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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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T20: Wildlife: Upland I [clear filter]
Tuesday, January 29

1:20pm EST

(WILDLIFE: UPLAND 1) Impacts of Neonicotinoids on Native Pollinators: Evaluating Wild Bee Guilds in Field-margins Surrounding Imidacloprid-treated Soybean Fields
AUTHORS: Anson R. Main, School of Natural Resources, University of Missouri; Elisabeth B. Webb, U.S. Geological Survey, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit; Keith W. Goyne, School of Natural Resources, University of Missouri; Robert Abney, School of Natural Resources, University of MIssouri; Doreen Mengel, Missouri Department of Conservation

ABSTRACT: Unlike honeybees, numerous wild bee species nest belowground and in close proximity to cultivated fields and adjacent flowering field-margins. Although agricultural field-margins can serve as important bee foraging habitat, these areas may also accumulate neonicotinoid insecticides via runoff events and planter dust. Few field studies have evaluated neonicotinoid impacts on wild pollinator communities, including solitary, ground-nesting bees (e.g., sweat bees, longhorn bees). To assess effects of neonicotinoid exposure on native bee floral (diet specialization) and nesting guilds (e.g., soil, cavity), we sampled 30 soybean fields on five conservation areas in north-central Missouri from pre-seeding through harvest in 2017. Following baseline data collection in 2016, soybean fields were cultivated using one of three treatments: imidacloprid-treated fields (n=10); untreated fields (n=10); and previously treated (2016) to untreated fields (n=10). At each site, we collected field and field-margin soils, flower heads from wildflowers and soybean plants, and native pollinators every 28 days over five sampling periods (pre-seeding, post-seeding, growing, soybean flowering, and harvest). Neonicotinoid residues were detected in field soils during all sampling periods (frequency: pre-seeding, 7%; post-seeding, 33%; growing, 23%; soybean flowering, 53%; and, harvest, 33%). However, neonicotinoids were infrequently detected in margin soils (<8% frequency, overall) with no residues detected in flowers from field-margin or soybean plants. Overall, wild bee abundance was significantly less in fields with greater neonicotinoid concentrations (ß = -0.27 ± 0.09, P = 0.003) though this relationship became slightly positive over time (ß = 0.08 ± 0.02, P= <0.001). Soil-nesting bee richness was significantly greater in margins surrounding untreated fields compared to previously treated fields. Additionally, fewer floral diet specialist bees were collected in field-margins surrounding fields with greater soil concentrations. Here, we present our preliminary findings and discuss how this research improves our understanding of neonicotinoid seed-treatment use on non-target native pollinator communities within agroecosystems.

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

1:40pm EST

(WILDLIFE: UPLAND 1) The Nationwide Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA) for Monarch Butterfly on Energy and Transportation Lands: Its Development and Scope
AUTHORS: Dan Salas, Senior Ecologist, Cardno; Iris Caldwell, Program Manager, Sustainable Landscapes, Energy Resources Center at The University of Illinois at Chicago

ABSTRACT: Rights-of-ways offer unique conservation opportunities by connecting landscapes and providing a generally stable habitat protected from future development.  The Rights-of-Way as Habitat Working Group, composed of multiple industries and unique partnerships, are working to support pollinators and other wildlife, within these working lands. Inspired by population declines and potential listing of monarch butterfly under the Endangered Species Act, members of this group have worked together to develop a voluntary agreement to enhance and sustain monarch butterfly habitat. Underscoring the importance of this effort, the partnership of more than two dozen energy and transportation organizations is undertaking one of the largest scale CCAAs to date and under one of the fastest timelines pursued for such a large conservation agreement. During this session, we will discuss how voluntary conservation tools like CCAAs can be used to provide important conservation, and how this agreement was developed. We will also highlight what conservation improvements are included within the Nationwide Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances for Monarch Butterfly on Energy and Transportation Lands, and discuss ways that conservation partners can engage in this broad-scale conservation effort.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 1:40pm - 2:00pm EST

2:00pm EST

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

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

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

2:20pm 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

2:40pm EST

(WILDLIFE: UPLAND 1) Reptile and Small Mammal Occupancy in Prairie Strips Integrated in an Agricultural Landscape
AUTHORS: Matthew D. Stephenson, Lisa A. Schulte – Iowa State University Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management; Robert W. Klaver, U.S. Geological Survey, Iowa Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit

ABSTRACT: Grasslands in the Midwest United States have seen a precipitous decline over the last 150 years, resulting in the loss of millions of acres of habitat for wildlife. A large majority of the land in the Midwest is privately owned and efforts to restore habitat on large scales will have to include partnerships with private landowners. Contour buffer strips of diverse native prairie planted in row crop fields have been demonstrated to be very effective at reducing nutrient and soil runoff and may also serve as a significant area of habitat for wildlife such as reptiles and small mammals.From 2015-2018 we investigated reptile and small mammal occupancy in contour buffer strips of diverse native prairie and other on-farm habitat patches on 15 sites in Iowa, USA. We placed plywood artificial cover objects in perennially vegetated conservation features on farms and checked them between 4-20 times each year from April-October. We modeled patch occupancy in Program MARK to test if landscape variables such as patch size, fragmentation, connectivity, and vegetation diversity predicted occupancy for several species of reptiles and small mammals. We also modeled potential nuisance variables such as time-of-year, time-of-day, and weather that could affect detection probability. A greater understanding of how these less-frequently studied taxa utilize on-farm habitat could aid managers and policy makers to help make agricultural conservation programs effective for conserving as many taxa as possible.

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