution and local abundance. Population surveys conducted between 2014 and 2017 were used to generate species distribution models (SDMs) for this regionally imperiled species. Model predictions are expected to be driven by stream permanency and connectivity. Predictions were compared to 2018 empirical observations to assess model accuracy. Accurate models allow managers to more efficiently identify local populations, impacts of climate change and target conservation efforts.

Monday January 28, 2019 3:20pm - 3:40pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM C

3:20pm EST

(FISHERIES: HABITAT) Hypoxia Alters Spatial Overlap of Primary and Secondary Consumers in the Pelagic Food Web of Reservoirs
AUTHORS: Rebecca A. Dillon, Aquatic Ecology Laboratory, Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology, The Ohio State University; Joseph D. Conroy, Inland Fisheries Research Unit, Division of Wildlife, Ohio Department of Natural Resources; Stuart A. Ludsin, Aquatic Ecology Laboratory, Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology, The Ohio State University

ABSTRACT: Hypolimnetic hypoxia has been shown to affect individual behavior, food web structure and interactions, and ecosystem function in aquatic ecosystems worldwide. While recent research has explored the impact of hypolimnetic hypoxia on coastal marine and large-lake food webs, less is known about the effects of hypoxia on reservoir food webs, especially pelagic ones. To address this gap, we examined how the spatial distribution of primary consumers (zooplankton) and secondary consumers (i.e., zooplanktivorous fish, clupeids; vertically migrating, hypoxia-tolerant, macroinvertebrates, Chaoborus spp.) varied between periods of normoxia (spring) and hypoxia (summer) in two small (surface area = 13.5, 11.7 km<sup>2</sup>), shallow (average depth = 6.6, 5.7 m) Ohio reservoirs. We tested the hypothesis that hypolimnetic hypoxia increases spatial overlap among zooplanktivorous fish, macroinvertebrates, and their potential zooplankton at night, whereas it reduces their overlap during the day because hypoxia-tolerant macroinvertebrates can use the hypoxic hypolimnion (and their zooplanktivorous fish predators cannot). We used net tows and hydroacoustics to describe the distribution and spatial overlap of zooplankton, Chaoborus, and zooplanktivorous fish during both day and night, and simultaneously measured physiochemical attributes (e.g., temperature, dissolved oxygen concentration, light levels). We found partial support for our hypothesis, as the overlap (determined from visual examination of net tow and hydroacoustics data) between fish and zooplankton was always high during periods with hypoxia, and was only high at night during normoxia. The overlap between Chaoborus and zooplankton was higher at night than during the day during periods of both normoxia and hypoxia, as Chaoborus were found at all depths during the day. Fish, Chaoborus, and zooplankton had the greatest spatial overlap at night during hypoxic periods. Our findings highlight the potential for hypoxia to alter pelagic food-web interactions in reservoir ecosystems.

Monday January 28, 2019 3:20pm - 3:40pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM B

3:40pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-06) How Do Beavers Affect Trout Populations? Well, it depends…
AUTHORS: Troy Zorn, Michigan Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Division

ABSTRACT: Most published studies do not provide a complete understanding of the effects of beavers on trout populations and streams.  Results often vary by location, with some studies characterizing beavers as beneficial to trout populations and others indicating beavers are harmful.  Drawing on case studies throughout the Midwest and North America, I will attempt to explain what underlies these seemingly contradictory findings.  For example, groundwater availability and inputs drive many Midwestern trout streams, and a thorough understanding of these processes is critical for understanding how beaver dams will affect trout populations.  Understanding the factors that shape trout streams in other regions will provide the context needed for interpreting an array of studies examining beaver-trout relationships and will enable managers to better predict how beavers might affect trout streams in their region.

Monday January 28, 2019 3:40pm - 4:00pm EST
VETERANS MEETING ROOM A/B

3:40pm EST

(FISHERIES: FISH CONSERVATION) The Cart Before the Redhorse: Examining Summer Habitat Use of the Threatened River Redhorse (Moxostoma carinatum) to Guide Future Management
AUTHORS: Nicholas Preville, Grand Valley State University

ABSTRACT: The resiliency of our aquatic ecosystems hinges on our ability to protect the native species that reside there. The River Redhorse (Moxostoma carinatum) is one such example and populations have become low enough to warrant listing by the State of Michigan. Causes of decline include overfishing, habitat alteration, and lack of knowledge of basic life-history attributes including the use of non-spawning habitat. In order to aid its recovery, we implanted 15 individuals with radio transmitters and tracked their locations over the course of a summer. Tagged River Redhorse were found to move as far as 50 km down river following spawning and establish themselves in small home ranges. Substrates in these home ranges were dominated by gravel which represented 59 percent of samples. Little preference for depth or velocity was shown among the tracked fish. However, general habitat use was dominated by runs and riffles which represented 58 and 27 percent of tracked locations respectively. Presence of mussels and snails, the River Redhorse’s preferred food source, appeared to be the best predictor for the River Redhorse’s use of an area as they were found at 79 percent of all tracked locations. The recovery of the River Redhorse will likely depend on our ability to protect these newly discovered feeding areas as well as any known spawning sites. Future management should therefore focus on the protection of native mussels and snails and should attempt to maintain connectivity between spawning and summer habitats.

Monday January 28, 2019 3:40pm - 4:00pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM C

3:40pm EST

(WILDLIFE: CERVIDS) Proximity to Established Populations Explains Moose (Alces alces) Occupancy in Northern Wisconsin
AUTHORS: Lucas O. Olson, Timothy R. Van Deelen, John D. J. Clare – University of Wisconsin-Madison; Maximilian L. Allen, Illinois Natural History Survey

ABSTRACT: Wildlife conservation and management depends on understanding patterns and changes in the populations and distributions. Moose (Alces alces) sub-populations are alternately declining and increasing in abundance across their circumpolar distribution. Within regional populations a similar variable pattern sometimes exists, such as in the upper Midwest region of the United States where sub-populations are declining in Minnesota but steady or increasing in Michigan. Although abundant before European settlement, little is known about the current state of moose in Wisconsin. We examined citizen science observations of moose collected by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources over 25 years to determine the drivers and trends of moose distribution in Wisconsin. Because opportunistically collected citizen-science data may be unreliable for abundance estimates, we used an occupancy framework to understand how variables affect county-level detection and occupancy of moose. We found that detection was driven by area of Intermix Wildland Urban Interface and road density, and occupancy was driven primarily by proximity to Minnesota and Michigan, and appears to have been stable over the previous 25 years. This study offers insight for understanding moose populations on the southern fringe of their circumpolar distribution, and a foundation for understanding the moose population in Wisconsin.

