Craighead Beringia South
Facial recognition for wildlife: a novel method for improving the individual identification of mountain lions in camera trap images
Reliable population estimates are vital for effective carnivore conservation and conflict mitigation strategies. Camera trapping, in conjunction with mark-recapture analyses, is a cost-effective tool for monitoring many carnivore populations, but requires that individuals are reliably identifiable in photos (photo-ID). For species with conspicuous and individually unique markings (e.g., stripes or spots), photo-ID can be done with conventional side-on camera trap positioning. However, most North American carnivores do not have such markings, and several studies have demonstrated high photo-ID error rates for these species. Photo-ID using facial features has been a successful technique for certain species, but is limited to photos taken directly with handheld cameras.
We developed a novel camera trap accessory using the Arduino platform, which uses motion activated light and sound to attract the attention of passing animals, thereby producing facial images. To test this method, we targeted mountain lions in the Gros Ventre drainage of northwest Wyoming; preliminary results indicate a 75.0% success rate (n = 67) in generating head-on facial images. The device can be built inexpensively (approximately $33) and can be used in conjunction with standard camera trap equipment, making it a relatively simple method for improving camera-trap based population estimates.
Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative
‘Climb-it Change’: adventure film-making as a means to disseminate science to the public
Climate change is real….right? More than 98% of scientists agree that climate change is real, it is happening now, and is driven by increased human emissions of fossil fuels. That is an overwhelming majority of experts, yet the public opinion does not reflect this view. In fact, only about half of Wyoming residents believe climate change is happening and fewer than that believe it is caused by humans. Now that is a real problem. Scientific knowledge is typically disseminated through peer-reviewed publications and text books – media sources most everyday people don’t even have access to, let alone care to read. That’s why during my Master’s thesis research at Western Washington University I decided to not only publish in peer reviewed journals, but to also produce my first documentary film aimed at increasing awareness of climate change and the associated research. Climb-It Change is the story of a single species’ response to climate change in the alpine of western North America. In 2015, my research partner and I traversed the entire Rocky Mountain chain from central New Mexico north across the spine of the continent towards Jasper National Park – climbing a total of 76 mountains in four and a half months, all while collecting vital scientific data supporting the decline of the alpine wildflower, the Spotted Saxifrage (Saxifraga austromontana). Our work resulted in three peer-reviewed publications, my Master’s degree, and a short film now being shown throughout the world at film festivals and conferences. In this lightning talk, I will discuss the trials and rewards of documenting scientific research through film and encourage the next generation of scientific communicators to step-up to the challenge in this age of science denial.
Jesse Callahan Bryant
Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
Climbing away from coexistence
Over the past decade, rock climbing has exploded into mainstream American culture and imagination. Rock climbing gyms and blockbuster movies like Free Solo have exposed urban populations to the sport. The rapid rise in the popularity of rock climbing is exposing previously obscure and wild spaces to huge increases in recreation usership. Spaces increasingly exposed to this form of recreation are scattered throughout the GYE — Sinks Canyon in the Wind River Range, Grand Teton National Park, and the Highway 20 corridor West of Cody. The most instructive case of the disruptive effects of recreation growth on healthy coexistence is just outside of the GYE, in Ten Sleep Canyon in the Bighorn Range.
In less than a decade, rock climbing usership in Ten Sleep has increased by a factor of five. This rapid change has corroded both the climber-resident and climber-wildlife relationship. Ten Sleep locals increasingly feel powerless and disrespected, while ungulate migration patterns in the canyon seem to be delayed due to the increased rock climbing.
Problem definitions proposed by rock climbing advocacy groups fail to include effects on megafauna and local residents, and are limited to visible effects on the canyon flora. This limited parochial perspective of the climbing community prevents a full understanding of the problem in the area. Meanwhile, goal displacement tilts the concerns of these organizations away from actual ecological problems and toward their own financial maintenance.
Plagued by the stereotyped pathologies of rapid change, parochial perspective, and goal displacement, the climbing community is undermining the possibility of collaborative management and human-wildlife coexistence in Ten Sleep Canyon. This case, although not in the immediate GYE, is instructive of innumerable cases within the ecosystem.
