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Wednesday, January 31 • 9:00am - 9:20am
CONSERVATION COLLABORATION & GENERAL WILDLIFE: Development of a Standardized Monitoring Program for Bald Eagles in the Southwest Alaska Network of National Parks

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AUTHORS. Rebecca Kolstrom, South Dakota State University; Tammy Wilson, National Park Service, South Dakota State University; Larry Gigliotti, South Dakota State University

ABSTRACT. Bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) populations are classified by the Southwest Alaska Network (SWAN) of the National Park Service as a vital sign of biological integrity, largely because of their importance as an indicator species for environmental contaminants and human disturbance. Though bald eagles are plentiful in Alaska, it is still imperative to have a monitoring plan that allows population sizes and significant changes in populations to be detected. Currently, bald eagles are monitored in Kenai Fjords National Park, Katmai National Park and Preserve, and Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, as well as Wrangell – St. Elias National Park, but each park uses different monitoring procedures and evaluation criteria. This makes it difficult for scientists and managers to compare data, detect changes in overall populations, and make effective management decisions. Our research is using a formal structured decision making process to ensure that the bald eagle monitoring conducted by the parks is standardized and meets programmatic goals and objectives. In the first stage of our research, we are implementing a Delphi process using on-line questionnaires to gather information and opinions from stakeholders, including National Park Service scientists and managers, eagle experts, and other interested parties. The results of these questionnaires will be used to develop alternative monitoring scenarios that will be evaluated using pilot data, based on alignment with agreed-upon objectives. These data will be used to inform a decision about a standardized bald eagle management plan for SWAN that optimizes time and effort, and minimizes costs. 

Wednesday January 31, 2018 9:00am - 9:20am CST