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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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Policy/Law [clear filter]
Monday, January 28
 

3:20pm EST

(CANCELLED) (SYMPOSIA-06) River Restoration in Iowa ... Is There Anything Fishy Going on Here?
AUTHORS: Jeff Kopaska, Iowa Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Historical accounts of Iowa’s aquatic resources paint a picture of what Iowa’s rivers, streams and lakes were like at the time of settlement. Unfortunately, the physical and biological components of these aquatic systems had already been degraded by the time of the first scientific surveys in the late 1800s. Erosion and sedimentation issues that began in the 1800s still plague Iowa’s rivers and streams today, in the form of streamside alluvial deposits that are phosphorus laden and subject to streambank erosion. Iowa currently is undertaking efforts to reduce nutrient flux out of the state via our streams and rivers, but restoration of other components of stream ecosystems such as hydrology, geomorphology and biology is lacking. Including nutrient reduction/stream restoration practices that enhance fish populations and fish habitat can provide short term and long term measureable improvements to Iowa’s aquatic resources, as well as those downstream.

Monday January 28, 2019 3:20pm - 3:40pm EST
VETERANS MEETING ROOM A/B

3:40pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-01) Opening Lake Erie's Spring Bass Season: Standard Assessments Inform Increased Opportunities for Anglers
AUTHORS: Zak J. Slagle, Travis Hartman – Ohio Division of Wildlife

ABSTRACT: Ohio anglers have historically fished heavily for black bass, leading to record levels of angler effort and harvest in the late 1990’s. Additionally, missing year classes of bass, invasion of non-native nest predators (Round Goby), and resurgence in possible avian predators (Double-crested Cormorant) were all seen as threats to the bass population through the early 2000’s. Ohio Division of Wildlife also lacked yearly surveys of black basses, complicating fishery management decisions. ODW responded by increasing restrictions on bag limits and minimum sizes for black bass harvest; the 14 inch, 5 fish bag limit that currently stands was created in 2000. A seasonal catch-and-release only regulation was added in 2004 to further reduce harvest after the 2000 regulations failed to sufficiently improve size structure. Since then, the increase of catch-and-release ethics have dramatically reduced harvest during the open season, and ODW has added yearly surveys that allow fisheries managers to better evaluate population trends. Ohio’s Lake Erie black bass populations are unlikely to be negatively impacted by newly introduced relaxed regulations (i.e., changing the seasonal closure to a one fish possession, 18 inch minimum size limit). Black bass harvest during the spawning season is unlikely to increase substantially with these regulation changes. However, current levels of bass fishing effort are near historical lows, and liberalization of regulations will allow additional fishing opportunities. The new regulations should expand angler opportunities and allow anglers to keep and weigh in a potential state record fish while conserving the bass population for generations to come.

Monday January 28, 2019 3:40pm - 4:00pm EST
HOPE BALLROOM A

4:00pm EST

(CANCELLED) (SYMPOSIA-05) Is Mortality Data Proprietary? Accessing Bird and Bat Collision Data from Wind Projects
AUTHORS: Megan Seymour, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

ABSTRACT: Bird and bat collisions at wind turbines are well documented and of concern to wildlife management agencies and the public. Data is typically collected by consultants funded by the wind project owner, and is often deemed to be proprietary even though it is collected under state or federal collection permits. This presentation will discuss the how some mortality data can be accessed, what state and federal agencies can share, and what the concerns are with making data public. When collision data is not shared, our ability to conserve birds and bats proactively is limited, however given available information we can infer certain mortality patterns and risk factors. These, along with management implications will be discussed.

Monday January 28, 2019 4:00pm - 4:20pm EST
VETERANS MEETING ROOM C/D

4:20pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-05) Regulation of Single Turbines and Small-Scale Wind Facilities in Ohio
AUTHORS: Donald Bauman, Ken Mauer, Kimberly Kaufman – Black Swamp Bird Observatory

ABSTRACT: Current Ohio law is gravely deficient in providing any review of the biological resource impacts caused by the construction of single commercial-size wind turbines or small-scale multi-turbine wind farms.  This oversight is especially problematic when such turbines are constructed in environmentally sensitive areas, such as the southern shore of Lake Erie and the major migratory flyways associated with the Lake.  As pressure for renewable energy increases it is likely that exploitation of this large regulatory deficiency will increasingly be utilized to the detriment of Ohio’s public trust biological resources.  As such projects are often not publicized in advance of construction and it is very difficult to raise concerns about them in a meaningful way, a systematic means of controlling such wind turbine projects appeared to be necessary.  Accordingly, the Black Swamp Bird Observatory and its Conservation Committee have developed proposed legislation which would provide a mandatory, scientifically-based review process to be implemented in defined geographic areas for construction of commercial-size wind turbines falling below the current 5MW Ohio Power Siting Board review threshold.  Favorable reaction to the proposal has been received from interested legislators and key Ohio government agencies.

