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Implementation and Comparison of Two Ecosystem Health Assessment Methods: Species at Risk in Florida (Camp Blanding Trai...

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PAGE 1

IMPLEMENTATION AND COMPARISON OF TWO ECOSYSTEM HEALTH ASSESSMENT METHODS: SPECIES AT RISK IN FLORIDA (CAMP BLANDING TRAINING SITE) AND CONSERVATION BY DESIGN IN GEORGIA (GRAND BAY BAY LAKES AREA) By CHRISTOPHER JAMES GREGORY A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2004

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Copyright 2004 by Christopher James Gregory

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This thesis is dedicated to those people unlucky enough never to have, deservedly or not, been mentioned within a dedication page. Congratulations, now you have.

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I thank my advisor, Dr. Ray Carthy, and my graduate committee, L. Richard Franz and Dr. Leonard Pearlstine, for their guidance with this project. In particular, Dr. Carthys counseling on perseverance was invaluable. I thank Dr. Nat Frazer and Dr. H. Franklin Percival for their aid throughout my time here at the University of Florida. I thank everyone who helped me in the field and the lab: Amr Abdelrahman, Janell Brush, Jennifer Donze, Linda Gregory, Angela Gruschke, Edna Losada, Lisa Ojanen, Joann Tiersma, and LeAnn White. I thank Damian Borrelli, Barbara Fesler, Debra Hatfield, Laura Hayes, Wayne Hyde, Monica Lindberg, Caprice McRae, and Delores Tilman for providing clerical, computer, and departmental assistance at the University of Florida. I thank Kim Lutz from The Nature Conservancy for the opportunity to work with the Legacy project as part of my thesis. I thank Joan Berish and Dan Hipes, past members of my graduate committee, for their advice and suggestions on an earlier, altogether different version of my thesis. I thank my undergraduate mentors (Dr. Tim Caro, Dr. Robert Kimsey, and Dr. H. Brad Shaffer) from the University of California at Davis for introducing me to research, science, and wildlife. I thank the staff of the Dixon field office (Mike Casazza, Dr. Joe Fleskes, Mike Miller, Bill Perry, and Dr. Glenn Wylie) of the United States Geological Survey iv

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(Biological Resources Division, Western Ecological Research Center), for hiring me after each round of university, as well as giving me the opportunity to learn about so many different aspects of science and research while working with them. Most importantly, I thank my family and friends for their unconditional support throughout this phase of my life. v

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TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.................................................................................................iv LIST OF TABLES...........................................................................................................viii LIST OF FIGURES...........................................................................................................ix ABSTRACT.........................................................................................................................x CHAPTER 1 A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF RECENT CONSERVATION ISSUES IN THE USA.....1 Introduction...................................................................................................................1 Research Objectives......................................................................................................3 Study Sites....................................................................................................................4 2 THE UNITED STATES GEOLOGICAL SURVEYS SPECIES AT RISK PROGRAM...................................................................................................................7 Introduction...................................................................................................................7 Materials And Methods................................................................................................9 Data Collection, Analysis, Mapping and Storage.................................................9 Study Species Selection.......................................................................................10 Plant Surveys.......................................................................................................11 Insect Surveys......................................................................................................12 Amphibian Surveys.............................................................................................14 Reptile Surveys....................................................................................................14 Bird Surveys........................................................................................................16 Mammal Surveys.................................................................................................16 Climate................................................................................................................17 General Observations..........................................................................................17 Results.........................................................................................................................18 Plants...................................................................................................................18 Insects..................................................................................................................19 Amphibians..........................................................................................................20 Reptiles................................................................................................................21 Birds....................................................................................................................23 Mammals.............................................................................................................23 vi

PAGE 7

Climate................................................................................................................24 General Observations..........................................................................................25 Discussion...................................................................................................................26 3 THE NATURE CONSERVANCYS CONSERVATION BY DESIGN PROGRAM.................................................................................................48 Introduction.................................................................................................................48 Methods And Results..................................................................................................50 Site Boundary and Size.......................................................................................50 Conservation Target Selection and Boundary Delineation.................................51 Biodiversity Health Assessment..........................................................................51 Threats Analysis..................................................................................................53 Conservation Objectives, Strategies, Actions, and Plans....................................57 Discussion...................................................................................................................57 4 SURVEYS OF WILDLIFE PROFESSIONALS AND PRACTICAL CONCLUSIONS........................................................................................................88 Introduction.................................................................................................................88 Methods......................................................................................................................91 Results.........................................................................................................................92 Discussion And Recommendations............................................................................93 APPENDIX: SUMMARIES OF SELECTED SPECIES AT CAMP BLANDING TRAINING SITE......................................................................................105 LIST OF REFERENCES.................................................................................................119 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH...........................................................................................128 vii

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LIST OF TABLES Table page 2-1. Species chosen for SAR study at CBTS, 2000 to 2001............................................29 2-2. Target species at CBTS............................................................................................31 2-3. Summary of 1994 and 2001 surveys of gopher tortoise population size at CBTS...32 2-4. Climate data at CBTS...............................................................................................33 2-5. Camp Blanding Training Site usage October 1999 June 2001..............................34 3-1. Documented species of special concern occurring in the Grand Bay Bay Lakes area...........................................................................................................................59 3-2. Summary of and justification for inclusion of conservation targets........................61 3-3. Summary of sources and methodologies for creation of conservation target GIS maps........................................................................................................................64 3-4. Biodiversity health assessment for each of the conservation targets........................65 3-5. Stress rank................................................................................................................71 3-6. Source rank............................................................................................................ ..72 3-7. Source/stress rank....................................................................................................7 3 3-8. Major stresses, their severity, and their scope for each of the six GBBL conservation targets................................................................................................74 3-9. Summary of the major sources of stress for the six GBBL conservation targets and their overall threat status..................................................................................75 3-10. A prioritized list of critical broad-level conservation objectives for each of the six GBBL conservation targets ..........................................................................76 3-12. Recommended monitoring plans for each of the six conservation targets..............80 4-1. Questionnaire administered to USGS personnel affiliated w ith SAR projects.......98 viii

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LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 2-1. Camp Blanding Training Site within Clay County, Florida ....................................35 2-2. Camp Blanding Training Site (CBTS) .....................................................................36 2-3. Location of Says spiketail drag onfly searches and habitat traps.............................37 2-4. Habitat types at CBTS ..............................................................................................38 2-5. Amphibian breeding ponds at Camp Blanding Training Site...................................39 2-6. Gopher tortoise sub-populations as delineated by Hipes and Jackson (1996) and captures from this survey.........................................................................................40 2-7. Plant species of concern surveyed at CBTS ............................................................41 2-8. Model of suitable habitat fo r Say's spiketail dragonfly ............................................42 2-9. Captures of other species of concern at CBTS .........................................................43 2-10. Gopher tortoise burrows (and their conditions)........................................................44 2-11. Florida scrub jay sightings at CBTS.........................................................................45 2-12. Mean rainfall, high, low, and overall temperatures at CBTS for all years of data availability (1953-2001), years of all major surveys (1994-2001), and years of this survey (2000-2001) .................................................................................................46 2-13. Distribution of total captures and sightings at CBTS ..............................................47 3-1. The Ecological Foot print within the Tri-County area, Georgia ...............................86 3-2. Distribution of conservation targets within th e Ecological Footprint ......................87 ix

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Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science IMPLEMENTATION AND COMPARISON OF TWO ECOSYSTEM HEALTH ASSESSMENT METHODS: SPECIES AT RISK IN FLORIDA (CAMP BLANDING TRAINING SITE) AND CONSERVATION BY DESIGN IN GEORGIA (GRAND BAY BAY LAKES AREA) By Christopher James Gregory December 2004 Chair: Raymond R. Carthy Major Department: Wildlife Ecology and Conservation The Southeast United States (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee) contains a variety of unique species and ecosystems that are in jeopardy. There are well-documented historical and current records of accelerated environmental change induced by humans. The effectiveness of any potential solution will be influenced by several factors, including the location and past use of the affected area. Solutions may also vary in their approach. One method is to investigate species on a case-by-case basis, and then develop individual management plans. Another approach to conservation management involves investigation of landscape-scale suites of species or areas of land. Though Americans may negatively impact the world in which they live, they are also concerned with finding solutions to their conservation problems. x

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In an era of reduced time and money devoted to conservation efforts, higher costs of labor, and uncertain responses to management recommendations, ecological stewards benefit when opting for the soundest conservation strategy available. Thus, there must also be an evaluation of the various methods of ecological health assessment, something that has not been looked at in depth before now. I summarize methods developed by a United States governmental agency and by a nongovernmental agency in Chapter 1. Though their methodologies differ, the goals of each of the assessed ideologies, as well as others not presented here, include healthier species and ecosystems. Chapter 2 summarizes information from an ecological survey of a military base in north-central Florida that I undertook using methods developed by a United States governmental agency. Chapter 3 includes similar results from a survey that I carried out at a nearby area in south-central Georgia utilizing methods advocated by a nongovernmental agency. Finally, Chapter 4 presents the opinions of professionals from both agencies about the efficacy of their individual programs from a web-based survey that I designed and undertook. I also discuss the recommendations I have towards management and assessment of ecosystem health. xi

