New textbook edited by School of Natural Resources team spotlights social aspects of fish, wildlife harvest management - When you receive a state fishing or hunting license, you will be informed of harvest limits connected with the activity. You can bag up to five rainbow trout in a day. You can keep a walleye if it’s 15 inches long. You can only bag two white-fronted geese per day during their season, but can keep up to 50 light geese per day during theirs.
Making harvest management decisions like these is a challenging, ever-evolving process that is done with sustainability, population dynamics and people in mind, said Larkin Powell, professor of conservation biology and animal ecology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln School of Natural Resources. The body of research centered on the social aspect has grown in recent years, he said, and it is reflected in a new textbook co-edited by Powell and Kevin Pope, biologist with U.S. Geological Survey and director of the Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit.
“Harvest of Fish and Wildlife: New Paradigms for Sustainable Management” will be released June 7, and is available for pre-order now. The textbook features chapters authored by 24 teams of scientists and game managers with expertise about the subject, and an interest in exploring harvest management issues from angles that Pope and Powell said have not been represented in previous textbooks.
“Historically, we considered harvest management in biological or ecological contexts,” Pope said. “That's how we were trained, but now we're encouraging people to think about harvest management as occurring in a social-ecological system. Ecology is important, but so is the social aspect, the politics and actual actions and behaviors of hunters and anglers.”
The authors include many who represent UNL’s School of Natural Resources, and Nebraska as a whole. Chapter authors include five UNL faculty members, one UNL adjunct faculty member, two UNL grad students, two UNL staff members and two Nebraska Game and Parks Commission biologists. The book also includes scientists and experts who are colleagues of Pope’s and hail from four U.S. Geological Survey Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units from across the country.
“This book is a welcome addition to the literature on harvest management, integrating both terrestrial and aquatic perspectives and engaging the social as well as biological sciences,” said Jonathan R. Mawdsley, chief of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program. “The chapter authors are a veritable ‘Who's Who’ of thought leaders in fisheries, wildlife management and decision science, and the book will undoubtedly be of broad interest to state, federal, academic, NGO and private-sector professionals.”
Numerous chapters directly address human elements of the harvest management decision process. Subjects include an exploration of engaging hunters in selecting duck season dates, the social and political context of harvest management and how marketing and ecological models can help predict permit-purchasing behavior of sportspersons.
“Management decisions can be pretty tricky,” Powell said. “It involves population dynamics, but also a lot of stakeholder engagement. And I think that's what emerged in the book. The book tries to bring all those things together, and give guidance to people that are managing these populations. The tricky thing was trying to find the threads that go between all those things. And, for us, that was one of the fun things. It was a challenge, but it was rewarding to help the authors incorporate that into their chapters."
Timothy McCoy, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission deputy director, said that the textbook provides "great insight" into the complex information that agencies consider when making harvest management recommendations and decisions.
"We must continue to adapt, challenge, apply and improve our wildlife science, social science and decision science in harvest management approaches for wildlife and people," McCoy said.
In the preface to the textbook, Pope and Powell wrote that they developed the idea for it with the idea of providing new insights into a traditional area of emphasis for fisheries and wildlife managers.
“We are now in a new era of harvest management,” they wrote in the preface. “Population biologists have new modeling tools that can be applied to harvest questions. Evolutionary biologists have measured effects of harvest that go beyond simple changes in population size, and we can evaluate the potential for selective mortality through harvest to affect populations and species. Social scientists have begun to look reflectively at behaviors of anglers and hunters, especially as anglers and hunters respond to changing densities of fish and game. And, tenets of decision science have proven useful as improved frameworks to select regulations for harvested species in social and political climates that are often hostile toward consumptive uses of fish and wildlife. In sum, harvest management has broadened beyond its traditional roots to embrace information provided by genetics and advanced population-dynamics modeling as well as insights obtained through consideration of human dimensions.”
The textbook explores how harvest management can help ensure a sustainable future, while promoting intentional, thoughtful and transparent justification for fishing and hunting regulations. Pope said that the textbook has appeal not only in fisheries and wildlife classrooms but also for population biologists, evolutionary biologists, social scientists and on-the-ground fish and wildlife managers. It is a valuable resource now, and will be for years to come, said John Carroll, director of the School of Natural Resources.
