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Annandale, NY, United States

High-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is a new technology that poses many threats to biodiversity. Species that have small geographic ranges and a large overlap with the extensively industrializing Marcellus and Utica shale-gas region are vulnerable to environmental impacts of fracking, including salinization and forest fragmentation. We reviewed the ranges and ecological requirements of 15 species (1 mammal, 8 salamanders, 2 fishes, 1 butterfly, and 3 vascular plants), with 36%-100% range overlaps with the Marcellus-Utica region to determine their susceptibility to shale-gas activities. Most of these species are sensitive to forest fragmentation and loss or to degradation of water quality, two notable impacts of fracking. Moreover, most are rare or poorly studied and should be targeted for research and management to prevent their reduction, extirpation, or extinction from human-caused impacts. © 2012 National Association of Environmental Professionals. Source

Gifford N.A.,Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission | Deppen J.M.,Hudsonia Ltd. | Bried J.T.,Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission
Landscape and Urban Planning

Shrubland birds have become one of the most conservation-reliant avian groups in the Northeastern United States. Their contemporary distribution is restricted to regenerating commercial forests, utility rights-of-way, and other types of managed early-successional habitat. This study explored whether a highly fragmented urban pine barrens can have conservation value for shrubland birds. Specifically, we estimated the amount of core early-successional habitat available to shrubland birds in the Albany Pine Bush Preserve (East-central New York State) and quantified bird-habitat associations from systematic point count surveys. This 1255 ha urban preserve contains approximately 150 ha of core early-successional habitat dominated by pitch pine and scrub oaks. Eighty-two species, including 24 shrubland birds, were observed in one breeding season. Many of these birds have shown regional population declines and six are species of greatest conservation need in New York. Two shrubland species previously extirpated were common across the preserve, and on average shrubland species were similarly abundant to non-shrubland species. Several shrubland species were strongly associated with the limited early-successional habitat, and the prairie warbler is recommended as the best potential avian indicator for monitoring ecosystem health and management effectiveness in this globally rare pine barrens. Twenty years of ecosystem restoration, including prescribed fire and invasive plant management, is buffering the effects of fire suppression, habitat loss, and fragmentation on shrubland birds in this landscape. When managed appropriately, urban shrublands can provide suitable breeding habitat and may aid in the regional conservation of early-successional shrubland birds. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. Source

Hotopp K.P.,Appalachian Conservation Biology | Pearce T.A.,Section of Mollusks | Nekola J.C.,University of New Mexico | Schmidt K.,Hudsonia Ltd.
Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia

Recent land snail inventories in New York State have led to the discovery of new state geographic distribution records for seven species: Carychium nannodes Clapp, 1905; Gastrocopta procera (Gould, 1840); Lucilla scintilla (R.T. Lowe, 1852); Striatura meridionalis (Pilsbry and Ferriss, 1906); Trochulus hispida (Linnaeus, 1758); Vertigo cristata Sterki, 1919; and Vertigo paradoxa Sterki, 1900. Most are native species of eastern North America, although T. hispida is introduced from Europe. These species were found mainly by field searches in a variety of habitats roadsides, fields, forested rock talus and limestone outcrops, and coastal freshwater wetlands - but in one case through verification of specimens at the New York State Museum. Source

In many areas of the world, frogs are affected by multiple environmental stresses. Therefore, the presence or absence of frogs may serve as an indicator of the quality of urban environments. On three occasions in spring 2006, I surveyed calling frogs for three-hour periods at each of two sites in the Hackensack Meadowlands just outside New York City in northeastern New Jersey, USA. I detected small choruses of a single species, southern leopard frog (Lithobates sphenocephalus utricularius [Rana sphenocephala utricularia]), at multiple wetland and pond locations within each site. The occurrence of populations of this species in the Meadowlands is noteworthy because it is rare or disappearing in nearby regions. The tolerance of the southern leopard frog for slightly brackish water and its need for only small areas of adjoining upland habitat may enable it to survive in a coastal urban environment. The absence or scarcity of other frog species may be a result of unsuitability of the habitat, or fragmentation may prevent them from recolonizing following extirpation due to historic land use and hydrological alteration in the Meadowlands. Source

Dowling Z.,Bard College | Hartwig T.,Hudsonia Ltd. | Kiviat E.,Hudsonia Ltd. | Keesing F.,Bard College
Ecological Restoration

With the loss, fragmentation, and degradation of natural wetlands, habitat restoration and management are becoming increasingly important tools in the conservation of many turtle species. The rare Blanding's turtle lives primarily in wetlands but requires well-drained and sparsely vegetated soil for nesting. If traditionally used nesting habitat becomes unsuitable due to vegetation overgrowth, females may travel farther with an increased risk of collection, predation, and mortality from cars. At a habitat creation site in Dutchess County, New York, we examined the success and cost-effectiveness of three methods of nesting habitat management-tilling, mowing, and weeding-on replicated 5 m × 7 m plots. Using radiotelemetry, we followed female turtles throughout the 2006 and 2008 nesting seasons. Nesting turtles preferred tilled plots to weeded or mowed plots. Our work suggests that tilling plots can be a successful and cost-effective means of managing nesting habitat. ©2010 by the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System. Source

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