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Northeast Monitoring & Performance Reporting Framework

Northeast Fish and Wildlife Conference Galloway, NJ April 27-30, 2008

Today’s Session
• Overview Patricia Riexinger, Director, Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources, NYSDEC • Framework Development Process Dan Brauning, PA Game Commission • Status Measures Jon Kart, VT Fish & Wildlife Dept • Effectiveness Measures Ron Essig, USFWS Federal Assistance • From Plan to Implementation Tracey Tomajer, NYSDEC

Wildlife Action Plans: Statewide Conservation Blueprints
• Action Plans not just for Fish & Wildlife Agencies • Require the participation of local, regional and statewide agencies, NGOs, municipalities, individuals and more • Beyond states: Action Plans adopted by DOD, NRCS, USGS,

The Great Promises of State Wildlife Grants & Wildlife Action Plans
State Wildlife Grants “The nation’s core program for keeping wildlife from becoming endangered” Wildlife Action Plans “Keeping common species common”
Great promises lead to…

Great Expectations of State Wildlife Grants & Wildlife Action Plans
USFWS, Interior Dept, Congress, & Office of Management & Budget expect success…and cost efficiency

How will success be measured?

Wildlife Action Plan: Monitoring Requirements
(Element 5)
How the #^!!**%!! are we going to monitor all these species? Just count nests!

• Status of Species of Greatest Conservation Need • Status of SGCN Habitats • Effectiveness of Conservation

Northeast Monitoring & Performance Reporting Framework
Who: NE Association of F&W Agencies (13 states +DC) Funding: 2006 NFWF Regional Implementation Grant Project Leader: NYDEC Goal: Enable NEAFWA states to report, at a regional scale, on the status of SGCN and their habitats and measure the effectiveness of conservation actions to meet State Wildlife Grants/Action Plans

Vision of the Regional Framework
Develop standardized monitoring and measurement protocols that: • Are suitable, practical, and cost-effective indicators of effectiveness of SGCN conservation • Use existing data sets and monitoring programs • ID data gaps and data collection & management standards

Why Monitoring & Performance Reporting
The Framework will not replace current state-based SWG and Action Plan monitoring or performance reporting. However… Status Measures: Provide regional context for the problems inherent in fish and wildlife conservation—and thereby show the need for substantive, permanent wildlife funding. Effectiveness Measures: Help Fish & Wildlife agencies demonstrate the degree to which funds are spent effectively toward desired resource outcomes.

Additional Benefits to a Regional Framework
• Speak with a common voice across programs and states • Share costs of data collection and analyses • Increase sample sizes and the power to detect changes in populations or condition • Put resource assessment and management in larger context • Standardize reporting

Who Are the Framework’s Audiences?
• Decision makers (e.g., Congress, Fed Agencies) • State program directors and managers We are explicitly NOT targeting managers of specific projects and sites.

Final Products
• Framework: An outline of how the Northeast States can track effectiveness of conservation actions on SGCN targets over time using standard Measures of Effectiveness and Status • Model Report to Decision Makers: A mockup of what annual reports might look like • Process Report: A brief report about the process we developed and used for other regions that might be interested

Status Questions

Two Types of Information Needs: Status and Effectiveness

1. How is the wildlife we care about doing? 2. How are threats to fish changing?

Effectiveness Questions
3. Are our conservation actions having their intended impact? 4. How can we improve our actions?

Status Questions

Two Types of Information Needs: Status and Effectiveness

1. How are the fish we care about doing?

2. How are threats to wildlife changing?

How Did We Get Here?
• NY took administrative lead • Formed steering committee • Hired contractor • Conducted 2 workshops • Formed working groups to recommend status and effectiveness measures • Drafted Report • Solicited and integrated feedback from all involved in process • Finalized Report