Idaho State University
Coexistence, coadaptation, and the future of connectivity conservation throughout the Greater Yellowstone, High Divide, and Northern Continental Divide Ecosystems
Wolves and grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone and Northern Continental Divide Ecosystems play an important role in maintaining and enhancing landscape level ecological structure and function. However, the long-term health and genetic variability of these predators depends on the ability of isolated populations to move freely between the regions through the High Divide, and, thus, on the success of large landscape conservation to re-establish connectivity corridors. Given the prevalence of privately-owned rangelands in the region, the success of large landscape conservation rests on the willingness of ranchers to allow predators to inhabit and move across their land, as well as the ability of these predators to adapt to living on and migrating across private lands.
Currently, little is known about how ranchers are experiencing or handling changing wildlife movement patterns associated with connectivity conservation or how predators will adapt to moving through privately owned land. Using a multispecies perspective on rancher-predator interactions, this research asks the following linked question: how do individual grizzly bears, wolves, and ranchers experience conflict and adapt to landscape change associated with large landscape conservation? Preliminary results from twenty semi-structured and unstructured interviews with wildlife biologists, animal behaviorists, and landowners show that human-predator encounters not only affect the human communities whose livelihoods depend on these landscapes, but also shape the behavior of the wildlife involved. This research cultivates a broader understanding of how humans and predators coadapt to each other and the socio-political and biophysical factors that shape their interactions, to help inform the design of conflict reduction strategies, ranch management practices, and connectivity conservation goals to meet the values of multiple stakeholders, including wildlife.
Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative
Building interpretive resources to develop conservation attitudes
This talk will explore opportunities in interpretive signage for developing conservation attitudes. As a case study we will examine interpretive signs created for Bozeman’s Story Mill Community Park. We will view and discuss three original signs, focusing on specific sign elements directed at developing conservation attitudes. Two signs demonstrate how art can contribute to conservation attitudes by connecting information with viewer emotion, and by developing an appreciation for beauty in ecologically rich and healthy systems. The third sign demonstrates conservation attitude-building opportunities in storytelling that connect intellectually and emotionally with the visitor, and facilitate for certain types of positive and contextualizing experiences. This project was funded through a National Endowment for the Arts grant under direction from the Trust for Public Land. The resulting interpretive programming totals 10 interpretive signs and a forthcoming brochure. The park and interpretive opening is scheduled for July 2019.
Colorado College and the American Himalayan Foundation
Lessons from the Himalaya
The Himalaya of Nepal are situated near the center of the planet’s most populated continent, where anthropogenic pressures are accelerating, stressing wildlife and fragmenting habitat. In this talk, two of the area’s flagship felids, snow leopard and Bengal tiger, are highlighted as examples of tentative conservation successes. In one protected area of the high Himalayan belt of northern Nepal – Mustang, within the Annapurna Conservation Area – research and camera trapping of snow leopard is concurrent with efforts to reduce snow leopard depredation on livestock (especially from mass killing events). Foxlights, predator-proof livestock corrals, electric fencing, enforcement, education, and income generation are parts of a multi-pronged conservation effort.
In sub-tropical Chitwan National Park (part of the Terai Arc Landscape), Bengal tigers were nearly extirpated during the 1960s and ‘70s from habitat loss, poaching, and retaliatory killing. Timely response and dedicated management by wildlife officials, along with innovative public participation efforts, have resulted in a significant rebound of tiger numbers, while human- and livestock-killing events have remained constant.
These two cats can co-exist with humans, but sustaining recent conservation gains will remain challenging as human numbers grow and industrial development accelerates. The resolution of Nepal’s human-wildlife conflict issues will increasingly unfold in the realms of politics, socio-economics, and education.
Wyoming Wildlife Advocates
Preventing urban bear conflicts
With the death of a black bear last October in the Cottonwood area of Jackson, bear-human conflict has been pushed to the forefront of wildlife issues in Teton County. Wyoming Wildlife Advocates is kicking off a new campaign to help reduce conflicts that is called Spare-a-Bear. Spare-a-Bear seeks to provide either the full cost or a subsidy for bear-proof trash cans so that all residents throughout Teton County can have a bear-proof can. Both Town and County officials are considering implementing bear-proof can requirements for all residents. However, the cost of a bear-proof can is about triple the cost of a regular can. We want to ensure all residents can be a part of wildlife protection measures regardless of economic status. As a community that sits directly inside one of the most wildlife-rich areas of the world, Jackson should be a shining example of coexistence measures with wildlife with little to no wildlife conflict. Bear-proof cans are a simple measure that could prevent conflict with bears as grizzly bears expand their range.