Monday January 28, 2019 3:40pm - 4:00pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM D

3:40pm EST

(FISHERIES: HABITAT) Projected Temperature Increases Decrease Sport Fish Habitat Quality in Ohio Reservoirs
AUTHORS: Richard R. Budnik, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife, Inland Fisheries Research Unit; Geoffrey B. Steinhart, The Ohio State University, Department of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology, Aquatic Ecology Laboratory; Joseph D. Conroy, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife, Inland Fisheries Research Unit; Richard D. Zweifel, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife; Stuart A. Ludsin, The Ohio State University, Department of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology, Aquatic Ecology Laboratory

ABSTRACT: Increased temperatures due to climate change will likely decrease the quality and quantity of habitat available to reservoir sport fish, although the extent of the effect will likely be variable by species. We developed bioenergetics models to estimate growth rate potential (GRP), a metric of habitat quality, for Largemouth Bass, saugeye, and White Crappie during a 13-year span (2005–2016) in three Ohio reservoirs that varied in productivity (summer 2012–2014 concentrations: chlorophyll a 7–55 µg/L; total phosphorus 21–106 µg/L). We contrasted these baseline measures of habitat quality with projected future changes in GRP and high-quality habitat (HQH; GRP > 0) availability under stabilizing (RCP 4.5) and increasing (RCP 8.5) carbon emission scenarios which estimate air temperatures will increase 2.5 and 4.8 degrees C by 2099. Our simulations predicted Largemouth Bass, saugeye, and White Crappie GRP would decrease an average of 0.001 g/g/day, 0.003 g/g/day, and 0.007 g/g/day, respectively, under RCP 4.5, and 0.005 g/g/day, 0.004 g/g/day, and 0.013 g/g/day under RCP 8.5. The average reduction of HQH was greatest for saugeye (20% loss) under RCP 4.5 and for White Crappie (45% loss) under RCP 8.5. Largemouth Bass HQH was the least affected with an average reduction of < 9% under both scenarios in all reservoirs. Temperature increases in the highest productivity reservoir led to the greatest reduction in habitat quality and quantity among reservoirs. These outcomes, as shaped by temperature changes, have the potential to influence not only the performance of individual fish but also will affect population dynamics, trophic interactions, and fish community structure.

Monday January 28, 2019 3:40pm - 4:00pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM B

4:00pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-04) Lake Trout: Not a Picky Eater. Dietary Flexibility and Perseverance
AUTHORS: Dan Traynor, Shawn Sitar – Michigan Department of Natural Resources Marquette Fisheries Research Station; Ji He, Michigan Department of Natural Resources Alpena Fisheries Research Station

ABSTRACT: Lake trout are the dominant piscivore in the upper Great Lakes and are a major focus in fisheries management.  Lake populations underwent catastrophic collapses in the middle of the 20th century but have recovered in Lake Superior due to diligent management actions.  Recently, lake trout recovery has improved in Lake Huron and there are indications that Lake Michigan may be following suit.  Although controls on fishing, sea lamprey suppression, and stocking of hatchery fish were instrumental in lake trout recovery, we pose that dietary flexibility also contributed to its success.  We analyzed the diet of a broad size range of lean and siscowet lake trout from spring and summer gill net surveys conducted in southern Lake Superior and western Lake Huron during 2005-2016.  In addition to categorizing prey items by taxa, we grouped prey items by habitat types to further describe dietary flexibility.  We found that lake trout diet compositions were diverse in both lakes Superior and Huron. Generally, the diet of leans and siscowets in Lake Superior were similar.  We observed ontogenetic diet shifts in both lean and siscowet lake trout with small fish feeding predominantly in the benthos expanding to the pelagic zone as fish grew larger.  Progress in lake trout recovery in Lake Huron coincides with collapses in alewife abundance and declines in Chinook Salmon populations.  We pose that lake trout success in rapidly changing ecosystems is partly due to its high dietary flexibility and declines in Great Lakes Chinook salmon are due to its strong reliance on pelagic prey such as alewife.

Monday January 28, 2019 4:00pm - 4:20pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM A

4:00pm EST

(FISHERIES: HABITAT) Comparing the Effects of Artificial Habitat and Coarse Woody Habitat on Macroinvertebrate Communities and Largemouth Bass Growth
AUTHORS: Eric J. Gates, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; Anthony Porreca, Illinois Natural History Survey; Joseph Parkos III, Illinois Natural History Survey; David H. Wahl, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

ABSTRACT: Lentic ecosystems are negatively affected by habitat degradation due to reservoir senescence and riparian zone development. The addition of coarse woody habitat (CWH) and artificial habitat (e.g., plastic fish attractors) is a popular management strategy used to enhance systems that have experienced declines in habitat availability. However, the mechanisms by which CWH and artificial habitat additions influence aquatic food webs remain understudied. We introduced either artificial habitat structures or CWH (Quercus alba) into ten 0.04-ha experimental ponds to test whether macroinvertebrate communities and largemouth bass growth differed between introduced habitats. The experiment ran for three months and structures were allowed to condition for one month prior to stocking juvenile largemouth bass. Macroinvertebrate communities were similar between habitat types. However, more taxa were found on the artificial structures and macroinvertebrate communities colonizing CWH appeared to increase relative to artificial habitat by the end of experiment. Largemouth bass growth did not differ between CWH and artificial habitat. Although not specifically tested, macroinvertebrate communities appeared to be influenced by the presence and amount of periphyton colonizing habitat structures. Our results indicate that habitat material itself was not as important as providing a stable substrate for primary production and subsequent macroinvertebrate colonization. Longer experiments may be necessary to determine the maximum influence of these habitats on primary and secondary productivity, particularly as CWH conditions.

Monday January 28, 2019 4:00pm - 4:20pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM B

4:20pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-06) Effect of Beaver on Brook Trout Habitat in North Shore Lake Superior Streams
AUTHORS: Dr. Andrew Hafs, Kathryn Renik – Bemidji State University

ABSTRACT: In Minnesota, Beaver Castor canadensis are considered to have an overall negative affect on native Brook Trout Salvelinus fontinalis. Brook trout provide a valued and productive sport fishery to the North Shore streams of Lake Superior and since revival of the Beaver population from past trapping and timber harvest, a need emerges to examine the complex ecological relationship where the two taxa interact. Suitable Brook Trout habitat is characterized by cold, spring-fed water with silt-free rocky substrate and abundant cover, all of which Beaver may directly, or indirectly, affect. Data collection occurred on 80 (200 m) stream sections and 22 beaver ponds spanning the North Shore during summers 2017 and 2018. A habitat suitability index (HSI) model was employed, and through interpolation in geographic information systems (GIS), maps depicting Brook Trout habitat of sampled stream sections were produced. The average HSI and suitable area (m<sup>2</sup>/100 m<sup>2</sup>) of each sampled reach were compared to Beaver related activity, including reach slope, distance to nearest Beaver pond, and number of dams upstream of sampled sites. Classification regression trees were used to identify significant thresholds in which Beaver activity influenced the amount or quality of Brook Trout habitat. Preliminary results from 2017 data indicated that a greater area of suitable Brook Trout habitat in North Shore streams was achieved when the maximum tree line width of the nearest upstream Beaver pond was = 71.23 m.  Anticipated results from 2018 will be presented contingent on completion of data analysis. Since the effect of Beaver on Brook Trout varies regionally, this study will provide a simple decision-making flow chart to aid in the development of management strategies pertaining to these two species in North Shore, Lake Superior streams.

Monday January 28, 2019 4:20pm - 4:40pm EST
VETERANS MEETING ROOM A/B

4:20pm EST

(WILDLIFE: CERVIDS) Elk Habitat Suitability and Potential of Public and Private Lands in Michigan
AUTHORS: Chad R. Williamson, Henry Campa III, Scott R. Winterstein – Michigan State University; Alexandra B. Locher, Grand Valley State University; Dean E. Beyer, Jr., Michigan Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: To determine current habitat suitability for elk (Cervus elaphus) in Michigan, we developed a stand-level (fine-scale) habitat suitability index (HSI) model for public lands, and a landscape-level (coarse-scale) HSI model for public and private lands. For our stand-level HSI model, we used forest compartment inventory data to identify cover types important to elk, and assigned suitability values (0=low, 1=high) to each cover type for elk life requisites (spring food, winter food, winter thermal cover). Additionally, we modified suitability values based on stand conditions (e.g., stand size, age of aspen [Populus spp.], % canopy closure). For our landscape-level HSI model, we used satellite imagery to classify cover types and assigned suitability values to cover types for each life requisite. Our HSI models indicate a heterogeneous arrangement of high suitability for spring food (openings, aspen) and winter food (aspen, hardwoods, conifers) throughout our study area, and several large areas of high suitability for winter thermal cover (conifers) in the southern edge of our study area. Our landscape-level model provided suitability for private lands, but overestimated areas of high suitability in comparison to our stand-level model. Habitat potential was modeled by delineating habitat types by overlaying digital spatial data layers (soils, land-type associations, vegetation) and identifying successional trajectories using habitat classification guides and literature. We assigned suitability values to each habitat type for life requisites at early to late successional stages. Comparisons between current elk habitat suitability and habitat potential identify key areas where managers can maximize management efforts for elk in Michigan. Areas determined to have higher habitat potential may become focus areas if they are not currently being managed or have low suitability. Conversely, areas with low habitat potential may be avoided for continued or future elk habitat management.