Framework Steering Committee
• Tracey Tomajer – NYS Dept Environmental Conservation • Jon Kart – VT Fish & Wildlife Department • Dave Day – PA Fish & Boat Commission • Dan Brauning– PA Game Commission • Steve Fuller – NH Fish & Game • Becky Gwynn – VA Dept Game Inland Fisheries • George Matula – ME Dept Inland Fisheries/Wildlife • Jonathan Mawdsley – Heinz Center • Brian Stenquist – Organization of Wildlife Planners • Dan Lambert – American Bird Conservancy • Genevieve Pullis-Larouche – US Fish & Wildlife Service • Dave Chadwick – Association of Fish and Wildlife

Development Steps
Who & How “Expert” Selection Vetting With Many Practitioners

What

All Possible Indicators

Final Set

First Meeting

Second Meeting

Development Steps
Who & How Selection By Practitioners “Experts” Refine

What

Initial Indicators

Final Set

First Meeting

Second Meeting

Overview of Workshops
Workshop 1: June 2007 • Goals: Identify targets, indicators and data sources to measure the species and habitat status and the effectiveness of conservation actions • Participants: 10 of 13 NE states, USFWS, NGOs – 45 people in all Workshop 2: September 2007 • Goals: Review working group results, finalize products, develop outreach strategies • Participants: Steering Committee

Status Measures: Initial Workshop Exercise
What 8 “conservation targets” would you select to represent the fish and wildlife resources of the Northeast? • Ecosystems • Communities • Species

Status Questions

Two Types of Information Needs: Status and Effectiveness

1. How are the fish we care about doing?

2. How are threats to wildlife changing?

Grass & Regionally FreshFresh Highly Forests MANAGED Significant FRESHWATER Unique Streams Migratory Lakes & FRESHWATER HIGHLY Shrub REGIONALLY water UNIQUE LAKES & FORESTS SIGNIFICANT GRASSLANDS STREAM AND MIGRATORY WETLANDS HABITATS IN PONDS SGCN (NOT AND RIVER Habitats Rivers SGCN Ponds SPECIES NORTHEAST Lands INCLUDED IN wetlands SGCN SHRUBLANDS SYSTEMS
Deciduous / mixed forest High elevation coniferous forest Forests Grasslands Mature forests Early succession al forests Pitch pine forest Early successional forest Older growth forest Large contiguous forest Coniferous forest (all stages) Hardwood forest (all stages) Grassland habitat Allegheny wood rat Therres et al. 1997 species Northeast endemic species Amphibians Functional nontidal wetlands Freshwater wetlands (many types) Freshwater wetlands that support SGCN HABITATS) Special species problems Highly imperiled species Woodcock Wetlands Caves & karst Unique Habitats / small patch Caves and mines Large order streams Cold water stream communities Riverine ecosystems Rivers & streams Coldwater streams Stream and riparian habitat Coldwater streams Migratory bats Lakes and pond communities Lakes & ponds

Open uplands

Wetlands

Diadromous fish Regional functions (eg linkages , connectivity) Birds

Wetlands

Lakes & ponds

Freshwater mussels High elevation habitat High elevation habitat Rocky habitats (surface and subsurface ) High elevation communities Natural grassland

Freshwater mussels

Shrublands (managed )

Lakes

Shrub /scrub grasslands

Status Measures: Our Initial Eight Targets
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Forests Freshwater Stream and River Systems Freshwater Wetlands Highly Migratory Species Lakes and Ponds Regionally Significant SGCN Unique Habitats in Northeast (caves/karsts, rocky habitats, barrens, alpine, waterfalls) 8. Managed Grasslands & Shrublands

Developing Indicators Using Key Ecological Attributes (e.g. Highly
Migratory Spp)
Key Ecological Attribute Corridors, stop-over habitats Tower & Power-line conflicts Distant (non NE) habitat Indicator Migratory abundance of bird, bat, fish & Lepidoptera species # bird, bat kills from powerlines Presence/absence of particular migratory bird species at key locations Commercial fishing rates # of fish returning to freshwater systems - MAPS - eBird - State Point Counts - NMFS - State agencies - NMFS - Interstate Existing Data Sources Radar analysis Lepidoptera society

