Conserve Wildlife

Bordentown, NJ, United States

Conserve Wildlife

Bordentown, NJ, United States
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Burger J.,Rutgers University | Gordon C.,Pandion Systems Inc. | Lawrence J.,Conserve Wildlife | Newman J.,Pandion Systems Inc. | And 2 more authors.
Renewable Energy | Year: 2011

With a worldwide increase in attention toward developing a reliance on renewable energy, there is a need to evaluate the effects of these facilities (solar, wind, hydropower) on ecosystems. We conduct a hazard and risk evaluation for three species of birds that are listed, or candidates for listing, as federally threatened or endangered in the US, and that might occur offshore on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf (AOCS) where wind power facilities could be developed. Our objectives were to: 1) provide conceptual models for exposure for each species, and 2) examine potential exposure and hazards of roseate tern (Sterna dougallii) and piping plover (Charadrius melodus, both federally endangered in the US) and red knot (Calidris canutus rufa, candidate species) in the AOCS. We used a weight-of-evidence approach to evaluate information from a review of technical literature. We developed conceptual models to examine the relative vulnerability of each species as a function of life stage and cycle (breeding, staging, migratory, wintering). These methods are useful for conducting environmental assessments when empirical data are insufficient for a full risk assessment. We determined that 1) Roseate terns are likely to be exposed to risk during the migratory and breeding season when they occur in the AOCS, as well as while staging. 2) Piping plovers are not likely to be at risk during the breeding season, but may be at risk during spring or fall migrations. Risk to this species is likely to be low from turbines located far from land as this species migrates mainly along the coast. 3) Red knots are potentially exposed to some risk during migration, especially long-distance migrants whose migratory routes take them over the AOCS. More information is required on exact spatio-temporal migration routes, flight altitudes (especially during ascent and descent), and behavioral avoidance of turbines by birds to ascertain their risk. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.


Burger J.,Rutgers University | Burger J.,Vanderbilt University | Gochfeld M.,Rutgers University | Gochfeld M.,Vanderbilt University | And 6 more authors.
Environmental Monitoring and Assessment | Year: 2015

There is considerable interest in developing bioindicators of ecological health that are also useful indicators for human health. Yet, human health assessment usually encompasses physical/chemical exposures and not cultural well-being. In this paper, we propose that bioindicators can be selected for all three purposes. We use Chinook or king salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and red knot (Calidris canutus rufa, a sandpiper) as examples of indicators that can be used to assess human, ecological, and cultural health. Even so, selecting endpoints or metrics for each indicator species is complex and is explored in this paper. We suggest that there are several endpoint types to examine for a given species, including physical environment, environmental stressors, habitat, life history, demography, population counts, and cultural/societal aspects. Usually cultural endpoints are economic indicators (e.g., number of days fished, number of hunting licenses), rather than the importance of a fishing culture. Development of cultural/societal endpoints must include the perceptions of local communities, cultural groups, and tribal nations, as well as governmental and regulatory communities (although not usually so defined, the latter have cultures as well). Endpoint selection in this category is difficult because the underlying issues need to be identified and used to develop endpoints that tribes and stakeholders themselves see as reasonable surrogates of the qualities they value. We describe several endpoints for salmon and knots that can be used for ecological, human, and cultural/societal health. © 2015, Springer International Publishing Switzerland.


Burger J.,Rutgers University | Niles L.J.,Conserve Wildlife | Porter R.R.,800 Quinard Court | Dey A.D.,Endangered and Nongame Program | And 2 more authors.
Renewable Energy | Year: 2012

With a worldwide increase in energy needs, many countries are increasing their development of renewable sources, such as wind and solar. We examined possible risk to a migrating and wintering shorebird (red knots Calidris canutus rufa) along the Atlantic Coast of the United States by developing a conceptual model of assessment endpoints, stressors, exposure, and effects characterization, and testing the applicability of knots fitted with geolocators to provide data for salient aspects of exposure and risk for coastal and offshore development. Birds were fitted with geolocators in Delaware Bay (New Jersey) and Monomoy Refuge (Massachusetts) in 2009, and recaptured at the same locations in 2010. The knots recaptured in Delaware Bay were long-distance migrants that spent less time along the Atlantic Coast (<7%, N=3), while the knots recaptured in Monomoy spent over half of the year migrating, at stopovers, and wintering along the Atlantic Coast (>60%, N=6 with one-year cycle). The continuous record of geolocators provides useful data for a risk evaluation about: (1) high use areas for this shorebird (2) migration, staging and wintering areas, (3) possible foraging times while at stopovers, (4) synchrony of arrival and departure times, (5) weight or condition following a yearly cycle, and (6) direction of movements over the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf (AOCS), a potential risk consideration with respect to offshore wind development. All knots crossed the AOCS at least twice during long-distance flights, and more often on shorter flights. The knots captured at Monomoy spent over 60% of their cycle while migrating, at stopovers, and while wintering along the Atlantic coast, suggesting the importance of this region to conservation of knots. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.