Monday January 28, 2019 4:20pm - 4:40pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM D

4:20pm EST

(FISHERIES: HABITAT) The Influence of Season and Streamflow on Habitat Selection of Spotted Bass and Shorthead Redhorse Downstream of a Hydropeaking Dam in Central Missouri, USA
AUTHORS: Elisa Baebler, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, The School of Natural Resources, University of Missouri; Craig Paukert, U.S. Geological Survey, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, The School of Natural Resources, University of Missouri

ABSTRACT: Downstream of hydropeaking dams, water depth and velocity fluctuate rapidly, which leads to short-term changes in physical habitat supporting aquatic organisms. While some fish species have been extirpated from flow-regulated systems, other species flourish, which may be related to the persistence of critical habitats complementary to these life histories. We used radio telemetry to evaluate the influence of season and streamflow on the habitat selection of two common, native fishes downstream of Bagnell Dam in central Missouri from April 2016 to June 2017. We studied Spotted Bass (Micropterus punctulatus), nest-guarding, sight feeding, habitat generalists and Shorthead Redhorse (Moxostoma macrolepidotum), fluvial dependent, migratory, benthic feeders. Spotted Bass selected moderate depths near submerged cover in all seasons and slow velocities during spring and summer. Conversely, Shorthead Redhorse preferred moderately deep and faster flowing habitats during spring and summer and used slow velocities and shallow depths during winter. Spotted Bass and Shorthead Redhorse selected velocity, depth, submerged cover, and distance to shore during stable and/or fluctuating flows, suggesting that fish may respond to streamflow over short time periods (daily). Spotted Bass used slow velocities (less than 0.4 m/s) in both fluctuating and stable flows, whereas, Shorthead Redhorse preferred fast velocities (greater than 1.0 m/s) in stable flows but did not select velocity during fluctuating flows. Shorthead Redhorse and Spotted Bass habitat selection illustrates that even native fish that prosper in regulated rivers have habitat requirements which may be better met through managing flow releases to maintain river habitats that support native fish of multiple guilds.

Monday January 28, 2019 4:20pm - 4:40pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM B

4:40pm EST

(CANCELLED) (SYMPOSIA-04) Density and Biomass of Drifting Macroinvertebrates in the Upper St. Marys River: A Comparison of the Power Canal and Main Rapids
AUTHORS: Tristan Tackman (Student); Dr. Ashely Moerke (Professor/Undergraduate Advisor); Jake Larsen (Graduate) – School of Natural Resources and Environment, Lake Superior State University

ABSTRACT: The St. Marys River is the only outflow of Lake Superior and feeds both Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. The river itself rears a majority of these lakes’ sports fishes by providing ample spawning grounds; these young fish rely on small macroinvertebrates for most of their growth in early years. The objective of this study was to quantify and compare the supply of drifting invertebrates from the main rapids and the hydropower canal in an effort to understand key food sources available for fishes in the river.  To do so, two larval drift nets were set overnight in the rapids and canal to collect drifting invertebrates during the months of May and June 2016.  For each date biomass was calculated asash free dry weight and density was calculated as number of invertebrates per 100m<sup>3</sup>. Densities were the highest for Hydropsychidae and Mysidae at both sites, andcomprised 18% (the remanding 82% being non-dominant taxa) and 9.5% in the rapids and 26.7% and 8.9% in the canal site. Although Mysidaedensities were higher than other taxa, Hydropsychidae contributed more biomass to the system in both sites during May and June of 2016. Additionally, total drift densities were 2.4 times higher in the canal site than the rapids, suggesting that the canal is a better source of invertebrates to the St. Marys River. The canal is likely drawing water from more offshore areas in Lake Superior, which may explain the higher numbers of drifting Mysids in the canal site compared to the rapids.

Monday January 28, 2019 4:40pm - 5:00pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM A

4:40pm EST

(WILDLIFE: CERVIDS) Understanding Relationships Between Deer Demographics, Deer Health and Forest Vegetation Through Partnerships with Wisconsin Hunters
AUTHORS: Amanda McGraw, Daniel Storm – Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Deer health reflects habitat quality, climate, and interspecific competition. Deer health, in turn, is reflected in body condition, including body weight and fat reserves. To relate deer health to habitat quality, climate, deer density levels, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources began a collaborative project with landowners enrolled in the state’s Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) to collect data on harvested deer and available forage on private properties. DMAP cooperators were recruited as to participate as citizen scientists through outreach including public presentations and email announcements during 2017 and 2018. Several training tools were developed to facilitate quality data collection by cooperators. Data collection kits containing all necessary supplies was provided to cooperators. In 2017 we received data from 57 DMAP cooperators for 280 deer. Cooperators measured several morphological characteristics indicative of body condition and overall health, such as antler dimensions and carcass weight. Cooperators extracted a tooth for aging via cementum annuli and photographed hearts for organ fat estimation. Age explained 66% of variance for female deer carcass weight (R<sup>2</sup> = 0.64, F<sub>1,6</sub> = 20.61, p < 0.001) and 81.7% of variance for male carcass weight (R<sup>2</sup> = 0.81 F<sub>1,6</sub> = 64.19, p < 0.001). Less variation in antler width (Deviance = 0.57, R<sup>2</sup> = 0.56, F<sub>1,6</sub> = 13.39, p < 0.001) and number of antler points (Deviance = 0.55, R<sup>2</sup> = 0.53, F<sub>1,6</sub> = 12.45, p < 0.001) was explained by age for male deer. We are continuing to explore the potential effects of density, habitat, and weather on deer body condition and antler development. This study highlights methods developed to ensure quality data collection by citizen scientists, and feasibility of operating a citizen-science based research project at a state-wide scale. We also provide insights about how habitat quality on private lands impacts deer health and productivity.

Monday January 28, 2019 4:40pm - 5:00pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM D

4:40pm EST

(FISHERIES: HABITAT) Assessment of the Accuracy of Spatially Interpolated Brook Trout Habitat in Northeast Minnesota Streams
AUTHORS: Kathryn Renik, Dr. Andrew Hafs, Dr. Jeffrey Ueland – Bemidji State University

ABSTRACT: Developments in geographic information systems (GIS) and improved global positioning system (GPS) unit accuracy have allowed for advancement and are increasingly being used to collect spatial data in ecological studies. Benefits include decreased error in the field and ease of usability, allowing for quicker and more accurate field measurements. The objective of this study was to quantify the accuracy of predicted Brook Trout Salvelinus fontinalis habitat from spatially interpolated GIS maps generated using a Trimble Geo7x handheld GPS unit. Brook Trout habitat variables were collected at data points throughout 40 (200m) stream reaches during summer 2018 in Northeastern Minnesota. Data was recorded directly onto the Geo7x GPS unit and two different data point types were collected, data points for creating interpolated habitat maps (“map data points”) and reference data points.  A habitat suitability index model was utilized to predict Brook Trout habitat and produce spatially interpolated GIS maps by kriging. Quantification of interpolated map accuracy was determined by comparing the interpolated values to the reference data points. An error matrix was used to calculate overall accuracy, user’s accuracy, producer’s accuracy, and the kappa coefficient, allowing us to determine the ability of interpolated maps to accurately predict Brook Trout habitat. Accurate Brook Trout habitat maps provide management not only with tools to successfully manage the species, but also with illustrative visual aides that allow for improved communication within agencies and among the public.