“Harvest can be one of the most controversial aspects of both fisheries and wildlife management,” Carroll said. “Dr. Pope and Dr. Powell using their respective expertise in population biology led a thorough review of this topic in this textbook. They also embrace a much broader view that includes focus on some traditional harvest topics relative to population biology, but also evolutionary implications and socio-ecological ramifications of wildlife use. There is no doubt that their book is critical now, but will only increase in importance over time as humans continue to dramatically impact fish and wildlife populations on a global scale. These faculty at the University of Nebraska are demonstrating how our natural resources programs not only have a local impact, but also significance at national and international levels.”
“Harvest of Fish and Wildlife: New paradigms for Sustainable Management” is published by CRC Press, an imprint of Taylor and Francis Group. To purchase a copy or request a copy for inspection, visit this site.
- Cory Matteson, SNR Communications
More details at: https://www.routledge.com/Harvest-of-Fish-and-Wildlife-New-Paradigms-for-Sustainable-Management/Pope-Powell/p/book/9781032002002
Virtual Sunday with a Scientist to examine invasive species - The University of Nebraska State Museum-Morrill Hall’s Virtual Sunday with a Scientist will take place at 2 p.m. April 25 via Zoom.
The free program will be led by Allison Zach, program coordinator for the Nebraska Invasive Species Program, which works to prevent the introduction, promote early detection and reduce the harm of invasive species. Participants will learn to identify invasive species, such as the emerald ash borer, spotted lanternfly and zebra mussels. The interactive program will also include crafts, brainstorming and trivia.
Those interested in participating may register online or visit the Morrill Hall Facebook page for the Facebook Live presentation.
Sunday with a Scientist is a monthly event that highlights the work of scientists, while educating children, families and the university community on a variety of topics related to science and natural history. Presenters share scientific information in a fun, informal way through demonstrations, activities or by conducting science on site. During the spring 2021 semester, events will be hosted virtually over Zoom and Facebook Live.
$3 Million Grant Awarded to University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff’s Aquaculture/Fisheries Department - A $3 million grant has been awarded to the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff’s Aquaculture/Fisheries Department by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), according to Dr. Laurence B. Alexander, UAPB chancellor.
“We are thrilled to announce that UAPB was chosen to receive a major grant to conduct nationally significant conservation research in partnership with NRCS,” Dr. Alexander said. “I would like to commend Dr. Michael Eggleton and his team for their contributions in leading the monitoring and assessment research that will result in a national framework for improving the wetlands.”
Dr. Eggleton is a professor of fisheries science in the UAPB Aquaculture/Fisheries Department and is principal investigator for the grant. Co-principal investigators include Dr. Uttam Deb, assistant professor/aquaculture economics, Dr. Yingkai Fang, assistant professor/natural resources economics, and Dr. Jonathan Spurgeon, assistant unit leader, U.S. Geological Survey – Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit (formerly assistant professor/habitat management at UAPB). The duration of the grant is 2021 through 2026.
Nebraska anglers are creatures of habit -
Study shows seven popular fishing spots across the state consistently attracted visitors from the same ZIP codes, providing key insights for natural resource managers
Fishing behavior of Nebraska anglers may be more predictable than previously thought, says a new paper published in the Ecological Society of America’s journal Ecological Applications. Seven fishing spots across the state were visited by loyal communities of anglers throughout the year, with little variation from spring to fall in the home ZIP codes of visitors.
“Our original conceptual model was that anglers are highly mobile and dynamic in their behavior,” said Mark Kaemingk, an assistant professor of aquatic ecology at the University of North Dakota and the paper’s first author. “Our new conceptual model is that anglers, as a whole, could be more predictable than previously thought.”
In Nebraska, fishing has an annual economic impact of over one billion dollars, but keeping track of who is fishing where – and how often – is critical for preventing overexploitation of lakes and reservoirs.
