IAB Research Project Description

Statistical Assistance with Data Analysis, Survey Design, and Monitoring Protocol Development for National Wildlife Refuges in the Northeast Region

Any and all uses of these images must include photographer credit.

Background The National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS) within the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is legally mandated by the NWRS Improvement Act "to administer a national network of lands and waters for the conservation, management, and where appropriate, restoration of the fish, wildlife, and plant resources and their habitats within the United States for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans." Inventories and monitoring of these natural resources play critical roles in implementing this mission. The NWRS in the Northeast Region (Region 5) will need to devote significant time and effort in analyzing legacy survey data and evaluating existing monitoring protocols to develop scientifically credible and statistically sound I&M protocols to inform management decision making. However, the Region currently does not have a biometrician on staff to assist with these efforts. This process has created an opportunity for USFWS and a university cooperator to collaborate towards common objectives and derive mutual benefit.

Objectives This project is a collaborative effort between USFWS and the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) with the following objectives:

1) evaluate landbird count data collected by Refuges in Region 5 using the Region 3/5 (Knutson et al. 2008) protocol to ensure key assumptions of the survey protocol were met and, if so, analyze these data to generate estimates of population and population change (if multiple-year data) by Refuge;

2) analyze mark-recapture data collected on various wildlife species from different Refuges, as available;

3) design robust sampling strategies that will achieve the sampling objectives of relevant monitoring protocols, such as vegetation monitoring, sampling shorebirds, monitoring saltmarsh communities, and monitoring surface elevation change in coastal refuges;

4) prepare reports and manuscripts as appropriate to communicate results and recommendations.

Project Funding

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
1 Jul 2011 – 30 Sep 2012
IAB Proposal #2011-098
UAF Grant #G7223
IAB Project #220

Media Contact

Marie Thoms
Communications/Web Manager
Institute of Arctic Biology
302A Irving I
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Fairbanks, AK 99775-7000
email: methoms@alaska.edu
phone: 907.474.7412