Monday January 28, 2019 4:40pm - 5:00pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM B
 
Tuesday, January 29
 

10:20am EST

(SYMPOSIA-08) Wetland Habitat and Bird Population Changes over Time: the Dynamics of Coastal Wetlands
AUTHORS: John Simpson, Winous Point Marsh Conservancy

ABSTRACT: The lower Great Lakes region has experienced one of the greatest rates of wetland loss in North America. The remaining coastal wetlands, though naturally resilient and dynamic, are subjected to a wide variety of anthropogenic stressors, and losses in both quantity and quality continue. Using western Lake Erie as an example, we can trace changes in wetland habitat and losses since European settlement through a variety of historical records, including changes in wetland-bird, plant abundances and assemblages, and waterfowl populations. While the Great Lakes wetlands remain still under threat, many groups are attempting to restore and protect wetlands throughout the basin and great interest is currently being placed on the role wetlands could possibly have in reducing and mitigating harmful algal blooms that are occurring throughout the lower Great Lakes system.

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

10:40am EST

(SYMPOSIA-08) Evolution of Wetland Conservation and Policy: Developing Programs and Partnerships
AUTHORS: Steven A. Gray, Retired Ohio Division of Wildlife; Gildo M. Tori, Ducks Unlimited; David Brakhage, Ducks Unlimited;

ABSTRACT: Wetland conservation in the Lower Great Lakes region occurred shortly after European settlement.  The rich marshes provide excellent waterfowl hunting, spurring the growth of private duck hunting clubs, maintained and managed the land for hunting, fishing and trapping. These early sportsmen spawned the development of early conservation groups like Ducks Unlimited and state Fish and Wildlife Agencies in the early 1900s.  With the initiation of funding mechanisms like duck stamps, hunting licenses and excise taxes on sporting equipment, lands were purchased as state and national wildlife areas and opened to the general public for outdoor recreation.  As populations expanded, conservation became more sophisticated with the development of flyway councils to regulate harvest of migratory birds, but conservation of habitats did not keep pace.  As a result the North American Waterfowl Management Plan and habitat joint ventures was born aimed at dramatically increasing wetlands and associated habitats throughout North America.  Subsequent policy efforts created the North American Wetlands Conservation Act in 1989, which encouraged partnerships and provided federal grants to advance conservation.  The lower Great Lakes region was a focal area and received many grants to facilitate wetland restoration, on both public and private lands.  The 1985 and 1991 Farm Bills created programs such as the Conservation and Wetland Reserve Programs that conserved soil, water and wildlife.However, wetland loss and need continued to grow. In May 2004 President George Bush issued an Executive Order, which recognized the Great Lakes as a "national treasure” and in 2010, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative was launched out of the collaboration, and President Barack Obama and Congress provided federal funding to support habitat conservation efforts.This presentation will focus on the historical development, challenges and opportunities, and advancement of wetland conservation in the lower Great Lakes region.

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

10:40am EST

(FISHERIES: GREAT LAKES 2) Density-Dependent and Independent Effects on Walleye Harvest in Lake Erie
AUTHORS: David Dippold, The Ohio State University; Grant Adams, University of Washington; Stuart Ludsin, The Ohio State University

ABSTRACT: Both density-dependent and density-independent factors can affect the harvest of exploited fish populations. For instance, inter-annual variation in temperature could modify the timing and spatial extent of fish migrations, and in turn, fishery catches. However, this relationship could be mediated by density-dependent factors, if for example, high fish abundance leads to widespread habitat use that reduces the effects of temperature on migration and subsequent harvest. Toward understanding the relative influence of these factors on fishery harvest, we quantified the relationship among temperature, population size, and the temporal and spatial distribution of walleye (Sander vitreus) recreational harvest in Lake Erie during 1990-2015. Knowing that adult walleye migrate eastward from the western basin during spring and summer towards cooler temperatures, we hypothesized that: 1) years with higher spring and summer temperatures would be accompanied by reduced catches in the western basin relative to the deeper, cooler central and east basins; 2) walleye catches in the central and eastern basins would occur earlier during the spring/summer in warmer (relative to cooler) years; and 3) these relationships would be more apparent in years of low population size because in years of high abundance, walleye (especially young adults) would continue to reside in the west basin throughout the summer. To test our hypotheses, we constructed and compared variable coefficient generalized additive models, which used spatially-explicit (10x10 min grids) recreational catch and effort information, as well as temperature, bathymetric, and lake-wide abundance data. Beyond discussing the role of temperature and total abundance in driving spatiotemporal patterns in walleye harvest, we discuss the implications for fisheries management under a changing climate.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 10:40am - 11:00am EST
CENTER STREET ROOM A

11:00am EST

(SYMPOSIA-07) Assessing Walleye Habitat Use with Species Distribution Models
AUTHORS: Andrew Carlson, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: The science of evaluating species distributions against environmental conditions has advanced tremendously in the past decade following technological improvements in tagging and monitoring systems. Using data collected from acoustically tagged adult Walleye, generalized linear mixed models were developed to predict the probability of occurrence at depth given temperature and oxygen within stratified lakes. Following, using data from a survey-specific temperature and oxygen profile, the relative odds of occurrence for Walleye was calculated throughout the water column and at the depths of the gillnet sites. Comparisons between modeled probability of occurrence and observed catch rates at specific sites were made to evaluate the degree to which site-level patterns can be explained by the habitat sampled. Integrating and accounting for known measures of environmental variability that systematically influence catch statistics will improve the quality and subsequent interpretation fisheries data to support management decisions.

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

11:40am EST

(FISHERIES: LAKES & RESERVOIRS) Quantifying Fish Habitat Impairment in Iowa's Lakes and Reservoirs
AUTHORS: Erin Haws, Iowa Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Freshwater ecosystems provide a diverse and extensive supply of resources to fauna and flora living within, to surrounding ecosystems, and human economies. As bodies of water evolve, so do the methods used to protect and restore them. Over the past decade, emphasis on sustaining freshwater ecosystems has led to a large expansion in the development of protective policies and restoration programs aiming to improve aquatic habitat. A recurring challenge to fish habitat restoration lies in defining impairment factors, their scale and the rate at which they are occurring in a system. Comprehensive assessments are therefore needed to identify impairments, prioritize waterbodies in need of restoration, and provide improved methods to measure local fish habitat using feasible metrics. This study provides an expansive look into lake and reservoir fish habitat in Iowa based on a survey reporting on all significant publicly owned lakes recognized by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The survey asked Iowa DNR Fisheries Biologists to report the degree of impairment of a set of variables for each individual waterbody in their management area. Multivariate factors were classified using the methods of Krogman and Miranda (2016), characterizing twelve broad constructs of fish habitat impairment. Study objectives include describing fish habitat impairment trends and identifying differences across lake type, watershed location, and status in the Lake Restoration Program. Future research plans aim to quantify relationships between fish habitat impairment constructs and measured water quality, physical, and biological parameters within existing datasets to evaluate the resources available to adequately measure fish habitat.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 11:40am - 12:00pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM C

1:20pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-08) Waterfowl Ecology and Management in the Lower Great Lakes
AUTHORS: Matthew Palumbo, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point; Jacob Straub, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, David Luukkonen, Michigan State University; John Coluccy, Ducks Unlimited