The authors had expected that the yearly summertime fishing spike would draw in vacationing families who were willing to travel farther during summer – but were surprised to find that summer anglers were traveling from the same places as those who visited during spring and fall. The team also found that the pattern held true over the course of the whole four-year study period, with little year-to-year variation in the ZIP codes of angler parties’ home residences.
Kaemingk and his colleagues are not sure whether the lakes were being visited by the same anglers repeatedly, or by different groups from the same ZIP codes – say, families with school-aged children during the summer, and retirees from the same town during autumn. But, Kaemingk says, having a big-picture view of anglers’ traveling patterns can help natural resource agencies make more well-informed management decisions.
“Our previous research has also highlighted that where anglers reside on the landscape can be used to predict on-site behavior at the waterbody, such as harvest propensity,” Kaemingk said.
Changes in participation patterns at a given lake could lead to higher or lower rates of fish harvest over time. This means that data about angler behavior can empower natural resource managers to set regulations that optimize the ecological conditions of a lake as well as creating sustainable fishing experiences for anglers.
The study surveyed anglers at Branched Oak Lake, Calamus Reservoir, Harlan County Reservoir, Lake McConaughy, Merritt Reservoir, Pawnee Lake, and Sherman Reservoir.
Nebraska Game and Parks partners with Platte Basin Timelapse project, others to boost wetland resources - With the help of a $280,000 matching grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, working with partners that include the Platte Basin Timelapse project housed at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln School of Natural Resources, will be able to modernize wetland conservation resources for educators and the public.
The three-year project is expected to result in a new online collection of educational materials, including a fifth-grade curriculum and activity book; Platte Basin Timelapse short films and multimedia stories; a public-consumption Guide to Nebraska Wetlands; and an online wetland ESRI StoryMap.
Game and Parks, Ducks Unlimited, and UNL are providing the matching funds for the project, expected to be completed in 2022.
“We want to tell the stories of the important aspects of wetlands,” said Ted LaGrange, Game and Parks wetlands program manager and lead on the project. “The benefits of wetlands are important to understand, as are the conservation actions being taken to sustain them.”
Communities benefit from wetlands in a variety of ways. They act as habitat for a diversity of fish, wildlife and plant species; offer recreational benefits to hunters, anglers and wildlife observers; and improve water quality, provide groundwater recharge, and reduce the effects of flooding.
“These are stories that need to be told no matter where a person lives: Wetlands — and the benefits they provide — are just as important to urban communities as they are to rural ones,” LaGrange said.
A team of producers from Platte Basin Timelapse started collecting those stories across the state in summer 2020. For the next year, they’ll continue to collect photos, time-lapse images, video and audio recordings, and interviews that will be woven into compelling stories about Nebraska’s wetlands, the role wetlands play in people’s lives and why wetlands need to be conserved.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for our team of storytellers, and I’m confident Nebraskans will be both surprised and take pride in the beauty, diversity and richness of our wetlands critical to life in the region, and value them in new and important ways,” said Michael Forsberg, Platte Basin Timelapse co-founder and prominent Nebraska conservation photographer.
The multimedia products will be used in educational curriculum focused on the science of wetlands. The lessons, to be developed by Game and Parks’ Fish and Wildlife Education Division, will be available online at outdoornebraska.gov.
Other partners on the education project include the Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit and U.S. Geological Survey, and many other organizations, agencies, and schools.
To track the project, follow Game and Parks and the Platte Basin Timelapse on Instagram or Facebook and search by #nebraskawetlands. To learn more about Nebraska wetlands, visit outdoornebraska.gov/nebraskawetlands.
-Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
More details at: http://OutdoorNebraska.org/nebraskawetlands
It’s a trap! Study finds effects of weather, time on wildlife sightings - Lincoln, Neb. —Welcome to Pocket Science: a glimpse at recent research from Husker scientists and engineers. For those who want to quickly learn the “What,” “So what” and “Now what” of Husker research.
What? Since the early 1900s, ecologists and conservationists have glimpsed wildlife via camera traps: temporary photo stations that capture evidence of whatever animals wander by. As a low-investment and unobtrusive technique, the camera trap has increasingly informed efforts to estimate the prevalence and geographic range of species, especially the elusive and endangered.
