Biological Monitoring Team
NWRS Regions 3 & 5


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Adaptive Management

Refuges have been working hard to organize workshops focused on specific management problems.  These problems were submitted to the Regional Office last April; the problems were ranked, and workshops were planned for the highest priority issues.  The workshops use a structured decision making process to set up a framework for adaptive management, including monitoring activities.  Each workshop has a facilitator, a modeler, and an adaptive management expert (usually from USGS), as well as experts on the topic itself; 15-30 people, including refuge staff and invited experts have participated in each workshop.  Dr. Clint Moore (USGS) and Dr. Eric Lonsdorf (Lincoln Park Zoo) are experts in adaptive management, structured decision making, and modeling; they have been helping refuges with many aspects of the workshops.  

Adaptive Management Fact Sheet
(236 KB Adobe PDF file)

Refuge staff who participated in the workshops will have the opportunity to share tOctober 14, 2008 Panel Discussion at the Wildlife Society Annual Meeting (November 2008 in Miami, FL).  In addition, Melinda Knutson is writing a handbook about how to organize adaptive management workshops; the handbook will cover lessons learned and recommendations for how to improve the workshops in the future.  The following are brief descriptions of workshops that have been held or are scheduled.

Fire & Salt Marsh Management; Blackwater NWR (R5); 23-24 Oct 2007 and 29-30 April 2008.  Dixie Birch and Laura Mitchell organized two workshops to set up a framework for monitoring different fire frequency treatments at Blackwater NWR.  Salt marshes at the refuge have been managed with fire for decades and the refuge desires to evaluate the effects of different burn frequencies on vegetation, birds, and changes in open water and elevation.  The first workshop established objectives, reviewed established treatments, and ranked monitoring metrics.  The second workshop will complete details needed for implementing the framework.

Meeting Notes
(888 KB Adobe pdf file)

Grassland Management; Morris WMD (R3); 14-15 Nov 2007.  Sara Vacek & a planning team organized a grassland management workshop for participants from FWS Regions 3 & 6.  The workshop built upon several years of pilot monitoring by several wetland management districts and the Nature Conservancy.  The workshop focused on building an adaptive management framework for managing remnant prairies.  After the workshop, USGS announced that Dr. Terry Shaffer & collaborators were awarded a research grant to work with refuges in R3 and R5 to adaptively manage grasslands.  The workshop provided an opportunity for collaborators in this project to discuss grassland management and set the stage for a larger effort. 

Implementation Plan
(69 KB Adobe pdf file)

Meeting Notes
(26 KB Adobe pdf file)

Managing Islands for Seabird Nesting – Maine Coastal Is. NWR (R5); 27-28 Nov 2007.  Linda Welch & Sara Williams organized a workshop to help them manage islands for nesting seabirds.  The workshop explored ways to improve vegetation monitoring on intensively managed islands and how management techniques they have learned could be applied to islands that are not currently under management.  A follow-up meeting with USGS consultants Bill Kendall & Clint Moore, and Eric Lonsdorf (modeler with Lincoln Park Zoo) is planned in February to continue the conversation.  Linda & Sara face a difficult problem because of the logistics of employing different management techniques on coastal islands.  The refuge has a huge responsibility in managing islands where many rare seabirds nest in the face of severe predation pressure from gulls and competition for food.

Implementation Plan
(92 KB Adobe pdf file)

Meeting Notes
(123 KB Adobe pdf file)

Shrubland Management; Parker River NWR (R5); 9-10 Jan 2008. Nancy Pau, Kate O’Brien, Suzanne Paton, and Stephanie Koch organized a workshop to help them learn more about managing shrublands efficiently in the face of a host of invasive species.  They were able to agree upon objectives, monitoring metrics, and management options, depending upon the initial state of the system (grass, shrub, or forest), with the help of their expert workshop participants.

Implementation Plan
(137 KB Adobe pdf file)

Briefing Document
(45 KB Adobe pdf file)

Sediment Excavation in Wetland Restoration; Rydell NWR (R3); 29-30 Jan 2008. Lori Stevenson and a planning team have organized a workshop to set up an adaptive management framework for evaluating the use of sediment excavation as a tool for restoring wetlands.  

Implementation Plan
(64 KB Adobe pdf file)

Briefing Document
(52 KB Adobe pdf file)

Managing Temporary Wetlands; Windom WMD (R3); 11-12 March 2008.  Mark Vaniman and a planning team are organizing a workshop to improve the management of temporary wetlands using targeted grazing, haying, fire, and other vegetation control methods on priority waterfowl production areas.

Implementation Plan
(74 KB Adobe pdf file)


Last updated: October 14, 2008