ABSTRACT: Abstract: Applied scientific research has been an underpinning of sound waterfowl and wetland conservation for decades. The Lower Great Lakes (LGL), especially wetland and adjacent upland habitats near Lakes Erie, St. Clair, and Ontario, were historically and remain a critical region for waterfowl of the Atlantic and Mississippi Flyways. In fact, hundreds of thousands of waterfowl use this landscape as their primary breeding location and millions use the resources of the region during migration between breeding and wintering areas. Waterfowl managers and researchers in the LGL have strong partnerships and have largely focused efforts in this region on studies that improve understanding of the overall ecology of the species and how management actions can influence these birds. Specifically, the LGL have been the home to seminal studies on waterfowl bioenergetic modeling during spring migration, habitat use and movement for key focal species (e.g., mallards), monitoring and evaluation of diving sea duck distributions on the Great Lakes, studying the potential limiting factors for Great Lakes mallard populations, and influence of weather, wetland availability, and mallard abundance on productivity of Great Lakes mallards. Importantly, these studies have critical linkages to management which have serviced wetlands conservation. Our objective is to synthesize recent research that has improved our understanding of waterfowl ecology and habitat management in the region. Additionally, we will identify future research needs and information gaps to expand waterfowl conservation in the LGL.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 1:20pm - 1:40pm EST
HOPE BALLROOM B

1:40pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-12) The Importance of Soil Health in Ecological Restoration
AUTHORS: Bill Schumacher, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency

ABSTRACT: Frequently, stream and wetland restoration projects pay little attention to on-site historical disturbances to soils. However, an accumulating amount of research points to substrate disturbance as one of the primary causes of site failure. Investigations of several restoration projects have indicated that in many cases, when there is a failure in site hydrology and/or plant community development, a specific underlying soil disturbance, such as changes in physical soil properties or excessive nutrient buildup, can be identified. Diagnosing these potential disturbances prior to selection or construction is essential to ensuring that site development is not hampered by these underlying issues.This talk will focus on research conducted by the Ohio EPA Wetland Ecology Group on soils, in both reference and disturbed wetland and riparian habitats. Several studies have been conducted since 2011 that focus of soils as they relate to the overall ecological condition of a site. These include: 1) An intensification of the USEPA National Wetland Condition Assessment, in which a random set of 50 wetlands was assessed to compare soil factors with the overall ecological condition of the plant community; 2) A survey of reference condition riparian habitats to correlate high quality riverine flora with soil health; and 3) A paired soils study, in which identical mapped soils were analyzed in undisturbed forest habitats and adjacent heavily disturbed row cropping to illustrate variation in soil parameters between divergent levels of disturbance.Results of these studies will be discussed to illustrate how consideration of soil information may be used to assist in in the development of restoration projects.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 1:40pm - 2:00pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM C

2:00pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-07) Lake Sturgeon Movements in the Missouri River Basin Call Attention to the Importance of Tributaries in Large River Fish Conservation
AUTHORS: Michael Moore, Craig Paukert – University of Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit

ABSTRACT: Large river tributaries often provide spawning and nursery habitat for large river fishes and may be less altered than the mainstem large rivers.  We used telemetry to identify tributary use and habitat selection of Lake Sturgeon, a threatened species, in the Osage and Gasconade rivers, two tributaries of the Missouri River in Missouri USA near the southern edge of their range. We implanted 96 Lake Sturgeon with acoustic transmitters in the Osage and Gasconade Rivers from 2015 to 2018 and relocated fish by remote receivers in the tributaries and mainstem Missouri River and monthly manual tracking. Ninety Lake Sturgeon have spent 75% of their time in tributaries. However, 20 fish have not been detected for up to 10 months, suggesting they may leave the tributaries for extended periods.  Bayesian discrete choice models determined that Lake Sturgeon selected deeper habitats across all seasons. Lake Sturgeon also selected habitats closer to the main channel in all seasons except spring when they moved closer to the bank in faster flows. Lake Sturgeon did not select habitats based on substrate composition or cover. This information may help inform river conservation and the consideration of tributaries into conservation strategies for large river fishes. 

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

2:00pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-12) Keys to Successfully Establishing a Native Plant Community on Wetland and Stream Restoration Projects
AUTHORS: Brian Gara, The Nature Conservancy

ABSTRACT: Plants are outstanding indicators of environmental quality. Extremely small variations in physical site parameters, such as water depth and duration, soil health, and temperature can lead to significant differences in the plant community structure. Many plant species have very narrow ranges of tolerances to these factors which result in extreme habitat affinities. Others are generalists that can thrive under a wide range of habitat types and disturbances. Unfortunately, a majority of the more undesirable, non-native, “invasive” species, are highly adapted to sites that are heavily disturbed by human activities. In most cases, restoration projects involve sites that have been subjected historically to significant levels of anthropogenic disturbance. These projects are also exposed to a high level of mechanical disturbance during construction. Additionally, many riparian restoration projects have limited performance goals that only target the planting of tree species, disregarding the other critical strata (e.g. shrubs and herbs) generally present within native plant communities. This practice severely reduces the long-term habitat potential for these sites. Because of these limitations, establishing a robust, diverse, and sustainable native plant community on restoration projects can be challenging.Several research studies have been conducted by the author that focus on the ecological condition of the plant communities associated with riparian and wetland restoration projects. Results of these studies will be discussed to focus on key factors that can be implemented to ensure a functional, native plant community is successfully established.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 2:00pm - 2:20pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM C

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
CENTER STREET ROOM D

2:20pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-12) Restoring Wetland Habitat for Amphibian Communities
AUTHORS: Mick Micacchion, The Nature Conservancy

ABSTRACT: The wetlands that support amphibian breeding and habitat functions are being lost at a much higher rate than wetlands of other types. This is true for both urban and rural landscapes. These damages do not always directly impact the wetlands themselves but instead involve solely large-scale degradation of the habitats surrounding the wetlands. However, both direct and indirect impacts are debilitating to the wetlands’ amphibian communities. Additionally, far too often the lost amphibian community functions of wetlands are not being replaced through compensatory wetland mitigation or other wetland restoration and enhancement projects. Restoring wetland amphibian functions requires many considerations. By far, the most important factor is the location of the replacement wetland and ensuring there is the ability for it to interact with nearby surrounding habitat features that are supportive of wetland amphibian communities. Sites should be targeted toward areas where adjoining intact, high quality vernal pools are present and there is the ability to restore wetlands on surrounding hydric soils. Additionally, it is important to incorporate the attributes displayed by the area’s best remaining vernal pools in the restoration wetlands. These habitat components include seasonal hydroperiods, shallow slopes to the pools, supportive microtopographic features, and establishing connection to natural vernal pools, and their forested surrounding habitats, through reforestation. In the end, high quality complexes of forested landscapes that contain fully functional vernal pools, with exceptional amphibian communities, will result when the above considerations are the basis for wetland restoration and enhancement projects.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 2:20pm - 2:40pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM C

2:20pm EST

(WILDLIFE: UPLAND 1) Effects of Conservation Practice and Site Age on Vegetation Structure and Avian Habitat Use in Fields Enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program
AUTHORS: Bryan M. Reiley, T.J. Benson – Illinois Natural History Survey

