Natural Areas Association Webinar Series
Our webinar series is a part of our continuing commitment to bring the latest and most relevant information to our members. Click "Register" under the webinar below that you want to attend.
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NAA Regular Webinar Series
July 18, Noon Eastern
How to Use an Open Source Platform to Manage Multiple Cross-Agency Conservation Projects: Introduction to ProjectFirma
Matt Deniston, Founder & Managing Partner
, Sitka Technology Group
This tool would be most useful to larger land management organizations, both public and private, who are managing multiple projects across multiple partner organizations.
The EIP Project Tracker website launched in 2014, designed for legislators seeking to learn about Environmental Improvement Program (EIP) projects. The platform has gone one to win awards, and has proved invaluable in improving data coordination, increasing transparency, and showcasing progress towards attaining compliance with environmental threshold standards.
In 2016, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) and Sitka Technology Group granted an open-source license for the platform, marketed as ProjectFirma™, so other natural areas organizations can leverage the system and prior investment to enhance transparency, reporting, and analysis of their own cross-agency programs. Since issuing the open-source license, 19 California resource conservation districts, a coalition of Oregon watershed councils in Oregon, a water fund in Colorado’s Front Range, and the Idaho Soil and Water Conservation Commission have all joined the community.
Attendees of this webinar will:
Learn more about Matt.
- Receive an overview of the ProjectFirma™ platform.
- Gain behind-the-scenes information about what it took to launch this online resource.
- Learn how California Regional Conservation Districts (RCDs) and others are leveraging significant Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) and TRPA investment to benefit their multi-agency programs.
- Experience a live demo of the online platform.
- Understand how the open-source license can benefit your organization.
June 20, 2018, Noon Eastern
Talk: iDigBio: Using Digital Specimen Data in Biodiversity Conservation Planning and Implementation
Gil Nelson, iDigBio, Florida State University
Molly Phillips, iDigBio, University of Florida
The first two decades of the 21st Century have seen an exponential increase in the generation and mobilization of digital, specimen-based biodiversity data and turned natural history museums and biodiversity collections in academic institutions into major resources of conservation data. Led in the U.S. largely by the National Science Foundation’s Advancing Digitization of Biodiversity Collections (ADBC) initiative, more than 700 U.S. institutions in 50 states and two territories are digitizing their biodiversity collections and serving these data through iDigBio (Integrated Digitized Biocollections), the national coordinating center for digitization and data mobilization in the U.S. The iDigBio portal (https://www.idigbio.org/portal
) now serves more than 110 million records representing 300-400 million specimens, and just over 24 million media records, the majority of which are 2D images. These resources expose previously difficult-to-access collections to wider audiences of conservation practitioners and provide access to the best biodiversity data in the modern era outside of nature itself. This webinar will focus on the brief history of data mobilization in the U.S., the data that are now available and accessible to conservation planners, and how these data can be employed in the implementation of conservation strategies. An overview of the iDigBio data portal will be included.
Learn more about Gil.
Learn more about Molly.
Time: May 16, 2018, Noon Eastern
Talk: Mentor Marsh: History, Tragedy, Recovery
David Kriska, PhD
Mentor Marsh has been designated by a National Park Service as the National Natural Landmark since 1965 for being one of the most species-rich sites on the Great Lakes shoreline. It was named Ohio’s first State Nature Preserve in 1971. This unique wetland suffered dramatically in the late 1960s when salt-mine tailings leached into Blackbrook Creek. By the early 1970s, most of the swamp forest trees and marsh plants had died. The site was overtaken by common reed (Phragmites australis
), a 14-foot-tall non-native invasive plant. Phragmites
grew so densely within the nearly 4-mile-long marsh basin that an estimated 1 billion plants were growing just a few inches apart. After partial abatement of the salt source, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History began a large-scale restoration of Mentor Marsh in 2012. Under the guidance of Museum restoration ecologists, the Phragmites
is being treated via helicopter and a ground-based amphibious vehicles. The Phragmites
has also been physically mashed to allow native plants to grow. The results thus far have been heartening. Dozens of native plant species are sprouting throughout the Marsh and rare marsh birds — such as American and Least Bitterns, Virginia, King and Sora Rails, Gallinules and Snipe, are now nesting. The restoration has created stopover habitat for waterbirds and waterfowl, and fish such as Northern Pike are spawning and Yellow Perch fingerlings are starting to use the marsh as a nursery.
Learn more about David.