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CHAPTER 1 A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF RECENT CONSERVATION ISSUES IN THE USA Introduction The southeastern United States (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee) contains a variety of unique species (e.g., alligator, gopher tortoise, red-cockaded woodpecker, and striped newt) and ecosystems (e.g., coastal marsh and longleaf pine forest), yet is similar to the rest of America in that the existence of many of its taxa and areas are in jeopardy. The causes and problems of these threats, too, are consistent throughout the country. The lack of fire affects the ability of heat-adapted trees to reproduce and repopulate forests, habitat alteration increases patchiness of natural areas that can speed up the proliferation of invasive species, and pollution can lead to birth defects, stunted growth rates, and even death. Individually, or in some combination, these and other problems have already lead to declines in the health of species, population sizes of species, habitat quality, and habitat availability. There are also historical records of accelerated environmental change induced by humans. People are associated with the extinction of megafauna and the alteration of parts of the Middle East from forest to desert (Meffe and Carroll 1994). Despite the relatively new field of conservation biology, conservation problems are not recent phenomena. Conservation solutions, or even the acknowledgement of the need for conservation, are more recent in origin. In the United States (US), conservation initiatives such as the Lacey Act, the proliferative creation of state and national parks, and the Endangered 1

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2 Species Act, were all established in the 20 th century. Surveys of Americans show they have a high regard for the environment and support conservation measures. Ninety-one percent of Americans stated that wilderness should be preserved, 57% said that the environment should be protected at any cost, 61% believe that not enough national forests are being protected, 61% think that economic issues should not take precedence over environmental issues, and even after September 11, 2001, 55% said that environment and pollution issues were important for the federal government to address (Los Angeles Times poll April 2001, New York Times/CBS News poll June 2001, Gallop poll March 2001, Ivan Moore research poll May 2001, IPSOS-Reid poll October-November 2001). Though Americans may negatively impact the world in which they live, they are also concerned with finding solutions to their conservation problems. The effectiveness of any potential solution will be influenced by several factors, including the location and past use of the affected area. A remote area with limited access and use may be more simply managed than an area subject to greater and more varieties of use. Military bases are one such type of heavily trafficked, multi-use areas. The United States Department of Defense (DOD) currently manages over 25 million acres of land and is the third-largest federal land management department in the US (DENIX 2004, Leslie et al. 1996). Over 500 species at risk (rare, threatened, endangered, or at risk of being listed as such) are reported from DOD installations, and at least 30% of the military bases that comprise the DODs land holdings contain multiple species at risk and parts of unique ecosystems (DENIX 2004, USACERL 1997). Particularly high numbers of species at risk occur on installations in the southeast United States (NatureServe 2004).

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3 As with all other lands, DOD properties are subject to United States laws and regulations regarding species and land management. Solutions may also vary in their approach. One method is to investigate species on a case-by-case basis, and then develop individual management plans. An example of this is the Species At Risk (SAR) program, started in 1995 by the United States Geological Survey (USGS), Biological Resources Division (BRD). The SAR program was created in part to identify and report on deficiencies in biological knowledge of species status in an effort to stabilize at risk species and to minimize further listings. Additionally, it assists Federal, State and private land and resource managers in their decisions regarding the protection of sensitive species and their habitats. Another approach to conservation management involves investigation of landscape-scale suites of species or areas of land. One non-governmental agency, The Nature Conservancy, has a goal to conserve areas to guarantee survival of all species and communities, not just those in peril. These functional conservation areas are defined within ecoregions. Threats to the areas are identified and a management plan is then developed. Cumulatively, this process is called Conservation By Design (CBD). Research Objectives As there is little to no record in literature comparing methodological assessments of ecosystem health, I established the following objectives for my research: Undertake an ecosystem health assessment of a multi-use area using the United States Geological Surveys Species At Risk program. What are the results? Undertake an ecosystem health assessment of a multi-use area using The Nature Conservancys Conservation By Design program. What are the results? Compare and evaluate these two methods of ecosystem health assessment based on results from two sites (Camp Blanding Training Site, Florida and Grand Bay Bay

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4 Lakes area, Georgia). Does each methodology provide the same level of protection, with the same level of effort? Survey USGS and TNC professionals who have used either of the programs (SAR and CBD) to evaluate their opinions of program effectiveness. Do professionals believe that each program meets its own criteria of success as defined at the inception of each program? Make recommendations to improve the management and assessment of ecosystem health. Study Sites As part of my work, the SAR program was chosen for use in assessing Camp Blanding Training Sites environmental inventory and health. The Camp Blanding Training Site (CBTS) is a ~29,500 hectare military installation owned by the State of Florida and managed by the Florida Army National Guard (FLARNG) in northeastern (Clay County) Florida. Much of the training conducted at Camp Blanding deals with light infantry exercises, but the base is also used for federal and state emergency logistical support, public recreation and hunting, non-military education and training, silviculture, mining, and professional entertainment purposes. CBTS contains 14 natural community types (see Hipes and Jackson 1996 and King 1998 for reviews), each impacted to various degrees by the past land stewardship. The status of the more than 2000 species of flora and fauna accounted for at CBTS are likewise affected. Again, as part of my work, the CBD program was chosen for use in assessing the health and potential of a multi-use area in southern Georgia. The Grand Bay Banks Lake area (GBBL) comprises the second-largest freshwater wetland system in Georgia. This ~42,500 hectare site is located at the easternmost edge of the South Atlantic Coastal Plain ecoregion within the Suwannee River Basin, and lies within the Tifton Upland District of the East Gulf Coastal Plain Section of Georgia (TNCGA 2002a). Bordered by

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5 the Withlacoochee River on the west and the Alapaha River on the east, the Grand Bay Banks Lake ecoregion is characterized by flat to sloping plateaus separated by shallow river valleys, broad wetland depressions, and karst topography. The north and northwestern boundaries of the area form the base of the Pelham Escarpment that rises as much as 61 meters above the Dougherty Plain. Notable landscape features in the area include Carolina Bays, limesinks, creek swamps, open-water shallow lakes, ponds, flatwoods, and an elevated hammock (Dudleys Hammock). Besides the three globally rare (G3, Natural Heritage status) animal species that are found in the area, the site also supports a total of 23 species tracked by the Georgia Natural Heritage program (Moody Air Force Base 2001, TNCGA 2002a). Though their methodologies differ, the goals of each of the ideologies listed above, as well as others not presented here (such as Conservation Internationals priority-setting hierarchy), include healthier species and ecosystems. However, in times of reduced time and money devoted to conservation efforts, higher costs of labor, and uncertain responses to management recommendations, ecological stewards benefit when opting for the soundest conservation strategy available. Thus, there must also be an evaluation of the various methods of ecological health assessment, something that has not been looked at in depth before now. Chapter 2 summarizes information from an ecological survey of a military base in north-central Florida that I undertook using methods developed by a United States governmental agency. Chapter 3 includes similar results from a survey that I carried out at a nearby area in south-central Georgia utilizing methods advocated by a nongovernmental agency. Finally, Chapter 4 presents the opinions of professionals from both agencies about the efficacy of their individual programs from a web-based survey

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6 that I designed and undertook. I also discuss the recommendations I have toward management and assessment of ecosystem health.

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CHAPTER 2 THE UNITED STATES GEOLOGICAL SURVEYS SPECIES AT RISK PROGRAM Introduction Integrated management has become an increasingly important protocol for natural resource managers to balance the needs of property owners, local community interests, state and federal laws, and environmental processes. However, many challenges can confound its successful implementation. Examples of potential problems include aberrant climatological events, incorrect methodology, loss of data, social bias for and against specific taxa, technological limitations, funding issues, and the scale at which environmental planners collect data, set management priorities, and judge their success. Consistently well-gathered, long-term data are important to minimize data misinterpretation due to the effects mentioned above. One of the largest uses of integrated natural resource management and planning is on United States military installations, necessitated in part due to Department of Defense program mandates (King 1998). The Camp Blanding Training Site (CBTS; Figs. 2-1 and 2-2) is a 29,542 hectare military installation owned by the State of Florida and managed by the Florida Army National Guard (FLARNG) in northeastern (Clay County) Florida. Much of the training conducted at Camp Blanding deals with light infantry exercises, but the base is also used for federal and state emergency logistical support, public recreation and hunting, non-military education and training, silviculture, mining, and professional entertainment purposes. Centered between Jacksonville to the northeast, Gainesville to the southwest, and Live Oak to the northwest, CBTS lies within an important ecological and 7

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8 transportation linkage of the southeast United States (Hipes and Jackson 1996, King 1998). Its westernmost edge is contained within the Trail Ridge, part of a series of sandhill ridges which begin in southern Florida and most likely formed during the Pleistocene (King 1998, Meyers and Ewel 1990, Opdyke et al. 1984). Typical features include pine-wiregrass communities and oak scrubland. Although most of CBTS consists of well drained soils, there are poorly to moderately-poor drained soil areas, which are often able to hold water and contain significant organic nutrients (Long and Catlett 1996). Cypress swamps and mesic hardwood hammocks are two of the notable landscape features in these areas. CBTS contains 14 natural community types (see Hipes and Jackson 1996 and King 1998 for reviews), each impacted to various degrees by the past land stewardship. The status of the more than 2000 species of flora and fauna accounted for at CBTS are likewise affected. In an effort to maximize the sustainability of each of these species at Camp Blanding without jeopardizing the quality and quantity of military training, an Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan (INRMP) has been developed. Part of the INRMP calls for outside monitoring and surveillance. The first, large-scale baseline surveys were conducted in 1994 by the Florida Natural Areas Inventory (Hipes and Jackson 1996). Several smaller surveys were undertaken in the following years (Franz 2000, Hipes et al. 1998, Minno and Minno 2000). The Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at the University of Florida was contracted to conduct a larger-scale Species At Risk (SAR) study at CBTS from February 2000 through August 2001. The SAR program was started in 1995 by the United States Geological Survey (USGS), Biological Resources Division (BRD), in part to identify and report on deficiencies in biological knowledge of

