Accelerating declines and geographic shifts of salt marshes and species of conservation concern in the northeastern United States have prompted land managers to revise management objectives and monitoring methods to inform decision making.
Birds and Animals
The FWS is using airborne remote sensing technologies to enhance migratory bird surveys to 1) enhance safety of aircrews conducting surveys by allowing flight at higher altitudes, 2) improve the quality of population and habitat data collected by minimizing and quantifying error rates, and 3) increase bird survey efficiency and utility by creating consistent automated processes. The FWS is partnering with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), U.S.
Nearly 1 million Attwater’s greater prairie-chickens (Tympanuchus cupido attwateri) once occupied 6 million acres of coastal prairie grasslands in Texas and Louisiana. Loss and fragmentation of habitat nearly drove this species to extinction, and it was listed as endangered in 1967. Today, two populations have been established in the wild through release of captive-reared birds.
Sea level rise inundation on important Department of Interior (DOI) conservation lands was estimated using U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) high-resolution light detection and ranging (lidar) data coupled with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) models. Projections for DOI lands were made from all the Global Sea Level Rise models and time steps from 2000 to 2100 to assist in climate resiliency planning.
Ecosystems - Birds
Migration Efficiency Sustains Connectivity across Agroecological Networks Supporting Sandhill Crane Migration
Preserving avian flyway connectivity has long been challenged by our capacity to meaningfully quantify continental habitat dynamics and bird movements at the temporal and spatial scales underlying long-distance migrations. Waterbirds migrating hundreds or thousands of kilometers depend on networks of wetland stopover sites to rest and refuel.
Ecosystems - Wetlands
Wetlands make up less than 1% of West Virginia’s land surface but are critical habitat for nearly one-fourth of its species, including 44% of its rare plant species. They also provide other benefits, including improved water quality as well as flood and erosion control.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Abandoned gas and oil wells are commonly a source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and can leak hydrocarbon-related fluids such as oil or brine, particularly when unplugged wells go undetected over long periods. Older wells are challenging to discover when vegetation has overgrown abandoned sites. As in other parts of the country, FWS National Wildlife Refuges (NWR) in Oklahoma and Texas contain a large number of abandoned wells from historical oil and gas development.
Mixed composition and bottomland hardwood forests are essential habitat for imperiled songbird populations on Texas and Oklahoma National Wildlife Refuges (NWR). Point-count data were collected for focal songbird species on five refuges together with remotely sensed data to estimate densities and model habitat relationships.
The New Mexico meadow jumping mouse (Zapus hudsonius luteus), which was listed as endangered in 2014, historically ranged throughout the Middle Rio Grande River Valley in New Mexico and along perennial high-elevation streams in New Mexico, southern Colorado, and eastern Arizona. After years of drought, river modifications, and changes to habitat, many previously occupied jumping mouse populations are believed to be extirpated.
Development of An Automated and Cloud-Based Remote Sensing Routine for Surface Water Monitoring in Alaska Refuges
The potential for large changes in the amount and distribution of surface water in arctic landscapes is high given climate-induced changes in permafrost. Because changes in surface water have broadscale implications in the structure and function of ecosystems, understanding and tracking surface water change is a high priority for some Alaskan refuges.