We will be working with Teton County Integrated Solid Waste and Recycling, Teton County Commissioners, Town of Jackson City Council, and solid waste haulers to get as many bear-proof cans to residents as possible, especially those who cannot afford one. The program will also raise awareness of non-lethal techniques that can be employed to help prevent conflicts with bears in urban areas such as electric fencing, fladry, and fruit collection.
Ross Crandall, Derek Craighead
Craighead Beringia South
American Kestrels in Jackson Hole
American Kestrels, our smallest and most brilliantly colored falcon, are frequently seen in Jackson Hole during the summer months. Despite their apparent abundance, kestrels have declined by an estimated 55% since the 1960’s causing them to be listed as a Wyoming Species of Greatest Conservation Need.
We began a project in 2015 to assess potential causes of decline and identify suitable habitat for kestrels in Teton County. Since 2015, we have installed and monitored more than 50 nest boxes as well as monitored territories with natural cavity nests, deployed GPS tags to identify wintering areas, assessed adult survival using banding data and VHF telemetry, and delineated suitable habitat. Thus far, our results suggest adequate availability of nest sites (i.e. trees with cavities) for the species in Teton County, high breeding-season survival, and surprisingly long distances traveled between breeding grounds in Jackson Hole and wintering locations. In addition, we estimated 5.7% of Teton County is suitable kestrel habitat, which includes 41% of all privately owned lands within the county.
Moving forward, a comprehensive conservation strategy to stop or slow kestrel declines must include maintaining open areas with adequate nest sites, which is especially important on privately owned lands.
Greater Yellowstone Coordinating Committee
Partnership and collaboration at the Greater Yellowstone scale
The 15 million acres of federal lands of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) include the world’s first national park and our country’s first national forest. These public lands are managed by four federal agencies, each with differing missions and organizational structures. Through the Greater Yellowstone Coordinating Committee (GYCC) federal land managers work collaboratively, while valuing the varied interests and perspectives of the communities and visitors within the ecosystem. Our ability to tell the story of the global value and significance of the GYE is intrinsically intertwined with how people and wildlife live and move within and throughout the ecosystem and its human communities/populations Our near-term focus areas are: 1) Visitor and community use, and 2) Wildlife migration. In 2018, the GYCC convened public conversations on transportation needs and on wildlife migration at the landscape scale, and participated in similar conversations led by state agencies and other partners. What partnerships are needed at the local level, federal land management unit level, and landscape level to understand how people and wildlife live and move throughout the ecosystem?
Susan B. Eirich
The compassionate conservation movement: how might this change conservation practices?
There has been a revolution in the recognition of sentience in the animal world, and in the vast array of intelligences of non-human life forms, from corvids to cephalopods to slime molds and mammals. “Conservation has only now come to grips with the fact that this has happened.” (Wallach et al, 2018, Conservation Biology) Along with this research has been a growing awareness of the individuality of each animal, apart from being a member of a species. Out of this research has grown the field of Compassionate Conservation, which stipulates that we need a conservation ethic that includes the protection of individuals. This is an opportunity to push the boundaries of how we do conservation; developing modern solutions for sharing land with other species. The growing awareness of the intelligence, sentience and individuality of each animal, as well as their corresponding capacity to suffer, should be considered in our conservation decisions. Is there room in our current management systems for adaptation, or do we need to think in terms of a paradigm shift? Specific examples will be given of how this thinking has led to successful solutions in developing ever less invasive systems of management. Traditional conservation efforts in setting aside protected areas have been insufficient to preserve nature on their own. We in conservation need to foster a cultural shift where we willingly allow adequate space for animals to live their lives freely without interference, balancing their needs with human needs and wants.