Previous Pollinator Webinars
The 2018 NAA Pollinator Management webinar series is seven presentations given during 4 webinars, given in March and April 2018. This series serves as a companion initiative to an NAA Synthesis Paper on Pollinator Health and Resilience in Natural Areas Management that will come out in 2018. NAA is proud to present this series with support from the U.S. Forest Service.
March 7, noon Eastern
Kelly Rourke, Senior Program Manager - Pollinator Partnership
Talk 1: (10-15 minutes) Managing Pollinators in Natural Areas: A Synthesis of New Research and BMPs Presented at the 2017 Natural Areas Conference Pollinator Symposium
Pollinators play a critical role in supporting natural areas. As managers of natural systems, we are mindful, cautious, and curious about how to proceed with management actions that provide the best results for pollinators. The 2017 Natural Areas Conference Pollinator Symposium showcased new research filling gaps in our understanding of grazing and alpine forest management, as well as summaries of Best Management Practices for restoring prairies, managing honey bees, supporting monarch butterflies, and managing rangelands. Highlights and key messages from the symposium are presented in this summary webinar, setting the state for in-depth presentations offered by the presenters throughout the spring.
Talk 2: (35-40 minutes) Resource-based Competition Between Managed and Wild Bees
Food resource overlap between managed honey bees and wild bees presents potential challenges in management scenarios where natural forage is sought for honey bees. Natural areas managers seek guidance in decision making, ideally based on evidence from current research. Pollinator Partnership has aggregated and reviewed research on bee competition with the goal of presenting guidance and best management practices. This webinar reviews the body of research on bee competition in detail, examining methods, experimental techniques, and rigor, and presents guidance based on these findings. Only limited research has been conducted on bee competition, and it presents mixed findings; however, some consistent trends in growth limitation and reduced colony reproduction in bumble bees in the presence of honey bees provides context for management decisions.
Find out more about Kelly and the Pollinator Partnership
Wednesday, March 21, noon Eastern
Mary Rowland, Research Wildlife Biologist, U.S. Forest Service
; and Sandy DeBano, Associate Professor - Invertebrate Ecology, Oregon State University
: Native Bees and Large Mammals: Vertebrate - Invertebrate Interactions in Riparian Natural Areas
Land managers have increased efforts to better understand how natural areas can be managed to enhance native pollinators; however, pollinator management must be balanced with other uses such as livestock grazing and wildlife habitat. Yet little attention has focused on how grazing mammals, especially native ungulates, interact with pollinators. As part of a larger, collaborative project evaluating ungulate grazing management and riparian restoration at the Starkey Experimental Forest and Range (Starkey) in northeast Oregon, we examined how large mammals may influence native bees through dietary overlap. We sampled native bees and floral resources from spring to fall in 2014-2016 along a 14-km reach of Meadow Creek within Starkey to 1) document which flowering species are most commonly visited by native bees, and 2) quantify how herbivory by deer and elk influences flowering plant communities. Half of the 12 sampling sites were excluded from grazing. We recorded >150 species of flowering forbs and shrubs and >900 bee visitors of >80 species. Flowering stems were generally more abundant in ungrazed vs. grazed sites; however, patterns were highly variable in time and space and across species. For some plants frequently visited by bees and also in elk diets (e.g., Potentilla gracilis
), we found higher flower abundance in ungrazed sites. We discuss management implications relative to seasonal habitat use and dietary preferences of ungulates and variation in bee phenology, and conclude with guidance about timing and intensity of ungulate grazing when managing for multiple conservation objectives in grazed sites, especially in riparian areas.
Mary Rowland Sandy DeBano
Learn more about Mary Rowland.
Learn more about Dr. Sandra DeBano.
Thomas Kaye, Executive Director and Senior Ecologist at the Institute for Applied Ecology
: Partnering with Pollinators: Prairie Restoration to Support Diverse Pollinating Insects
Insects are important pollinators of many plants, from agriculturally significant species to plants in natural areas. Pollinators and plants depend on one another for completion of their life cycles and together they serve significant ecosystem functions. Restoration and management of prairie habitat in the Pacific Northwest provides an opportunity to improve conditions for many pollinators, and land managers can provide better conditions for these insects by providing for basic life-history needs of major insect groups, especially through providing a diversity of plants that provide nectar and pollen as food, as well as nesting habitats. Research on habitat restoration in this region at multiple upland and wetland sites shows that flowering plant diversity can be increased by combinations of management treatments that include seeding with native plants after burning and herbicide applications. Although these treatments can improve conditions for food plants of insects, they can also harm or kill them, so it may be important to apply such treatments over portions of managed landscapes rather than all at once across managed sites. Strategies that combine improvements in plant diversity and overlapping bloom periods throughout the growing season with habitat features such as bare ground, availability of dead hollow or pithy stems of woody plants, and leafy materials, can optimize food and nesting conditions for multiple species of pollinating insects while achieving many other restoration goals.
