NMFWA Training Workshop 2018: Contemporary Research for Natural Resource Managers

NMFWA highlighted a number of key projects in the Resource Conservation and Resiliency program area at the recent National Military Fish and Wildlife Association’s (NMFWA) 2018 DoD Natural Resources Annual Training Workshop in Norfolk, Virginia.

Dr. Preston led the session with a synopsis of SERDP and ESTCP’s management areas as well as the mission of the Resource Conservation and Resiliency program area. The session then shifted focus to specific projects; these included the following SERDP and ESTCP investigators:

Dr. Eric Britzke from the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), Environmental Lab is leading an important project to demonstrate and validate the use of thermal videography and automated analysis to monitor populations of bats and birds as they emerge from their roost sites on DoD installations ( RC-201705). Improving the quality of population trends will assist in future conservation efforts that minimize potential impacts of threatened, endangered, and at-risk species on DoD installations.

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Dr. Brett DeGregorio, also from the ERDC, described the effort he leads to augment and improve existing reptile translocation projects occurring on DoD installations with either soft release or environmental enrichment to demonstrate the utility of these technologies relative to traditional translocation techniques       ( RC-201616). If soft release and captive enrichment increase survival of post-release animals, the duration of translocation projects can be reduced, substantial cost savings for natural resource managers could result from this project.

Dr. Gina Himes Boor, a project co-collaborator and faculty member from Montana State University, explained the new SERDP project RC18-1065 looking to utilize Spatially Explicit Individual-Based Models (SEIBMs) to manage metapopulations of threatened species across jurisdictional boundaries. Dr. Himes Boor presented her findings after conducting an informal survey of 27 DoD natural resource managers that identified why managers have opposed using SEIBMs in the past. The results of the survey were used to develop a primer on SEIBMs aimed specifically at managers potentially interested in using them to inform habitat management decisions.

Dr. Susan Cohen from the Naval Facilities Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center presented an introduction to the Defense Coastal/Estuarine Research Program                   ( DCERP): a 10-year basic and applied science effort at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. As DCERP is coming to an end, Dr. Cohen highlighted the successes of the program, especially the significant scientific findings that expanded coastal/estuarine understanding and challenged conventional thinking to influence adaptive management strategies geared towards future conservation concerns.

Finally, Dr. Jeff Walters from Virginia Tech discussed his involvement with DCERP in studying pine forest management, fire and endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. Through his research, Dr. Walters has observed an overall positive effect of managing habitats for red-cockaded woodpeckers as it positively influences the rest of the bird community. In addition, the burning of longleaf pines promotes restoration goals of natural resource managers at DoD sites.

Thank you to all of our session presenters and we look forward to seeing everyone at the 2019 Annual Training Workshop in Denver, Colorado!

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From left to right: Dr. Kurt Preston, Dr. Gina Himes Boor, Dr. Brett DeGregorio, Dr. Susan Cohen, Dr. Jeff Walters, and Dr. Eric Britzke

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