Proposed Status Measures: 1. Forests Target
Indicator Areal extent (by type & reserve status) Forest composition & structure by seral stage Forest fragmentation index bird population Forest trends Acid deposition index Existing Data Sources USFS FIA USFS FIA LU/LC product (e.g., NLCD) Breeding bird surveys Acid deposition modelers

Proposed Status Measures: 2. Streams and Rivers Target
Indicator Percent Impervious Surface Distribution & Pop Status of Native Eastern Brook Trout Stream connectivity (length of open river) and number of blockages Index of biotic integrity Distribution and population (IBI) status of non-indigenous aquatic species Existing Data Sources NLCD 2001 State agencies USFWS National Fish Passage Program State agencies USGS-Aquatic Nuisance Species program

Status Measure Report for Targets

Status Questions

Two Types of Information Needs: Status and Effectiveness

1. How are the fish we care about doing?

2. How are threats to wildlife changing?

Two Types of Information Needs: Status vs Effectiveness
Effectiveness Questions
3. Are our conservation actions having their intended impact?

4. How can we improve our actions?

Effectiveness of What?
Should we report on the effectiveness of: • State Wildlife Grants? • Wildlife Action Plans?
(i.e., any initiative, regardless of funding, that was informed by the Wildlife Action Plans.)

• Both?

Effectiveness of What?
Decision: – At least SWG-funded initiatives – Perhaps a few illustrative Action Planinspired initiatives Rationale: – With the resources available, it is only practical to track SWG-funded initiatives – Direct relationship between federal funds and actions taken

Our Recommendations
• Adopt results chain tool for, at a minimum, a select set of actions and use these to show how results roll up across the Northeast Adopt a set of common data standards so that projects collect and share a common set of data, using standard field names and standard classifications

Why Results Chains?
• Results chains lay out assumptions about how a team believes an action will help them achieve their conservation target • These assumptions provide a basis for measuring effectiveness • Making assumptions explicit helps teams identify appropriate indicators of not only ultimate impacts, but also interim outcomes

Results Chains Examples: Gating Bat Caves

Gating caves and mines

Increased bat populations

KEY
Action Conservation Target Direct Threat Result Intermediate Results

Results Chains Examples: Gating Bat Caves

Gating caves and mines

?

Increased bat populations

KEY
Action Conservation Target Direct Threat Result Intermediate Results

Results Chains Examples: Gating Bat Caves

Gating caves and mines

? ?
KEY

Reduced disturbance by humans

Increased bat populations

Reduced disturbance by feral cats

Action

Conservation Target

Direct Threat Result

Intermediate Results

Results Chains Examples: Gating Bat Caves
i
Gating caves and mines

# breaches
Reduced human access Reduced disturbance by humans Increased bat populations

Reduced access by feral cats

Reduced disturbance by feral cats

i i

# bats # juveniles

i
KEY
Action Conservation Target Direct Threat Result

# distinct cat tracks
Intermediate Results

Results Chains Examples: Piping Plover Nest Protection
i
Protecting Nesting Sites

# breaches
Reduced human access Reduced disturbance by humans Increased plover nesting success

Reduced access by predators

Reduced disturbance by predators

i i

# eggs # juveniles

i
KEY
Action Conservation Target Direct Threat Result

# of disturbed nests

Intermediate Results

Results Chains Examples: Generic Species Protection

Predator Exclosure

Reduced human access

Reduced disturbance by humans

Increased SGCN populations

Reduced access by predators

Reduced disturbance by predators

KEY
Action Conservation Target Direct Threat Result Intermediate Results

Mockup of Effectiveness Report

Results Chains Examples: Dam Removal Strategy
# stream miles of habitat improved ??

Riverine habitat improved Fish access to upstream habitat restored
Presence of historic species

Dam removal strategy

Dam removed

Natural stream flow restored

Fish return in #s sufficient to breed
Breeding success of key fish populations

Native fish populations increased
Abundance of historic species Abundance of native species

Flow rate Sedimentation ?

