Conservation Science
Northeast Region


Conservation Science News and Updates

July 2014

Conservation Science News and Updates is jointly compiled and distributed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region Science Applications and External Affairs, in coordination with other FWS programs. This periodic newsletter is part of our agency's ongoing commitment to integrating and applying the best available science tools, information and practices toward common species and habitat goals at landscape scales. Please email submissions to

Modeling to determine fish passage targets for American eel in the Susquehanna River
FWS Fisheries program biologists developed an egg-per-recruit model to determine the reproductive output of American eels in the Susquehanna River under various levels of fish passage. This sort of modeling helps to set fish passage targets for American eel at dams undergoing Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) relicensing and the model can be adapted to other river systems. Learn more

Atlantic and Great Lakes sea duck migration study
More than half of North American sea duck populations have apparently declined over the past 2-3 decades, although reasons for declines are unknown. Population delineation (i.e., the links among breeding, molting, wintering, and staging areas) is critical information needed to design and interpret  monitoring surveys, to better understand population ecology and population dynamics, and determine limiting factors and potential strategies to improve conservation status of sea ducks. To meet this need, scientists conducted a collaborative large-scale, multi-year, satellite-tracking program for sea ducks along the Atlantic coast and Great Lakes. Learn more

Mapping Northeast Regional Conservation Opportunity Areas
The North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC) and Northeast states have agreed to work together to develop a collaborative approach to map Northeast Regional Conservation Opportunity Areas (RCOA).  The guiding purpose of these areas will be to identify and spatially depict priority areas at the Northeast regional scale that offer the best opportunities and potential for conserving Regional Species of Greatest Conservation Need (RSGCN), considering the location and relative condition of their habitats. Learn more

North Atlantic LCC expands key landscape conservation design efforts
The North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC) Steering Committee approved $340,000 in funding to support additional phases of the Designing Sustainable Landscapes project led by University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Forecasting Changes in Aquatic Systems and Resilience of Aquatic Populations project being led by U.S. Geological Survey. Learn more

Assessing natural benefits and threats throughout the Appalachians
The Appalachian Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC) is funding research that will assess and inventory natural benefits throughout the Appalachians to link and communicate the environmental and economic values of the region’s natural assets. Knowing the complete, critical, and diverse benefits from nature will allow managers, scientists, industries, and the public to explore new policies to encourage protection of and investments in these resources. Learn more

Migratory bird research a quiet driver of Hurricane Sandy resilience efforts
While the  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service continues to respond to damage from 2012’s Hurricane Sandy—clearing out wind-felled timber or hauling hundreds of tons of debris out of coastal salt marsh—the agency is also using science to assess the full scope of the storm’s ecological impact and establish a baseline for future conservation efforts. Learn more

Increasing resilience of beach habitats and species
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has received $1.75 million in Hurricane Sandy mitigation funds from the Department of the Interior to work through the North Atlantic LCC to coordinate and support a collaborative, region-wide effort for increasing the resiliency of beaches and beach-dependent species in the face of sea level rise and storms. This coordinated effort by LCC partners is integrating existing data, models and tools with foundational data and assessments of both the impacts of Hurricane Sandy and the management in response to the hurricane to guide decisions about where to conduct what beach restoration, management and conservation actions to sustain ecological function, habitat suitability for wildlife and ecosystem services including flood abatement in the face of storm impacts and sea level rise.  One part of this project already under way is the development and application of an app for iPhones (iPlover) for plover stewards to use to record key attributes of plover nesting habitat on beaches throughout the Northeast region. Pilot efforts with this application are taking place on National Wildlife Refuges and National Parks in 2014. Learn more

Researchers map fishing resources to assist land managers, anglers
Anglers in North Carolina and Virginia who are looking for privacy at good fishing spots should head for the mountains, according to a Virginia Tech study of the capacity, quality, and demand of freshwater recreational fishing sites in the two states. Learn more

Seed banking for resilience
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Plant Conservation Program has received $3.5 million from the Department of the Interior Hurricane Sandy Supplemental Mitigation Fund to support a seed collection program to provide locally adapted plant material to Hurricane Sandy restoration projects and begin developing an Eastern Seeds of Success program. Learn more

New guide helps conservationists address uncertain future
A new publication by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) aims to help natural resource managers plan for a variety of long-term threats to America’s wildlife and habitats. Learn more

FWS releases synopsis of Third National Climate Assessment
This condensed synopsis of the Third National Climate Assessment (NCA) highlights key findings and implications for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The synopsis includes short summaries of topics including temperature, precipitation, sea-level rise, and extreme events, as well as summarizes projections for different regions around the country. Learn more

For more information on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region conservation science programs and the people who put them into action, visit


Last updated: July 22, 2014