Minnesota

Legacy ID: 
26
State Code: 
MN
Country Code: 
USA
Area: 
84 520.50
Latitude: 
46.32
Longitude: 
-94.31
Publication Title: 

Projected wetland densities under climate change: Habitat loss but little geographic shift in conservation strategy

FORT Contact: 
Helen Sofaer
Authors: 
Sofaer, H. R., Skagen, S. K., Barsugli, J. J., Rashford, B. S., Reese, G. C., Hoeting, J. A., Wood, A. W. and Noon, B. R.
Related Staff: 
Helen Sofaer
Susan Skagen
Gordon Reese
Publication Date: 
2016
Parent Publication Title: 
Ecological Applications
Publication Type: 
Archive number: 

Pub Abstract: 

Climate change poses major challenges for conservation and management because it alters the area, quality, and spatial distribution of habitat for natural populations. To assess species’ vulnerability to climate change and target ongoing conservation investments, researchers and managers often consider the effects of projected changes in climate and land use on future habitat availability and quality and the uncertainty associated with these projections. Here, we draw on tools from hydrology and climate science to project the impact of climate change on the density of wetlands in the Prairie Pothole Region of the USA, a critical area for breeding waterfowl and other wetland-dependent species. We evaluate the potential for a trade-off in the value of conservation investments under current and future climatic conditions and consider the joint effects of climate and land use. We use an integrated set of hydrological and climatological projections that provide physically based measures of water balance under historical and projected future climatic conditions. In addition, we use historical projections derived from ten general circulation models (GCMs) as a baseline from which to assess climate change impacts, rather than historical climate data. This method isolates the impact of greenhouse gas emissions and ensures that modeling errors are incorporated into the baseline rather than attributed to climate change. Our work shows that, on average, densities of wetlands (here defined as wetland basins holding water) are projected to decline across the U.S. Prairie Pothole Region, but that GCMs differ in both the magnitude and the direction of projected impacts. However, we found little evidence for a shift in the locations expected to provide the highest wetland densities under current vs. projected climatic conditions. This result was robust to the inclusion of projected changes in land use under climate change. We suggest that targeting conservation towards wetland complexes containing both small and relatively large wetland basins, which is an ongoing conservation strategy, may also act to hedge against uncertainty in the effects of climate change.

Publication Title: 

First estimates of the probability of survival in a small-bodied, high-elevation frog (Boreal Chorus Frog, Pseudacris maculata), or how historical data can be useful

FORT Contact: 
Erin Muths
Authors: 
Muths, E.L., R.D. Scherer, S.M. Amburgey, T. Matthews, A.W. Spencer, and P.S. Corn
Related Staff: 
Erin Muths
Publication Date: 
2016
Parent Publication Title: 
Canadian Journal of Zoology
Publication Type: 
Archive number: 

Pub Abstract: 

In an era of shrinking budgets yet increasing demands for conservation, the value of existing (i.e., historical) data are elevated. Lengthy time series on common, or previously common, species are particularly valuable and may be available only through the use of historical information. We provide first estimates of the probability of survival and longevity (0.67–0.79 and 5–7 years, respectively) for a subalpine population of a small-bodied, ostensibly common amphibian, the Boreal Chorus Frog (Pseudacris maculata (Agassiz, 1850)), using historical data and contemporary, hypothesis-driven information–theoretic analyses. We also test a priori hypotheses about the effects of color morph (as suggested by early reports) and of drought (as suggested by recent climate predictions) on survival. Using robust mark–recapture models, we find some support for early hypotheses regarding the effect of color on survival, but we find no effect of drought. The congruence between early findings and our analyses highlights the usefulness of historical information in providing raw data for contemporary analyses and context for conservation and management decisions.

Publication Title: 

Implications of climate change for wetland-dependent birds in the Prairie Pothole Region

FORT Contact: 
Susan Skagen
Authors: 
Steen, V.A., S.K. Skagen, and C.P. Melcher
Related Staff: 
Valerie Steen
Susan Skagen
Cynthia Melcher
Publication Date: 
2016
Parent Publication Title: 
Wetlands
Publication Type: 
Archive number: 

Pub Abstract: 

The habitats and food resources required to support breeding and migrant birds dependent on North American prairie wetlands are threatened by impending climate change. The North American Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) hosts nearly 120 species of wetland-dependent birds representing 21 families. Strategic management requires knowledge of avian habitat requirements and assessment of species most vulnerable to future threats. We applied bioclimatic species distribution models (SDMs) to project range changes of 29 wetland-dependent bird species using ensemble modeling techniques, a large number of General Circulation Models (GCMs), and hydrological climate covariates. For the U.S. PPR, mean projected range change, expressed as a proportion of currently occupied range, was −0.31 (± 0.22 SD; range − 0.75 to 0.16), and all but two species were projected to lose habitat. Species associated with deeper water were expected to experience smaller negative impacts of climate change. The magnitude of climate change impacts was somewhat lower in this study than earlier efforts most likely due to use of different focal species, varying methodologies, different modeling decisions, or alternative GCMs. Quantification of the projected species-specific impacts of climate change using species distribution modeling offers valuable information for vulnerability assessments within the conservation planning process.

