November 2011

Archived R5 Science Seminar Series 2011

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Date: Wednesday, November 23rd, 12:00 noon - 1:00 p.m., Northeast Region Office Large Auditorium or view online at

Presentation: Golden Eagles and Wind Energy in eastern North America: new threats along historical migration routes

Presenter: Todd Katzner, PhD, Division of Forestry and Natural Resources, West Virginia University

Bio: Todd Katzner is a Research Assistant Professor in the Division of Forestry and Natural Resources at West Virginia University and a co-founder of the wildlife telemetry company Cellular Tracking Technologies, LLC. Katzner received his B.A. from Oberlin College, his M.S. from the University of Wyoming for research on pygmy rabbits and Ph.D. from Arizona State University for work focused on ecology and conservation of eagles in the Republic of Kazakhstan. Today his research program focuses on conservation and ecology of birds of prey, especially eagles and vultures, in the USA and in central Asia. Katzner is also a co-editor and author of the book “The Eagle Watchers.”

Abstract: For thousands of years Eastern Golden Eagles have migrated unmolested from Canada to wintering grounds in the central and southern Appalachians. In the past decade a new potential threat has emerged on their migration pathways – wind turbines. Yet although turbines have killed hundreds of Golden Eagles in the western USA, there are no records of this species being killed by wind facilities east of the Mississippi and the degree of risk turbines pose to migratory eagles is almost completely unknown.

Our research program has multiple foci. First, we are evaluating the degree of genetic uniqueness of Eastern Golden Eagles, relative to other populations of the species. Second, to understand potential implications of turbines for Eastern Golden Eagles, we evaluated interactions between migratory eagles and potential wind energy development in the Appalachian region. We track and model eagle movements in relation to broad scale topographic and weather conditions to understand the determinants of flight behavior and we use high-frequency GSM telemetry to measure how eagles respond to micro-site slope, elevation, habitat and meteorological features. Third, we also “camera trapped” eagles to identify relative areas of population density and to characterize overall population size, in the context of energy development. Golden Eagles are important because they are a good "umbrella" for conservation, such that protecting eagles delivers broad biodiversity benefits through preservation of habitats and ecosystems that support many other species. Although migration is the shortest period of the annual cycle, because landscape features concentrate raptors, small populations may be at risk during these periods if key area are developed without attention to bird behavior. Our results suggest eagle migratory behavior puts them potentially at risk from inappropriately sited wind energy facilities and that eagle genetics and demography may put them at risk to emerging mortality threats.

Science In Action Series 2011

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Date: Thursday, November 10th, 12:00 noon - 1:00 p.m., Northeast Region Office Large Auditorium or view online at; accomponied by a poster session in the small auditorium from 1:00 p.m.- 5:00 p.m. or posters are available online at

Presentation: Regional Conservation Needs, Landscape Conservation Cooperatives and a Conservation Framework for the Northeast: How the Results of a Recent Workshop Will Help Conservation Partners Develop Shared Science Capacity

Presenter: Andrew Milliken, North Atlantic LCC Coordinator, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Northeast Region Office

Abstract: The Northeast Regional Conservation Framework Workshop, held in June 2011, provided an opportunity to step back and synthesize the results of the many projects that have been completed or are underway through the Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Regional Conservation Needs (RCN) program and Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs), to determine how these projects might fit into a common regional conservation framework, and to identify the greatest needs for future work. By fostering information sharing and discussions among regional conservation experts, the workshop sought to clarify the “big picture” of conservation, illuminate how existing efforts complement each other, and identify key roles for each of the partners to play in the future. These activities all contributed to the overarching goal of achieving more effective and efficient conservation in the Northeast region. The workshop results are guiding the development of shared science capacity in the Northeast. The presentation will discuss workshop results and the accompanying poster session (in the Northeast Region Office small auditorium) will provide information on 30 ongoing or completed projects.

Bio: Andrew Milliken works for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service coordinating the North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative, a conservation science partnership focused on developing collaborative science to guide conservation to address major threats including climate change in the North Atlantic Region. He previously worked as Atlantic Coast Joint Venture Coordinator focusing on the conservation of habitat for native birds and other wildlife in the Atlantic Flyway of the United States from Maine south to Puerto Rico and prior to that as a biologist for the Service’s Coastal Program, the Environmental Protection Agency, New York State Coastal Program and University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography.


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