Use the following questions to identify and rank inventory and monitoring needs. Then complete Exhibit 2, Item II.
1. Is the species or group cited in the unit's enabling legislation, establishing documentation, Comprehensive Management Plans, unit objectives, or NWRS goals?
If any of the above are true, consider knowledge of the species or group and its importance on the unit. Surveys should generally be linked to unit management objectives. If no category fits a species, simply recording it in a list may be sufficient. Species of interest only to States, such as resident game birds, may be best left to States to survey.
2. Is it Federally listed as Endangered, Threatened, or Candidate? Is it State listed, or of particular Regional concern?
Many species or groups overlap these categories, others do not. Federally listed species are generally of most concern. Consider overall interest and importance of the Service unit to the species. If the species is only of marginal interest, or incidentally present, it may not be a high survey priority.
3. Is it permanently resident, seasonally resident, transient or migratory, or only incidental?
How critical the unit is to the life history of the species may be as important as the status of the species. Some species may only use the unit for a few days, but those days may be critical to survival (e.g., shorebird stop-over sites).
4. Is it subject to harvest on the Service unit?
Harvest of a species may not justify surveying it. Do other surveys suffice for unit needs? Are unit harvests ever adjusted using these data? Are surveys performed only for the hunting or trapping public? Is it a non-migratory species under State purview, which the State surveys?
5. Is it the subject of management programs, or do changes in its status reflect the success of such programs? Does its presence, abundance, or distribution limit the welfare of species of more direct management concern?
Management for a species may not justify monitoring. Proven management techniques may not need validating, whereas experimental methods will. Are changes in the population reliably attributable to the management? Which species or group best reflects management effectiveness? E.g., Perhaps vegetative response reflects water level manipulation more reliably than does waterfowl utilization. Limiting species may be more appropriate to monitor than those they limit.
6. Is it surveyed beyond unit boundaries? Are unit-specific data required?
Unit-specific surveys may be irrelevant if broader surveys adequately inventory or monitor the species or group and meet the needs of the Service unit. For example, perhaps waterfowl utilization of the unit may be derived from MBMO surveys; exotic plant or fish populations may be part of wider area surveys; or State efforts may adequately monitor upland game.
7. Does the Unit population constitute a significant part of the local area population?
The more significant the unit population relative to the larger area population, the more likely it is to be of concern. If a species occurs extensively off the unit, the unit population may be of little biological interest.
8. Is the species or group an indicator of ecosystem function?
Every species could function this way. However, groups most sensitive to subtle environmental change lend themselves to it more readily. Thus amphibians and other aquatic organisms may be appropriate, or birds, which are easily detectable and widespread. Would such surveys relate to specific ecosystem goals and Regional ecosystem monitoring priorities?
9. Is it the subject of a Type IV Survey?
If a species is already surveyed by another agency, a Service-initiated survey may be unnecessary. Instead, consider cooperating in the existing Type IV survey, and using these data to meet unit needs.
10. Is the unit tasked with survey responsibility through the Annual Work Planning process?
Annual Work Plans indicate commitment at a Regional or higher level.
Such surveys may be mandatory and not subject to discussion.