Box Elder, United States
Box Elder, United States

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Zurbuch P.E.,Wildlife Resources Section
Southeastern Naturalist | Year: 2015

This paper examines the changes in the Blackwater River's fishery from presettlement wilderness conditions to the present, and concludes with comments regarding the future of this resource. I estimate the extent of the native Salvelinus fontinalis (Brook Trout) fishery present prior to European settlement based on writings of the era and results of trout-stream restoration in West Virginia. I also describe the effects of logging, fire, and coal mining on the river's water quality and the subsequent demise of the Brook Trout fishery. I examine the partial recovery of the watershed and its fishery using records of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) and its predecessors that provided data regarding Blackwater River fish stockings, creel censuses, and fish surveys, and from conversations with local anglers. I also report on efforts to restore the lower Blackwater River in the mid-1990s when a limestone treatment facility was installed just upstream from Davis, WV to neutralize the acid-mine drainage entering the river. The effort improved water quality enough so that a fishery developed in the Blackwater Canyon. I describe the efficacy of an in-stream limestone-sand treatment to remediate the effects of acid deposition and facilitate recovery of the local native Brook Trout streams. Finally, I discuss the future of the Blackwater River and its fishery as related to climate warming, acid deposition, land development, water pollution, and water usage.


Tri A.N.,West Virginia University | Edwards J.W.,West Virginia University | Strager M.P.,West Virginia University | Petty J.T.,West Virginia University | And 3 more authors.
Ursus | Year: 2016

Despite a large body of literature that reports habitat use in non-urban areas, we lack a fundamental understanding of how American black bears (Ursus americanus; hereafter, black bear) use habitats in the urban-wildland interface in the eastern United States. This lack of information is problematic for bear managers in areas where bear populations are large and adjacent to urban areas. To better understand characteristics of urban-wildland habitat occupied by black bears, we conducted a study to understand habitat use of black bears in 7 urban areas in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. We fit data from 77 individual black bears with Global Positioning System-Global System for Mobile Communications collars during 2010-2012 in Johnstown, State College, and Scranton, Pennsylvania; northwestern New Jersey; and Beckley, Charleston, and Morgantown, West Virginia. We fit resource selection functions using generalized linear mixed models in R with different combinations of study area, human impact (human density and housing density), habitat (distance to roads, patch size), land cover (deciduous forest, evergreen forest, mixed forest, shrubland, grassland, pasture, barren, open-, low-, medium-, and high-intensity development, woody wetlands, and herbaceous wetlands), topographic (elevation and slope), and other variables (year, period of day [night or day], age and sex of the individual bear). Black bears used habitat similarly among study areas and between sexes. Black bears used forested slopes and riparian corridors in the urban-wildland interface. Black bears on the urban-wildland interface selected habitats similarly to wildland bears within the body of literature. Habitat selection was similar for males and females, regardless of study area, time of day, season, or year. Our results indicate that managers can employ the same suite of management tools to reduce human-bear conflicts at the urban-wildland interface that they use to deal with black bear conflicts in wildland areas. © 2016 International Association for Bear Research and Management.


Frick W.F.,University of California at Santa Cruz | Puechmaille S.J.,University of Greifswald | Puechmaille S.J.,University College Dublin | Hoyt J.R.,University of California at Santa Cruz | And 17 more authors.
Global Ecology and Biogeography | Year: 2015

We investigated the effects of disease on the local abundances and distributions of species at continental scales by examining the impacts of white-nose syndrome, an infectious disease of hibernating bats, which has recently emerged in North America. Location: North America and Europe. Methods: We used four decades of population counts from 1108 populations to compare the local abundances of bats in North America before and after the emergence of white-nose syndrome to the situation in Europe, where the disease is endemic. We also examined the probability of local extinction for six species of hibernating bats in eastern North America and assessed the influence of winter colony size prior to the emergence of white-nose syndrome on the risk of local extinction. Results: White-nose syndrome has caused a 10-fold decrease in the abundance of bats at hibernacula in North America, eliminating large differences in species abundance patterns that existed between Europe and North America prior to disease emergence. White-nose syndrome has also caused extensive local extinctions (up to 69% of sites in a single species). For five out of six species, the risk of local extinction was lower in larger winter populations, as expected from theory, but for the most affected species, the northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis), extinction risk was constant across winter colony sizes, demonstrating that disease can sometimes eliminate numerical rarity as the dominant driver of extinction risk by driving both small and large populations extinct. Main conclusions: Species interactions, including disease, play an underappreciated role in macroecological patterns and influence broad patterns of species abundance, occurrence and extinction. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Veselka IV W.,West Virginia University | Rentch J.S.,West Virginia University | Grafton W.N.,West Virginia University | Kordek W.S.,Wildlife Resources Section | Anderson J.T.,West Virginia University
Environmental Monitoring and Assessment | Year: 2010

