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Facts and Accomplishments of the Avian Radar Project

What we have accomplished

The Avian Radar Project is unique in that it is examining an extremely large area (the Great Lakes) and seeks to both answer specific questions as well as expand our knowledge about how to use these complex pieces of equiptment. The size and intensity of this project are illustrated in some of these fast facts, but the sheer size of this project makes it hard to distill our accomplishments into raw numbers. Our real impact is in our ability to provide knowledge and information to USFWS Field Offices or state regulatory agencies to help them make effective decisions. Some of these documents, reports, and presentations are available below.

 

Fall 2011 Avian Radar Report     Spring 2013 Avian Radar Report     Spring 2012 Avian Radar Report

Executive Summary Only             Executive Summary Only                 Executive Summary Only

Huron and Ocean Counties, MI    Lake Ontario                                     Lake Erie

Fall 2011 Report Cover         Fall 2011 Report Cover                 Fall 2011 Report Cover

 

Fall 2014 Avian Radar Report     Fall 2012 Avian Radar Report       Draft Fall 2017 Report

Executive Summary Only            Executive Summary Only

Lake Superior                              Green Bay and Saginaw Bay        Cleveland

Fall 2014 Report Cover         Cover of Fall 2012 Report                Cover of Fall 2012 Report

Fast Facts

  • 35 radar sites surveyed
  • 16.66 square miles per site on normal settings (22 sites), 150 square miles per site on extended range settings (13 sites)
  • 583 square miles (1,510 square kilometers) of area surveyed in the Great Lakes Basin using normal radar settings
  • 2,716.5 square miles (7,035 square kilometers) of area surveyed including the extended range horizontal radar on the Batman radar unit. This area is larger than the entire states of Rhode Island and Delaware!
  • 1,770 total radar unit operation days
  • Over 165 million total targets tracked
  • Surveyed a large portion of the total Great Lakes shorelines
  • Can project our data to support protections for almost 10 million acres of shoreline area

 

Facts updated as of February 2017

 

Accomplishments

Awards

Avian Radar Team with Awards

Midwest Regional Director's Science Excellence Award 2014 (Pictured above; Photo by USFWS)

Nominated for the 2013 Rachel Carson Award for Scientific Excellence for the Midwest Region (Group)

 

Seasonal Reports

Each season is unique because of various factors affecting migration such as large scale weather patterns affecting when migration starts and ends, the passage of fronts that affect timing of pulses, and other factors that control the emergence of insects that are food for many bats and birds or are food for their prey. Additionally, we moved the radar units and acoustic monitors to different locations each season with different research goals. The radar reports have been peer reviewed by other radar experts and can also be found in the Biological Technical Publication Series at the National Digital Library. Below are links to completed reports for the radar units and the acoustic monitors.

 

Radar Units

Fall 2011 Seasonal Report for Huron and Oceana Counties, MI

Executive Summary only: (1mb)

High resolution version: (60mb) Lower resolution version: (10mb)

Spring 2013 Seasonal Report for Lake Ontario (25mb)

Executive Summary only: (1mb)

Spring 2012 Seasonal Report for Lake Erie (30mb)

Executive Summary only: (1mb)

Fall 2014 Seasonal Report for Lake Superior

Executive Summary only: (1mb)

High resolution version: (40mb) Lower resolution version (5mb)

Fall 2012 Seasonal Report for Green Bay and Saginaw Bay

Executive Summary only: (1mb)

High resolution version: (60mb) Lower resolution version (6mb)

 

2011 Acoustic Monitor Report

2012 Acoustic Monitor Report

 

Publications, Presentations, Posters, and Other Materials

Our radar team has given presentations and posters at many different conferences and meetings. Below are a list of the posters and presentations given and a link to the file when available.

