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U. S. Department of the Interior National Park Service Wildlife Program Overview Mason Reid, Wildlife Ecologist Mount Rainier National Park.

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Presentation on theme: "U. S. Department of the Interior National Park Service Wildlife Program Overview Mason Reid, Wildlife Ecologist Mount Rainier National Park."— Presentation transcript:

1 U. S. Department of the Interior National Park Service Wildlife Program Overview Mason Reid, Wildlife Ecologist Mount Rainier National Park

2 NPS Mission and Policies Organic Act and NPS Policies –which purpose is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations. (16 USC 1)

3 Role of Wildlife Program at Mount Rainier  Responsible for the protection and understanding of wildlife  Evaluate impairment  At Mount Rainier you can find: – at least 56 mammal species; –17 species of amphibians and reptiles; –more than 229 species of birds use the park; –8 species of native fish; –but invertebrates probably represent 85% of the animal biomass in the park


5 Protecting Ecosystems – Intact??

6 Status of Ecological Integrity - Wildlife  Park establishment – Protects communities within the park  Many mid-larger size vertebrates are far ranging  Park “island effect”  Old growth forests, subalpine meadows – appear largely intact  Missing most of the system’s carnivores –many others in decline – significant implications

7 Carnivores in WA Parks – Native Species and Status Historically Documented Species (legal status)MORANOCAOLYM Wolverine (Fed – Pet.) XX Canada Lynx (Fed – T.) XX Grizzly Bear (Fed – T.) X Fisher (WA – T, Fed – Candidate) XXX Marten (Fed – Pet. (coastal)) XXX Gray Wolf (Fed – End.) XXX

8 Endangered Species Act of 1973  All Federal agencies are required to undertake programs for the conservation of endangered and threatened species, and are prohibited from authorizing, funding, or carrying out any action that will jeopardize a listed species or destroy or modify its "critical habitat" [section 7];  ESA in place to recover species in jeopardy

9 Federally-Listed Species and Critical Habitat  Northern Spotted Owl  Marbled Murrelet  Gray Wolf  Grizzly Bear  Wolverine  Canada Lynx  Chinook Salmon  Bull Trout  Steelhead

10 Park Project Effects on Wildlife Construction/maintenance project effects on wildlife –Direct – roadkill mortality –Indirect – habitat loss; noise, lights and other disturbance; artificial food sources

11 Northern Spotted Owl

12 Barred Owl  Larger and more aggressive than spotted owl.  Same genus (Strix) as spotted owl.  Considered a threat to NSO but only recently some supporting evidence

13 Demographic Monitoring Approach

14 Rainier NSO Demographic Study Area Population rates of growth from N. spotted owl demography study areas in WA Study Arealambda95% CI% Ann. Decline Rainier0.8960.788-1.00310.4 Cle Elum0.9380.901-0.9766.2 Olympic0.9560.893-10184.4 Wenatchee0.9170.882-0.9528.3  Park in one of 13 Demographic Study Areas across NSO range  Park represents ½ of NSO territories in DSA

15 NSO/ BO Territories at Mount Rainier: 2005 Review

16 Northern Spotted Owl Status

17 Marbled Murrelet Brachyramphus marmoratus  Listed as a threatened species by both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the state of Washington.  Marbled murrelet nesting habitat in the Park is forests older than 100 years and below 3,500 feet.  There are approximately 10,000 ha (25,000 acres) of suitable marbled murrelet nesting habitat in the Park.

18  Breeding areas –Carbon –Mowich –Puyallup  Occupied –Nisqually  Suitable –Ohanapecosh (?) –White Murrelet Monitoring

19  Presence/Absence –Portable Marine Radar Detects flying murrelets  Breeding –Audiovisual surveys Vocalizations Flight behavior

20 Network Monitoring  North Coast and Cascades Network (NCCN)  7 Parks, 28 Networks in NPS  “Vital Signs”  Long-term natural resource monitoring program

21 Elk Monitoring – NCCN Cervus elaphus  Identified as important to monitor in MORA, OLYM and LEWI  Monitoring protocol under development  Elk have an important ecological role and are highly bio-political species (tribes, state, others)  Long history of elk issues

22 Elk Monitoring -- NCCN  Most elk in park are migratory – few reside year-round (Ohanapecosh watershed)  North and South Herds  Aerial surveys – Autumn  One of the longest-running annual monitoring programs at MORA

23 Elk Herds and Aerial Survey Blocks at Mount Rainier National Park


25 Landbird Monitoring --NCCN - Point counts to determine trends and bird density in selected areas of the park - Sample design with transects that start off roads and trails parkwide

26 Current Wildlife Research Projects  Elk population evaluation  Effects of visitor use on corvid abundance  Butterfly distribution and range shift

27 Climate Change - Wildlife Effects –Habitat loss –Changes in Distribution –Changes in Abundance –Changes in Phenology (Breeding, Migration, etc.)

28 More Climate Change Effects –Increase of Diseases & Pests –Non-native definitions –Extirpations –Loss of species before they are identified

29 Pinyon mouse Pika

30 Mount Rainier Specifics  High elevation species vulnerable  Effects of habitat and temperature change

31 Human Dimensions of Wildlife Around the Park –Landscape fragmentation –Wildlife persecution/harvest –Road corridors –Other development –Contaminants –Range Expansion/Non-natives

32 Human Dimensions of Wildlife Within the Park –Roadkill –Boundary impacts –Park development projects –Visitor-caused disturbance –Wildlife feeding –Wildlife habituation

33 Road Impacts

34 Habituated and Food-Conditioned Wildlife

35 Steller’s Jay Clark’s Nutcracker Gray Jay Mount Rainier’s corvids Raven

36 Results from pilot corvid surveys

37 Centennial Project: Keep Wildlife Wild  Wildlife feeding  Food storage  Attractant management

38 Wildlife Issues Where You Can Help  Roadkill  Feeding & Food Storage  Incomplete Ecosystems  Climate – Changes from Species to Visitor Access – Choices for the Future  Wildlife Observations  Animal Incidents  Habituated Wildlife

39 Questions?

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