Open-File Report 2011–1236
Supporting recovery of federally listed interior least tern (Sternula antillarum athalassos; tern) and piping plover (Charadrius melodus; plover) populations is a desirable goal in management of the Missouri River ecosystem. Many tools are implemented in support of this goal, including habitat management, annual monitoring, directed research, and threat mitigation. Similarly, many types of data can be used to make management decisions, evaluate system responses, and prioritize research and monitoring. The ecological importance of Missouri River recovery and the conservation status of terns and plovers place a premium on efficient and effective resource use. Efficiency is improved when a single data source informs multiple high-priority decisions, whereas effectiveness is improved when decisions are informed by reliable knowledge. Seldom will a single study design be optimal for addressing all data needs, making prioritization of needs essential. Data collection motivated by well-articulated objectives and priorities has many advantages over studies in which questions and priorities are determined retrospectively. Research and monitoring for terns and plovers have generated a wealth of data that can be interpreted in a variety of ways. The validity and strength of conclusions from analyses of these data is dependent on compatibility between the study design and the question being asked. We consider issues related to collection and interpretation of biological data, and discuss their utility for enhancing the role of science in management of Missouri River terns and plovers.
A team of USGS scientists at Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center has been conducting tern and plover research on the Missouri River since 2005. The team has had many discussions about the importance of setting objectives, identifying priorities, and obtaining reliable information to answer pertinent questions about tern and plover management on this river system. The objectives of this presentation are to summarize those conversations and to share insights about concepts that could contribute to rigorous science support for management of this river system.
First posted September 14, 2011
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Sherfy, M., Anteau, M., Shaffer, T., Sovada, M., and Stucker, J., 2011, Objectives, priorities, reliable knowledge, and science-based management of Missouri River interior least terns and piping plovers: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2011–1236, 26 p.
Slide 3—Science-Based Missouri River Management
Slide 4—Why is Science a Common Theme?
Slide 5—Missouri River Recovery Program Science Guidance
Slide 6—Tools of Management for Listed Species
Slide 7—Efficiency vs. Effectiveness
Slide 8—What is Data?
Slide 9—What is an Objective?
Slide 10—Example–Piping Plovers
Slide 11— Example–Piping Plovers
Slide 12— Example–Piping Plovers
Slide 13—Prospective vs. Retrospective Questions
Slide 14—Types of Goals
Slide 15—Types of Data Required
Slide 16—Spatial Scales
Slide 17—Tern and Plover Monitoring Program (TPMP)
Slide 18—Where the TPMP has Done Well
Slide 19—Future of Tern and Plover Monitoring
Slide 20—1) Set Objectives
Slide 21—2) Make Predictions and Test Them
Slide 22—3) Ask the How Questions
Slide 23—4) Manage to Learn
Slide 24—5) Prioritize Information Needs
Slide 25—Relationship to Missouri River Recovery