Learn more about Thomas Kaye.
Wednesday, April 4, noon Eastern
Dave Waldien, Affiliated Scholar, Christopher Newport University
: Management Considerations of Pollinating Bats on Wind and Solar Farms
With over 1,380 species, bats represent 20-25% of mammalian diversity and are second only to rodents. The United States only has 47 species (3%) of which 43 species eat insects, 3 are pollinators (Leptonycteris nivalis
– Endangered; L. yerbabuenae
– Endangered, proposed for Delisting; Choeronycteris mexicana
– Not Listed), and 1 eats fruit in the Florida Keys (Artibeus jamaicensis
– Not Listed). Antrozous pallidus
is an insect-eating bat that has also been documented as a pollinator in the arid southwest. While insect-eating bats save US farmers over 3.1 billion dollars annually, as US pollinating bats are only found in the arid southern portions of Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas it should be no surprise these species provide few services to US farmers. However, they are important to maintaining iconic arid ecosystems and in Mexico the two Leptonycteris
species pollinate agave which is used for Tequila production.
The rapid expansion of wind and solar farms as “green energy” in the United States and around the world has raised concerns for unintended negative impacts to biodiversity. In the US, scientists estimate that hundreds of thousands of bats – predominantly migratory tree bats - are killed annually at wind farms. As research continues, evidence is growing that other insect-eating bats are killed to a much greater degree when wind farms are located “near” major concentrations of bats in cave roosts. There are very few public records of pollinating bats being killed at turbines which may be an artifact that there has been limited publicly available bats and wind research conducted in the arid southwest. Research on bats and solar farms is even more limited. Faced with a paucity of information of both wind and solar farms impacts to pollinating bats, wind industry, land managers, and conservationists are encouraged to take a precautionary approach to the siting and operations of these facilities and proactively work with credible researchers to resolve critical questions. This research should not be done in a vacuum and credible results should be implemented in a timely manner or it will have very limited value.
Learn more about Dave.
Peter Beesley, Vegetation Program Manager, Expert - Pacific Gas and Electric Company
: Utility Right-of-Way Management that Supports Pollinators and Safe Energy Transmission
The federal strategy to promote the health of pollinators and the associated research action plan directs federal agencies to collaborate with multiple stakeholders to ensure pollinators have the right native plant communities for food and shelter. The strategy recognizes the importance that utility rights-of-way can play
when considering the extent of this landscape type; their connectivity and intersection with multiple habitats; and the desirable management regimes that maintain a forb-dominated early successional landscape. With our non-profit, university and other utility partners, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is on the forefront of implementing pollinator habitat use research within electric transmission rights-of-way in the Western United States. This presentation will emphasize how the practical application of Integrated Vegetation Management (IVM) to support safe and reliable energy transmission goals also supports the federal strategy’s habitat, research and partnership goals. This information along with an overview of current and planned pollinator research that PG&E and its partners are involved with will help answer the action plan research questions that are being asked of right-of-way managers. Specifically: What are the best practices for supporting pollinators on rights-of-way? What plants are suitable for both pollination and management constraints? How do pesticide/herbicide applications affect pollinators and their habitats? Study results indicate increased pollinator use on sections of right-of-way managed through IVM. Knowledge gained by PG&E and its partners will further the utility industry’s ability to implement pollinator-friendly land management techniques and to create connected habitat corridors while also implementing best practices that support safe energy transmission.
Learn more about Peter.
Wednesday, April 18, noon Eastern
Scott Hoffman Black, Executive Director, Xerces Society
: Best Management Practices for Pollinators: Creating Practices that are Meaningful and Implementable for Rangelands
Rangelands account for a substantial portion of the Western US. These lands are essential for the conservation of pollinators of all types. The Xerces Society is working with the U.S. Forest Service to develop meaningful and implementable Best Management Practices (BMPs) for pollinators on western rangelands with a major focus on habitat protection, management, enhancement and restoration. These guidelines will address the needs of native bees and butterflies, including the monarch butterfly. The Xerces Society is using a process that we developed working with the Federal Highway Administration on publications that provide guidance on the science and practice of roadside management for pollinators. The steps include 1) a thorough literature review of all peer-reviewed literature and technical materials on the topic of rangeland management and restoration to enhance pollinator habitat value, 2) interviews with practitioners and others that understand the science, practice, and economic issues related to pollinator conservation and habitat management in rangeland systems. All of the information is summarized into clear, concise guidance that can be used by agency staff for “real world” field application. We are specifically looking at how this body of information can be applied in western North American rangeland settings while considering feasibility relative to existing practices, guidelines, and budgetary limits. These BMPs provide a roadmap for how we can better manage rangeland pollinators and a process for successful BMP creation.