Publication Title: 

Estimating the economic impacts of ecosystem restoration—Methods and case studies

FORT Contact: 
Cathy Cullinane Thomas
Authors: 
Cullinane Thomas, Catherine, Christopher Huber, Kristin Skrabis and Joshua Sidon
Related Staff: 
Cathy Cullinane Thomas
Chris Huber
Publication Date: 
2016
Parent Publication Title: 
Open-File Report
Publication Type: 
Archive number: 

Pub Abstract: 

Federal investments in ecosystem restoration projects protect Federal trusts, ensure public health and safety, and preserve and enhance essential ecosystem services. These investments also generate business activity and create jobs. It is important for restoration practitioners to be able to quantify the economic impacts of individual restoration projects in order to communicate the contribution of these activities to local and national stakeholders. This report provides a detailed description of the methods used to estimate economic impacts of case study projects and also provides suggestions, lessons learned, and trade-offs between potential analysis methods.

This analysis estimates the economic impacts of a wide variety of ecosystem restoration projects associated with U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) lands and programs. Specifically, the report provides estimated economic impacts for 21 DOI restoration projects associated with Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration cases and Bureau of Land Management lands. The study indicates that ecosystem restoration projects provide meaningful economic contributions to local economies and to broader regional and national economies, and, based on the case studies, we estimate that between 13 and 32 job-years4 and between $2.2 and $3.4 million in total economic output5 are contributed to the U.S. economy for every $1 million invested in ecosystem restoration. These results highlight the magnitude and variability in the economic impacts associated with ecosystem restoration projects and demonstrate how investments in ecosystem restoration support jobs and livelihoods, small businesses, and rural economies. In addition to providing improved information on the economic impacts of restoration, the case studies included with this report highlight DOI restoration efforts and tell personalized stories about each project and the communities that are positively affected by restoration activities. Individual case studies are provided in appendix 1 of this report and are available from an online database at https://www.fort.usgs.gov/economic-impacts-restoration.

Publication Title: 

Sediment accumulation in prairie wetlands under a changing climate: The relative roles of landscape and precipitation

FORT Contact: 
Susan Skagen
Authors: 
Skagen, S. K., L.E. Burris, D.A. Granfors
Related Staff: 
Susan Skagen
Lucy Burris
Publication Date: 
2016
Parent Publication Title: 
Wetlands
Publication Type: 
Archive number: 

Pub Abstract: 

Sediment accumulation threatens the viability and hydrologic functioning of many naturally formed depressional wetlands across the interior regions of North America. These wetlands provide many ecosystem services and vital habitats for diverse plant and animal communities. Climate change may further impact sediment accumulation rates in the context of current land use patterns. We estimated sediment accretion in wetlands within a region renowned for its large populations of breeding waterfowl and migrant shorebirds and examined the relative roles of precipitation and land use context in the sedimentation process. We modeled rates of sediment accumulation from 1971 through 2100 using the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) with a sediment delivery ratio and the Unit Stream Power Erosion Deposition model (USPED). These models predicted that by 2100, 21–33 % of wetlands filled completely with sediment and 27–46 % filled by half with sediments; estimates are consistent with measured sediment accumulation rates in the region reported by empirical studies. Sediment accumulation rates were strongly influenced by size of the catchment, greater coverage of tilled landscape within the catchment, and steeper slopes. Conservation efforts that incorporate the relative risk of infilling of wetlands with sediments, thus emphasizing areas of high topographic relief and large watersheds, may benefit wetland-dependent biota.

Publication Title: 

ASPN – Assessing Socioeconomic Planning Needs (v.1)

FORT Contact: 
Lance Everette
Authors: 
Richardson, L., A.L. Everette, S. Dawson
Related Staff: 
Leslie Richardson
Lance Everette
Jessica Montag
Lynne Koontz
Kate Peterson
Sebastien Nicoud
Publication Date: 
2015
Updated Date (text): 
2012-06-22
Publication Type: 
Archive number: 
2012/0049 FORT

Pub Abstract: 

ASPN is a Web-based decision tool that assists natural resource managers and planners in identifying and prioritizing social and economic planning issues, and provides guidance on appropriate social and economic methods to address their identified issues.

  • ASPN covers the breadth of issues facing natural resource management agencies so it is widely applicable for various resources, plans, and projects.
  • ASPN also realistically accounts for budget and planning time constraints by providing estimated costs and time lengths needed for each of the possible social and economic methods.