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9 species status in an effort to stabilize at risk species and to minimize further listings, as well as to assist Federal, State and private land and resource managers in their decisions regarding the protection of sensitive species and their habitats. This study was constrained to CBTS property, although future regional surveys to elicit the relationship between CBTS populations and external populations and habitats will be important to a fuller understanding of management issues. Management plans for species may be ineffective without continual feedback and the flexibility for change. Such information provides an opportunity to manage proactively and increase resource stewardship. In this paper I summarize the results of my surveys of 19 SAR species found on CBTS. I also compare the results of my study with those of past surveys, identify possible sources of error, and discuss the significance to environmental managers of any differences. Materials and Methods Data Collection, Analysis, Mapping and Storage A number of different survey methods were used to study species presence/absence, population levels, habitat associations, and vulnerability. Detailed methods used are listed below for each focal species. All sightings and captures were georeferenced (coordinate system: Universal Transverse Mercator, Zone 17; units: meters; datum: North American Datum of 1927; spheroid: Clarke 1866) with a Global Positioning System (Trimble GeoExplorer IV, hereafter referred to as GPS) and recorded on field data sheets. Digital photographs were taken to document field conditions as well as species captures and sightings. All animals were released at the site of capture. Weather data (temperature, rainfall, cloud cover, wind speed) were recorded and compared with historical climate data obtained from Gainesville, Florida (Alachua

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10 County), the nearest locale with uninterrupted (October 1953 to May 2001) climate records. Field data were transferred to a Microsoft Access 97 database for permanent storage. Location data were projected using ArcView, version 3.2a. Study Species Selection Included with the original CBTS SAR proposal was a list of twenty-five SAR species identified at Camp Blanding. Our first goal was to ensure that the list was complete. CBTS Range Control provided a list of all species known to occur (historically or currently) or which have the potential to occur at Camp Blanding. The most current (in 1999) conservation status was recorded for each species and compared to the list maintained by CBTS. Information was compiled from the following sources: United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Florida Natural Areas Inventory (FNAI), CBTS, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), Florida Committee on Rare and Endangered Plants and Animals (FCREPA), Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWCC), and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS). Incorporating this information increased the original 25 species to 119 species. The resources of this project did not allow for the effective study of the 119 species. A working list was created by culling out some species from the full list. The following criteria were used for this task: A numerical rank (0-5) was assigned to each conservation status for each species. Higher values corresponded to poorer status. A numerical rank (0-1) was assigned to each species based on whether the species had strong obligate habitat requirements. Strong habitat requirements were given a value of 1, and little to no habitat requirements were given a value of 0.

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11 A numerical rank (0-1) was assigned to each species based on its potential to provide habitat for other species. High potential was given a value of 1, and little to no potential was given a value of 0. The numerical ranks were then summed for each species, and we observed that the latter two ranking criteria had the least effect on the overall final rankings. Species were then excluded from consideration if they were occasional migrants, never previously recorded at Camp Blanding, or had a higher relative positive conservation standing. A meeting between all parties involved with this project was held at Camp Blanding on January 18 th 2000. Comments were solicited for all species still present on the modified study list. Based upon this discussion and other research after the completion of the meeting, two final lists were completed: a list of focal species (those species to be actively surveyed) and a list of incidental species (those species whose presence, numbers, locations, etc. were to be recorded on an opportunistic basis while searching for focal species). Both focal and incidental species are presented in Table 2-1. Species summaries are presented in the appendix. Bat surveys were subcontracted to Fly By Night, Inc., a bat research organization based in Osteen, FL, under the CBTS SAR program. At the January 18 th 2000 meeting, the SAR list was discussed as it pertains to bats and it was decided that no Florida bats should be excluded from the survey effort. Biologically, we know very little about most bats, including common species. However, special attention was paid to big-eared bats (Corynorhinus) and the southeastern myotis (Myotis austroriparius), since they are on the original USFWS/FWCC list of SAR species identified at CBTS. Plant Surveys Giant Orchid (Pteroglossaspis ecristata (Fern.) Rolfe), St. Johns Susan (Rudbeckia nitida Nutt.), Bartrams Ixia (Sphenostigma coelestinum (Bartr.)

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12 Goldblatt & Henrich) During the flowering periods for these species, I conducted walking and driving visual searches for individuals of these species in previously recorded areas (KBN Engineering and Applied Sciences, Inc. 1996) and new regions in an effort to record variation from past documented ranges. Incidental sightings were recorded throughout the year, although survey effort was decreased outside of the flowering periods. Insect Surveys Says Spiketail Dragonfly (Cordulegaster sayi Selys) Based on extensive surveys for this species in past years (Minno and Minno 2000) and the suggestion of the CBTS environmental personnel, I planned only to model potential habitat for this species, using information on point location data and complete habitat descriptions for larvae and adults (Dunkle 1994, Minno and Minno 2000, Westfall and Mauffray 1994). However, some sampling was carried out actively and incidentally. While seining for amphibians, captured larval dragonflies were examined in an effort to determine species. Also, sites previously surveyed (Minno and Minno 2000, pers. comm., M. Minno, Gainesville, FL) for Says spiketail dragonfly were re-examined (Fig. 2-3). Modeling included use of data obtained from habitat maps and Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) of CBTS, natural history information on the species, and historic point locations at CBTS. Natural history notes on this species were taken from published literature (Dunkle 1994, Westfall and Mauffray 1994). Thirty meter DEMs were downloaded from the USGS Earth Resources Observation Systems Data Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The CBTS Environmental Center provided hard-copy point data from previous Say's spiketail dragonfly surveys. Due to non-availability of previous

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13 digital land classifications collected by the CBTS Environmental Center, I created new digital habitat maps of CBTS. I used land cover mapped for the USGS Florida Gap Analysis Program (Pearlstine et al. 2000) from the classification of 1993 and 1994 Landsat Thematic Mapper satellite imagery at a spatial resolution of 30 m (Fig. 2-4). Bands 2, 3, 4, and 5 of the imagery and a Tassel Cap transformation (Crist and Cicone 1984) were used in an iterative unsupervised clustering algorithm. Labeling of the spectral clusters with vegetation associations followed The Nature Conservancy/United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Southeastern Region classification scheme (Nature Conservancy 1998). This hierarchical, ecologically based classification scheme delineates plant associations in the southeast United States. The UNESCO classification scheme is the basis for the National Vegetation Classification Standard adopted by the Federal Geographic Data Committee. The basic assumptions and definitions for this classification system have been described by Jennings (1993). The basis for aggregation of the scheme for Gap analysis is presented in Pearlstine et al. (1999). Labeling in the Camp Blanding area was assisted with auxiliary information from St. Johns River Water Management District land use/land cover maps, National Wetlands Inventory maps, county level soils maps, vegetation surveys, and photo interpreted points from low altitude aerial digital photography. CBTS land cover created in Erdas Imagine was transferred to a grid-based modeling software package (MFWorks) to facilitate modeling tasks. Land covers that provided suitable habitat for foraging and reproduction for Says spiketail dragonfly were identified and entered into the MFWorks program. Using map algebra and ground

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14 truthing, unsuitable areas were subtracted from the entire CBTS map to give a final approximation of where Says spiketail dragonfly may potentially be found. Amphibian Surveys Flatwoods Salamander (Ambystoma cingulatum Cope), Striped Newt (Notophthalmus perstriatus Bishop), Gopher Frog (Rana capito LeConte) Breeding ponds identified as being surveyed in past studies (Hipes and Jackson 1996) were surveyed biannually (at a minimum) with the use of dip-nets. One pond was surrounded by drift-fencing and buried pitfall traps in order to monitor incoming and outgoing species. Ponds not previously surveyed in past studies were sampled opportunistically. In addition, all ponds (Fig. 2-5) were sampled at night in an effort to catch and observe anurans engaged in breeding behaviors. Additionally, I opportunistically attempted to locate frogs heard calling. I also searched for amphibians by overturning logs, raking through debris, setting funnel traps overnight, and video-scoping gopher tortoise burrows. Reptile Surveys Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus Baird & Girard), Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon corais couperi Holbrook) Funnel traps were set in suitable habitats, near areas of sightings from previous surveys (Hipes and Jackson 1996, Hipes et al. 1998), and in locations where snakes were observed but not readily able to be captured by hand (i.e., underground, spotted using a video-scope). Special surveys were made during warm periods of cold weather months when indigo snakes might have been basking at the front of and/or in transit to gopher tortoise burrows. Incidental snake surveys and observations were also made while surveying for other species.

