Natural Resources Management

Contributed Paper
ROOM: Room 110 – Galisteo

10:30AM Climate Change and Evolutionary Adaptive Capacity (EVAC): Bridging the Gap between Science and Application
Laura Marie Thompson
The capacity to adapt to climate change has the potential to reduce the vulnerability of species and is, therefore, an important consideration when developing climate adaptation strategies. Recent evidence suggests that evolutionary adaptive capacity (EVAC) can occur over shorter time periods than originally thought, and tools to measure and predict evolutionary changes are becoming increasingly available. However, accounting for EVAC in climate change vulnerability assessments and management planning is uncommon and, despite the plethora of information on evolutionary responses to climate change, resource managers often make decisions without considering whether species might evolve over time. Factors that can hinder the use of scientific information in decision-making include divergent objectives, values, and standards held by scientists and practitioners. For example, scientists often focus on very specific research questions that do not translate well to the practical problems that managers face. Additionally, scientists are typically only rewarded for communicating scientific information to their peers (via peer-reviewed publications) and not to the management community that is in need of the information. We assembled a working group composed of both scientists and practitioners that were focused on either researching or managing for adaptive capacity of vulnerable species. The purpose of this work was to foster a two-way communication that deemed equal importance to information that scientists need from practitioners and information practitioners need from scientists, thereby increasing the likelihood of knowledge uptake by the decision-making community. The practitioner team identified commonly encountered questions and unknowns with regards to assessing and making decisions related to EVAC and those outcomes were presented to the scientist team who provided tangible management options that could provide solutions for dealing with unknowns and identified knowledge gaps where future coproduction of knowledge is needed to inform key management questions.
10:50AM Use of Fiber-Optic Distributed Temperature Sensing to Characterize Changes in Thermal Patterns within a Fragmented Grassland
Evan P. Tanner; Samuel D. Fuhlendorf; John Polo
Changes in ecological processes facilitated by anthropogenic influences have resulted in fragmentation of temperate North American grasslands. Altered fire regimes have resulted in woody encroachment, which increases fragmentation of native grasslands and in turn can alter the biotic and abiotic environment of these systems. Patterns in the thermal landscape of these grasslands are important in shaping ecological processes and woody encroachment is changing these thermal patterns in novel ways. We sought to understand how eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana; hereafter “cedar”) encroachment changes the distribution and spatio-temporal variability of thermal conditions at three different cedar densities. We implemented a fiber-optic distributed temperature sensing (FO-DTS) system to continually monitor the thermal environment to understand when and where thermal patterns are impacted by woody encroachment within a grassland matrix. Temperatures were recorded along a 750 m length of duplex fiber-optic cable at a spatial resolution of 1 meter and temporal resolution of 1 minute from March 27th through July 31st. Results will illustrate how near surface thermal conditions can be altered along a gradient of cedar densities across seasons. These changes in thermal conditions can have significant impacts that alter important ecological cycles (i.e., decomposition rates) in grassland systems while also influencing faunal behavioral patterns related to thermal constraints.  
11:10AM Spatial Challenges of Using Local Scale Monitoring Programs for Landscape Level Applications
Mindy Rice
Ecological monitoring programs are often focused at a local scale, but wildlife management decisions tend to be made at the regional and national levels. This is challenging, as local scale data often is not appropriate to answer large scale questions as the number of local sites is prohibitive, the local sites are clumped, or the data collected is too specific to the local site. Even so, monitoring data is often used to address management issues at scales larger than the appropriate inference of the data collected. The Integrated Waterbird Management and Monitoring (IWMM) program attempts to provide a continental landscape where non-breeding waterbirds have the right habitat, in the right place, at the right time. This includes a non-breeding waterbird monitoring protocol which has been approved by the US Fish and Wildlife Service focused on both bird counts, unit conditions, vegetation, and management actions. This program had a pilot phase from 2010-2014 with almost 200 projects across the Atlantic and Mississippi Flyways. As part of starting a new program, the IWMM monitoring sites were often based on who wanted to participate rather than using a more formalized sampling approach. As of 2015, this program is no longer in its pilot phase and there has been a reduction in participating projects by ~60%. This provides the opportunity to reassess the sampling frame and whether our current ad-hoc participation is the best way to provide meaningful regional and flyway level applications and analyses. First, I will focus on the statistical challenges with using local scale data for larger scale management issues and questions using IWMM as an example. Second, I will provide an example of how IWMM may benefit from a more formal sampling frame and how that can be used with currently active sampling sites.
11:30AM Incorporating Wildlife Research into the Rio Grande Water Fund
Sarah Hurteau; Laura McCarthy
Throughout the West, wildfire size and severity has increased dramatically since the 1980s leaving vast areas denuded of resources with limited regeneration and at high risk of post-fire debris flows. New Mexico is no different, as the Los Conchas fire burned more than 43,000 acres in the first day, causing the most severe watershed damage seen within the fire perimeter. The Rio Grande Water Fund is an innovative public/private partnership focused on increasing the pace and scale of forest restoration treatments to 30,000 acres a year over the next 20 years, leading to more than a half-million acres of restored habitats in New Mexico. Bringing together nearly 60 organizations as signatories to our shared vision, the Rio Grande Water Fund has received more than $4 Million, and leveraged $9 Million for on the ground restoration. With approximately 10% of funding allocated to monitoring, we are collecting forest structural characteristics to inform fire models that illustrate how we are changing wildfire threats at a landscape scale. The Water Fund recently expanded to include a Stream, Wetland and Aquatic Resources Program (SWARP) that will build on past success to improve the function of aquatic resources, increase biodiversity and restore degraded or damaged areas within the Rio Grande Basin to supplement the forest work and enhance overall watershed health. Wildlife research and monitoring however, remains a gap in our repertoire of science based conservation efforts. Our goal is to reach out to wildlife researchers and practitioners to help us enhance our efforts with your wildlife research.
11:50AM New Mexico Habitat Stamp Program: an Agency-Public Partnership for Wildlife Conservation on Federal Lands
Reuben Teran
The State of New Mexico has used the authority under the Sikes Act to provide a source of revenue for the management of fish and wildlife resources and their habitats on USDA Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management property. The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF) entered into cooperative agreements with the Secretary of the Interior and Secretary of Agriculture for conservation and rehabilitation programs related to wildlife, fish, and game; and agreed upon the issuance of public land management stamps that are required for individuals to legally hunt, trap, or fish on federally owned public land within New Mexico. The cost of this stamp in New Mexico is $5.00, with funds managed under the New Mexico Habitat Stamp Program (HSP). Citizen Advisory Committees, appointed by the State Game Commission, provide advice on the program and prioritize projects for funding through this agency-public partnership. Since the program’s inception more than $20 million of Habitat Stamp funds have been used to implement over 2,400 projects that have enhanced terrestrial and riparian habitats; constructed wildlife water developments; completed wildlife population surveys, habitat surveys, and wildlife translocations; improved aquatic habitat and fishing areas; maintained HSP infrastructure; installed structures for watershed improvement; provided shelter for wildlife; reduced human impacts on wildlife; and enhanced overall public enjoyment of wildlife. NMDGF was the first state wildlife agency to use the Sikes Act to generate funding for wildlife conservation actions, with initial projects completed in 1986. Over the last 31 years more than $26 million has been raised through the sale of Habitat Stamps. With the financial support of sportsmen and women, the HSP provides an innovative example of how the Sikes Act can be used to support the management objectives of state wildlife agencies while promoting diverse wildlife habitats on federal lands.


Contributed Paper
Location: Albuquerque Convention Center Date: September 27, 2017 Time: 10:30 am - 12:10 pm