ABSTRACT: Farmland set aside programs provide important habitat for many wildlife species, yet little information exists regarding how vegetation structure and species respond to conservation practice and site age. This information could provide managers with a guide for how to implement, enhance, and maintain wildlife benefits of these programs. Here, we describe how avian species respond to conservation practice and time since restoration at 172 sites enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) in Illinois. To do this we surveyed sites enrolled in four different conservation practices (CPs) within CREP during the breeding seasons of 2012 – 2015 using point counts and vegetation surveys. Vegetation structure and composition varied among CPs with hardwood tree plantings having the greatest amount of understory vegetation, tree and shrub cover, and lowest distance to nearest tree. Conversely, permanent wildlife habitat had the greatest distance to nearest tree, grass cover, and least tree cover. Cover of tree and live vegetation increased and distance to nearest tree decreased with site age and there were conspicuous differences among CPs and site age for these variables and bare ground cover. Avian densities varied among CP types, however only Dickcisselswere significantly greater in sites enrolled as permanent wildlife habitat and, similarly, Bell’s Vireo and Field Sparrow  were greater in hardwood tree plantings. Dickcissel density decreased and Field Sparrow density increased as fields aged, but these relationships were not consistent among CP types. Differences among CPs largely resulted from differences in dominance in woody vegetation due to differing management goals. Interestingly, many of our focal species had wider successional tolerances than previously suggested. Our results demonstrate that conservation benefits change over time depending on the starting CP and this information can be used to predict temporal changes in habitat suitability and target conservation benefits toward conservation priority species.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 2:20pm - 2:40pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM D

2:40pm EST

(FISHERIES: EARLY LIFE HISTORY) Maturation of Artificial Fish Spawning Reefs in the St. Clair-Detroit River System
AUTHORS: Jason L. Fischer, University of Toledo, Lake Erie Center; Edward Roseman, US Geological Survey, Great Lakes Science Center; Christine Mayer, University of Toledo, Lake Erie Center; Todd Wills, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Lake St. Clair Fisheries Research Station

ABSTRACT: Artificial rock reefs have been used to remediate spawning substrates for lithophilic spawning fishes (e.g., Lake Sturgeon, Acipenser fulvescens;Lake Whitefish, Coregonus clupeaformis; and Walleye, Sander vitreus) in the St. Clair-Detroit River System. Early projects used species specific metrics (e.g., proximity to historic spawning locations) to guide reef placement. However, long-term success of some of the initial reefs was compromised by accumulation of fine sediments. Therefore, to improve the likelihood of successful reef function, project managers incorporated geomorphological criteria in 2013 to avoid placing reefs in areas near sediment sources and depositional zones. To evaluate the effectiveness of the revised placement process, we quantified physical maturation of artificial reefs using 1) annual down-looking and side-scan sonar surveys beginning in 2014 to measure reef areas and bottom roughness and 2) underwater video surveys beginning in 2015 to quantity sediment composition. Roughness of reefs constructed after 2013 remained greater than bottom roughness in areas adjacent to the reefs thru 2017, however, roughness of the Hart’s Light Reef was significantly lower in 2017 than in 2014, indicating some sediment accumulation. Similarly, sediment composition of the reefs remained similar thru 2017 and prevalence of reef rock was high, except at Hart’s Light Reef, where dreissenid mussel shells composed 32% of the substrate by age three. However, in 2018 reef rock was less prevalent at all reefs, due to accumulation of shells, fine sediments, and gravel. Despite the use of geomorphic criteria to identify areas most suitable for reef construction, sediment composition of the reefs has changed and long-term evaluation is required to determine if the changes observed in 2018 are temporary or representative of a longer trend. Nevertheless, our evaluation indicates future reef restoration projects could benefit by incorporating methods for maintenance, in addition to using geomorphic criteria to identify restoration sites.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 2:40pm - 3:00pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM B

2:40pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-08) Full Annual Cycle Ecology and Conservation of Migratory Birds in the Lower Great Lakes
AUTHORS: Christopher M Tonra, School of Environment and Natural Resources, The Ohio State University

ABSTRACT: Increasingly the bias in research towards the stationary portion of the breeding season in animal ecology is being recognized as a barrier to effective conservation. While breeding seasons limit productivity, survival can be most limited outside of the breeding season, and determining limiting factors during these stages can be critical to understanding population dynamics and habitat requirements. This is the case for many populations of migratory birds in the either breed, stage/stopover during migration, or overwinter in the lower Great Lakes. I will present an overview of full annual cycle research on migratory birds in the coastal lower Great Lakes, as well as a more detailed look into several case studies that have advanced our knowledge in this area. This will include an examination of applications for emerging technologies and coordinated monitoring to bridge current information gaps.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 2:40pm - 3:20pm EST
HOPE BALLROOM B

3:20pm EST

(WILDLIFE: UPLAND 2) Does Land Management Have Detectable Effects on Species Richness?
AUTHORS: Jay Vecchiet, Richard B. King – Northern Illinois University

ABSTRACT: Agencies across the United States rely on data driven management practices. Whether or not those practices are successful can be ambiguous because variables other than management also shape population and community responses. Here, we test whether the effects of preserve size, preserve land cover, surrounding land cover, habitat quality, and management history have a detectable effect on species richness. We focus on amphibians and reptiles in grassland-dominated preserves in northern Illinois.  Species lists were compiled for 15 preserves ranging in size from 7 ha to 1460 ha. Habitat quality and land cover (open water, wetland, grassland, wooded, agriculture) of all preserves were analyzed using ArcMap 10.4.1. Preserves were also classified by age, prior land use, and intensity of management actions (seeding, prescribed fire, chemical and mechanical controls). Across preserves, a total of 31 amphibian and reptile species were documented, including 8 frogs and toads, 2 salamanders, 2 lizards, 6 turtles, and 13 snakes. Of these, 7 are considered Endangered, Threatened, or Species in Greatest Conservation Need in Illinois. As management is carried out, there are obvious positive effects on the environment (soil composition, plant communities, water quality), but demonstrating a positive effect on organisms with cryptic life histories, such as amphibians and reptiles, is challenging.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 3:20pm - 3:40pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM D

3:40pm EST

(CANCELLED) (SYMPOSIA-08) Prioritizing Regional Landscapes to Achieve Biological and Social Objectives Through Wetland Bird Habitat Conservation
AUTHORS: Gregory J. Soulliere, Mohammed A. Al-Saffar – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

ABSTRACT: Targeting conservation to achieve biological objectives for waterfowl and social objectives for people is an emerging priority for bird conservation Joint Ventures implementing the North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP).  To help achieve NAWMP goals in the Upper Mississippi / Great Lakes Joint Venture (JV) region, we integrated objectives related to waterfowl population demography, conservation supporters (hunters and birders), and ecological goods and services important to society and developed a Decision Support Tool (DST).  Starting with a table of contemporary conservation issues, we transformed related biological and social data into a family of six spatially explicit model-based maps designed to achieve individual objectives.  Output maps were weighted based on discussion with regional decision makers (i.e., the JV Management Board) and then combined, resulting in an aggregate DST to target conservation for waterfowl and people in the JV region.  The tool was designed to be flexible and adaptable; objectives and objective weights may be adjusted and subsequent output maps customized depending on stakeholder priorities.  Current JV objectives to retain and restore high value waterfowl habitats, while enhancing hunting and birding opportunity and addressing watershed impairments, resulted in a spatially explicit DST with solid emphasis in the lower half of the Great Lakes region.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 3:40pm - 4:00pm EST
HOPE BALLROOM B

3:40pm EST

(WILDLIFE: TURTLES) Survivability of Head-Started Blanding’s Turtles (Emydoidea blandingii) In Canada’s Rouge National Urban Park
AUTHORS: Katherine Wright, Crystal Robertson, Paul Yannuzzi, Shannon Ritchie, Andrew Lentini, Bob Johnson, Rick Vos – Adopt-A-Pond Wetland Conservation Programme, Toronto Zoo