ASPN is a valuable starting point for natural resource managers and planners to start working with their agencies’ social and economic specialists. Natural resource management actions have social and economic effects that often require appropriate analyses. Additionally, in the United States, Federal agencies are legally mandated to follow guidance under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which requires addressing social and economic effects for actions that may cause biophysical impacts. Most natural resource managers and planners lack training in understanding the full range of potential social and economic effects of a management decision as well as an understanding of the variety of methods and analyses available to address these effects. Thus, ASPN provides a common framework which provides consistency within and across natural resource management agencies to assist in identification of pertinent social and economic issues while also allowing the social and economic analyses to be tailored to best meet the needs of the specific plan or project.

ASPN can be used throughout a planning process or be used as a tool to identify potential issues that may be applicable to future management actions. ASPN is useful during the pre-scoping phase as a tool to start thinking about potential social and economic issues as well as to identify potential stakeholders who may be affected. Thinking about this early in the planning process can help with outreach efforts and with understanding the cost and time needed to address the potential social and economic effects. One can use ASPN during the scoping and post-scoping phases as a way to obtain guidance on how to address issues that stakeholders identified. ASPN can also be used as a monitoring tool to identify whether new social and economic issues arise after a management action occurs.

ASPN is developed through a collaborative research effort between the USGS Fort Collins Science Center’s (FORT) Social and Economic Analysis (SEA) Branch and the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  ASPN’s technical development is led by the USGS FORT’s Information Science Branch.  An updated release, which will extend ASPN’s functionality and incorporate feature improvements identified in ongoing usability testing, is currently in the planning stages.

Publication Title: 

White-nose Syndrome Disease Tracking System (v.1)

FORT Contact: 
Lance Everette
Authors: 
Everette, A.L., P.M. Cryan, and K. Peterson
Related Staff: 
Lance Everette
Paul Cryan
Kate Peterson
Publication Date: 
2012
Updated Date (text): 
2012-12-28
Parent Publication Title: 
Publication Type: 
Archive number: 
2012/0134 FORT

Pub Abstract: 

A Devastating Disease

White-nose syndrome (WNS) is an emerging and devastating disease of hibernating bats in North America. WNS is caused by a cold-growing fungus (Geomyces destructans) that infects the skin of hibernating bats during winter and causes life-threatening alterations in physiology and behavior. WNS has spread rapidly across the eastern United States and Canada since it was first documented in New York in the winter of 2006.  This new disease is causing mass mortality and detrimentally affecting most of the 6 species of bats that hibernate in the northeastern United States. Particularly hard-hit are the little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus), northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis), eastern small-footed bat (Myotis leibii), and federally endangered Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis). Several more species are also now known to be exposed to the fungus in the Midwest and Southeast. The sudden and widespread mortality associated with white-nose syndrome is unprecedented in any of the world’s bats and is a cause for international concern as the fungus and the disease spread farther north, south, and west.  Loss of these long-lived insect-eating bats could have substantial adverse effects on agriculture and forestry through loss of natural pest-control services.

Tracking a Deadly Disease

Because WNS is spreading so rapidly, field surveillance data and diagnostic samples must be managed efficiently so that critical information can be communicated quickly among State and Federal land managers, as well as the public. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which plays a primary role in coordinating the Federal response to WNS, worked with the USGS Fort Collins Science Center’s Web Applications Team to develop the White-nose Syndrome Disease Tracking System. Version 1.0 of this system, released for Beta testing in May 2011, addresses two critical objectives:

  • enable state-level resource managers to effectively manage WNS field and laboratory data, and
  • provide customizable map and data reports of surveillance findings. The WNS Disease Tracking System subsequently was demonstrated to resource managers involved in the WNS response, and system users are assisting with in-depth testing. Once resource-management users are all trained (autumn 2011), they will begin populating the system with surveillance data, much of which will be immediately available to the public.

WNS version 1.0 was released into production in November, 2011 and state points-of-contact are currently being trainined. New users are providing ciritical feedback for WNS version 2.0, which is currently being planned with Fish and Wildlife Region 5 and the National White-nose Syndrome Data Management Team.

