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Madison, WI, United States

Januchowski-Hartley S.R.,University of Wisconsin - Madison | McIntyre P.B.,University of Wisconsin - Madison | Diebel M.,Bureau of Science Services | Doran P.J.,Nature Conservancy | And 3 more authors.
Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment | Year: 2013

A key challenge in aquatic restoration efforts is documenting locations where ecological connectivity is disrupted in water bodies that are dammed or crossed by roads (road crossings). To prioritize actions aimed at restoring connectivity, we argue that there is a need for systematic inventories of these potential barriers at regional and national scales. Here, we address this limitation for the North American Great Lakes basin by compiling the best available spatial data on the locations of dams and road crossings. Our spatial database documents 38 times as many road crossings as dams in the Great Lakes basin, and case studies indicate that, on average, only 36% of road crossings in the area are fully passable to fish. It is therefore essential that decision makers account for both road crossings and dams when attempting to restore aquatic ecosystem connectivity. Given that road crossing structures are commonly upgraded as part of road maintenance, many opportunities exist to restore connections within aquatic ecosystems at minimal added cost by ensuring upgrade designs permit water flow and the passage of fish and other organisms. Our findings highlight the necessity for improved dam and road crossing inventories that traverse political boundaries to facilitate the restoration of aquatic ecosystem connectivity from local to global scales. © 2013 The Ecological Society of America.

Woodford J.E.,Bureau of Endangered Resources | Macfarland D.M.,Bureau of Endangered Resources | Worland M.,Bureau of Science Services
Wildlife Society Bulletin | Year: 2013

We translocated and released a total of 90 (55 F and 35 M) wild American martens (Martes americana) from Minnesota to northern Wisconsin, USA, during 2008-2010. Our objective was to evaluate the short-term results of this translocation project by comparing marten dispersal, time to residency, and survival by release method, sex, and age categories. On average, translocated martens took 18 days (range = 1-64 days) and traveled 4.6 km (range = 0.4-45.7 km) from release sites before establishing residency. Although survival probabilities for adults and males were 0.84 and 0.79 and juveniles and females were 0.66 and 0.71, respectively, they were not statistically different. Translocated adult and juvenile survival was similar to resident adult and juvenile survival reported in Wisconsin and elsewhere. Predation (primarily by other carnivores) was the main cause (85%) of observed mortality for translocated animals, but it did not appear to be a major limiting factor for adults or juveniles. Contrary to some studies, we found no significant difference between release methods for any analyzed parameter, but we observed increased injuries to slowreleased individuals.We concluded there was no benefit resulting from slow-release or an acclimation period for translocation of American martens and that long-termmonitoring of the population is needed to evaluate species recovery in Wisconsin. © 2013 The Wildlife Society.

Holsman R.H.,University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point | Petchenik J.,Bureau of Science Services | Cooney E.E.,Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College
Human Dimensions of Wildlife | Year: 2010

Eight years after undertaking an unprecedented attempt to eradicate chronic wasting disease (CWD) from its free-ranging white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) population, Wisconsin wildlife managers are rethinking their strategies in the face of public opposition to their efforts. This article draws on a dozen surveys of hunters and landowners to identify six psychological bases that created deer hunter opposition to the Wisconsin plan. These include opposition to the population goal, conflicts with traditions, conflicts with consumption norms, the uncertainty of the plan's efficacy, and perceived lack of credibility in the agency. We argue that these six clusters of attitudinal beliefs made it unlikely that hunter support could have been cultivated regardless of the scope or pace of the CWD eradication effort. Our findings call into question the use of recreational hunting as a viable tool for bringing about severe deer population reductions for disease management. © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Haskell D.E.,Michigan Technological University | Flaspohler D.J.,Michigan Technological University | Webster C.R.,Michigan Technological University | Meyer M.W.,Bureau of Science Services
Restoration Ecology | Year: 2012

Downed woody material (DWM) is an important ecosystem component that performs many critical functions including influencing soil temperature and moisture, which affects plant growth and survival. Residential development along lakeshores has increased dramatically in recent decades in the northern Great Lakes region. Such development often leads to reductions in terrestrial and aquatic woody material. Although lakeshore restoration projects have occurred in the past few years in the region, there has been little effort to evaluate success. In 2007, a collaborative lakeshore restoration research project began on two lakes in Vilas County, Wisconsin. We investigated the benefits of the addition of DWM as part of these restoration projects. We randomly assigned three coverage treatments (0, 25, and 50%) of DWM on 3 × 3-m experimental plots (n = 10 per treatment) and monitored soil temperature and volumetric soil water content at a depth of 10 cm. All plots were planted with two native shrub species and five native understory herbaceous species. Mean maximum soil temperature, mean difference in daily high and low soil temperature, and percent change in soil moisture content were significantly lower in the 25 and 50% DWM plots. Plant canopy volume growth for snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus) and Barren strawberry (Waldstenia fragaroides) was significantly greater in the 25 and 50% DWM plots. We conclude that the addition of DWM had a significant positive effect on regulating soil temperature extremes, soil moisture, and plant volume growth for two species of native plants used for restoration projects. © 2010 Society for Ecological Restoration International.

Ellison K.S.,University of Wisconsin - Madison | Ellison K.S.,Wildlife Conservation Society | Ribic C.A.,U.S. Geological Survey | Sample D.W.,Bureau of Science Services | And 2 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Globally, grasslands and the wildlife that inhabit them are widely imperiled. Encroachment by shrubs and trees has widely impacted grasslands in the past 150 years. In North America, most grassland birds avoid nesting near woody vegetation. Because woody vegetation fragments grasslands and potential nest predator diversity and abundance is often greater along wooded edge and grassland transitions, we measured the impacts of removing rows of trees and shrubs that intersected grasslands on potential nest predators and the three most abundant grassland bird species (Henslow's sparrow [Ammodramus henslowii], Eastern meadowlark [Sturnella magna], and bobolink [Dolichonyx oryzivorus]) at sites in Wisconsin, U.S.A. We monitored 3 control and 3 treatment sites, for 1 yr prior to and 3 yr after tree row removal at the treatment sites. Grassland bird densities increased (2-4 times for bobolink and Henslow's sparrow) and nesting densities increased (all 3 species) in the removal areas compared to control areas. After removals, Henslow's sparrows nested within ≤50 m of the treatment area, where they did not occur when tree rows were present. Most dramatically, activity by woodland-associated predators nearly ceased (nine-fold decrease for raccoon [Procyon lotor]) at the removals and grassland predators increased (up to 27 times activity for thirteen-lined ground squirrel [Ictidomys tridecemlineatus]). Nest success did not increase, likely reflecting the increase in grassland predators. However, more nests were attempted by all 3 species (175 versus 116) and the number of successful nests for bobolinks and Henslow's sparrows increased. Because of gains in habitat, increased use by birds, greater production of young, and the effective removal of woodland-associated predators, tree row removal, where appropriate based on the predator community, can be a beneficial management action for conserving grassland birds and improving fragmented and degraded grassland ecosystems.

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