Monday January 28, 2019 4:20pm - 4:40pm EST
VETERANS MEETING ROOM C/D
 
Tuesday, January 29
 

10:20am EST

(HUMAN DIMENSIONS: POLICY & ENGAGEMENT) Something Fishy or Something Wild? Comparing the Progression, Status, and Needs of Social Science Integration in Fisheries and Wildlife Sides of Conservation
AUTHORS: Abigail Bennett, Shawn Riley – Michigan State University

ABSTRACT: This paper assesses the status and needs for social science research in fisheries and wildlife governance in Michigan. While the use of social science data and the participation of social scientists in fish and wildlife management has expanded over time, significant knowledge gaps remain. In general, there is a need for increased knowledge of stakeholder characteristics, perceptions, and behavior, rigorous analysis of the policy process, and more robust and nuanced understandings of the social, economic, and political implications of policy decisions. A thorough assessment of the context-specific social science research needs and a deeper engagement with theory and methods available for producing the knowledge to meet those needs can support more effective integration of social science into fish and wildlife governance. This study seeks to identify the current gaps in social science knowledge, data, and expertise in the context of Michigan fish and wildlife governance, drawing on interviews with managers, scientists, and other stakeholders. Using the interview data and a literature review, the paper traces the recent evolution of social science engagement in fish and wildlife governance in Michigan. In doing so, the analysis contrasts fisheries and wildlife with respect to how social science integration in management and decision-making has proceeded, highlighting lessons from each. The paper then analyzes interview respondents’ perceptions of the most pressing social science and human dimensions knowledge and information gaps in both sectors, as well as current barriers to closing those gaps. Distilling the major themes emerging from the interview data, the discussion synthesizes relevant social science theories, frameworks, and approaches from multiple disciplines that can guide efforts to rigorously and cohesively advance the integration of social science research in fisheries and wildlife governance. The paper concludes by outlining a research agenda and identifying practical steps toward incorporating the research into policy decision-making.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 10:20am - 10:40am EST
VETERANS MEETING ROOM C/D

10:40am EST

(HUMAN DIMENSIONS: POLICY & ENGAGEMENT) What Should a Baccalaureate Program in Conservation Law Enforcement Emphasize?
AUTHORS: Michael Rader, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

ABSTRACT: Law enforcement is critical to natural resource protection and conservation. Increasingly, the job duties of a conservation law enforcement (CLE) officer have been expanding and getting more complex as natural resource agencies interact with an increasing number of non-traditional stakeholders and issues. Many colleges and universities now offer baccalaureate programs in conservation law enforcement, but it has been 30 years since research has examined what curricular components to emphasize in such a program. This study surveyed all full-time, non-probationary conservation wardens in the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to determine their opinions on probationary officer strengths & weaknesses, preparedness for entry-level training, relative importance of academic subject areas, relative importance of modes of instruction, and officer demographics. Results (65% response rate; n = 108) indicated that probationary officers were weakest in CLE field techniques, written communication, and natural resource law and policy; officers were strongest in technology/computer applications, physical fitness and basic law enforcement skills; the top three skills to develop in a baccalaureate program were CLE field techniques, natural resource sciences, and basic law enforcement skills. Specific courses rated extremely/very important included oral/written communication, CLE fundamentals/field skills, criminal justice investigation, law enforcement academy, resource policy and law, English, human dimensions, internship, and natural resource field skills. Courses rated relatively low in importance included philosophy, economics, arts, history, and math/statistics. The top three instructional methods were practical exercises/application, role playing/scenarios, and case studies. Observations about how to incorporate the results into a CLE baccalaureate curriculum are made as are recommendations for future research.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 10:40am - 11:00am EST
VETERANS MEETING ROOM C/D

3:40pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-13) A Professional Development Program for Community-Engaged Research
AUTHORS: Heather Triezenberg, Michigan Sea Grant, MSU Extension, Fisheries and Wildlife Department; Diane Doberneck, Michigan State University Outreach and Engagement; Rhett Register, Catherine Riseng – Michigan Sea Grant, University of Michigan

ABSTRACT: Gradaute students receive high-quality scientific training, and some receive excellent mentoring in working with state, federal and tribal partners, management agencies, community partners, or nongovernmental organizations. However, some students who have excellent practical experience might benefit from understanding foundations for community engagement.  In this presentation, we summarize professional development programs offered by Michigan Sea Grant and our partners to help increase competency in community-engaged appraoches needed to increase public understanding of and interest in conservation.  We present the foundations of our programs and recent evaluation results.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 3:40pm - 4:00pm EST
VETERANS MEETING ROOM C/D
 
Wednesday, January 30
 

10:40am EST

(SYMPOSIA-15) Seizing an Opportunity for Engagement with New Stakeholders: Building Wildlife Policy and Agency Relevancy
AUTHORS: Barbara Avers, Amy Derosier – Michigan Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: State wildlife agencies (SWAs) have limited opportunities to interact with new constituents, and many times these are unsolicited interactions. Yet these exchanges can provide important opportunities for SWAs to build trust and relevancy with new stakeholders by creating strong processes that include transparency and clear decision space. We will share an example in Michigan where Michigan DNR engaged with a new group of constituents to develop a policy and program to address swimmer’s itch concerns.  Residents of several northern Michigan lakes had serious concerns that swimmer’s itch was negatively impacting local economies and were seeking a solution.  Since previous research indicated that common mergansers (Mergus merganser) are an important host for the parasite that causes swimmer’s itch, there was a desire by several lake associations to control these waterfowl despite concerns by state and federal wildlife agencies and other stakeholders.  Concerned citizens turned to their state legislators for relief and the Michigan DNR was tasked with resolving the issue. The Michigan DNR convened a core team of diverse stakeholders to co-develop a policy and program for common merganser control and used an interest-based approach that recognized multiple and diverse interests in the issue (e.g., lake residents for and against lethal control, tourism industry, wildlife managers, health departments, bird watchers, waterfowl hunters). Through the engagement process, a common understanding of the issue was developed, and the agency was able to better understand and manage stakeholder expectations.  Using this example, we will present challenges and successes of the engagement process, as well as provide tangible recommendations and tools for future stakeholder engagement opportunities.

Wednesday January 30, 2019 10:40am - 11:00am EST
HOPE BALLROOM B