Jennifer A. Feltner
University of Montana
Research in progress: assessing the impacts of increasing wolf and grizzly bear populations in the habitat selection and foraging patterns of cougars in the Southern Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (SGYE)
Since the early 2000’s, recovering wolf and grizzly bear populations in the SGYE north of Jackson, Wyoming have been reviving long absent competitive interactions amongst species of the large carnivore guild, potentially leading to behavioral shifts by subordinates such as cougars that can have population and community-level consequences. Research efforts are needed to clarify the responses of cougars following wolf and grizzly bear recovery and resultant impacts to prey populations. In the SGYE, management and monitoring of large mammals is complex. Multiple federal and state agencies, as well as non-profit organizations collect data and conduct research on these species, and anthropogenic impacts ranging from hunting to recreation to supplemental feeding of elk also play strong roles in the system. However, datasets on the populations, movements and food habits of wolves, cougars, and grizzly bears, as well as their primary prey, elk, from 2001 to the present exist. The aim of this study is to assess the impact of competition from recovering wolves and grizzly bears on cougars by investigating key factors driving cougar habitat selection and foraging patterns, including prey availability, risk of dominant competitor encounter, human activities and other environmental factors. Sixteen years of location data from cougars, wolves, grizzly bears and elk and predation data from cougars shared by my collaborators are currently being analyzed for this study. This project will advance understanding of how competition shapes the behavior of cougars, highlighting potential fitness impacts to cougars and subsequent behavioral shifts that could in turn impact prey species. In a region where management of both carnivores and ungulates remains challenged by a lack of understanding in how shifting community dynamics impact individual species, this study will fill knowledge gaps and aid in the development of conservation and management strategies for both predator and prey species in the SGYE.
Kate Gersh, Trevor Bloom, Corinna Riginos, Tim Farris, Chris Owen, Linda Merigliano
Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, Friends of Pathways, and Bridger-Teton National Forest
Neighbors to Nature — connecting the Jackson community to nature through collaborative citizen science at Cache Creek
A new citizen science initiative was launched this past summer to better inform land management decisions in the heavily used Cache/Snow King/Game Creek drainage. The project is called Neighbors to Nature: Cache Creek Study and it established a four-way partnership between the U.S. Forest Service’s Bridger-Teton National Forest, Friends of Pathways, Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation and The Nature Conservancy’s Wildflower Watch. Through this unique collaboration between multiple non-profit organizations and the U.S. Forest Service, we aim to educate the public on public lands management and empower people to become part of the decision making process through involvement in citizen science. Approximately 10 species of native and invasive plants are being monitored by volunteers, and trail counters were purchased and installed in key locations to observe how the area is being used for recreation. Some volunteers are directly observing and reporting on wildlife movements in the area, which can be used to evaluate how recreation use may be influencing wildlife behavior and inform management actions such as seasonal restrictions. Phenological observations such as leaf-out, budding, and flowering of plant species will help monitor the effects of climate change on plant communities and track invasive species. Data will then be analyzed and provided to the public at large and the U.S. Forest Service to inform future management decisions in the area.
Teton Conservation District
Human-bat coexistence: considerations for Teton County and beyond
Teton County, WY, is known to be home to 13 species of bats. Of these, three are listed as Species of Greatest Conservation Need by the Wyoming Department of Game and Fish, and one (the Little Brown Bat, Myotis lucifigus) is listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Bats perform a variety of valuable ecosystem services, such as insect control, which benefit natural systems as well as humans.
Bat populations in Teton County and across the United States face many threats. Many bat species are affected by habitat loss or degradation caused by deforestation and the development of wind or solar farms. A more recent threat to bat populations is the rapid spread of a disease called white-nose syndrome (WNS). White-nose syndrome was first detected in New York in 2006 and it has since killed millions of bats in North America. In 2018, WNS was detected for the first time in Wyoming and it has now been detected in a total of 33 states.
While there is currently no cure for WNS, there are things we can all do to improve how we coexist with bats. First, installing bat houses is a great way to help bat populations because it provides additional roosting habitat, buffering against the effects of habitat loss and disease. Second, decreasing artificial nighttime lighting near your home can help bats by allowing insects and bats to travel and forage with less disturbance. Additionally, you can prevent the spread of WNS by cleaning your clothes and gear before and after entering bat habitat (e.g., caves and mines) by soaking it in hot (>131 °F) water for 20 minutes. Finally, if bats have colonized your house, exclude them responsibly and without harming them.