Key System Components

  • Disease Tracking: Customizable disease tracking maps and data exports for all U.S. states and counties
  • Disease Reporting: Tissue sample database management for authorized resource managers as well as a publicly accessible database of disease reporting contacts for all U.S. States and Federal resource management agencies
  • Diagnostic Labs:  Directory of laboratories involved in white-nose syndrome diagnostic analyses
Publication Title: 

Summary and analysis of the U.S. government Bat Banding Program

FORT Contact: 
Laura Ellison
Authors: 
Ellison, L.E
Related Staff: 
Laura Ellison
Publication Date: 
2008
Updated Date (text): 
2012-01-13
Publication Type: 
Archive number: 
2008/0132 FORT

Pub Abstract: 

This report summarizes the U.S. Government Bat Banding Program (BBP) from 1932 to 1972. More than 2 million bands were issued during the program, of which approximately 1.5 million bands were applied to 36 bat species by scientists in many locations in North America including the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Central America. Throughout the BBP, banders noticed numerous and deleterious effects on bats, leading to a moratorium on bat banding by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and a resolution to cease banding by the American Society of Mammalogists in 1973. One of the main points of the memorandum written to justify the moratorium was to conduct a "detailed evaluation of the files of the bat-banding program." However, a critical and detailed evaluation of the BBP was never completed. In an effort to satisfy this need, I compiled a detailed history of the BBP by examining the files and conducting a literature review on bat banding activities during the program. I also provided a case study in managing data and applying current mark-recapture theory to estimate survival using the information from a series of bat bands issued to Clyde M. Senger during the BBP. The majority of bands applied by Senger were to Townsend's big-eared bat (Corynorhinus townsendii), a species of special concern for many states within its geographic range. I developed a database management system for the bat banding records and then analyzed and modeled survival of hibernating Townsend's big-eared bats at three main locations in Washington State using Cormack-Jolly-Seber (CJS) open models and the modeling capabilities of Program MARK. This analysis of a select dataset in the BBP files provided relatively precise estimates of survival for wintering Townsend's big-eared bats. However, this dataset is unique due to its well-maintained and complete state and because there were high recapture rates over the course of banding; it is doubtful that other unpublished datasets of the same quality exist buried in the BBP files for further analyses. Lastly, I make several recommendations based on the findings of this summary and analysis, the most important of which is that marking bats with standard metal or split-ring forearm bands should not be considered for mark-recapture studies unless the information sought and the potential for obtaining unbiased estimates from that information vastly outweighs the potential negative effects to the bats.

Publication Title: 

Monitoring trends in bat populations of the United States and territories: problems and prospects

FORT Contact: 
Tom O'Shea
Authors: 
O'Shea, T.J., and M.A. Bogan (eds.)
Related Staff: 
Tom O'Shea
Michael Bogan
Publication Date: 
2003
Updated Date (text): 
2009-07-31
Parent Publication Title: 
Publication Type: 
Archive number: 
2003/0092 FORT

Pub Abstract: 

Bats are ecologically and economically important mammals. The life histories of bats (particularly their low
reproductive rates and the need for some species to gather in large aggregations at limited numbers of roosting sites) make their populations vulnerable to declines. Many of the species of bats in the United States (U.S.) and territories are categorized as endangered or threatened, have been candidates for such categories, or are considered species of concern. The importance and vulnerability of bat populations makes monitoring trends in their populations a goal for their future management. However, scientifically rigorous monitoring of bat populations requires well-planned, statistically defensible efforts. This volume reports
findings of an expert workshop held to examine the topic of monitoring populations of bats. The workshop participants included leading experts in sampling and analysis of wildlife populations, as well as experts in the biology and conservation of bats. Findings are reported in this volume under two sections. Part I of the report presents contributed papers that provide overviews of past and
current efforts at monitoring trends in populations of bats in the U.S. and territories. These papers consider current techniques and problems, and summarize what is known about the status and trends in populations of selected groups of bats. The contributed papers in Part I also include a description of the monitoring program developed for bat populations in the United Kingdom, a critique of monitoring programs in wildlife in general with recommendations for survey and sampling strategies, and a compilation
and analysis of existing data on trends in bats of the U.S. and territories. Efforts directed at monitoring bat populations are piecemeal and have shortcomings. In Part II of the report, the workshop participants provide critical analyses of these problems and develop recommendations for improving methods, defining objectives and priorities, gaining mandates, and enhancing information exchange to facilitate future efforts for monitoring trends in U.S. bat populations.

Publication Title: 

Monitoring trends in bat populations of the United States and territories: status of the science and recommendations for the future

FORT Contact: 
Tom O'Shea
Authors: 
O'Shea, T.J., M.A. Bogan, and L.E. Ellison
Related Staff: 
Tom O'Shea
Laura Ellison
Michael Bogan
Publication Date: 
2003
Updated Date (text): 
2009-09-23
Parent Publication Title: 
Wildlife Society Bulletin
Publication Type: 
Archive number: 
2003/0021 FORT

Pub Abstract: 

Populations of bats (Order Chiroptera) are difficult to monitor. However, current recognition of the importance of bats to biodiversity, their ecological and economic value as ecosystem components, and their vulnerability to declines makes monitoring trends in their populations a much-needed cornerstone for their future management. We report finding and recommendations for a recent expert workshop on monitoring trends in bat populations in the United States and territories…

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