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15 Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus Daudin) Tortoises were observed opportunistically throughout CBTS. When caught, individuals were permanently and uniquely marked using a numbering system devised by Cagle (1939). Size, weight, gender, ectoparasite load, and upper respiratory tract disease (URTD) symptoms were recorded for most tortoises. Efforts were made to estimate total population size based on sampling of twenty-one gopher tortoise subpopulations (Fig. 2-6) delineated by Hipes and Jackson (1996). Total area was calculated in ArcView for each subpopulation. A C++ program used to generate random transects was written using standard random number library functions. The program returns a user-selected number of random values without replacement and within a user-selected range. Two people walked random transects ten meters wide until a minimum of ten percent of the entire subpopulation area had been surveyed. Gopher tortoise subpopulation counts were estimated as follows, using methods taken from Auffenberg and Franz (1982). Every gopher tortoise burrow encountered within the transect area was assigned a usage value: active (burrow opening clear of debris and soil of burrow apron recently disturbed), inactive (burrow opening relatively maintained and soil of burrow apron undisturbed), or abandoned (burrow opening closed or covered with debris and soil of burrow apron undisturbed). Special burrow camera equipment (Ed Wester, Southern Ecosystems Research, Alabama) was used to scope the burrows and record any tortoise or commensal species found. Tortoises captured outside their burrows were processed as described above. Measuring and camera equipment were washed with alcohol after each use to prevent potential disease transfer. For each subpopulation, the number of active + inactive burrows was divided by the area surveyed

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16 (hectares) to calculate burrow density. This number was multiplied by the total hectares of the subpopulation, then multiplied by 0.614 (first described by Auffenberg and Franz (1982), this correction factor is an estimate of the number of tortoises using all active and inactive burrows) to obtain the estimated population size. Bird Surveys Florida Scrub Jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens Bosc) Taped Florida scrub jay calls (obtained from James Garrison, Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission, CBTS Wildlife Management Area) were played for two minutes at a minimum of every 250 m while walking transects during gopher tortoise burrow surveys, while surveying for other plants and animals, and while actively surveying for this species. Mammal Surveys Round-tailed Muskrat (Neofiber alleni True) Major bodies of water, swamps, and marshes identified from USGS 1:24000, 7.5 minute quadrangle map sheets, and CBTS aerial photographs were surveyed biannually for muskrat presence (e.g., feeding platforms, scat, and foot tracks). Opportunistic searches of smaller bodies of water were also conducted. Shermans Fox Squirrel (Sciurus niger shermani Moore) Observations were noted for this species using three main survey methods: incidentally while searching for other species or driving, while walking transects in conjunction with gopher tortoise surveys, and through random surveys throughout CBTS. Eastern Red Bat (Lasiurus borealis Muller), Seminole Bat (Lasiurus seminolus Rhoads), Southeastern Myotis (Myotis austroriparius Rhoads), Evening Bat (Nycticeius humeralis Rafinesque), Eastern pipistrelle (Pipistrellus subflavus F. Cuvier), Brazilian Free-tailed Bat (Tadarida brasiliensis I. Geoffroy) Surveys were

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17 undertaken for roosting and active bats. Roost surveys involved visually searching buildings (both occupied and unoccupied), military structures, bridges, culverts, and tree cavities for the presence of bats, or evidence of bat activity (e.g., staining, guano accumulation, odor, or an accumulation of insect body segments). Mobile and stationary surveys of active bats were performed using the Anabat bat detector system (Titley Electronics) to monitor bat activity. A laptop computer running Anabat software was used to record echolocation events for analysis. Mist nets were set at or near sites where bat activity was confirmed during roost or Anabat surveys. Configurations of three or more nets (6, 9, and 12 meter) were set near or over water using both single and stacked sets (Kunz 1988). To reduce the number of bats chewing through nets or becoming overly entangled, mist nets were checked at intervals of ten minutes or less. Captured bats were held in cloth bags and hung on the mist net poles in an attempt to attract additional bats. Climate Historical climate data were obtained for CBTS from Gainesville (Alachua County), Florida, the nearest locale with complete climate records. Monthly rainfall (cm) and monthly maximum, minimum, and mean temperature (Celsius degrees) data were recorded from October 1953 to May 2001. General Observations Although CBTS habitats were surveyed on foot and vehicle, five habitat types were chosen for long-term monitoring of small SAR: Hardwood Hammock, Depression Marsh, Sandhill, Riverine, and Sand Pine. Determination of the five habitats chosen for long-term surveys, as well as all habitats delineated on survey forms, came from four main sources: Ecosystems of Florida (Myers and Ewel 1990), 26 Ecological Communities of

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18 Florida (U.S. Soil Conservation Service 1980), Guide to the Natural Communities of Florida (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 1990), and my habitat interpretation from ground truth surveys. Definitions of these habitats are as follows: Depression Marsh Depression Marsh is characterized as a shallow, usually rounded depression in sand substrate with herbaceous vegetation often in concentric bands. (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 1990) Hardwood Hammock Hardwood hammock forests are characterized as well-developed closed canopy forests of upland hardwoods on steep slopes, bluffs, and ravines. The combination of densely shaded slopes and cool, moist microclimate produces conditions that are conducive for the growth of many species. (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 1990) Riverine Perennial or intermittent seasonal watercourses (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 1990) and nearby, associated habitats. Sand Pine Dense forests composed primarily of mature sand pines. Sandhill Sandhills are characterized as a forest of widely spaced pine trees with a sparse understory of deciduous oaks and a fairly dense ground cover of grasses and herbs on rolling hills of sand. The most typical associations are dominated by longleaf pine, turkey oak, and wiregrass. (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 1990) Using recommendations from CBTS environmental and range control personnel about optimal habitat locations and potential military conflicts, it was determined that the Hardwood Hammock traps would be combined with the Riverine traps. Trap locations were chosen and 30.5 m of construction silt fencing was installed within each habitat (Fig. 2-3). Five funnel traps were set on each side of the fence (ten total) and checked at least once every two days. Trap lines and traps were georeferenced with a GPS. Funnel traps were also used without fence lines opportunistically throughout the base. Results Plants St. Johns Susan At least 3 new localities as well as a slightly wider range of previously known locations of this species (KBM Engineering and Applied Sciences, Inc.

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19 1998) were found (Table 2-2, Fig. 2-7). Some of the new locations contained only one plant. It is possible that the extension of this species range was facilitated by vehicular or mower traffic. Bartrams Ixia We found similar locations as did past surveys, but less than the survey presented in the CBTS INRMP (KBM Engineering and Applied Sciences, Inc. 1998). No new locations were recorded (Table 2-2, Fig. 2-7). Causation (e.g., survey error, environmental change, or road construction) of this potential range contraction could not be determined. Giant Orchid We found only one of the locations observed during previous surveys and no new locations were positively recorded (Table 2-2, Fig. 2-7). One potential new sighting was found, although identification was questionable. It is doubtful this was a giant orchid. Again, the cause of site reductions could not be determined. Insects Says Spiketail Dragonfly No Say's spiketail dragonflies were found (Table 2-2). An adult from the genus Cordulegaster was observed flying near a pond on the northern half of CBTS, at a location different from those of a previous survey (Minno and Minno 2000). Due to its protected status and delicate body condition, I did not wish to risk potential injury to the individual during capture, so positive (species-level) identification was not possible. The Say's spiketail dragonfly models (Fig. 2-8) predictions closely match with known Say's spiketail dragonfly locations. It also identified other locations with the same or similar characteristics that are potential sites for Say's spiketail dragonfly sightings.

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20 Amphibians Flatwoods salamander, striped newt : Unlike past surveys (Hipes and Jackson 1996, Hipes et al. 1998), no salamander species were found at CBTS during the survey period (Table 2-2). The absence of observed salamanders was likely due to drought conditions. Most breeding ponds were dry and the lack of consistent rain may have precluded behavioral stimulus to seek breeding ponds. Many of the ponds containing water had seemingly healthy numbers of dragonfly larvae, which can be predators of amphibian eggs (Calwell et al. 1980, Van Buskirk 1988). As salamanders are a relatively long-lived species, it is likely that emigrant adult salamanders could return with consistent rains. Gopher frog: Gopher frogs were found in several locations at CBTS (Table 2-2, Fig. 2-9). All but one were associated with gopher tortoise burrows. Egg masses and larval gopher frogs were found at one breeding pond (consistent with past surveys), approximately one kilometer from a site where two adults were found. Fewer gopher frogs were found than in previous surveys (Hipes and Jackson 1996, Hipes et al. 1998), especially in ponds. Again, this is presumably due to drought conditions. Gopher frogs (and amphibians in general) at CBTS seemed to be highly impacted by the drought. Most breeding ponds were dry and the lack of consistent rain may have prevented behavioral stimulus to seek out these ponds. The single breeding pond with gopher frog eggs/larvae dried up at least twice during our survey period. Most larvae (gopher frog and other amphibian species) were quickly eaten by birds and raccoons as the water dropped to low levels. The rest presumably died due to heat and oxygen factors associated with shallow water. Frog eggs and larvae are known diet items of many larval dragonfly species. Many of the ponds containing water had seemingly healthy numbers