David Harper, Aida Farag
United States Geological Service
Kendall Warm Springs Dace culturing and water quality monitoring
The Kendall Warm Springs Dace (Rhinichthys osculus thermalis) is a small Cyprinid fish found only in Kendall Warm Springs, in the upper Green River Drainage, Sublette County, Wyoming. These dace are limited to the approximately 300m long habitat within the spring, are isolated from the Green River by a waterfall, and are closely related to the common Speckled Dace (Rhinichthys osculus). Kendall Warm Springs has unique physical characteristics, with a consistent temperature of 29oC near its source and a sulfate concentration of 650 mg/L. Because of the small size of its habitat, and being an isolated population, the Kendall Warm Springs Dace was listed as an endangered species by the US Fish and Wildlife Service in 1987. Because of their extremely limited distribution and small population size, this species is at substantial risk of catastrophic loss due to local factors such as habitat manipulation, non-native species introductions, and habitat and water quality degradation from development (e.g., oil and gas development or changes in grazing practices). A primary recovery objective is to establish two captive refugia populations from individuals collected from the spring. The goals of our research are to establish culturing protocols specific to the Kendall Warm Springs Dace, attempt to establish a breeding population, and to conduct long term monitoring of water quality within the spring. Data collected from these efforts will be used to establish a captive population of fish that are genetically, behaviorally, and physiologically suitable for reintroduction to the wild, should reintroductions become necessary.
Deborah McCauley, Ginger Stout, Gretchen Kaufman
Veterinary Initiative for Endangered Wildlife
Human-wildlife lessons from the Rocky Mountains to the Himalaya
Tremendous effort and time have been invested in wildlife conservation in protecting critical habitat, reduce poaching and trade, and addressing climate change. However, if we don’t also make sure that the species we are protecting are also healthy, then these efforts will not succeed. Wildlife share disease with both domestic animals and people, which has caused devastating wildlife population declines. There is an urgent need to include wildlife health in conservation initiatives and to tackle health threats wildlife face in their native habitats.
VIEW is committed to assisting conservation efforts in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and globally in meeting the health challenges of priority species. Our work emphasizes critical areas of capacity building: training for wildlife professionals, supporting the development of much-needed wildlife health infrastructure, and facilitating research to better understand wildlife health risks for population recovery. In collaboration with government authorities and local partners, VIEW’s work is focusing on high profile species such as Yellowstone bison, Asian Bengal tigers, and one-horned rhinos, but our success will build a foundation for a much broader impact for all wildlife into the future.
Bridger-Teton National Forest
Strategies for recreation-wildlife co-existence: lessons from the field
The evolving recreation footprint on public lands is a major challenge in Jackson Hole, largely due to concern about the effects on wildlife. The National Forest comprises 51% of Teton County, providing substantial wildlands and crucial habitat for a rich abundance of wildlife species while at the same time providing opportunities for a diversity of recreation activities and experiences. Understanding the interaction between recreation and wildlife is a complex topic that defies simplistic statements. A major barrier to progress is inadequate attention on problem analysis. If we don’t truly understand what the problem is, then we cannot develop effective solutions. Furthermore, while all forms of recreation impact wildlife to some degree, there is evidence that the issue behind generalized wildlife-recreation concerns may not be “real” impacts but rather conflicting social values and/or a tendency to shift blame to others. Problem analysis requires open, honest dialogue — bringing people together with knowledge of focal species/habitats, evidence-based studies on the nature of recreation-wildlife impact, visitor use management tools, and social science. Key questions include, (1) what is the specific issue, (2) what is the scale of impact, (3) why is it an issue and who is it an issue for, (4) what is the specific visitor use link, (5) what is driving visitor behavior, and (6) what are the consequences of doing nothing? We will share three on-going examples from our work on the Bridger-Teton National Forest to illustrate how knowledge of visitor use informs wildlife issues. To meet the challenge ahead we must acknowledge that this work is ALL about people and balancing values. A fundamental need is fostering an ethic where we accept responsibility for our own actions and place as much value on respect for land, wildlife, and other people as we do on access for our own experiences.
Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative
Amphibians and their beaver benefactors in Grand Teton National Park
Amphibian populations of this region depend on shallow, non-flowing water for reproduction. Beavers play a keystone role because they create and maintain wetlands. We have been able to see the influence of beavers in Grand Teton National Park, with 13 years of consistent amphibian monitoring by the National Park Service’s Greater Yellowstone Network Inventory and Monitoring program. In seven catchments located across the Park, we survey about 65 potential amphibian breeding sites each year, documenting amphibian occupancy and which sites hold water due to beaver-created dams. The percentage of sites positively influenced by beaver dams has fallen from over 40% in the early years of monitoring to just over 20% in recent years. At some sites, old beaver dams have failed, with no return of beavers and dams. At other sites, beavers created or rebuilt dams during our monitoring years, but then abandoned them. A striking example of this occurred in the Sawmill Pond area. In 2012 a reconstructed beaver dam created a pond occupied by all four native amphibian species, a rare amphibian “hotspot”. By 2016 the dam was failing, the pond shrinking, and amphibians almost vanished. The discontinuity of beaver activity at our sites is puzzling; water and willows remain plentiful. We hypothesize that disease or predators may kill local beavers, and the area’s beaver populations could be too small to re-colonize empty habitat. A key issue in biodiversity protection is retaining species at ecologically relevant abundance levels. Research, effective conservation, and commitment to coexistence with beavers in Jackson Hole are needed, for the benefit of amphibians as well as many other native species.
Leslie Steen, Carlin Girard
Trout Unlimited and Teton Conservation District
The Jackson Hole Clean Water Coalition: addressing water quality issues through collaboration and community engagement
Trout Unlimited (TU), Teton Conservation District (TCD), and Friends of Fish Creek (FFC) have launched the Jackson Hole Clean Water Coalition (JHCWC) to measurably reduce nonpoint source pollution in Jackson Hole’s surface and groundwater from human sources. The collaborative has used their complementary skill sets and diverse resources to promote Jackson Hole’s water quality initiatives and consolidate information under one roof, and are currently developing agreements to bring on five to 10 additional government and not-for-profit entities as partners in this work.
The JHCWC’s Trout Friendly Lawns Program is a recently launched initiative to improve human-wildlife coexistence in Jackson Hole. Two major streams running through private lands in Jackson Hole — Fish Creek and Flat Creek — are the focus of Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality water quality investigations. Results from ongoing research in Fish Creek identified poor landscaping practices as a source of nutrient pollution to our waterways. Specifically, nutrient inputs from fertilizer, lack of vegetative buffers along waterbodies, and overwatering need to be addressed. This issue affects everyone in the community, which is experiencing declining drinking water quality, loss of recreational fishing opportunities, and impaired aquatic habitats that wildlife rely upon. Tackling these challenges requires a strategic community-wide approach.
The Trout Friendly Lawns Program seeks to incorporate water quality stewardship into the Jackson Hole community’s lawn care practices, mobilizing the collective power of the organizations involved. Based upon existing models from Wood River Land Trust and Gallatin River Task Force, it features a basic and gold-level certification program and uses positive messaging, community events, educational workshops, and incentives to change our landscaping culture as well as build broader awareness of water quality issues in Jackson Hole.
Bruce S. Thompson
Pangraphics and EcoTRACS
The ecological impacts of recreation on wildlife and wildlands
The anticipated re-designation of Dubois Badlands from Wilderness Study Area to National Conservation Area raised concern that such designation would likely increase regional and national attention, tourism promotion and ultimately impacts upon this unique and fragile landscape. My concern led to a search to better understand the impacts of recreational activities on wildlife and wildlands, and how best to mitigate them. That investigation became the genesis for this presentation.
Wildlife can be affected by recreation in a variety of ways, including direct and indirect mortality, lowered productivity, reduced use of preferred habitat, and both stress and aberrant behavior that in turn results in reduced wildlife reproductive or survival rates.