Burger J.,Rutgers University | Niles L.J.,Conserve Wildlife | Porter R.R.,800 Quinard Court | Dey A.D.,Endangered and Nongame Program
Wader Study Group Bulletin | Year: 2012

Shorebirds that nest at low densities in the Arctic are difficult to study. Information on breeding phenology, incubation period, and incubation outcomes can aid an understanding of population dynamics, particularly for species whose populations are declining. We describe a technique for using data from light-archival geolocators placed on Red Knots Calidris canutus rufa to determine information about breeding, and report on the proportion of knots that reached Arctic breeding grounds, attempted incubation, and appeared to incubate to full term, as well as total time spent in the Arctic. We captured 19 knots that were fitted with geolocators in New Jersey, Massachusetts, Florida, Texas, and S Argentina, and reached Arctic breeding areas. The median arrival date in the Arctic was 10 June, the median departure date was 22 July, and the mean time in the Arctic was 44 ±2.3 days (range 28-65 days). Because of 24 hr sunlight in the Arctic summer, prolonged periods of a mainly dark signal indicate that the geolocator was not exposed to light, and we inferred that the bird was incubating. On the basis of this assumption, we found that 85% initiated incubation (N = 20), 65 % (N = 17) incubated for 18-24 days, and one incubated for 30 days. Geolocator output showed that knots rarely entered salt water while in the Arctic. All the knots for which we obtained data reached their Arctic breeding grounds and a high proportion incubated nests.


Burger J.,Rutgers University | Niles L.,Conserve Wildlife
Urban Ecosystems | Year: 2013

Coastal habitats are critical for conservation of migrant shorebirds. We examined the effect of beach closure on recreationists and on shorebirds, at an important southbound stopover area for shorebirds at Brigantine, New Jersey. The study had three prongs: 1) involve stakeholders during all phases, 2) assess public use of the beach and responses to closure, and 3) assess shorebird use of the beach and response to closure. Stakeholders were involved in the design, implementation and evaluation of the project. The beach was used for fishing, walking, dog-walking, and other recreational activities. Sixty percent of recreationists were positive about the study and beach closure to protect shorebirds. The data indicate that: 1) involving a wide range of stakeholders early and often was important to our ability to conduct, design, and implement the study, 2) the beach was used by different types of recreationists 3) beach users were supportive of the closure, 4) spatial use by shorebirds depended upon whether the beach was open or closed, especially for red knot, and 5) all species of shorebirds used a small beach area behind a protective fence whether the beach was open or closed. Red knot behavior was most affected by beach closure; they spread out over the entire beach when it was closed, and concentrated at the tip when it was open. Conservation measures should take into account stakeholders views, human uses, beach physiognomy, and potential closure of refuge areas during critical migration times for shorebirds. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media New York.


Burger J.,Rutgers University | Burger J.,Environmental and Occupational Health science Institute EOHSI | Gochfeld M.,Environmental and Occupational Health science Institute EOHSI | Gochfeld M.,Rutgers University | And 7 more authors.
Environmental Research | Year: 2014

There is an abundance of field data on levels of metals for feathers in a variety of birds, but relatively few data for tissues, especially for migrant species from one location. In this paper we examine the levels of arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, manganese, mercury and selenium in muscle, liver, brain, fat and breast feathers from migrant semipalmated sandpipers (Calidris pusilla) collected from Delaware Bay, New Jersey. Our primary objectives were to (1) examine variation as a function of tissue, (2) determine the relationship of metal levels among tissues, and (3) determine the selenium:mercury molar ratio in different tissues since selenium is thought to protect against mercury toxicity. We were also interested in whether the large physiological changes that occur while shorebirds are on Delaware Bay (e.g. large weight gains in 2-3 weeks) affected metal levels, especially in the brain. There were significant differences among tissues for all metals. The brain had the lowest levels of arsenic and cadmium, and was tied for the lowest levels of all other metals except lead and selenium. Correlations among metals in tissues were varied, with mercury levels being positively correlated for muscle and brain, and for liver and breast feathers. Weights vary among individuals at the Delaware Bay stopover, as they arrive light, and gain weight prior to migration north. Bird weight and levels of arsenic, cadmium, and selenium in the brain were negatively correlated, while they were positively correlated for lead. There was no positive correlation for mercury in the brain as a function of body weight. The selenium:mercury molar ratio varied significantly among tissues, with brain (ratio of 141) and fat having the highest ratios, and liver and breast feathers having the lowest. In all cases, the ratio was above 21, suggesting the potential for amelioration of mercury toxicity. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.