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21 of dragonfly larvae. In stressed environments, this may also be an important factor for local survival of this species. Reptiles Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake, Eastern Indigo Snake: Three eastern diamondback rattlesnakes and 3 eastern indigo snakes were observed or caught, and one additional animal of each species was found as roadkills during my survey period (Table 2-2, Fig. 2-9). These amounts and locations are consistent with past surveys (Hipes and Jackson 1996, Hipes et al. 1998). No animals were caught using funnel traps. Although it is unknown how well surveyed hunters can identify rattlesnakes at the species level, anecdotal information from hunters interviewed throughout the base indicate that CBTS has an extremely high prevalence of eastern diamondback rattlesnakes. While these views may or may not be true (perhaps motivated by a fearful respect by the hunters), I found pygmy rattlesnakes (Sistrurus miliarius) to be more common during my surveys. Gopher tortoise: Tortoises were found 11.5% (n = 3) of the time in sandhill habitat, 42.3% in forests (n = 11), 26.9% in grasslands (n = 7), and 19.2% on roads (n = 5) (Fig. 2-6). Burrows were found in sandhill habitat 41.1% of the time (n = 171), 34.4% in forests (n = 143), 22.4% in grasslands (n = 93), and 2.1% in other habitats (n = 9). Active burrows accounted for 42.3% of my totals (n = 176), inactive 22.4% (n = 93), and abandoned 35.3% (n = 147) (Fig. 2-10). Tick count of captured tortoises (n = 26) was generally low ( 3). Twelve captured tortoises (46.2%) were examined for signs Upper Respiratory Tract Disease (URTD). Six exhibited no signs (clear eyes and nose, no cloudiness or runniness), 3 had slight symptoms, 2 exhibited moderate signs of infection, and one tortoise had advanced symptoms of URTD (eyes very cloudy, nose extremely

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22 runny). Additionally, the tortoise exhibiting extreme signs of infection also was parasitized by the most number of ticks of all tortoises caught. As there have been no previous URTD studies at CBTS, I cannot compare my results with previous surveys. Results from each subpopulation are listed in Table 2-3. It is critical to note that the methodology used in the Hipes and Jackson (1996) CBTS surveys may have overestimated the population size for a variety of reasons. For example, the impact area (central portion of CBTS used for firing and testing large-caliber artillery) was included in their calculations although they were unable to survey these sites because of the risk of encountering unexploded ordinance. It also appears that tabular subpopulation data in Hipes and Jackson (1996) have not been multiplied by the correction factor of 0.614 as mentioned in their text, skewing results upward of 40%. Finally, due to the use of more precise computers/GIS in my methodology, absolute comparisons between the last two surveys may not be valid. Examined with those caveats in mind, the (corrected) raw data from the last two major surveys suggest a decline in the gopher tortoise population on CBTS (from 6,512 in 1994 to 1,594 in 2001), which is consistent with the preliminary results from other researchers working on public lands (including Goldhead Branch State Park, adjacent to CBTS) in Florida (pers. comm., H. Mushinsky, Tampa, FL). Causality for these declines has yet to be determined, and whether gopher tortoises have moved or died during the time between surveys is unknown. Although both surveys were similar in methodology, it may be that the two surveys were not similar enough and any results are not comparable. The population estimate from the current, potentially drought-influenced survey should

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23 be considered the baseline for CBTS. Future surveys can then determine the true extent, if any, of the decline in numbers of gopher tortoises at CBTS. Birds Florida scrub jay: Recent surveys have shown Florida scrub jays to be consistently present in the Kingsley Scrub in small numbers (2 5) (pers. comm., P. Hall, Starke, FL). At various times throughout the survey period, I have found 2-6 Florida scrub jays in this area. I have additionally found 7 new sighting locations containing this species (Fig. 2-11) (Table 2-2), including one on the northern half of the base. Only the Kingsley Scrub population was found in true scrub habitat. The other colonies were found in forests, including one located in thick forest near a water seepage. Individuals sighted there were observed constantly flying up and down to the water. These individuals may be the same birds (or their descendants) previously observed residing nearby within the impact area (pers. comm., J. Garrison, Starke, FL). Each of the 8 areas was subsequently resurveyed several times. Scrub jays were not seen or heard again in four locations, heard but not seen in two locations, and seen and heard in two locations. However, during one survey, no Florida scrub jays were observed or heard in any of the locations, including the original Kingsley Scrub. Thus, absence to response of taped calls should not be construed as absence of Florida scrub jays. Mammals Round-tailed muskrat : No round-tailed muskrats were observed during my surveys (Table 2-2). Though this species has never been seen on CBTS, two potential sites were recorded. During a winter 2000 survey of Magnolia Lake, a potential nest site was observed. No animals were ever found. A second site was reported in 2000 by Richard Franz (2000) in an interim report to CBTS. While surveying ponds for flatwoods

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24 salamanders, potential grass cuttings were found floating in one pond. Again, no individuals were ever seen on CBTS. Shermans fox squirrel: Thirteen Shermans fox squirrels were observed throughout the base (Table 2-2, Fig. 2-9), roughly one-third of the number encountered during past surveys (Hipes and Jackson 1996). No threats (e.g., road-kill) were noticed during the survey period to explain this apparent decrease in numbers. They were seen 30.1% of the time on roads (n = 3), 30.1% in sandhill habitat (n = 3), 30.1% within forests (n = 3), and 9.7% in grasslands (n = 1). Half of all sightings occurred during the winter months, perhaps because of easier visibility through winter-thinned vegetation. Eastern Red Bat, Seminole Bat, Southeastern Myotis, Evening Bat, Eastern pipistrelle, Brazilian Free-tailed Bat : Four species were observed roosting in 13 locations: Southeastern Myotis (n > 38), Evening Bat (n > 114), Eastern Pipistrelle (n=2), and the Brazilian Free-tailed Bat (n > 117). Analysis of 10.75 h of recorded bat echolocation indicates 773 passes, 76 buzzes, and 39 social vocalizations. Mist nets captured four species: Eastern Red Bat (n = 2), Seminole Bat (n = 4), Southeastern Myotis (n = 5), and the Eastern Pipistrelle (n = 1). Bats were not included in previous studies, so these data can be used as baseline data for future surveys. Climate During the survey period, Florida experienced a drought brought on by the 1998 La Nia weather event. Having enormous ecological and economic effects throughout the state, 2000 was the driest year on record (Department of Environmental Protection 2001). The event affected CBTS, as the water table dropped dramatically and left most ephemeral ponds dry. Many larger lakes and ponds were drawn down noticeably.

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25 Temperatures were more stable (Table 2-4). Mean high temperatures were slightly higher and mean low temperatures were slightly lower than historic means (Fig. 2-12). Although current overall temperature means were near historic levels, these slight differences may exacerbate stresses individual animals undergo due to drought, habitat conversion, incompatible land use practices, or other impacts. General Observations All funnel traps caught a number of different invertebrates and small vertebrates that were not pertinent to the study (e.g., wasps, spiders, anoles, and skinks). Traps and fence lines incurred damage during the survey period. Examples of this include wood posts being eaten by termites, posts being shot, broken, uprooted, and stolen during hunting seasons and training exercises (some found later being used for unknown purposes at other locations on CBTS), and traps torn open by predators. Trap success was generally low but enabled me to capture of some species not seen during my other surveys (Table 2-2), including five species not yet recorded at CBTS: Oak Toad (Bufo quercicus Holbrook), Eastern Narrowmouth Toad (Gastrophryne carolinensis Holbrook), Florida Worm Lizard (Rhineura floridana Baird), Loggerhead Musk Turtle (Sternotherus minor minor Agassiz), and Florida Brown Snake (Storeria dekayi victa Holbrook). Surveys and trapping throughout the base enabled me to capture two gopher frogs and one Florida mouse (Podomys floridanus Chapman) associated with gopher tortoise burrows, as well as document many new locations of the Hooded Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia minor Walter), state-listed as threatened in Florida and unusual in Georgia. All captures and sightings are shown in Fig. 2-13.

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26 Discussion The determination by land stewards that existing integrated ecological management plans are fundamentally sound will depend on how relevant data are collected and analyzed. For example, the Camp Blanding INRMP might be viewed as a success due to the fact I were able to document the persistence of 11 species at risk, expansion of 3 ranges, and confirmed records of 11 other species never before seen at CBTS. However, 3 species of risk previously documented at CBTS could not be located during this study, ranges of at least 3 species had contracted, and there were noticeably fewer individuals caught of at least 5 other species. Due to ecological complexity and aberrant climatic events, direct causality of declines cannot be determined. One potential stress noted during my surveys was human influence on CBTS ecological processes. Almost 29% of Camp Blandings ~29,500 hectares can be classified as sub-optimal to most native wildlife (e.g., logged forests, disturbed, mined, and/or located in the impact area) (King 1998, my analyses). An additional 17% is slated to be clear-cut within the next 25 years for future pine plantations (Long and Catlett 1996). Pursuing revenue from forest harvest and other uses ranks higher in importance than enhancing the quality of forest habitat for wildlife (Long and Catlett 1996). Wildlife sustainability is strained not only by the loss of habitat, but also by the ensuing landscape fragmentation. However, inferring human-source causality without adequate data is unwise (Pechmann et al. 1991, Seigel et al. 1995). During the course of my surveys, Florida experienced the worst drought on record. The water table dropped dramatically leaving most ponds dry, and many larger lakes and ponds drawn down noticeably. At the very

