Conservation Programs

Chicago, IL, United States

Conservation Programs

Chicago, IL, United States
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News Article | May 17, 2017

Chino Basin Water Conservation District unveiled its new Inland Valley Garden Planner website ( at an evening garden party in the Water Conservation Garden on May 11. The new garden planning website helps Inland Empire gardeners select and learn about the best plants for the region to create the “have-it-all” garden they want. Through stunning photos and an easy-to-navigate site, the Inland Valley Garden Planner offers free and detailed, regionally-specific information for gardeners in the Inland Empire area. Users can create their own profiles, save project lists, and easily save and print information on their selected or custom plant palettes, choosing from a curated list of over 350 plants that thrive in the Inland Empire. “The Inland Empire’s Mediterranean climate gives us so many incredible options for our gardens,” said Scott Kleinrock, CBWCD’s Conservation Programs Manager. “We truly can have it all in our outdoor spaces, with color, comfort, wonderful scents, and habitat for birds and pollinators, year-round, and without needing to water much, if we choose the right plants and put them in the right places.” New visitors to the site who create free accounts before June 30 will be entered into a raffle for a chance to win a family membership to Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden or gift certificates to the Grow Native Nursery. The site also provides cohesive pre-designed plant palettes and helpful lists for common conditions including slopes and small spaces. “We can have so much more than gravel and cactus or lawns that really don’t do much for us,” Kleinrock said. Developed by landscape architect and author Robert Perry for CBWCD, the Inland Valley Garden Planner reflects his decades of research into the best landscape plants for our region and uses his extensive and inspiring photo archive. “We constantly get questions from community members who want to save water in their landscapes while having beautiful, livable outdoor spaces to enjoy with their family and friends,” says Becky Rittenburg, CBWCD Community Programs Manager. “We launched the Inland Valley Garden Planner to provide Inland Empire homeowners with a free resource to help achieve their garden goals.” CBWCD works to sustain the regional water supply through public stewardship, stormwater percolation, demonstration, and education. Stop by the Water Conservation Center and demonstration garden in Montclair and see firsthand how beautiful, functional, and beneficial water conservation can be. The center is free and open to the public Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Wronski T.,Conservation Programs | Wronski T.,King Khalid Wildlife Research Center | Plath M.,Goethe University Frankfurt | Ziege M.,Goethe University Frankfurt
Journal of Ethology | Year: 2013

Mammalian scent marking in localized defecation sites (latrines) has often been interpreted in the context of (male) territory defense. However, latrines could have different functions in males and females, especially where territorial males monopolize groups of females with stable social alliances and pronounced home range overlap. We investigated the communicatory significance of latrines in wild Arabian gazelles (Gazella arabica) and assessed the spatial distribution of latrines within home ranges. Latrine density and utilization was highest in the center of female group home ranges, and less frequent in peripheral home range sections, pointing towards communication within groups rather than towards territoriality. When considering male home ranges, latrine densities and utilization were higher in non-overlap zones, contradicting a territorial function. This pattern appears to be caused by more females than territorial males per given area establishing latrines. A subsequent survey of latrine utilization, based on camera trapping, suggests that males use latrines for territory defense: males visited latrines in overlap zones disproportionally more often than females, and successions of two males prevailed. Our study thus highlights that male territorial marking can be masked when males and females use the same marking system for different purposes. © 2012 Japan Ethological Society and Springer Japan.

Hoover M.,University of Connecticut | Civco D.,University of Connecticut | Whelchel A.,Conservation Programs
American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing Annual Conference 2010: Opportunities for Emerging Geospatial Technologies | Year: 2010

Given their location in the intertidal zone, coastal salt marshes will be one of the ecosystems first affected by sea level rise. As sea level rise increases, marshes will begin to migrate inland if surrounding topography and land use provide suitable habitat. The question remains whether or not this migration inland will provide enough new habitat to sustain current marsh area as the seaward edge of the marsh begins to become permanently inundated. This project created an ArcGIS tool using Python computer language that projects future salt marsh habitat under a variety of sea level rise and land use scenarios. The tool has several inputs including vegetation classifications, Digital Elevation Models (DEMs), current tidal conditions, and accretion rates. An object-oriented approach to image classification was used to develop the vegetation classifications and the DEMs were developed from LiDAR point clouds using the Geostastical Analyst in ArcGIS. This research expands on a presentation given at ASPRS 2009 in Baltimore, MD which used a preliminary version of the marsh migration tool to project future marsh habitat in eight study sites on the Connecticut coastline. This research has finished the development of the tool, making it more user-friendly and is currently expanding the geographic extent to include most of Long Island Sound.