ABSTRACT: A head-start program for Blanding’s turtles (Emydoidea blandingii) was launched in 2012 by Toronto Zoo’s Adopt-A-Pond Wetland Conservation Programme and partners in an effort to recover a local population in the Rouge National Urban Park (RNUP). As per a Population Viability Analysis (PVA) in 2013, reaching a self-sustaining population required raising 50 turtles per year for two years each at a 60 female: 40 male ratio over 20 years. The head-start turtles are incubated and raised in a protected zoo environment, which includes a month in outdoor enclosures to acclimate to natural conditions. Then, a soft-release enclosure is used with half of the cohort for in-situ to acclimate to their new wetland prior to release into the wild, while a hard-release method is used for the other half (no in-situ acclimation). The release site is known habitat for Blanding’s turtles and is in close proximity to travel corridors, though many head-start turtles remain in the wetland area in which they were released. No significant difference has been observed between home ranges of soft- and hard-release turtles. The number of turtles released per cohort has increased each year (2014: 10, 2015: 21, 2016: 36, 2017: 49, and 2018: 49), as have cumulative survival rates (2018 data is still being incorporated). Survival, movement, and habitat use patterns are monitored by radio tracking a subset of turtles from each release cohort, which occurs three times per week from May-August and once per month from December-April. The number of tracked turtles from each cohort changes yearly as more turtles are released. In 2018, a total of 48 turtles were tracked out of the 165 that have been released to date. This long-term project will use adaptive management to improve husbandry, field research, habitat restoration and community outreach as the project progresses.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 3:40pm - 4:00pm EST
VETERANS MEETING ROOM A/B

3:40pm EST

(WILDLIFE: UPLAND 2) Effects of Field and Landscape-scale Habitat on Ring-necked Pheasant Demography
AUTHORS: Tim Lyons, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; T.J. Benson, Illinois Natural History Survey; Wade Louis, Illinois Department of Natural Resources; Mike Ward, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Richard Warner, National Great Rivers Research & Education Center

ABSTRACT: In agriculturally dominated landscapes, the habitat provided by public and private lands is critical for the conservation and management for non-game as well as game species, such as ring-necked pheasants. Management of these areas to increase pheasant populations has focused on increasing field size, the amount of grassland cover in the landscape, or managing vegetation composition within fields, to improve success during the nesting or brood-rearing stages, or the survival of breeding adults. How these actions will impact overall population growth or which stages or habitat features should be prioritized for management is not always clear. We studied how habitat conditions at the field-and landscape-scale influenced the demography of ring-necked pheasants on public and private grasslands in Illinois. Between 2013-2016, we used radio telemetry to track > 200 ring-necked pheasants and quantified the relationship between habitat features at multiple spatial scales, nest success, chick survival, and adult survival. We then used a simulation study to understand how changes to habitat features important to a particular stage ultimately affected population growth. We also examined how predator identity influenced the relationship between adult survival and habitat conditions. We found that several habitat features had contrasting effects among multiple stages and ultimately restricted population growth when management focused on maximizing performance during one stage. Our results also indicate that raptors may be a more important predator of pheasants than is generally recognized, but the risk of predation can be reduced by the management of vegetation within fields. Collectively our work highlights the importance of full life-cycle studies of demography for the effective management of wildlife and suggests that smaller fields, often overlooked in traditional conservation schemes, can play a role in pheasant management when coupled with appropriate management of vegetation within fields.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 3:40pm - 4:00pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM D

4:00pm EST

(WILDLIFE: UPLAND 2) Eastern Wild Turkey Distribution and Patch Occupancy Across Northern Wisconsin
AUTHORS: Chris Pollentier, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Mike Hardy, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Scott Lutz, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Scott Hull, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Eastern wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris) were successfully reintroduced in Wisconsin during the mid-1970s and populations have since expanded beyond their ancestral range throughout the state. Abundance has generally been considered greatest in areas with highly diverse landscapes that include upland woodlands interspersed with agriculture and other open-herbaceous land cover. However, many areas across far northern Wisconsin are comprised of landscapes where the forested area represents > 70% of the land cover. While much research has been focused on areas where populations are generally highest, study of wild turkeys across the far northern reaches of their range in the Upper Midwest and northern Wisconsin has been limited. To better understand wild turkey distribution and habitat relationships across northern Wisconsin, we conducted gobbling call-count surveys along 157 routes from 2013–2017 and instituted a multiseason correlated replicate occupancy modeling approach to link landscape characteristics to patch occupancy. Probability of occupancy was best related to a quadratic function of percentage of open cover (ß = -4.10, SE = 1.07), with probability of occupancy peaking in routes with 30–40% open cover. Probability of colonization was positively associated with the percentage of available agriculture planted in corn (ß = 1.14, SE = 0.42), and also showed a weak negative association with the amount of snow cover (ß = -1.13, SE = 0.62). Our results suggest that even in landscapes where forest cover is pervasive, wild turkeys benefit from the availability of open-herbaceous cover. In addition, corn-crop agriculture serves as an important food resource for wild turkey populations across heavily-forested northern Wisconsin landscapes and influences the probability of colonization into previously unoccupied areas. A better understanding of the distribution of wild turkeys across their northern range will provide much needed information to help guide contemporary management strategies in a post-restoration era.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 4:00pm - 4:20pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM D

4:20pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-12) Keys to Successful Dam Removal and River Restoration
AUTHORS: Amy Singler, The Nature Conservancy & American Rivers

ABSTRACT: Dam Removal is arguably the most effective tool we have for restoring river habitat and fish passage. The benefits of many dams may no longer outweigh the significant impacts to fisheries and habitat. Following dam removal we see rapid improvement in water quality, return of riverine species, restored habitat downstream and upstream of the former dam. Dam removal also eliminates maintenance requirements for owners and the potential danger of failure at unmaintained dams during floods. As the rate of dam removal has increased we are seeing positive results to fish and river habitat, and we are learning just what it takes to make projects successful.Dam removal design needs to focus on river processes and account for the dynamic nature of the rivers, while taking into account infrastructure, appropriate sediment management, and threatened and endangered species. Less can often be more when we approach dam removal engineering design. Increasingly, practitioners and regulators are finding the balance of acceptable short-term impacts and long term benefits. Using project examples this presentation will address: 1.) How to recognize and address key issues at dam removal projects in order to design projects that are self-sustaining and create lasting benefits for the suite of aquatic species in the river system; 2.) How to collaborate with regulatory agencies to address concerns of impacts from dam removal construction.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 4:20pm - 4:40pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM C

6:00pm EST

(P60) Structural Differences in Two Techniques for Snag Creation in the Huron-Manistee National Forest
AUTHORS. Madison T. Nadler, Brittany A. Shelton-Dooley – Wittenberg University; Kimberly A. Piccolo, Scott A. Warsen – US Forest Service; Richard S. Phillips, Wittenberg University

ABSTRACT.      Snags have great ecological value because they may have cavities, which provide critical habitat for many animals. In the Huron-Manistee National Forest, snags are created in red pine timber plantations to simulate the number of snags typically found in naturally growing forests. This study compares the value of snags created by topping in 2011 to snags created during a prescribed burn in 2010. GIS/GPS was used to locate and mark snag clumps. Height, DBH, decay class (1-5), and cavity presence was recorded for each clump and compared between and across snag creation type. The burned snags were planted in 1936 or 1938 and the topped snags were planted in 1936 or 1965 but the average DBH of each was similar (burned x¯ = 10.8in; topped x¯ = 10.5in). The presence of cavities below 20ft was compared between burned and topped snags. The average height for burned snags was 42.5ft and topped snags were cut at 20ft, but cavities appeared to be located near the tops of snags regardless of their height. The majority of cavities (83.8%) in topped snags were in decay classes one (59.1%) and two (24.5%). In burned snags, the majority of cavities (87.5%) were in decay classes one (18.8%), two (37.5%) and three (31.3%) with decay classes two and three containing the majority of the cavities (68.8%). Below 20ft, topped snags had a greater percentage of cavities (14.9%) than burned snags (6.7%), although there was a greater percentage of cavities in burned snags overall (burned = 24.8%). Creating snags via topping appears to be worth the investment as wildlife appears to use topped snags as much as snags created in a prescribed burn (topped = 49 cavities; burned = 59 cavities). In the future, studies will also compare snags created during the Meridian wildfire of 2010.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 6:00pm - 9:00pm EST
SUPERIOR BALLROOM C/D
  Poster, Habitat