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27 least, this greatly impacted the ecology of amphibians on CBTS. The single breeding pond I found containing gopher frog eggs and larvae dried up at least twice during my survey period, leading to unsuccessful breeding events. This additional pressure may also be an important factor for the local survival of this species in an environment already feeling the effects from a variety of stresses. As Dodd (1993) summarized, there may be three effects from severe drought: local amphibian populations may become extirpated, they may be long-lived and hardy enough to survive harsh climate events within refugia, or they may attempt to migrate to areas with better, wetter conditions. That is, if such areas exist, yet another case for a regional network of conservation lands. But without regular, long-term sampling effort efforts, researchers may miss species or genera (such as certain amphibians) whose behavioral cues require specific climactic events for emergence. Thus, irregular sampling may lead to a reduced, incorrect conclusion as to the total biodiversity of an area. The drought has influenced CBTS environmental management, too. Paul Catlett (pers. comm., Starke, FL) and other fire scientists have noted that environmental conditions have reduced the amount of days per year in which conditions were safe to burn, causing multi-year setbacks in the CBTS burn schedule. This lack of fire appears to be having an effect on some areas in CBTS. Habitats are being altered through unchecked succession. As nesting habitats are lost or degraded, and important food species (e.g., wire grass, Aristida beyrichiana Trin. & Rupr.) are crowded or shaded out, vertebrate species compositions are altered as well. Finally, Range Facilities Management Support System data obtained from CBTS Range Control show that about two thirds of all training activities on CBTS took place within a small buffer zone around the impact area

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28 (presumably firing into the impact area) or in areas with discrete modified habitats (e.g., the cantonment area, landing zones, pistol/rifle ranges) (Table 2-5). This is another argument against the idea of human impact as the causation of species declines I witnessed. Camp Blanding occupies an important place as part of an ecological corridor between southern Georgia and central Florida. Sound management of this heavily utilized landscape is crucial to maintain viable populations of species at risk as well as to prevent future listings. Merely possessing an integrated approach to management should not justify inconsistent sampling events and feedback to land stewards. At a minimum, regional landscape studies should be a component of all INRMPs. No single study can possibly assess the health of an ecosystem. Well-gathered, well-analyzed, long-term data are necessary to maximize the positive goals of any integrated natural resources plan. Further effort to standardize methodologies (both in the field and with the storage and availability of data), gather baseline data (onand off-base), and initiate long-term, landscape-scale studies, as well as eliminate (or minimize) incompatible land management practices, will enhance the good intentions of CBTS personnel and help sustain CBTS habitats for future plant, animal, and human use.

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Table 2-1. Species chosen for SAR study at CBTS, 2000 2001. Focal species were those for which we actively surveyed. Incidental species were noted opportunistically during focal species surveys. 29 Class Focal or Incidental Common Name Scientific Name Federal Status a State Status b Natural Heritage Status c Plants Focal St. John's Susan Rudbeckia nitida None E G2/S2 Focal Bartram'sIxia Sphenostigma coelestinum None E G2/S2 Focal Giant Orchid Pteroglossapsis ecristata MC T G2/S2 Insects Incidental Says Spiketailed Dragonfly Cordulegaster sayi None None G2/S1S2 Amphibians Focal Striped Newt Notophthalmus perstriatus None None G2G3/S2S3 Incidental Flatwoods Salamander Ambystoma cingulatum T SSC G2G3/S2S3 Incidental Gopher Frog Rana capito None SSC G3G4/S3 Reptiles Focal Eastern Indigo Snake Drymarchon corais couperi T T G4T3/S3 Focal Gopher Tortoise Gopherus polyphemus T T G3/S3 Incidental Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake Crotalus adamanteus None None G4/S3 Incidental All Other Snakes N/A N/A N/A N/A Birds Focal Florida Scrub Jay Aphelocoma coerulescens T T G3/S3 Mammals Focal Round-tailed Muskrat Neofiber alleni None T G3/S3 Focal Sherman's Fox Squirrel Sciurus niger shermani None SSC G5T3/S3 Focal Eastern Red Bat Lasiurus borealis None None None Focal SeminoleBat Lasiurus seminolus None None None Focal Southeastern Myotis Myotis austroriparius None None G3G4/S3 Focal EveningBat Nycticeius humeralis None None None Focal Eastern Pipistrelle Pipistrellus subflavus None None None Focal Brazilian Free-tailed Bat Tadarida brasiliensis None None None

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Table 2-1. Continued. a Federal Status T = Threatened A species that may become endangered if not protected MC = Management Concern b State Status E = Endangered A species which is in danger of extinction throughout all or part of its range in Florida T = Threatened A species which is likely to become an endangered species in the foreseeable future throughout all or part of its range in Florida SSC = Species of Special Concern A species facing a moderate risk of extinction throughout all or part of its range in Florida c Natural Heritage Status G1 Critically imperiled globally because of extreme rarity (5 or fewer occurrences) G2 Imperiled globally because of rarity (6 to 20 occurrences) G3 Rare and local throughout range or in a special habitat or narrowly endemic (on the order of 21 to 100 occurrences) G4 Apparently secure and of no immediate conservation concern G5 Demonstrably secure globally S1 Critically imperiled in Florida because of extreme rarity (5 or fewer occurrences) S2 Imperiled in Florida because of rarity (6 to 20 occurrences) S3 Rare and uncommon throughout the state or in a special habitat or narrowly endemic (on the order of 21 to 100 occurrences) S4 Apparently secure and of no immediate conservation concern S5 Demonstrably secure in state T Taxonomic subdivision (trinomial, either a subspecies or variety), used in global rank, for example G2T2 30

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Table 2-2. Target species at CBTS. Status comes from FNAI (2004): E, endangered; MC, management concern; N, not listed; SSC, species of special concern; T, threatened. 31 Taxa Species PreviousSurveys Number, Sites, or Ranges Observed This Study Number, Sites, or Ranges Observed Plants Pteroglossaspis ecristata (Giant Orchid) ++ largest range found + Rudbeckia nitida (St. Johns Susan) + ++ largest range found Sphenostigma coelestinum (Bartrams Ixia) ++ largest range found + Insects Cordulegaster sayi (Says Spiketail Dragonfly) + 1 1 potential sighting Salamanders Ambystoma cingulatum (Flatwoods Salamander) Notophthalmus perstriatus (Striped Newt) ++ 10 sites; 7 sites Anurans Rana capito (Gopher Frog) ++ 52 sites; 11 sites + 7 sites Turtles Gopherus polyphemus (Gopher Tortoise) ++ 10,607 (estimate) + 1,594 (estimate) Snakes Crotalus adamanteus (Diamondback Rattlesnake) + 3 + 4 Drymarchon corais couperi (Eastern Indigo Snake) + 3; 3 + 4 Birds Aphelocoma coerulescens (Florida Scrub Jay) + 0; 2 (1 site) ++ 35-39 (8 sites) Mammals Neofiber alleni (Round-tailed Muskrat) Sciurus niger shermani (Shermans Fox Squirrel) ++ 42 + 14 Lasiurus borealis (Eastern Red Bat) + 2 (2 sites) Lasiurus seminolus (Seminole Bat) + 4 (2 sites) Myotis austroriparius (Southeastern Myotis) + >44 (14 sites) Nycticeius humeralis (Evening Bat) + >114 (4 sites) Pipistrellus subflavus (Eastern Pipistrelle) + 3 (3 sites) Tadarida brasiliensis (Brazilian Free-tailed Bat) + >117 (5 sites) Non-target Species of Note Sarracenia minor (Hooded Pitcher Plant) + ++ largest range found Bufo quercicus (Oak Toad) + several dozen (3 sites) Gastrophryne carolinensis (Eastern Narrowmouth Toad) + 1 Rhineura floridana (Florida Worm Lizard) + 1 Sternotherus minor minor (Loggerhead Musk Turtle) + 1 Storeria dekayi victa (Florida Brown Snake) + 1 Podomys floridanus (Florida Mouse) ++ 29 + 1

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32 Table 2-3. Summary of 1994 (Hipes and Jackson 1996) and 2001 (this study) surveys of gopher tortoise population size at CBTS. I believe the 1994 population estimate is overestimated by almost 40% (see text for explanation). 1994 2001 Subpopulation Total Hectares (% surveyed 1 ) Burrow/Hectare Population Estimate Total Hectares (% surveyed) Burrow/Hectare Population Estimate 1 71.0 (10.0) 2.40 170 204.7 (10.2) 0.38 49 2 118.4 (10.0) 1.98 235 207.9 (10.1) 0.14 19 3 151.8 (10.0) 1.27 194 284.5 (10.0) 1.48 258 4 20 (10.0) 1.10 22 126.7 (11.7) 0.47 37 5 38.8 (10.0) 0.93 36 29.8 (10.9) 0.00 0 6 61.9 (10.0) 1.96 121 83.3 (10.1) 0.59 31 7 124.7 (10.0) 1.86 233 151.6 (10.9) 0.12 12 8 40.8 (10.0) 1.18 48 51.9 (10.5) 0.00 0 9 287.3 (10.0) 0.93 267 212.7 (10.0) 0.38 50 10 183.7 (10.0) 3.72 683 263.8 (10.0) 0.42 68 11 79.6 (10.0) 1.86 148 106.1 (11.6) 1.30 85 12 40.8 (10.0) 2.23 91 52.0 (10.0) 1.92 62 13 118 (10.0) 3.06 361 121.5 (10.6) 0.47 35 14 18.2 (10.0) 2.40 44 7.1 (14.5) 0.98 5 15 4.1 (10.0) 1.96 8 6.6 (34.0) 0.89 4 16 16.7 (10.0) 2.40 40 54.4 (11.4) 2.25 76 17 9.4 (10.0) 2.43 23 13.4 (11.5) 0.00 0 18 70.2 (10.0) 2.05 144 61.9 (10.5) 0.31 12 19 1122.3 (10.0) 1.91 2144 331.9 (10.1) 0.12 25 20 3469.4 (10.0) 1.45 5031 2218.4 (10.1) 0.49 666 21 489.8 (10.0) 1.15 564 474.9 (10.0) 0.38 110 Total, Mean 6536.9 (10.0) 1.62 10,607 5064.3 (10.3) 0.52 1,594 1 Hipes and Jackson (1996) report surveying at least 10% of each subpopulation. Data they present indicate that 10% was used as an estimate of area surveyed for analysis.