Bioassessment methods for wetlands, and other bodies of water, have been developed worldwide to measure and quantify changes in "biological integrity." These assessments are based on a classification system, meant to ensure appropriate comparisons between wetland types. Using a local site-specific disturbance gradient, we built vegetation indices of biological integrity (Veg-IBIs) based on two commonly used wetland classification systems in the USA: One based on vegetative structure and the other based on a wetland's position in a landscape and sources of water. The resulting class-specific Veg-IBIs were comprised of 1-5 metrics that varied in their sensitivity to the disturbance gradient (R 2=0.14-0.65). Moreover, the sensitivity to the disturbance gradient increased as metrics from each of the two classification schemes were combined (added). Using this information to monitor natural and created wetlands will help natural resource managers track changes in biological integrity of wetlands in response to anthropogenic disturbance and allows the use of vegetative communities to set ecological performance standards for mitigation banks. © 2009 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.


Veselka IV W.,West Virginia University | Anderson J.T.,West Virginia University | Kordek W.S.,Wildlife Resources Section
Environmental Monitoring and Assessment | Year: 2010

Considerable resources are being used to develop and implement bioassessment methods for wetlands to ensure that "biological integrity" is maintained under the United States Clean Water Act. Previous research has demonstrated that avian composition is susceptible to human impairments at multiple spatial scales. Using a site-specific disturbance gradient, we built avian wetland indices of biological integrity (AW-IBI) specific to two wetland classification schemes, one based on vegetative structure and the other based on the wetland's position in the landscape and sources of water. The resulting class-specific AW-IBI was comprised of one to four metrics that varied in their sensitivity to the disturbance gradient. Some of these metrics were specific to only one of the classification schemes, whereas others could discriminate varying levels of disturbance regardless of classification scheme. Overall, all of the derived biological indices specific to the vegetative structure-based classes of wetlands had a significant relation with the disturbance gradient; however, the biological index derived for floodplain wetlands exhibited a more consistent response to a local disturbance gradient. We suspect that the consistency of this response is due to the inherent nature of the connectivity of available habitat in floodplain wetlands. © 2009 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.


Michael E.D.,West Virginia University | Brown S.L.,PO Box 5 | Brown W.S.,Wildlife Resources Section
Southeastern Naturalist | Year: 2015

In this paper, we present tabulations of annual game-animal harvests in Canaan Valley and Tucker County, WV, from several time periods. We present countywide harvestdata for 1923-2001 for Odocoileus virginianus (White-tailed Deer), 1969-2001 for Castor canadensis (Beaver), 1976-2001 for Lynx rufus (Bobcat), 1950-2001 for Ursus americanus (Black Bear), 1975-2001 for Martes pennanti (Fisher), and 1940-2001 for Meleagris gallopavo (Wild Turkey). Annual numbers of animals harvested in Canaan Valley have increased steadily during the past 75 years since the establishment of modern regulations. Interpretations of reported harvest data are difficult because of changes in extrinsic factors that affect hunting and trapping pressure and success. The only game animal for which harvest levels are positively correlated with population density is White-tailed Deer. It is difficult, if not impossible, to determine by examining the harvest numbers whether populations of game animals have increased, decreased, or remained stable.


