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2012 Revision of Nevada's Wildlife Action Plan

2012 Revision of Nevada's Wildlife Action Plan

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  • Existing plan formatHabitat TNC developed ecological models that predicted the relative risk of Nevada’s key wildlife habitats to the projected impacts of climate change. CC Vulnerability Index for the Species – Facilitated by NNHPGBBO modeled bird population change in response to projected habitat changes in Nevada.

Sjoberg nv wap for nctc Presentation Transcript

  • 1. The 2012 Revision of Nevada’s Wildlife Action Plan State Wildlife Action Plan Workshop – June 5, 2013  Jon C. Sjöberg Chief of Fisheries Nevada Department of Wildlife Big Spring, Lockes Ranch – Railroad Valley, Nevada
  • 2. Overview • The first Nevada WAP was approved by USFWS in December 2005 • 264 species of conservation priority (SOCPs) • Planning approach based on 27 key terrestrial and aquatic habitats, associated SOCPs • Partner based implementation utilizing existing partnerships and planning efforts to the extent practical
  • 3. Overview • Among the 50 states, Nevada is ranked 11th in overall biological diversity and 5th in the number of species extinctions. • Nevada’s diversity is derived from its geography; many mountain ranges are effectively isolated by arid and treeless basins. • Nevada is uniquely challenged in part because of its arid climate, geography and limited water resources, which has created a unique endemic biota easily subject to threats and stressors including changing climate.
  • 4. Plan revision • The conservation partner planning team revised Nevada's Wildlife Action Plan to incorporate the potential impacts of emerging and expanding stressors including accelerated energy development, invasive species, and climate change on Nevada ‘s fish, wildlife, and habitats. • By identifying key conservation actions, Nevada is in a stronger position to ensure ecosystem resiliency across the changing landscape for key habitats and species.
  • 5. WAP Revision Partnership • NDOW partnered with The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the Nevada Natural Heritage Program (NNHP), Lahontan Audubon Society (LAS), and the Great Basin Bird Observatory (GBBO) to develop the plan revision. • The partnership team was awarded a State Lands Question 1 Habitat Conservation Planning Grant in order to help fund these efforts. • Additional team members included: – BLM – US Fish and Wildlife Service – US Forest Service – Bureau of Reclamation – University of Nevada, Reno
  • 6. Changing Climate in Nevada - Assumptions • Great Basin wetlands are important habitat for hundreds of thousands of shorebirds, wading birds and waterfowl. Climate change could make Nevada’s hydrological cycle even more unpredictable, putting additional stress on these wetland ecosystems. • Isolated aquatic systems supporting rare endemic fishes and invertebrates, already under stress from alteration and groundwater development, will be further impacted by expected changes in temperature and precipitation regimes.
  • 7. Changing Climate in Nevada - Assumptions • Reduced snowpack and increasing temperatures in alpine communities may impact species such as American pika and Black Rosy-Finch. • The degree to which Nevada will be subject to invasive species that threaten wildlife and habitats is also increasing. Changes in wildfire frequency and precipitation/temperature patterns will increase vulnerability of terrestrial and aquatic habitats to invasive nonnative plants and aquatic invasive species.
  • 8. Key steps in the Nevada WAP Revision • Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment – NNHP • Modeling climate change effects on the future condition of ecological systems – TNC • Modeling bird population change in response to projected habitat changes – GBBO • Aquatic species and key aquatic habitats analysis – NDOW • AFWA/USFWS Wildlife Action Plan Climate Change Revision guidance provided direction for plan revisions
  • 9. WAP Revision Process GBBO Bird Analysis NDOW Critter Analysis NDOW Aquatic Species Analysis
  • 10. Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment • Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments were completed for all Species of Conservation Priority • NatureServe Climate Change Vulnerability Index (CCVI) methodology – Predicts whether a species will decline, remain stable, or increase within the assessment area – Identifies the factors contributing to vulnerability • Developed by Nevada Natural Heritage Program – Initial CCVI assessments completed by NNHP biologists – Expert workshops provided feedback to incorporate into assessments
  • 11. How Does the CCVI Work? Exposure Sensitivity Vulnerability Score Documented/Modeled Response Vulnerability Index Score Extremely Vulnerable Highly Vulnerable Moderately Vulnerable Not Vulnerable/Presumed Stable Not Vulnerable/Increase Likely Insufficient Evidence Possible Outcomes:
  • 12. Tabular results by species Vulnerability score by Taxonomic group
  • 13. States-and-transition modeling of key terrestrial ecosystems • The Nature Conservancy developed ecological models predicting the relative risk of Nevada’s key wildlife habitats to the projected impacts of climate change. • Landscape Conservation Forecasting™ methodology • Results were provided in the report, ‚ Climate Change Revision to Nevada’s Wildlife Action Plan: Vegetation Mapping and Modeling.‛
  • 14. • 14 phytogeographic regions • Maps of potential and current vegetation were obtained from remotely- sensed imagery (LANDFIRE) • State-and-transition computer modeling of alternative management scenarios (e.g. without and with climate change effects) was applied to each ecological system in the mapped landscape
  • 15. Schematic of the Landscape Conservation Forecasting™. Legend: NRV = Natural Range of Variability is the reference condition. Ecological systems are potential vegetation types.
  • 16. Significant Increases In Ecological Departure from reference condition
  • 17. Significant Decreases In Ecological Departure from reference condition
  • 18. Avian climate change response modeling • GBBO modeled bird population change in response to projected habitat changes in Nevada. • Used point-count data from the Nevada Bird Count for avian SOCPs – Statistically-rigorous 10-year database with georeferencing and coarse-scale habitat association capability – Avian SOCP occurrences were geospatially attached to the LANDFIRE vegetation/habitat mapping developed by TNC – Avian species responses were predicted using the projected changes in key habitats from the TNC state- and-transition modeling analysis