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Table 2-4. Climate data at CBTS. 33 January February March April May June July August September October November December Mean Rainfall (cm) 9.1 9.6 10.5 7.4 9.2 16.4 17.2 19.5 13.5 6.6 5.5 7.4 Mean Temperature (C) 13.0 14.5 17.4 20.5 24.0 26.5 27.4 27.3 26.1 21.8 17.6 14.1 Maximum Temperature (C) 19.9 21.7 24.6 27.9 31.0 32.6 33.2 33.1 31.7 28.1 24.4 20.9 Minimum Temperature (C) 6.2 7.4 10.1 13.1 17.0 20.4 21.6 21.6 20.4 15.5 10.9 7.3

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Table 2-5. Camp Blanding Training Site usage October 1999 June 2001. AREA Oct-99 Nov-99 Dec-99 Jan-00 Feb-00 Mar-00 Apr-00 May-00 Jun-00 Jul-00 Aug-00 Sep-00 Oct-00 Nov-00 Dec-00 Jan-01 Feb-01 Mar-01 Apr-01 May-01 Jun-01 Total Buffer 1960 925 1347 5437 3580 3940 2937 6159 1698 2419 1690 3529 2907 1015 1982 4563 3237 3709 1173 4105 5178 63490 Cantonement 2020 30 7 134 34 127 2 71 116 254 50 106 378 70 10 637 31 61 526 500 2009 7173 Castellanos 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 60 876 280 1216 N-1 0 0 0 0 0 0 201 0 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 121 4 0 148 876 841 2197 N-10 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 840 840 N-2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 148 876 840 1864 N-3 0 0 0 128 0 0 28 0 0 118 75 0 0 0 0 142 0 44 50 0 840 1425 N-4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 8 0 148 0 1540 1706 N-5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0 148 0 840 998 N-6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 840 840 N-7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 858 858 N-8 166 0 0 392 109 86 325 1277 14 373 1043 248 10 0 150 657 162 16 407 555 958 6948 N-9 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 840 840 R-1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 14 0 14 R-2 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 8 R-3 503 588 45 622 398 527 1518 143 184 0 235 689 639 0 204 85 190 1038 129 516 817 9070 S-1 0 14 0 0 0 61 538 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 81 0 0 0 26 855 1575 S-10 0 0 0 0 14 50 12 0 37 0 0 15 0 80 0 0 0 0 28 537 1260 2033 S-11 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0 15 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 876 840 1735 S-12 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 54 0 0 876 840 1770 S-13 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 840 840 S-2 0 0 0 0 20 71 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 840 931 S-3 0 0 0 120 14 144 323 0 10 56 0 248 30 0 0 0 0 0 50 759 1260 3014 S-4 0 0 0 0 178 17 172 0 0 45 0 91 0 0 0 176 318 0 0 68 1179 2244 S-5 0 40 0 0 20 71 556 1034 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 108 2054 3883 S-6 0 0 0 0 0 67 551 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 40 0 840 1498 S-7 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 840 848 S-8 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 17 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 840 857 S-9 414 0 0 0 107 60 266 105 105 0 0 74 57 9 0 0 52 32 27 13 840 2161 T-1 353 45 0 0 0 0 21 0 60 0 0 81 0 80 0 0 0 10 97 220 389 1356 T-10 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 17 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 420 437 T-3 74 0 0 30 46 47 592 141 5 0 0 82 0 0 0 0 108 14 0 200 747 2086 T-4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 68 0 0 0 389 457 T-7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 17 0 0 0 0 121 84 0 550 240 420 1432 T-8 204 199 543 376 211 143 0 82 82 58 122 449 413 263 827 712 383 153 992 501 1533 8246 T-9 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 9 5 0 0 0 0 0 104 0 0 0 0 0 420 541 Total 5704 1841 1942 7239 4731 5411 8042 9021 2347 3323 3281 5612 4434 1517 3277 7299 4703 5077 4721 12742 35167 137,431 34

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35 SNEW SNEW Figure 2-1. Camp Blanding Training S ite within Clay County, Florida

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36 Mined Area Impact Area Roads Lakes StreamsN 024Km Figure 2-2. Camp Blanding Training Site

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37 ##################### Mined Area Impact Area Roads Lakes StreamsHabitat Traps#DragonflyN 024Km #### ##################### # # # # # # # Figure 2-3. Location of Says spiketail dragonfly searches, as well as habitat traps

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38 CBTS Habitats Dry Shrubland Freshwater Marsh/Wet Prairie Inland Water Low Herbaceous/Pasture Non-Vegetated Row and Tree Crops Upland Coniferous Forest Upland Hardwood Forest Upland Mixed Forest Urban/Developed Wet Shrubland Wetland Hardwood Forest Wetland Mixed Forest Woodland/SavannahN 024Km Figure 2-4. Habitat types at CBTS

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39 ############################################## Mined Area Impact Area Roads Lakes Streams#Breeding PondsN 024Km Figure 2-5. Amphibian breeding ponds at Camp Blanding Training Site

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40 ########################"!"!"!"!"!"!"!"!"!"!"!"!"!"!"!"!"!"!"!"!"!"!"!"! Subpopulations Mined Area Impact Area Roads Lakes Streams#CapturesN 024Km Figure 2-6. Gopher tortoise sub-populations as delineated by Hipes and Jackson (1996) and captures from this survey. The sections of subpopulations 19 and 20 falling within the impact area could not be surveyed due to CBTS regulations. These areas were excluded from analyses.

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41 ##### #### Mined Area Impact Area Roads Lakes Streams#St. John's Susan St. John's Susan#Hooded Pitcher PlantGiant Orchid Bartram's IxiaN 024Km ## # Figure 2-7 Plant species of concern surveyed at CBTS

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H abitat Stream Buffers D E M Slope H ydric Soils Final Model Final Model: p urple = wetlandbri g ht g reen = lowherbaceous/pastureolive green =woodland/savanna 42 Figure 2-8. Model of suitable habitat for Say's spiketail dragonfly. Final habitats include low herbaceous/pasture, wetland hardwood forest, and woodland/savanna.

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43 #################### Mined Area Impact Area Roads Lakes Streams#Sherman's Fox Squirrel#Indigo Snake#Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake#Gopher FrogN 024Km Figure 2-9. Captures of other species of concern at CBTS

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44 ########################### ####################################### ######################## ### ######### ####################### #### ########### ######## ######################################### # ############### ##### #################################### ########### Subpopulations Mined Area Impact Area Roads Lakes StreamsBurrow Condition#Active#InactiveAbandonedN 024Km # ###### # ########### # # ## # # # ###### ######### ##### ## ##### # ## ########## ##### # #### ####### # ## ####### ########### # ### ## ##### # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # Figure 2-10. Gopher tortoise burrows (and their conditions) encountered during line transect surveys of CBTS.

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45 & \& \& \& \& \& \& \& \& \& \ Mined Area Impact Area Roads Lakes Streams& \Scrub Jay SightingsN 024Km Figure 2-11. Florida scrub jay sightings at CBTS

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46 Mean rainfall and mean temperatures at CBTS for all years of data availability (1953-2001), years of all major surveys (1994-2001), and years of this survey (1999-2001)051015202530JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecemberMean Temperatures (oC)051015202530Mean Rainfall (cm) Mean Temperature 1953 2001 Mean Temperature 1994 2001 Mean Temperature 1999 2001 Mean Rainfall 1953 2001 Mean Rainfall 1994 2001 Mean Rainfall 1999 2001 Mean high and low temperatures at CBTS for all years of data availability (1953-2001), years of all major surveys (1994-2001), and years of this survey (1999-2001)05101520253035JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecemberMean Temperatures (oC) Mean High Temperatures 1953 2001 Mean High Temperatures 1994 2001 Mean High Temperatures 1999 2001 Mean Low Temperatures 1953 2001 Mean Low Temperatures 1994 2001 Mean Low Temperatures 1999 2001 Figure 2-12. Mean rainfall, high, low, and overall temperatures at CBTS for all years of data availability (1953-2001), years of all major surveys (1994-2001), and years of this survey (2000-2001).

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47 ################################################################ # #################################################### Mined Area Impact Area Roads Lakes Streams#Captures/SightingsN 024Km Figure 2-13. Distribution of total captures and sightings during the SAR survey of CBTS.

