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The Science Support Partnership (SSP) program is a collaboration that directs U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) funds to USGS scientists for research and technical assistance projects that Service employees propose. Multi-year projects can be funded. The Fish and Wildlife Information Needs System (FWINS) is used for proposal submittal and project tracking. The Region has established a cross-program team to evaluate, rank, and recommend projects for funding.


Featured SSP Projects


Nihoa Millerbird

Nihoa Millerbird
S. Plentovich/USFWS

Survey methods for estimating populations of endangered Nihoa Millerbird and Nihoa Finches


High variability in results from current survey protocols for these two endangered and endemic birds from the Island of Nihoa have made it difficult to assess their population sizes and trends. This project involved a comparative study of three survey methods: strip-transect, line-transect, and point-transect sampling?and provides recommendations for improvement. Surveys determined that both species were fairly evenly distributed across Nihoa and appear to occur in all or nearly all available habitat. The time expended and area traversed by observers was similar among survey methods; however, point-transect surveys do not require that observers walk a straight transect line, thereby allowing them to avoid culturally or biologically sensitive areas and minimize the adverse effects of recurrent travel. In general, point-transect surveys detect more birds than strip-survey methods, thereby improving precision and resulting population size and trend estimation.



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Townsend's big-eared bat

Townsend's big-eared bat
Ann Froschauer/USFWS

Survey of winter bat habitat on National Wildlife Refuges in Region 1


Sixteen species of bats potentially occur on National Wildlife Refuges (NWR) in eastern Washington; however, little is known about them because few surveys have been done, and none have been done to detect hibernating bats during winter. This project aimed at providing information on the status of wintering bats in order to support decision-making that might minimize the threat of white-nosed syndrome in western bat populations. The study found evidence of winter bat activity at Columbia NWR. The lack of detections of bats at Hanford NM/ Saddle Mountain NWR during the winter suggests the need for more extensive surveys. Detections of California myotis and Townsend’s big-eared bat in April represented new species records for the Mid-Columbia NWR Complex.



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Nisqually NWR Estuary Restoration Project

Nisqually NWR Estuary Restoration Project
JeanTakekawa/USFWS

Response of Food Webs to Nisqually Delta Restoration Project


How did estuary restoration at Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge affect food sources for Chinook salmon and other fish and wildlife? This project compared invertebrate prey availability with Chinook diet within four tidal sloughs in the Nisqually River Delta. The results indicate that restored marshes are providing invertebrate prey resources that are critical to outmigrating juvenile salmon. However, simulations identified potential temperature-driven constraints on the growth potential of recently restored marshes for juvenile Chinook salmon in the Nisqually Delta, and lower salmon densities suggested that the restored marshes do not yet have the same capacity to support salmon production as do natural marsh ecosystems.



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