KEY
Action Conservation Target Direct Threat Result Intermediate Results

Results Chains Examples: Research on Development Impact

KEY
Action Conservation Target Direct Threat Result Intermediate Results

1.1 Site/Area Protection 1.2 Resource & Habitat Protection

Conservation Actions to Focus On (adapted from IUCN-CMP Actions)

2.1 Site/Area Management

2.2 Invasive Species Control 2.3 Habitat & Natural Process Restoration 4.2 Training 2.3 Habitat & Natural 4.3 Process Restoration Awareness/Communic 2.3 Habitat & Natural Process Restoration 2.3.1 Land clearing/prescribed burns ations
2.3.2 Plantings for SGCN management 2.3.3 Dam removal/fish passage 2.3.4 Lake/impoundment restoration

3.1 Species Management 3.2 Species Recovery 3.3 Species ReIntroduction

Our Recommendations
• Adopt results chain tool for, at a minimum, a select set of actions and use these to show how results roll up across the Northeast Adopt a set of common data standards so that projects collect and share a common set of data, using standard field names and standard classifications

Why Common Data Standards? The Problem
• Conservation practitioners are using & gaining experience with different actions every day • Much of what they learn is either never written down or shared beyond their organization • Tools needed to support collaboration & learning:
 identify people with relevant experience  facilitate sharing information and expertise within and across organizations  summarize and roll-up actions across different

A Solution – Database of Actions: TNC ConPro is One Example
Conservation of Bear Habitat

Search Finds 12 Projects
Threat of hunting of bears

Can Call Up Basic Project Info: Project Description

Can Call Up Basic Project Info: Threat Summary

Can Retrieve Basic Project Info: Desired Outcomes & Actions

710,000

Can Also Generate Standard Reports for Management Purposes

Today Many Nascent Databases
• • • • • • • • • TNC and WWF project databases * Conservation Evidence sites * ConserveOnline * ESRI Conservation Geo-Portal * Multi-Lateral Banks (IABIN) * Blackwell Scientific database * Rainforest Alliance EcoIndex Park databases etc.

* = group we have recently spoken with

One Example of a Database

Extending the Actions Database to Multiple Organizations

• A hodge-podge of incompatible databases would be of limited utility beyond one organization • In a perfect world, we’d have one common database where practitioners and managers store and share data for their projects • Since this is not politically realistic, we need, at a minimum, to develop common data standards to communicate across projects and roll up results

Common Data Standards Instead of One Mega Database
• Common Data Fields – The data needed for each action and/or project. • Database Access Rights – The terms that participating databases must agree upon for mutual exchange of information. • Search Portal – The requirements for a portal that users can employ to search all participating databases.

Broad Categories for Common Data Fields
• Basic Project Info – Name, location, contact info, political district, references for more info • Action Info– Type, scope, scale, cost, objectives, targets, threats, other factors • Monitoring Info– Experimental design, indicators, methods, monitoring info

Example of Common Data Fields

Actions/Strategies designed to reach a project’s objectives and ultimate conservation goals. For example using herbicide to treat an invasive species, or setting up a protected area. Field Priority Type Comments
Action Type 4 list text text text text text Single selection; Based on IUCN-CMP Actions Classification, Level 2 Equivalent of IUCN-CMP Level 3 Scope of the action Cost per action (per year if needed) The specific objectives that project wants to achieve with the action Additional description of action Action Name 4 Action Scale Action Cost Objective(s) 3 3 2

Action Detail 2

Entering the Bat Gating Strategy Into the Database
Field Action Type Action Name Action Scale Action Cost Objective(s) Priority Type 4 4 3 3 2 list text text text text Comments 3.1 Species Management Gating Bat Caves Gates put on 10 caves $5000/per cave initial; $2000/yr ongoing By the end of 5 years, eliminate disturbance of roosting bats by people and by feral cats This action implemented by state park staff in conjunction with…..