Burger J.,Rutgers University | Tsipoura N.,New Jersey Audubon Society | Simnor A.,New Jersey Audubon Society | Pittfield T.,Rutgers University | And 4 more authors.
Urban Ecosystems | Year: 2016

Hurricane Sandy resulted in massive destruction of many coastal ecological and human communities in the Northeastern United States in 2012. Beach-nesting and migrating birds are vulnerable to loss of essential habitat as a result of storms. In this paper we report the perceptions of beach users about avian use of the beaches, conservation measures to protect birds, and recent restoration efforts at Stone Harbor Point (New Jersey) to provide beach habitat for birds. Nearly all the visitors to the beach were Caucasian (N = 555), and reported their activity as walking (93 %), birding (19 %), biking (7 %), and lounging, boating, fishing or photographing (5 % or less for each). Visitors mainly came to this beach because of aesthetics, exercise, and vacation or to visit friends. Subjects rated protecting endangered species and the environment, restoring the beach, and designating off-limit areas to protect birds the highest. They rated conservation measures for birds the highest, and allowing dogs on the beach and providing more opportunities for jogging the lowest. The results suggest that protecting endangered species and habitat for nesting birds is a slightly higher goal than restoring dunes and marshes for flood control, which provides evidence for public support of restoration projects that protect both ecological and human communities. Providing more space for their own recreational activities was rated much lower, again supporting community good over personal uses. This information supports the restoration efforts following Sandy, and the importance of restoration projects that integrate ecological and human health goals in urban environments. © 2016 Springer Science+Business Media New York


Burger J.,Rutgers University | Niles L.J.,Conserve Wildlife | Porter R.R.,800 Quinard Court | Dey A.D.,Endangered and Nongame Program | And 2 more authors.
Condor | Year: 2012

Surveys and banding records of Calidris canutus rufa indicate that Red Knots migrate mainly north and south through Massachusetts, Delaware Bay, and Virginia, and winter in Florida and South America. We fitted 40 adult Red Knots with geolocators at Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge, Massachusetts, during fall migration (2009), and in this paper report on the locations of migration and wintering along the Atlantic coast of the United States of eight recaptured knots. The knots' migration patterns varied: four birds wintered along the U.S. Atlantic coast, and the rest went to the Caribbean islands or the northern edge of South America. Knots spent 58 to 75 days in Monomoy Refuge before migrating south in November. Seven of the eight stopped along the U.S. Atlantic coast for relatively long periods. For the six with complete yearly cycles, the total time spent along the Atlantic coast averaged 218 days (range 121-269 days). All eight knots crossed the Atlantic outer continental shelf from two to six times. Areas of use were Monomoy, Long Island, New Jersey, Maryland, the Outer Banks of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida. These data indicate that Red Knots moving through Massachusetts in the fall had variable migration patterns, spent considerable periods of their life cycle along the Atlantic coast, and each knot followed a separate and distinct path, which suggests that knots can be at risk along the Atlantic coast for a substantial period of their life cycle. © The Cooper Ornithological Society 2012.


Burger J.,Rutgers University | Niles L.,Conserve Wildlife
Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health - Part A: Current Issues | Year: 2014

For management, it is important to understand the factors that affect foraging efficiency of birds during migration, especially in the face of severe storms and sea-level rise. An experiment was conducted whereby a beach used extensively by migrant shorebirds and people was open and experimentally closed to human activity to examine factors affecting feeding when there was no disturbance, with the beach opened or closed to human activity, and following disturbances. When the beach was closed, the factors affecting the percent of shorebirds foraging varied by species, but involved the number of conspecifics or other shorebirds, location along the beach, and number of raptors. Overall, 30% of flocks were disturbed as a function of type of disturbance, location along the beach, and whether the beach was open or closed. These data suggest that individuals, vehicles, and raptors influence the ability of shorebirds to forage undisturbed, indicating the importance of having some sections of important stopover beaches where shorebirds can feed and roost undisturbed by human activity. A corollary is that other parts of the beach can be freely used by people; environmental health can encompass both protected areas for shorebirds and open areas for fishing and recreation. Severe storms and sea-level rise will limit beach space for both human and avian activities, and understanding mitigation for both is essential to wise adaptive management. Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


PubMed | New Jersey Audubon Society, Endangered and Nongame Species Program, Conserve Wildlife and Rutgers University
Type: | Journal: Environmental research | Year: 2014

There is an abundance of field data on levels of metals for feathers in a variety of birds, but relatively few data for tissues, especially for migrant species from one location. In this paper we examine the levels of arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, manganese, mercury and selenium in muscle, liver, brain, fat and breast feathers from migrant semipalmated sandpipers (Calidris pusilla) collected from Delaware Bay, New Jersey. Our primary objectives were to (1) examine variation as a function of tissue, (2) determine the relationship of metal levels among tissues, and (3) determine the selenium:mercury molar ratio in different tissues since selenium is thought to protect against mercury toxicity. We were also interested in whether the large physiological changes that occur while shorebirds are on Delaware Bay (e.g. large weight gains in 2-3 weeks) affected metal levels, especially in the brain. There were significant differences among tissues for all metals. The brain had the lowest levels of arsenic and cadmium, and was tied for the lowest levels of all other metals except lead and selenium. Correlations among metals in tissues were varied, with mercury levels being positively correlated for muscle and brain, and for liver and breast feathers. Weights vary among individuals at the Delaware Bay stopover, as they arrive light, and gain weight prior to migration north. Bird weight and levels of arsenic, cadmium, and selenium in the brain were negatively correlated, while they were positively correlated for lead. There was no positive correlation for mercury in the brain as a function of body weight. The selenium:mercury molar ratio varied significantly among tissues, with brain (ratio of 141) and fat having the highest ratios, and liver and breast feathers having the lowest. In all cases, the ratio was above 21, suggesting the potential for amelioration of mercury toxicity.

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