6:00pm EST

(P61) Butterfly Response to Barrens Management at Crex Meadows Wildlife Area, Grantsburg, WI
AUTHORS. McKenna Hammons, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

ABSTRACT. The Northwest Wisconsin Sand Barrens are a unique habitat in decline. Active management is required to maintain this landscape. Butterflies are very responsive to habitat changes. This study aimed to assess the effect of various barrens management strategies on the diversity (i.e. richness and evenness) of the butterfly community at Crex Meadows Wildlife Area, Grantsburg, WI. Butterfly surveys and concurrent vegetation surveys occurred in July and August 2018. Using the Shannon-Weiner diversity index and a Hutchinson t-test I found prescribed fire increased butterfly diversity and richness in the initial years after burn and mowing had no significant effect. These results can be used to guide future management decisions concerning butterfly diversity.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 6:00pm - 9:00pm EST
SUPERIOR BALLROOM C/D
  Poster, Habitat

6:00pm EST

(P62) Effects of Prescribed Fire on Small Mammal Community of Schmeekle Reserve, Wisconsin
AUTHORS. McKenna Hammons, Benjamin Tjepkes, Paul Schwabenbauer, Andrew Johnson, Cori Semlar, Miguel Cardenas – University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

ABSTRACT. Prescribed fire is a management tool commonly used by wildlife biologists to manipulate the habitat on their properties. Research exploring the short- and long-term effects of fire on vegetation and wildlife have increased our understanding of its importance. Our study aimed to assess the effect of prescribed fire on the diversity (i.e., richness and evenness) of the small mammal community in Schmeeckle Reserve on the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point campus. A prescribed fire was applied to the Berard Oaks subunit in April 2018 and trapping followed in August 2018. Diversity of this site was compared to that of an unburned control site by using the Shannon-Weiner Diversity Index and follow-up Hutcheson t-test. We found the burned area had a significantly higher small mammal diversity than the unburned area. Property managers may use this information to improve their burn prescriptions and their master management plan, especially if maintaining small mammal diversity is a main concern.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 6:00pm - 9:00pm EST
SUPERIOR BALLROOM C/D
  Poster, Habitat

6:00pm EST

(P63) Water Uptake Capabilities of Sphagnum Moss
AUTHORS. Mattie Osborn, Nikki Shaw, Dr. R. Koch – Bemidji State University

ABSTRACT. Sphagnum moss is well known for its water holding capabilities, in some cases absorbing more than 16 times its dry weight.  Sphagnum is often considered a keystone species, in part because of its ability to absorb and store large amounts of water, prolonging wetland hydroperiods and raising soil saturation levels.  Currently, 33 species of Sphagnum have been identified in Minnesota wetlands.  The purpose of the research was to determine whether water uptake capabilities vary between different species of Sphagnum commonly found in northern Minnesota.  Moss samples were collected from peatlands in Beltrami County, MN.  Samples were identified, then dried at room temperature and divided into approximately 1 g subsamples.  Distilled water was slowly added to the dried samples until saturation was reached.  Due to the similarities in size, habitat, and location of collection, no differences in water uptake capabilities were expected between the two Sphagnum species studied.  Our results, however, indicated distinct variations in the amounts of water absorbed by different moss species.  We found that Sphagnum capillifolium held 34% more water than Sphagnum fallax.  Sphagnum capillifolium had an average uptake of 14.808 mL/g, and that Sphagnum fallax had an average uptake of 11.017 mL/g.  Peatlands dominated by species that store more water are likely to have increased resistance to drying and prolonged hydroperiods.  These results may have implications for selecting Sphagnum moss species in wetland restoration, or, if used in conjunction with climate change models and species distribution maps, to predict peatland loss.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 6:00pm - 9:00pm EST
SUPERIOR BALLROOM C/D
  Poster, Habitat
 
Wednesday, January 30
 

10:40am EST

(WILDLIFE: LIGHTNING TALK) Habitat Use of Migrating Northern Saw-whet Owls in Delaware and Henry Counties, Indiana
AUTHORS: Kaitlin Gavenda, Kamal Islam, Clayton Delancey – Ball State University

ABSTRACT: This study aims to test if Northern Saw-whet Owls (Aegolius acadicus) exhibit a preference between two potential habitat types in Indiana, an old growth deciduous forest and a Christmas tree farm, during migration. Previous studies have documented the use of old growth deciduous forest. Christmas tree farms contain the coniferous trees preferred by these owls in their breeding habitat; however, it is an artificial environment that may not contain the cover that Northern Saw-whet Owls favor. This study examines if there are any differences in capture rates between these two habitat types based on season and gender. Two mist-netting stations have been established to monitor fall and spring migration periods: one at Ginn Woods (Ball State University property) in Delaware County, and the other at Whitetail Tree Farm in Henry County, both in Indiana. Each station uses six mist-nets: a line of four nets, with one net on either side of the middle to form a cross. A recording of a Northern Saw-whet Owl call is played at the center of the cross to increase owl capture rates. During last year’s banding, we caught 10 owls at Ginn Woods and 10 owls at Whitetail Tree Farm during the fall, and two more owls at Whitetail Tree Farm during the spring. Of these owls, 9 were hatch year, 6 were second year, and 5 were after second year. Only one male and one unknown sex were captured. We also had two foreign recaptures, one banded in Ontario, 2016, and one banded in Quebec, 2017. Analysis of fall 2018 migration captures will also be included.

Wednesday January 30, 2019 10:40am - 10:50am EST
VETERANS MEETING ROOM A/B

10:40am EST

(WILDLIFE: AVIAN) Post-Fledgling Habitat Selection of an Endangered Species in Texas
AUTHORS: Evalynn M. Trumbo, Michael P. Ward, Jeffrey Brawn – University of Illinois

ABSTRACT: Understanding associations between habitat and the demography of endangered wildlife is essential for effective management, and the age or life-stage of an individual adds complexity to these associations. The Golden-cheeked Warbler (Setophaga chrysoparia; hereafter "warbler"), is an endangered neotropical migrant that breeds only in the contiguous juniper-oak forests in central Texas, of which many studies have evaluated how extensive habitat loss and fragmentation affect adult demography, yet no research has been conducted on post-fledging life stages and their habitat preferences, specifically microhabitat. For birds, the post-fledging stage is critical for sustaining species’ populations and many threats to survival during this life-stage are influenced by habitat type. To understand survival and habitat use, we studied the warbler population at Fort Hood military installation in central Texas. We monitored warbler nests until fledging and deployed one VHF transmitter per nest (n=8 and n=15, for 2017 and 2018, respectively). We tracked fledglings ~4 weeks after fledging. 15 of 23 (65%) of the fledglings survived the observation period. We obtained 1126 vegetation samples measuring various habitat characteristics for the entirety of the study (2017-2018). We compared habitat measurements between fledgling locations and random locations away from the fledgling location. Fledglings appear to select habitat that contains higher canopy cover (86% ± 0.6%, vs. 77% ± 1%). Ground cover, although correlated with canopy cover, differs from non-used habitat (29% ± 0.9%, 37% ±1.05%). Vertical vegetation density in the understory does not differ among used and non-used habitat. Most likely fledglings are selecting for canopy cover since it affords more protection from predators. Using this information for habitat selection will allow managers to implement techniques that promote higher canopy cover in GCWA habitat, hopefully providing a mosaic of necessary traits to support all life stages during the breeding season.

Wednesday January 30, 2019 10:40am - 11:00am EST
CENTER STREET ROOM C