Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Nebraska
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Nebraska Project

Implementation of amphibian monitoring and adaptive management for wetland restoration evaluation.

July 2009 - March 2014


Participating Agencies

  • U.S. Army

The project will collect the necessary data to determine what attributes constitute a successful wetland restoration by assessing herpetofauna (primarily amphibians) as indicators of wetland quality. Many agencies are involved in restoring wetland and wish to create and restore wetlands that function as wetlands should. Amphibian recruitment and occupancy can provide guidance as to which restorations and management actions are successful. The models built for amphibian occupancy and recruitment will suggest ways to optimize restorations. The monitoring program will focus within eco-regional boundaries and will tightly linking monitoring with hypothesis testing in an adaptive framework. We will treat those models as hypotheses, and they will be placed at-risk in ongoing and future restoration activities. The work will be conducted in Nebraska and Kansas. We expect the data will provide insight into the health of amphibian and turtle communities, and therefore an estimation of overall success of wetland restorations, by allowing: 1) the estimation of breeding populations associated with each wetland, 2) the evaluation of the individual wetland's ability to support successful reproduction (as estimated by the number of metamorphosed juveniles leaving the wetland), 3) a measure (abundance) to use in comparing wetlands and wetland types using vegetative and environmental correlations, and 4) an eventual evaluation of the restoration/mitigation project's success based upon the recruitment of adults back into the breeding population that had originally been marked as juveniles at the site. II. Objectives. Wetland managers will be able to use the resulting data to understand changes in amphibian species' presence and community composition: 1) following ongoing restoration activities, 2) following other planned or unplanned changes in landuse or landcover, 3) in relation to the spatial connectivity of wetlands, and 4) in relation to adjacent landuse and landcover. The resulting models will guide managers in planning future restorations and for adaptive management of existing restorations. III. Tasks 1) Occupancy modeling will be conducted on four restored wetlands along the Missouri south of Omaha, Nebraska, and in Kansas. i) Amphibian call surveys will be conducted to determine occupancy rates by monitoring broad-scale patterns in amphibian presence or absence in restored wetlands along the Missouri River. Amphibian monitoring will quantify their occurrence and recruitment at existing wetland mitigation sites. Surveys will account for the fact that the ability to detect amphibian species varies across time, species and wetland habitats. ii) Protocols that have been extensively used across the USA will be used, and program PRESENCE will be utilized to determine occupancy rates for different species in different wetland habitats.