Lonsdorf E.,Franklin And Marshall College | Travis D.,Conservation Programs | Travis D.,University of Minnesota | Ssuna R.,Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary | And 14 more authors.
Primates | Year: 2014

Infectious diseases are widely presumed to be one of the greatest threats to ape conservation in the wild. Human diseases are of particular concern, and the costs and benefits of human presence in protected areas with apes are regularly debated. While numerous syndromes with fatal outcomes have recently been described, precise identification of pathogens remains difficult. These diagnostic difficulties are compounded by the fact that direct veterinary intervention on wild apes is quite rare. Here we present the unique case of a wild chimpanzee at Gombe National Park that was observed with a severe illness and was subsequently examined and treated in the field. Multiple specimens were collected and tested with the aim of identifying the pathogen responsible for the illness. Our findings represent the first extensive screening of a living wild chimpanzee, yet despite our efforts, the cause and source of illness remain unknown. Nevertheless, our findings represent valuable baseline data for the ape conservation community and for comparison with other recent findings. In addition, we present the case here to demonstrate the planning required and multiple types of expertise necessary to maximize the amount of data obtained from such a rare intervention, and to provide lessons learned for future studies. © 2013 Japan Monkey Centre and Springer Japan.

Schulz E.,University of Hamburg | Fraas S.,University of Hamburg | Kaiser T.M.,University of Hamburg | Cunningham P.L.,Conservation Programs | And 5 more authors.
Mammalian Biology | Year: 2013

Food preferences of the sand gazelle (Gazella marica) from the Mahazat as-Sayd Protected Area in Saudi Arabia were evaluated using focal animal sampling in conjunction with an eco-morphological method examining two parameters of tooth wear, i.e., occlusal relief and cusp shape. Observations of live, free-ranging animals (n= 53) showed that sand gazelles generally consumed more grass (58.4%) than browse (41.6%). However, during the dry season, gazelles spent significantly more time browsing (51.0%) and less time grazing (49.0%) than under wet conditions (browsing: 17.6%; grazing: 82.4%). Thus, consistent with predictions, sand gazelles are intermediate feeders but shift towards browsing when grass is scarce. The mesowear signature of the sand gazelle is consistent with a grazing signal in other ruminants. In other words, the browse component of the diets of live animals was not reflected in the tooth wear. This could have occurred because browse is less abrasive than grass, but more likely because all food types are heavily abrasive in this dusty habitat. We conclude that the sand gazelle population in Mahazat as-Sayd encounters a highly abrasive diet, which has implications for their ability to meet nutritional demands. © 2012 Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde.

News Article | November 21, 2016

The findings recommend developing a network that will create a more comprehensive and integrated platform to support evidence-based conservation and archive program results to better assess effectiveness. Dr. David Briske, T.M. O'Connor Professor in the department of ecosystem science and management with Texas A&M University in College Station, recently authored the paper with experts from the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service, Utah State University and the University of Wyoming. The paper, titled Assessment of USDA-NRCS Rangeland Conservation Programs: Recommendation for an Evidence-based Conservation Platform, examines the effectiveness of conservation practices on U.S. rangelands. Briske, who conducts rangeland research through Texas A&M AgriLife Research, also served as academic coordinator and editor of an earlier study, Conservation Benefits of Rangeland Practices: Assessment, Recommendations and Knowledge Gaps, published in 2011. The 2011 study resulted from a request by the Office of Management and Budget for the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service to document the societal benefits anticipated from a major increase in conservation funding authorized by the 2002 Farm Bill. Conservation funding in the Environmental Quality Incentive Program or EQIP, the primary program funding conservation practices, increased from $200 million in 1996 to $1.3 billion in the 2002 Farm Security and Rural Investment Act, with a goal to maximize the environmental benefits of conservation funding, he said. Briske said the Conservation Effects Assessment Project, or CEAP, was created at that time to assess these future conservation benefits. CEAP produced an unprecedented assessment of rangeland conservation practices conducted by a team of 40 scientists, interacting with 30 NRCS partners. They assessed the effectiveness of seven major conservation practices – prescribed grazing, prescribed burning, brush management, range planting, riparian herbaceous cover, upland wildlife habitat management and invasive plant management. "These are the primary conservation practices on rangelands and have been implemented for decades, both with and without federal cost-share funding," he said. "Surprisingly, this comprehensive assessment of rangeland conservation practices was unable to determine if benefits had occurred because practice outcomes were seldom documented." He said the paper recently published in Ecological Applications examines the underlying causes contributing to minimal documentation of the outcomes of federally funded conservation practices on U.S. rangelands as described in the initial assessment. The authors concluded that existing conservation programs are insufficiently designed to support efficient, cost-effective and accountable conservation investments on rangelands. They further stated that modification of the standards used to implement these conservation practices alone will not achieve the goals explicitly requested by CEAP. The problem, he said, is the practice standards are not sufficiently grounded in scientific evidence, relevant USDA databases or knowledge of production and environmental outcomes originating from conservation practices. "There is no capacity to learn from the results of previously implemented practices so that this knowledge can be applied to future conservation activities," Briske said. "We recommend that these conservation programs be restructured to establish a Conservation Programs Assessment Network to provide a more comprehensive and integrated platform to support evidence-based conservation," he said. The paper outlines the general structure of this conservation network, which would be based on collaborative monitoring of conservation practice outcomes among landowners, agency personnel and scientists to establish the missing information feedback loops between conservation practices and their agricultural and environmental outcomes. "Monitoring would be selectively conducted on the most important conservation practices and in the major ecoregions where they are applied," Briske said. He said the team concluded that restructuring conservation programs as recommended will directly address two major challenges confronting USDA-NRCS conservation programs. The first is the need for collaborative management to provide site-specific information, learning and accountability as requested by CEAP, Briske said. Secondly, it will further advance efforts to balance delivery of agricultural production and environmental quality goals by documenting the tradeoffs that exists among them in conservation programs. The goal, he said, is to archive evidence-based conservation information into this network so it can be made available to guide other related conservation programs in appropriate ecoregions. Explore further: How the presence of conservation researchers affects wildlife More information: D. D. Briske et al. Assessment of USDA-NRCS Rangeland Conservation Programs: Recommendation for an Evidence-based Conservation Platform, Ecological Applications (2016). DOI: 10.1002/eap.1414

