Special Symposia

A symposium is comprised of a series of presentations that address aspects of a single topic. Six special symposia will be included as part of the technical program at the 2018 SEAFWA Annual Conference; they will run concurrently with other technical sessions. If you have questions about a symposium, contact the organizer using the email address provided below. 

(S-01) Conservation of At-Risk Species on Private Working Forests

Date/Time: Monday, October 22, 1:20 - 5:00 PM

Darren Miller, Weyerhaeuser Company; darren.miller@weyerhaeuser.com 
Dr. T. Bently Wigley, National Council for Air and Stream Improvement, Inc., bwigley@ncasi.org 
Michael Harris, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Michael_harris@fws.gov 

Private working forests comprise a substantial proportion of forest cover and habitat for forest-associated species in the southeastern U.S. Additionally, approximately 87% of forests in the region or privately owned. Therefore, conservation success for many species depends on engagement by private forest landowners, particularly for at-risk species. Currently, there are numerous collaborative efforts among federal and state agencies, non-governmental organization, and private landowners to facilitate effective conservation on private forests for at-risk species. However, not all of these efforts and opportunities are well-known. It is also critical to understand conservation opportunities on private forests from diverse perspectives of the stakeholders engaged in these efforts to encourage collaboration and build on success. This symposium will bring together private forest, state agency, federal agency, and non-governmental organization stakeholders to discuss opportunities and issues with managing for at-risk species on private working forests. A panel discussion will allow ample opportunity for attendee engagement with leaders in private forest conservation. A desired outcome from this effort is increased dialog and on-the-ground collaboration for at-risk species on private, working forests. 

Theme:  forest management, at-risk species, private working forests 

(S-02) Science and Management Needs for Cavity-Nesting Ducks in the Southern U.S.

Date/Time: Monday, October 22,  1:20 - 5:00 PM

Gary R. Hepp, School of Forestry & Wildlife Sciences, Auburn University ; heppgar@auburn.edu 
Richard M. Kaminski, James C. Kennedy Waterfowl & Wetlands Conservation Center, Clemson University; rmkamin@clemson.edu 

We are proposing a half-day symposium that will emphasize cavity-nesting ducks in the southern U.S. We will focus on two species, the Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) and the Black-bellied Whistling-duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis), but relevant information for other cavity nesters will be included. The Wood Duck is an important waterfowl species in eastern North America. Wood Ducks have been of interest to waterfowl biologists and managers for decades, but the last meeting dedicated to Wood Ducks was held 30 years ago. Interest in Black-bellied Whistling-ducks has only recently increased as population numbers have grown and these ducks have expanded their range in the southern U.S. The purpose of this symposium will be to explore topics important to the conservation and management of these species. We will examine several key issues including 1) use and management of artificial nesting structures vs. natural cavities, 2) potential effects of land-use practices on habitat quality, and 3) recent advances in estimating population size and other important demographic parameters, such as duckling survival and recruitment, and 4) symposium participants will identify objectives and goals of future research that will help to reduce management uncertainties and improve the conservation of cavity nesting species. 

Theme:  We will explore the status of our knowledge regarding topics important to the conservation and management of cavity-nesting ducks in the southern U.S. At the end of the symposium, we will discuss and develop a list of research needs and priorities that will help to enhance conservation of these important waterfowl species. 

(S-03) Multi-State Coordinated Surveys for Multiple At-Risk Species in the Southeast

Date/Time: Tuesday, October 23, 8AM - 12PM

Carey Lynn Perry, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries; cperry@wlf.la.gov 
Todd Ewing, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission 
Anna Smith, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources 
Michael Harris, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Region 4 

SEAFWA has been working with the Southeast Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and states to share information in support of Species Status Assessments (SSAs) for species that are being evaluated for listing under the Endangered Species Act. In 2016, the Service developed and published the National Listing Workplan, which set a time schedule for listing determinations for species from 2017 to 2023. This included making a determination for numerous Southeast Region at-risk species. In many instances, additional surveys are needed to inform the SSAs. Numerous Southeastern States, in cooperation with the Service and SEAFWA, have collaborated to complete coordinated, multi-state, multi-species surveys to obtain information about at-risk species and to support SSAs in the region. 

