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Massasauga Partnership and Field Project Marks Fifth Year, Looks Forward to Next Five
Midwest Region, May 9, 2013
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Mike Redmer of the Service's Chicago Field Office presents Dr. Joanne Earnhardt (Lincoln Park Zoo) with a letter of appreciation for her leadership as the first coordinator of the Eastern Massasauga Species Survival Plan. Dr. Earnhardt stepped down at the plan's annual meeting in May after seven years of service.
Mike Redmer of the Service's Chicago Field Office presents Dr. Joanne Earnhardt (Lincoln Park Zoo) with a letter of appreciation for her leadership as the first coordinator of the Eastern Massasauga Species Survival Plan. Dr. Earnhardt stepped down at the plan's annual meeting in May after seven years of service. - Photo Credit: Louise Clemency/USFWS

In 2006, The Association of Zoos and Aquariums' formed the Eastern Massasauaga Rattlesnake Species Survival Plan to coordinate the efforts of North American Zoos interested in conserving the captive population of this species.

 

Under the leadership of the Species Survival Plan's first coordinator (Dr. Joanne Earnhardt - Lincoln Park Zoo), the plan grew, and by 2009 began began an ambitious field study of massasauga biology at The Edward Lowe Foundation's Big Rock Valley in Southern Michigan. The Service's Chicago Illinois Field Office provides staff who serves as an invited adviser to the Species Survival Plan, and assisted with early design of the field project.

At the plan's seventh annual meeting (and fifth consecutive meeting at the field site) in May 2013, attendees from 13 zoos (located in nine states and one Canadian Province) again spent five days mixing business meetings and field work capturing and marking massasaugas as part of the intensive study. In addition, Dr. Earnhardt was recognized by plan members and advisers when she stepped down as coordinator. Louise Clemency and Mike Redmer of the Chicago Field Office presented Dr. Earnhardt a letter thanking her for her leadership and service in forming what is a very active Species Survival Plan. In particular Dr. Earnhardt assembled a mixed partnership of professionals from the zoo community, academia, and public agencies who have all rallied behind the plan's common cause to conserve the eastern massasauga.

At the same time, the Edward Lowe Foundation announced that it would host and support the Species Survival Plan field project for another five years. The result of this project will be a good profile (built on field data gathered over a long-term) of the life history characteristics of this species in the center of its range, and hopefully a better understanding of it's wintering biology. These are topics that will be useful to managers throughout the species' range.


Contact Info: Michael Redmer, 847-381-2253, Mike_Redmer@fws.gov



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