 

Publications:

Bowden, T.S., E.C. Olson, N.A. Rathbun, D.C. Nolfi, R.L. Horton, D.J. Larson, and J.C. Gosse. 2015. Great Lakes Avian Radar Technical Report Huron and Oceana Counties, Michigan. U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Biological Technical Publication FWS/BTP-2015.

 

Horton, R.L., N.A. Rathbun, T.S. Bowden, D.C. Nolfi, E.C. Olson, D.J. Larson, and J.C. Gosse. 2016. Great Lakes Avian Radar Technical Report Lake Erie Shoreline: Erie County, Ohio and Erie County, Pennsylvania, Spring 2012. U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Biological Technical Publication FWS/BTP-R3012-2016.

 

Rathbun, N.A., T.S. Bowden, R.L. Horton, D.C. Nolfi, E.C. Olson, D.J. Larson, and J.C. Gosse. 2016. Great Lakes Avian Radar Technical Report: Niagara, Genesee, Wayne, and Jefferson Counties, New York. U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Biological Technical Publication FWS/BTP-3013-2016.

 

Rathbun, N.A., T.S. Bowden, R.L. Horton, D.C. Nolfi, E.C. Olson, D.J. Larson, and J.C. Gosse. 2017. Great Lakes Avian Radar Technical Report Lake County, MN, Bayfield County, WI, and Keweenaw County, MI, Fall 2014. U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Biological Technical Publication FWS/BTP-R3015-2017.

 

Rathbun, N.A., R.L. Horton, T.S. Bowden, E.C. Olson, D.C. Nolfi, D.J. Larson, and J.C. Gosse. 2017. Great Lakes Avian Radar Technical Report Delta County, MI Iosco County, MI, and Huron County, MI Fall 2012. U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Biological Technical Publication FWS/BTP-R3016-2017.

 

Bowden, T.S., J.K. Ferguson, K.W. Heist, and J.C. Gosse. In prep. A new tool to estimate survey volume of vertical scanning radars. Human Wildlife Interactions.

 

All seasonal reports housed at the USFWS National Conservation Training Center Library in print form and in their digital library.

 

Presentations:

2017 Ohio Avian Research Conference

Lincoln Park Zoo Invited Speaker

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum Invited Speaker

2017 Indiana Dunes Bird Festival

2017 University of Minnesota Conservation Sciences Seminar Series

2016 Hawk Ridge Hawk Weekend Featured Speaker

2015 Great Lakes Restoration Conference

2014 Midwest Bird Conservation and Monitoring Workshop

Great Lakes Pelagic Bird Stakeholder Engagement Workshop 2014

ASPRS Midwest Region Annual Meeting Invited Talk

Webinar for Region 3 USFWS Division of Migratory Bird Management

Monitoring Our Migratory Birds Workshop Invited Talk - Ashland, WI

San Diego Zoo Invited Talk

Review of Apple Blossom Wind Project Study

Review of LEEDCo Wind Project Study

Field Visits to Radar Units by USFWS NYFO and Iroquois NWR

NWCC 2012 Presentation

NYFO Presentation - 2011. 2012.

WI DNR and Public Service Comission Presentation

OH DNR Presentation

Great Lakes Wind Collaborative 2011

Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference 2011

Great Lakes Bat Festival

Region 5 Regional Office Presentation

Region 3 Regional Office Presentation

 

Posters:

NWCC 2014 Bat Activity and Weather: Cut-in Thresholds

NWCC 2014 Sample Volume and Density Correction

NWCC 2012 Radar Project Summary

NWCC 2012 Bat Calls and Weather

USFWS Directorate Meeting

 

Other Material:

Summary of Radar Project - Short Version (1 page) - Long Version (4 pages)

Acoustic Monitor Sign

GLRI Success Stories Book 2012

GLRI Success Stories Book 2013

 

Funding Provided For:

Avian and bat study on Eastern Lake Ontario Islands

Digitization of historical bird observations into the Midwest Avian Data Center which is part of the Avian Knowledge Network

 
Last updated: March 9, 2018