Action Detail

2

text

Applying These Standards to NEAFWA & State Effectiveness Work

• Each state collects standard information about all conservation actions – SWG funded – Maybe, eventually, Action Plan inspired • Data housed in databases (state, regional, national?) and linked by standard metadata and search capabilities • Framework/NEAFWA provides indicators for key common strategies

So What?
• How does this apply to me? • What can I do? • Let’s talk about it....

Next Steps To Implementation
• • • • • • • • • Seek approval from Directors Identify and support staff to lead state efforts Implement the Framework Secure needed resources Develop data collection instructions Determine data management structure Complete Framework components Review and Modify target indicators if necessary Adapt the Framework & continue implementing

Next Steps To Implementation
1. Approval of Directors with the expectation that NEAFWA states will implement the Framework collaboratively with their own state monitoring and performance measure programs • State staff help educate Directors about the Framework and seek Director support for Framework implementation.

Next Steps To Implementation
2) Identify and support staff to lead state efforts • In consultation with the Wildlife Diversity Technical Committee (WDTC), identify and support state-level staffing needs to ensure leadership in state-level program monitoring and performance reporting for Wildlife Action Plans and SWG programs.

Next Steps To Implementation
3) Implement the Framework Although we could spend a lot of time “perfecting” the Framework, it is important to move into actual implementation via: • States: Collect data specified in the Framework. Use results chains in SWG project development • NEAFWA: Adopt a set of common actions for results chain applications. Develop

Next Steps To Implementation
4) Secure needed resources (financial; staff) at the Regional level to support the States:
• NEAFWA’s Regional Conservation Needs (RCN) grant program: - TNC project summarizing the conservation status of habitat and species targets - Request for a Regional Framework Coordinator to help states • Other potential funding sources (e.g., SWG Competitive Grants, National Fish & Wildlife Foundation)

Next Steps To Implementation
5) Develop instructions for data collection Framework appendices provide draft monitoring plans for status and effectiveness measures. Some additional guidance may be needed to ensure that implementation staff understand next steps.

Next Steps To Implementation
6) Determine data management structure: It will be important to have an initial idea of how the region will collect, manage, and report on data. Once NEAFWA members implement the Framework, it will become clearer whether the chosen data management structure will work or whether some other arrangement is needed.

Next Steps To Implementation
7) Complete Framework Components: • Managed Grasslands and Shrublands target • Regionally Significant SGCN NEAFWA will need to form working groups for these targets, identify indicators, and develop monitoring plans for those indicators. Looking ahead: Expand the Framework to include coastal and marine targets

Next Steps To Implementation
8) Review and Modify target indicators if necessary • Identify additional indicator similarities and overlaps across targets and determine if we can further reduce redundancies and simplify data collection. • Review target indicators based on feedback from Framework reviewers

Next Steps To Implementation
9) Adapt the Framework & Continue Implementing Based on what we learn, it will be important to modify the Framework where necessary and continue with implement implementation. This is an ongoing step that should be continuously revisited.

Final Products
• Framework: An outline of how the Northeast States can track status of targets and effectiveness of conservation actions over time • Model Report to Decision Makers: A mockup of what annual reports might look like • Process Report: A brief report about the process we developed and used for other regions that might be interested

The Framework
The Framework will not replace state-based SWG and Action Plan monitoring or performance reporting. However… The Framework will provide regional context for the problems inherent in fish and wildlife conservation—and thereby show the need for substantive, permanent wildlife funding. The Framework will help Fish & Wildlife agencies demonstrate that funds are spent effectively toward desired resource

The Bottom Line
The development of this regional Framework is a first for state Fish & Wildlife agencies. It’s a powerful tool for resource conservation. We now have a coalition of NEAFWA members, partners, stakeholders, and scientific experts to move this Framework and other collaborative projects forward. Let’s work together to implement and adapt the Framework to best fit our needs and the realities under

Websites
• Regional Conservation Needs Grant Program http://rcngrants.org/index.shtml • Northeast Monitoring/Reporting Project

http://rcngrants.org/regional_monitoring.shtml • Northeast Habitat Classification/Mapping Project

http://rcngrants.org/habitat_classification.shtm