Lesser W.A.,Wildlife Resources Section | Cromer J.I.,Wildlife Resources Section
Southeastern Naturalist | Year: 2015

Canaan Valley, a 40-mi(104-km2) basin situated about 3200 ft (975 m) above sea level in the mountains of northeastern West Virginia, supports a plant and animal community of largely boreal nature-a relic of the Ice Age. Removal of the original forest and subsequent fires drastically altered Canaan Valley's flora and fauna. This paper summarizes actions by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WV DNR) to research, manage, and restore several wildlife species, most of which are indigenous to Canaan Valley and its environs. Of particular importance was the WV DNR's research of Scolopax minor (American Woodcock), the findings of which have had broad management implications and brought national attention to hunting in Canaan Valley.


Cincotta D.A.,Wildlife Resources Section | Welsh S.A.,West Virginia University | Wegman D.P.,Wildlife Resources Section | Oldham T.E.,Wildlife Resources Section | Hedrick L.B.,West Virginia University
Southeastern Naturalist | Year: 2015

The Blackwater River, a tributary of the upper Cheat River of the Monongahela River, hosts a modest fish fauna. This relatively low diversity of fish species is partly explained by its drainage history. The Blackwater was once part of the prehistoric, northeasterly flowing St. Lawrence River. During the Pleistocene Epoch, the fauna was significantly affected by glacial advance and by proglacial lakes and their associated overflows. After the last glacial retreat, overflow channels, deposits, and scouring altered drainage courses and connected some of the tributaries of the ancient Teays and Pittsburgh drainages. These major alterations allowed the invasion of fishes from North America's more species-rich southern waters. Here we review fish distributions based on 67 surveys at 34 sites within the Blackwater River drainage, and discuss the origin and status of 37 species. Within the Blackwater River watershed, 30 species (20 native, 10 introduced) have been reported from upstream of Blackwater Falls, whereas 29 (26 native, 3 introduced) have been documented below the Falls. Acid mine drainage, historic lumbering, and human encroachment have impacted the Blackwater's ichthyofauna. The fishes that have been most affected are Salvelinus fontinalis (Brook Trout), Clinostomus elongatus (Redside Dace), Nocomis micropogon (River Chub), Hypentelium nigricans (Northern Hog Sucker), Etheostoma flabellare (Fantail Darter), and Percina maculata (Blackside Darter). The first two species incurred range reductions, whereas the latter four were probably extirpated. In the 1990s, acid remediation dramatically improved the water quality of the river below Davis. Recent surveys in the lower drainage revealed 15 fishes where none had been observed since at least the 1940s; seven of these (Cyprinella spiloptera [Spotfin Shiner], Luxilus chrysocephalus [Striped Shiner], Notropis photogenis [Silver Shiner], N. rubellus [Rosyface Shiner]; Micropterus dolomieu [Smallmouth Bass]; and Etheostoma camurum [Bluebreast Darter] and E. variatum [Variegate Darter]) represent additions to the faunal list of the Blackwater River.


Cincotta D.A.,Wildlife Resources Section | Welsh S.A.,U.S. Geological Survey
American Midland Naturalist | Year: 2010

Ammocrypta clara Jordan and Meek (western sand darter) occurs primarily in the western portions of Mississippi River system, but also has been reported from a Lake Michigan drainage and a few eastern Texas Gulf Slope rivers. Additional range records depict a semi-disjunct distribution within the Ohio River drainage, including collections from Wabash River in Indiana, the Cumberland, Green, Kentucky and Big Sandy rivers of Kentucky, and the upper Tennessee River in Tennessee and Virginia. This paper documents the occurrence of A. clara from the upper Ohio River drainage within the lower Elk River, West Virginia, based on collections from 1986, 1991, 1995, 2005 and 2006. The Elk River population, consistent with those of other Ohio River drainages, has slightly higher counts for numbers of dorsal-fin rays, scales below lateral line and lateral line scales when compared to data from populations outside of the Ohio River drainage. Modal counts of meristic characters are similar among populations, except for higher modal counts of lateral line scales in the Ohio River population. The discovery of the Elk River population extends the range distribution of A. clara in the Eastern Highlands region, documents wide distributional overlap and additional sympatry with its sister species, A. pellucida (eastern sand darter), and softens support for an east-west Central Highlands vicariance hypothesis for the present distribution of A. clara and A. pellucida. © 2010, American Midland Naturalist.

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