Among the most prominent categories of importance that emerge from research are:
impacts on the diversity, abundance, behavior, health and species composition of birds and mammals;
that such impacts are generated in various ways by virtually all human activity, most notably and to varying degrees hiking, biking, horseback riding, and camping; and
that the public at large is appreciably uninformed as to the forms and degrees of impact their activities have upon wild landscapes and the wildlife that inhabit them.
There is a grey area between natural and social science in the management of recreation in public spaces. By better understanding, anticipating and altering recreationists’ perceptions with regard to their impacts on wildlife and wild lands, public lands managers can influence visitor behavior and reduce the potential negative effects of recreation for wildlife.
Tools employed toward this end should address the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor realms of human learning and comprehension using diverse modes of information dissemination, supervision, motivation, inspiration, conflict resolution and enforcement.
More structural elements of recreational management include site design and both seasonal and spatial use restrictions.
Teton Raptor Center
Teton Raptor Center’s Poo-Poo Project
In 2010, Teton Raptor Center (TRC), a nonproﬁt raptor education, research and rehabilitation organization located in Wilson, Wyoming, initiated a community-driven project to install 100 ‘rock’ screens ($100/screen from the manufacturer) to protect cavity-nesting birds from becoming entrapped in vault toilets throughout Grand Teton National Park, and Shoshone, Bridger-Teton and Caribou-Targhee National Forests. In 2013, TRC’s Poo-Poo (Port-O-Potty Owl) Project developed its own screen to prevent wildlife entrapment on a national scale. Poo-Poo Screens are durable, easy to install, affordable, and they prevent accidental wildlife entrapment without compromising vault toilet ventilation. TRC has distributed 13,779 Poo-Poo Screens to 515 partners throughout all 50 states, the US Virgin Islands, and Canada. TRC was awarded the “Wings Across the Americas Award for Habitat and Partnership” from the USDA Forest Service in recognition of the conservation impact and partnership of the Poo-Poo Project. The Poo-Poo Project and wildlife entrapment awareness issues continue to expand throughout the US and beyond!
Morgan William Graham
Teton Conservation District
Teton Conservation District: creative cost-sharing for coexistence
This presentation will highlight several recent human/wildlife coexistence partnerships supported by Teton Conservation District (TCD). We will also review mechanisms for requesting TCD technical assistance and financial support. TCD welcomes collaborative and creative wildlife coexistence ideas and solutions.
Over the past three years, TCD has partnered with a myriad of organizations including the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance, Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, and the United States Forest Service.
TCD is administered by an elected five-member board, and is one of 34 conservation districts operating in Wyoming. Conservation Districts were born from the need to improve water and soil stewardship following the Dust Bowl era of the 1930s. Since its creation in 1946, TCD has broadened its assistance towards the arenas of agriculture, mapping, development planning, restoration, water resources, wildfire, and wildlife. TCD staff members regularly work with individual landowners, non-profits, and government agencies to address a dynamic array of natural resource opportunities and challenges. A key component of the TCD Strategic Plan is reduction and mitigation of human/wildlife conflict.
Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
Leave it to beavers: improving beaver human-coexistence and policy
Between 60 million to 200 million beavers once existed in North America, creating habitat for many wildlife and plant species. Beavers provide ecosystems services from raising water tables to trapping sediment and preventing it from moving downstream. Today, beavers occupy small parts of their native range and at significantly reduced numbers. Currently, humans are not interacting with or managing beavers to benefit human or non-human wellbeing on the scale or scope needed. Throughout the United States this is in part due to our problematic policies that default to lethal removal of beavers and do not allow or encourage increasing beaver populations. For example, in 2017, USDA Wildlife Service killed more than 23,000 beavers, with 54 killed in Wyoming. While most beaver management policies are problematic, this talk also focuses on positive examples of beaver restoration and conservation. For example, Utah’s Division of Wildlife Resources has a progressive beaver management plan that promotes non-lethal relocation of beavers and reintroductions.
As professionals, we should improve human and non-human wellbeing through redistribution of beavers back to their home range with public support. Benefits would include enhanced ecosystems, wildlife habitat, and improved water management and storage. Some ranchers are bringing these ecosystem engineers back onto their properties to withstand droughts. This talk recommends improving current beaver policies and management—implementing “best practices” for living with beavers and promoting beaver reintroduction. It is time to expand discussion, work, and conservation of beavers.