Theme: Range-wide Surveys, At-Risk Species, Species Status Assessment 

(S-04) Applications of Species Distribution Models for Conservation and Management Decisions

Date/Time: Tuesday, October 23, 1:20 - 5:00 PM

Healy Hamilton, Chief Scientist, NatureServe; healy_hamilton@natureserve.org 
D. Todd Jones-Farrand, Conservation Science Coordinator, Southeast Region USFWS

Information on where species occur is central to conservation and management decisions, but knowledge of species distributions is often spatially coarse and/or incomplete. Species Distribution Models (SDMs) are a broad class of tools that can be used to improve understanding of species potential distributions in support of management and policy decisions at multiple scales. The past 20 years have seen a proliferation and maturation of modeling techniques, but these approaches have yet to realize their full potential advancing the conservation enterprise. This symposium will provide a series of case studies from across the Southeast that demonstrate the development and application of SDMs for decision support in a wide range of circumstances. Further, this symposium will emphasize the need for institutionalizing SDMs as tools to enhance the transparency, replicability, defensibility of conservation decisions, and to enhance learning about how to sustain species in the face of environmental change. 

Theme: biodiversity conservation, species distributions, decision support tools 

(S-05) Invasive Species

Date/Time: Tuesday, October 23, 8AM - 5:00 PM

Cindy Williams, USFWS; cynthia_williams@fws.gov 
Angie Rodgers, USFWS 

Whether aquatic or terrestrial, plant or animal, invasive species are a pervasive problem affecting all resource managers and increasingly gaining public attention.  There are serious concerns on impacts to native species and their habitats, but also on the economy – from recreation to water supply and energy development.  Invasive species provide a rare rallying platform across multiple jurisdictions and management sectors.  But are we effectively utilizing this opportunity for collaboration?  Public awareness and expectations on resource managers is an important variable in invasive species management and control, but are we conveying the right messages to gain the support we ultimately need for success?  This symposium will provide a forum to share information on invasive species management and control efforts; provide case studies on successes – or failures – and lessons learned from such efforts; and discuss the importance of bridging the gap between biologists and marketing/communication specialists to provide consistent and effective outreach strategies. 

Theme: Invasive species, outreach 

(S-06) Using Animal Telemetry to Improve Environmental Management in the Gulf of Mexico: Current Studies, Web-based Tools and Research Prioritization

Date/Time: Wednesday, October 24,  8AM-12PM

Caitlin Young- NOAA RESTORE Science Program; caitlin.young@noaa.gov 
Chris Simoniello- Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System 
Barbara Kirkpatrick- Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System 
Animal Telemetry provides a unique opportunity for researchers and managers to gather information on targeted species movement, habitat, nesting/spawning areas and food web use. Recent advances in sensor technology have improved the accuracy and life span of animal telemetry devices (‘tags’). Further, recent reduction in cost allows for the deployment of more tags, increasing spatial coverage and the amount of near real-time information from animal tagging available for incorporation into environmental management models. In coordination with IOOS, the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System (GCOOS) has implemented an Animal Telemetry Network (ATN) to provide integrated data on aquatic ecosystems from species to environment. 
Three goals of the proposed symposia are to: 
  1. Present case studies of how animal telemetry is used to inform management decisions on land and at sea in the Gulf of Mexico; 
  2. Present ATN’s Sarasota Bay Acoustic Network (SBAN) web tool that integrates animal telemetry data from diverse species with oceanographic data to improve understanding of spatial and temporal habitat use; and 
  3. Present results from a data gaps analysis and gather feedback from managers on specific telemetry needs in order to prioritize future research and data collection efforts. 
Theme: Animal Telemetry,  Decision support tools, Data Gaps analysis