  • 19. Avian climate change response modeling • Results were provided in the report , ‚Bird Population Responses to Projected Effects of Climate Change in Nevada: An Analysis for Revision of the Nevada Wildlife Action Plan.”
  • 20. Aquatic species and habitats analysis • No existing aquatic climate change effects models could be identified that were: – Applicable at a useful scale – Adaptable to the broad spectrum of Nevada’s aquatic habitats and statewide differences in likely climate effects • Heritage CCVI analysis provided useful inputs at species effect level • TNC ecosystem modeling identified associated changes in applicable terrestrial key habitat types (riparian habitat changes, fire frequency, etc.) • Available inputs dictated a ‚coarse filter‛ approach Virgin River near Mesquite, Nevada
  • 21. Aquatic species and habitats analysis • Analysis was based on 8-digit HUC watersheds with presence of aquatic SOCPs • Climate Wizard tools used to assess predicted change in temperature and precipitation – CW did allow assessment of changes in seasonal patterns at some level • Findings had to be manually interpreted to deductively infer predicted effects to aquatic habitats and species • For some systems/species recent peer review literature was available to provide additional guidance on predicted future effects (e.g. native salmonids)
  • 22. Revising the Wildlife Action Plan • Once the analytical products were completed, the Revision Team identified seven major tasks to complete the WAP revision: – Revision of the Species of Conservation Priority List – Revision of the ecological framework to fit the new vegetative analysis – Analysis of how ecological system changes/shifts were likely to impact conditions and survival potential for priority species – The construction of conservation strategies to maximize the preservation of wildlife diversity within state boundaries – Revision of the Focal Area analysis – Revision of the Implementation and Adaptive Management Framework – Revision of the Wildlife Action Plan itself incorporating partner/stakeholder participation and review
  • 23. Species of Conservation Priority • The 2005 SOCP list was retained but revised using CCVI and other inputs • Principle conclusions from the CCVI analysis: – much greater concern toward isolated endemic aquatic species with small population sizes, limited mobility and an immitigable dependency on water in nature – Terrestrial vertebrates for the most part exhibited relatively strong adaptability to the nature and degree of climate change being predicted • Since very few birds ranked CCVI scores above ‚presumed stable‛, additions to the list were made based on the severity of decline as reported by the USGS Breeding Bird Survey, or where specific management issues were anticipated to direct agency priority and resources.
  • 24. Species of Conservation Priority • 2005-2012 direct comparisons are difficult but 5 fish species were elevated and added to the revised SOCP list • Two amphibian species added to the revised SOCP list • For avian species, terrestrial mammals and reptiles total SOCP actually decreased based on CCVI, habitat analysis and other factors although new species were added in all categories. • SOCP total was similar (256 v 264) due to inclusion of additional gastropods and other aquatics
  • 25. Addressing Conservation Strategies • The strategies, activities, treatments, prescriptions, progra ms, and initiatives were often unchanged from the 2005 Plan for SCOP retained on the priority list • New species sometimes required new creative thinking, but often could be grouped with a species or set of species already prioritized by the Plan
  • 26. Addressing Conservation Strategies • Where ecological departure of an ecological system was of major concern and had been quantified for the 50-year period of analysis, objectives aimed at reversing, stabilizing, or minimizing the rate of ecological departure of the ecological system were developed for the immediate 10-year period following plan revision
  • 27. Addressing Conservation Strategies • A general finding of the climate change projections was that often the first 10-year period (that relevant to this revision) would witness the least increment of change toward the 50- year projected outcome. • Setting up the monitoring framework to measure climate change effects was often a higher need during this first 10- year period
  • 28. Addressing Conservation Strategies • For aquatic systems, potential climate change effects were frequently modifiers that just amplify the impacts of existing threats. – In many cased climate inputs didn’t substantially alter existing proposed strategies and actions – They did emphasize the importance of strategies to increase resiliency of aquatic systems to future effects
  • 29. Lessons learned • Having the same ‚Revision Team‛ partners as the original plan (TNC, NNHP, Audubon and GGBO) was very beneficial – All partners knew the original plan and purpose well and could hit the ground running for the plan revision. • Adding new federal partners that NDOW works with day to day (BLM, FS, BOR, FWS) to the Revision Team was a major benefit – This greatly helped to incorporate all Nevada natural resource agency needs, initiatives and planning efforts into the plan.
  • 30. Lessons learned • Beyond climate change, plan revision allowed additional focus on other new and emerging stressors such as accelerated energy development, aquatic and terrestrial invasive species, wildlife disease, etc. • As the revision developed, a key strategy across habitat types became building resiliency for species and habitats by reducing non-climate stressors.
  • 31. Lessons learned • ‚Off the shelf‛ models and assessment tools to adequately assess climate change effects on Nevada’s aquatic habitats and species were simply not available – This should have been identified earlier in the revision process so funding and a strategy to develop these tools could be incorporated. – Aquatic analysis was an ‚in-house‛ effort which could be improved
  • 32. Lessons learned • Our plan revision was nearly completed when the ‚Best Practices for State Wildlife Action Plans‛ and the ‚National Fish, Wildlife and Plants Climate Adaption Strategy‛ were published. – Availability of earlier drafts of those documents allowed incorporation of many of the recommendations into the revised WAP.
  • 33. Thank you! http://www.ndow.org/Nevada_Wildlife/Conservation/Nevada_Wildlife_Action_Plan/ Additional information: lrichards@ndow.org sjoberg@ndow.org