Learn more about Scott.
Jim Cane, Research Entomologist, USDA-ARS Pollinating Insect Research Unit
: Calculated Floral Resource Withdrawal by Managed Honey Bees in Light of Native Bee Reproduction
Honey bees are not native to the Americas, but were first brought here by European colonists. Feral populations established in the eastern US, but there are generally none in our western mountains. Increasingly, however, migratory beekeepers are placing summer apiaries there after fulfilling their crop pollination contracts. In the USDA-ARS National Bee Collection, despite under-sampling, 1/3 of US bee species are represented by specimens collected on western National Forests. Larvae of all of these bees eat diets of pollen admixed with nectar, finite floral resources thought to regulate wild bee populations more than any other factor. For reasons that I will discuss, evaluating competition through replicated field experiments that manipulate hive densities and track native bee reproduction in wildlands are nearly impossible to implement at meaningful scales.
I will present a new approach, which takes the total influx of wildflower pollen into a honey bee colony and arithmetically converts it into calculated progeny equivalents of an average solitary bee. From June through August, the pollen pellets accumulated by each honey bee colony placed on wildlands are calculated to be enough to feed 110,000 progeny of the average-sized native bee. I will review the variables that factor into this calculation and its interpretation. I will end with new field surveys that illustrate the substantial spatial area around large wildland apiaries where honey bees were outnumbering native bee populations at wildflowers. These two metrics give managers straight-forward tools by which to quantify the potential reproductive impact of honey bee apiaries on native bee communities.
Learn more about Jim.
From Bird’s Eye to Grass Roots Implementing the National Seed Strategy – National, Regional, Local Perspectives
Sept 13, Noon ET
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Plant Program Lead, Washington, D.C., and Chair of the Plant Conservation Alliance Federal Committee
USDA Forest Service botanist with the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Restoration Ecologist/Botanist with the USFWS Reno Office
This webinar will provide a brief introduction to the National Seed Strategy for Rehabilitation and Restoration through real life, “hands-on” examples of implementation. The 350+-member Plant Conservation Alliance (PCA) released the National Seed Strategy in 2015. It represents an unprecedented partnership effort of national, regional and local public and private collaborators.
Three speakers from three different federal agencies will discuss implementation opportunities and challenges from a national, regional and local perspective. Examples will relate to strategy goals (producing and providing needed seed, conducting research, expanding tools for land managers and communications).
Although stories will primarily focus on work being done in the Great Basin, concepts and practices will be of interest to land managers, conservationists and botanists nationwide.
Site Management Tool for Natural Areas Managers: Intro to TerraTrak™
August 16, Noon ET
Brian Knowles, Founder & Managing Partner, Sitka Technology Group
Steve Rentmeester, Senior Product Owner, Sitka Technology Group
Built originally for Oregon Metro to manage property acquisition and stewardship for their Natural Areas bond measure, TerraTrak™ efficiently streamlines site management activities for green infrastructure assets, such as parks, open spaces, trails, urban forests, constructed wetlands, wildlife corridors, and other natural habitats.
Join representatives from Sitka Technology Group and discover how the platform:
• Centralizes all program data
• Streamlines business processes and workflows
• Simplifies the process of sharing program summaries and reports
During this hour-long webinar, land managers can expect to learn:
• Why customers like Oregon Metro and Clean Water Services chose to implement TerraTrak and the resulting workflow improvements they’ve experienced
• A step-by-step demo of the site management module
• How organizations across the country can free up staff time for genuine stewardship by adopting this enterprise-level conservation management platform.
New Online Resources for Revegetation Practitioners
June 7, Noon ET
Matt Horning, Plant Geneticist, USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Region
In 2007 the US Forest Service (USFS) and Federal Highways Administration (FHWA) published the report “Roadside revegetation: an integrated approach to establishing native plants” as a technical resource for project designers and revegetation specialists aimed to increase the success of FHWA roadside revegetation projects in the Pacific Northwest USA. Importantly, the integrated approach and information in this report is applicable on highly disturbed sites outside the context of roadsides and is broadly relevant to a diverse array of revegetation projects. Currently this document is being updated to include pollinator-specific guidance and new content including an expanded scope to include all of the US. The new report will be hosted on the website nativerevegtation.org along with additional information including a resource library and other training aides.