Researchers account for sources of error that threaten the validity of population estimates based on camera trap sightings, particularly error that might lead to underestimates of rare species. But little attention has been paid to how weather and elapsed time may affect those sightings.
So what? Madsen Using more than 5 million photos captured by skunk-scented camera traps across western Nebraska, Anastasia Madsen and colleagues compared coyote sightings with weather conditions — barometric pressure, wind speed, precipitation, temperature — when the photos were snapped. The team found that each condition correlated with the likelihood of capturing coyotes on camera. That likelihood also dropped precipitously, to nearly zero, after just 24 hours. Image provided by the Nebraska Canid Project / Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit.
Now what? Factoring in seasonal trends and weather forecasts when placing camera traps could improve population estimates and the conservation plans drawn from them, the researchers said. Relocating scented camera traps sooner could also refine spatial models by expanding study ranges without sacrificing validity.
|MS Student; Stream-fish Community Dynamics in Great Plains Streams of Nebraska - MS Graduate Assistantship. Stream-fish Community Dynamics in Great Plains Streams of Nebraska. Start date Aug 2021. Grad stipend, tuition, health insurance provided. Apply by 05/31/2021.||April 2021|
|Dr. Clint Boal receives Excellence in Science award from Cooperative Research Units Program - Dr. Boal’s achievements have made him a world-renowned raptor ecologist and brought wide recognition for his research and conservation efforts with important species of concern such as Lesser Prairie Chickens. The geographic scope of his current research is impressive, encompassing Texas, the southwestern US, and the Caribbean. Dr. Boal is notable with 26 scientific presentations, three journal articles and two book chapters published, and co-authorship of Raptors of Texas. His distinguished record of awards includes The President’s Award in recognition of his service to The Raptor Research Foundation and the Fran and Frederick Hamerstrom Award received in 2019; 2020 W.L. McAtee and G.V. Burger Award for outstanding service as an Associate Editor for the Wildlife Society Bulletin; and two separate honors by Texas Tech University for achieving national recognition for excellence in research. His recognition as a leader is matched only by the quality of his mentorship skills and recognition of his students.||May 2021|
|Unit Scientist Authors New Book - Dr. Clint Boal, Assistant Unit Leader-Wildlife, and colleague Dr. Cheryl Dykstra recently had their edited volume, Urban Raptors: Ecology and Conservation of Birds of Prey in Cities, published by Island Press.||June 2018|
|Texas Unit Undergraduate Wins Poster Competition - Madeleine Thornley, undergraduate assistant in the Texas Cooperative Research Unit, received the award for best undergraduate poster at the 9th Annual Texas Tech Association of Biological Science Symposium. Her poster title was "American Kestrel Food Habits in the Llano Estacado of Texas".||April 2018|
|Texas Unit Fisheries Student Wins Best Student Poster - Emily Richardson, master’s student advised by Reynaldo Patiño, was the 2018 recipient of the Texas Chapter of The Fisheries Society’s Best Student Poster Award for her presentation, “Salinity Adaptation in Golden Alga”||February 2018|
|Texas Unit Wildlife Student Wins Scholarship - Katheryn Watson, doctoral student advised by Clint Boal, was the 2018 recipient of the Texas Chapter of The Wildlife Society’s Sam Beasom Memorial Graduate Student Scholarship.||February 2018|
|Unit Scientist Receive Publication Award - David Haukos (UL, Kansas Unit) and Clint Boal (AUL, Texas Unit) received the Texas Chapter of the Wildlife Society’s 2018 Outstanding Publication Award for their book “Ecology and Conservation of Lesser Prairie-Chickens”.||February 2018|
Hall Sawyer honored for his research contributions in Wyoming - "CHEYENNE – Hall Sawyer, research biologist for Western EcoSystems Technology, Inc. (commonly referred to as WEST, Inc.) has been named recipient of the Excellence in Wildlife Conservation Award given annually by the Wildlife Division of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
The Award is designed to recognize government and nongovernment agencies and individuals for exceptional efforts in conservation of Wyoming wildlife and wildlife habitats. Sawyer was recognized for his outstanding contributions to wildlife research and monitoring throughout Wyoming..."