Unsustainable palm oil is one of the worst industries driving wildlife and natural environments along with local culture and traditions to extinction. Raw Wildlife Encounters is thrilled to see this change which gives consumers informed and educated choices about what they are purchasing. Places such as the Leuser ecosystem in Aceh can’t afford to go extinct due to our buying habits. It’s about time we have a choice to make the right decisions, and put pressure on those who are doing the wrong thing to make the world a better place. Australian conservationist and orangutan specialist, Jess McKelson has spent the past fourteen years working closely with the local karonese villages that are most affected by the destruction caused by palm oil plantations in North Sumatra. For the past four years she has been working directly with the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program (SOCP) as their Quarantine Supervisor, overseeing the management and programs of the orangutans from the time they are confiscated to the time they are released back to the wild. “Having worked in the field for the past four years for the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme, I have seen firsthand, the destruction that palm oil farming has caused.” states Jessica McKelson, CEO of Raw Wildlife Encounters. “I’ve worked with the refugee orangutans in Sumatra displaced by palm oil, and it’s horrific. To know that I and everyone else is unwillingly contributing to their displacement and functional extinction, because we can’t make an informed choice is heart breaking. Australia is behind, and this in one step in the right direction.” One of the reasons Raw Wildlife Encounters was born, was to educate people who travel, and to give them solutions and power to make better choices in everyday life, so as to help places like Sumatra become sustainable.  Our Sumatran tours were developed to offer this grassroot support to help save habitat and species from extinction, by empowering and providing alternative livelihoods for locals, rather than working in the palm oil industry. We have seen fabulous positive impact in developing our RAW eco-tourism model, and giving locals also a voice to lobby against further exploitation of natural resources. All of our travel guests to Sumatra contribute to our conservation community programs when they travel with us. This is what makes our travel programs sought after and powerful in the places we work in North Sumatra. For more information or to organise an interview with Ms McKelson email: [email protected] or call on +61 409 162 946 Raw Wildlife Encounters (RAW) excels at organising life-changing travel experiences and unique wildlife encounters.  RAW was named one of the Top 10 Eco-Tours in the world by BBC in 2015. Our small-group tours are led by qualified wildlife professionals who will take you along roads less well-travelled and allow you to experience truly incredible learning encounters with unique wildlife.  Raw Wildlife Encounters fosters responsible tourism that benefits the local people, environment and wildlife in all our travel destinations through our Community and Conservation Programs.

The population of the Arabian Gazelle (Gazella arabica) was assessed on Farasan Kebir, the main island of the Farasan Archipelago (Saudi Arabia), from June 2010 to January 2013, using road strip counts. Two methods of estimating the population size were applied to analyse data obtained from the road strip count: (i) the traditional technique after Bothma, with a fixed strip width, and (ii) distance sampling using DISTANCE 6.0. Estimates varied between 483 gazelles (95% CI: 44) in November 2010 and 1070 gazelles (95% CI: 63) in June 2010. The number of gazelles estimated for Farasan Kebir using distance sampling is 2388 gazelles (95% CI: 921) in December 2011, 1199 gazelles (95% CI: 1372) in June 2012, and 1048 gazelles (95% CI:1524) in January 2013. Taking into account previous counts (1988-2009) the population seems, despite considerable variations, surprisingly stable. This may be attributed to a prevailing fishing culture among local residents and thus the absence of traditional hunting as well as the ranger activities on the islands. The disparity between the two estimation methods decreased to only 270 gazelles in January 2013 and provides additional confidence in the future application of both estimation techniques.The traditional technique is recommended as the more practical method for rangers and conservation mangers to determine population changes. ©2013 Taylor & Francis.

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