In addition to this document, the USFS and FWHA along with other partners are producing a nationwide online ecoregional workhorse and pollinator-friendly plant list utility. This utility should aid practitioners in selecting and sourcing appropriate native plant materials for various revegetation objectives including pollinator conservation through habitat creation. This presentation will highlight this integrated approach to revegetation and describe these resources for restoration practitioners.
Residual Fire Regimes and Their Value in a Post-suppression Management Era
March 29, Noon ET (rescheduled date)
: Tom Saladyga, Asst. Professor of Geography, Concord University; Alecea Standlee, Asst. Professor of Sociology, Concord University
In regions where forests have developed in response to decades of fire suppression or exclusion, there often persist isolated, residual fire regimes with characteristics similar to those inferred from pre-suppression era fire histories. In this webinar, we will discuss how these surviving fire regimes and the people who live among them can help inform current and future forest management and restoration objectives. Our discussion will focus generally on the Central Hardwood Forest Region and, specifically, the Pennsylvania Anthracite Region where fire activity has continued uninterrupted into the 21st century. This region provides us an opportunity to discuss how multiple sources of information, including fire-scarred trees, observational fire records, socioeconomic data, and a “fire knowledge” survey can be used to guide management decisions and ensure resilient forest landscapes.
Bringing Back the Pollinators: Conservation in the Age of Climate Change
February 22, Noon ET
Scott Hoffman Black, Executive Director, Xerces Society
Pollinators are an indispensable part of a healthy environment and a secure food supply. Despite their recognized importance, until recent years, little attention was given to the conservation of pollinators and now some are in decline. Many species of bumble bees are at risk of extinction, and monarch butterfly populations have declined by more than 80 percent. Loss of habitat, widespread use of pesticides, and disease and parasites are among the leading causes of these declines. Although we do not know the full role of climate change in pollinator declines, data suggests climate resilient habitats will help conserve pollinators.
Many practitioners and land management agencies are interested in restoring and managing habitat for pollinators. Understanding how climate change will impact both the pollinators and their habitats is vital to providing resilient habitats for long-term conservation. Scott will discuss the research on climate change and pollinators and how land managers can conserve, manage and restore habitats with climate change in mind.
Resident and User Support for Urban Natural Areas Restoration Practices
November 10, Noon ET
Paul H. Gobster, Research Landscape Architect, USDA Forest Service
Public support is important to the success of natural areas restoration programs, and it can be especially critical in urban settings where stakeholders recreate in or reside near natural areas but may lack familiarity with practices for managing ecological processes. Surveys of on-site recreationists and nearby residents of 11 Chicago metropolitan natural areas were used to assess support for eight different practices commonly used in oak woodland restoration. On-site users and nearby residents who believed that a restoration practice was being used at the site they visited and/or lived near were much more likely to support the use of that practice than those who did not believe or did not know whether it was being used. Beyond these findings, results also suggest that support should be viewed as a multidimensional concept that involves perceptual, demographic, and structural components which often differ for different practices. Managers can use the information provided here to increase their understanding of the relative nature of restoration support and devise holistic social-ecological strategies to achieve restoration success.
Modern climate change and wildlife populations: Understanding vulnerability and conservation in a novel future
August 23, Noon ET
Benjamin Zuckerberg, Assistant Professor, Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology, University of Wisconsin, Madison
The evidence that wildlife populations are responding to modern climate change is now overwhelming. There is strong scientific consensus that environmental tipping points are being crossed, and many species are adapting (or failing to adapt) to these novel climate conditions. This talk will focus on how climate and land use change drive changes at the level of individuals and populations, and what are the implications for the management and conservation of wildlife under an increasingly uncertain future.
Don’t Speculate, Calculate! The New Long-term Stewardship Calculator
June 28, Noon ET
Angela Sturdevant, The Nature Conservancy, Indiana Field Office; Coda Global Fellow with TNC’s Mitigation Learning Network
We all know that costs associated with long-term stewardship are inherently difficult to predict and often underestimated. To help tackle this problem, The Nature Conservancy convened national experts to develop a calculator that estimates stewardship costs and the amount that should be set aside to provide a secure source of future funding. We developed several products, including a spreadsheet for calculating stewardship costs, an accompanying handbook and quick reference guide, and a web-based portal for these resources. This accessible tool helps consolidate and highlight common expenses to improve the ease and accuracy of calculating costs. The calculator has been designed to be used for both conservation easements and fee land, and is available for free here. The presentation will include a step-by-step demonstration of the calculator and an overview of endowment management concepts.