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CHAPTER 3 THE NATURE CONSERVANCYS CONSERVATION BY DESIGN PROGRAM Introduction The Grand Bay Banks Lake area (GBBL), Georgia, contains a number of unique ecological systems (e.g., Carolina Bays (including three of the largest in the southeastern United States), Longleaf Pine/Wiregrass), communities (i.e. Dudleys Hammock one of the only evergreen hammocks remaining in Georgias Coastal Plain), and globally imperiled species (e.g., Bachmans sparrow, Aimophila aestivalis, gopher tortoise Gopherus polyphemus, and the round-tailed muskrat, Neofiber alleni) (Moody Air Force Base 2001, The Nature Conservancy of Georgia 2002a). GBBL falls within the political boundaries of Berrien, Lanier, and Lowndes counties (herein referred to as the Tri-County Area), Georgia. Overall, the human population of the Tri-County Area has increased 33% since 1980 (United States Census Bureau 2003). More proximally, there are roughly 10-15 large (200+ hectares) landowners in the Grand Bay Bay Lakes area and hundreds of smaller landowners scattered throughout the site. Analyzing historic land use data, estimates indicate that within ten years, agricultural and silvicultural practices will decline by 26%, while urban areas increase by over 110%. Therefore, the biggest threat to the integrity of the GBBL system appears to be human encroachment and associated habitat conversion and destruction. However, approximately 15% of the northern portion of the site is publicly owned by Moody Air Force Base, Grand Bay Wildlife Management Area, and Banks Lake National Wildlife Refuge. Management for natural areas in this portion of the site provides some buffer against future urbanization. 48

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49 GBBL comprises the second-largest freshwater wetland system in Georgia. This ~42,500 hectare site is located at the easternmost edge of the South Atlantic Coastal Plain ecoregion within the Suwannee River Basin, and lies within the Tifton Upland District of the East Gulf Coastal Plain Section of Georgia (The Nature Conservancy of Georgia 2002a). Bordered by the Withlacoochee River on the west and the Alapaha River on the east, the Grand Bay Banks Lake ecoregion is characterized by flat to sloping plateaus separated by shallow river valleys, broad wetland depressions, and karst topography. In general, soils on uplands in this region were formed in deep sedimentary sands and clays (Moody Air Force Base 2001). Pleistocene-Pliocene sand and gravels include, in part, Sunderland, Coharie, and Brandywine formations (Cooke 1939). Alluvial soils near streams and tributaries generally originated from material eroded from the uplands (Moody Air Force Base 2001). Elevation in the area is approximately 61 meters above sea level (Anonymous 2002). The north and northwestern boundaries of the area form the base of the Pelham Escarpment that rises as much as 61 meters above the Dougherty Plain. Notable landscape features in the area include Carolina Bays, limesinks, creek swamps, open-water shallow lakes, ponds, flatwoods, and an elevated hammock (Dudleys Hammock). Besides the three globally rare (G3, Natural Heritage status) animal species that are found in the area, the site also supports a total of 23 species tracked by the Georgia Natural Heritage program (Table 3-1; Moody Air Force Base 2001, The Nature Conservancy of Georgia 2002a). In 1998, a voluntary, cooperative stewardship council comprised of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (Wildlife Resources Division), Moody Air Force Base, the Nature Conservancy (Georgia Field Office), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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50 (Banks Lake National Wildlife Refuge), was established to develop a management plan for GBBL that could ensure integrity of the ecosystem and long-term viability of native flora and fauna, in the context of compatible human use (The Nature Conservancy of Georgia 2002b). To make progress on protecting this significant ecosystem, the partnership has identified six ecoregional conservation targets within the Grand Bay Banks Lake system: Carolina Bays, Hardwood Hammocks, Longleaf Pine/Wiregrass, Migratory Birds, Riverine Aquatic Systems, and Wading Birds (The Nature Conservancy of Georgia 2002b). Here I present results from my work in 2002 2003, in which I assessed the ecological stresses and sources of stress that impact each of the six conservation targets, and put forth a plan for future conservation management and system monitoring. Methods and Results Site Boundary and Size Using GIS data layers I analyzed the impact of human activities on each of the six ecoregional conservation targets. My first objective was to establish a functional ecological area of interest for my spatial analyses. My goal was to capture an area large enough to encompass the ecological structure, composition, and function of all conservation targets. Current GBBL public-ownership boundaries were used as a starting point. Based on home range and daily movement data for threatened, rare, and endangered species known to use or inhabit the GBBL ecoregion, an eight-kilometer buffer was established around the GBBL jurisdictional boundary. I then took into consideration the presence of ecologically significant hydrological and terrestrial features lying outside of the buffered area. The buffer was modified to include various isolated wetlands, the main tributaries of the Alapaha and Withlacoochee Rivers, and complete

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51 forest stands. The resultant ecological area of interest (hereafter referred to as the Ecological Footprint) is ~75,000 hectares in size (Fig. 3-1). Conservation Target Selection and Boundary Delineation Working together, the GBBL partnership initially identified seven ecoregional conservation targets for potential study: Carolina Bays, Hardwood Hammocks, Limesinks, Longleaf Pine/Wiregrass, Migratory Birds, Riverine Aquatic Systems, and Wading Birds (The Nature Conservancy of Georgia 2002b). After further, in-depth research into each of these targets, it was decided that Limesinks contained too small of an area, were used too much in a potentially unsustainable manner, were too urbanized, and were too far away from the core GBBL site for further, immediate conservation analysis and efforts, and were thus removed from the study. Justifications for conservation target selection, as well as representative species at risk nested within each conservation target, are listed in Table 3-2. The ecological health of each of the remaining six conservation targets chosen by the GBBL partnership is considered to be crucial to maintaining the integrity of the GBBL ecosystem. Based on land use requirements, a GIS layer over the geographic extent of the Ecological Footprint was created for each of the conservation targets (Fig. 3-2). Table 3-3 summarizes the methodologies and sources of data used to create GIS data layers for each conservation target. Biodiversity Health Assessment A biodiversity health assessment was performed for each of the conservation targets based on three ecological integrity categories: size, condition, and landscape context. The explanations of each ecological integrity category are modified from (Low 2002):

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52 Size is a measure of the area or abundance of the conservation target's occurrence. For ecological systems and communities, size is simply a measure of patch size or geographic coverage. For animal and plant species, size takes into account the area of occupancy and number of individuals. Another aspect of size is the minimum dynamic area, or the area needed to ensure survival or re-establishment of a target after natural disturbance. Examples of dimensions used to determine minimum dynamic area are species home ranges and the geographical extent of historical natural disturbances. Condition is an integrated measure of the composition, structure, and biotic interactions that characterize the occurrence of the conservation target. This includes factors such as reproduction, age structure, biological composition (e.g., presence of native versus exotic species and presence of characteristic patch types for ecological systems), structure (e.g., canopy, understory, and groundcover in a forested community, and spatial distribution and juxtaposition of patch types or seral stages in an ecological system), and biotic interactions (e.g., levels of competition, predation, and disease). Landscape context is an integrated measure of two factors: the dominant environmental regimes and processes that establish and maintain the target occurrence, and connectivity. Dominant environmental regimes and processes include herbivory, hydrology (surface and groundwater), water chemistry, geomorphic processes, climatic regimes (temperature and precipitation), fire regimes, and many kinds of natural disturbance. Connectivity includes such factors as species targets having access to habitats and resources needed for life cycle completion, fragmentation of ecological communities and system, and the ability of any target to respond to environmental change through dispersal, migration, or re-colonization.

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53 A ranking (Very Good, Good, Fair, or Poor) was assigned for each ecological integrity category based on my analyses and opinions, and the opinions of experts associated with the GBBL partnership. Rankings were entered into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet (developed by The Nature Conservancy) using numeric values assigned to each rank (Very Good = 4.0, Good = 3.5, Fair = 2.5, or Poor = 1.0). The overall viability rank for each conservation target was derived by calculating the numeric average of the ecological integrity ranks (based on the following: Very Good = 4.0 3.75, Good = 3.74 3.0, Fair = 2.99 1.75, or Poor = 1.74 0.0). The overall viability score for the site was derived by calculating the average of the final conservation target scores (based on the same numeric distribution listed above). Rankings and their justifications, as well as an overall biodiversity health score for each conservation target are presented in Table 3-4. There were no Very Good rankings assigned. The overall biodiversity health ranking for the Ecological Footprint is Fair. Threats Analysis An integral part of assessing biodiversity health is recognizing the stresses (e.g., herbivory, disease, and pollution) on a particular conservation target, as well as the sources of the stresses (e.g., deer, insects, and automobiles). Stresses are judged on the severity and scope of their damage, while the sources of stresses are ranked by their contribution and irreversibility. Explanations of each of these are modified from (Low, 2002): Severity of damage is the level of damage to the conservation target that can reasonably be expected within 10 years under current circumstances (i.e. given the continuation of the existing management/conservation situation) of a particular stress. Rankings are assigned as either Very High, High, Medium, or Low, using the following

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54 criteria: Very High indicates the stress is likely to destroy or eliminate the conservation target over some portion of the target's occurrence at the site; High indicates the stress is likely to seriously degrade the conservation target over some portion of the target's occurrence at the site; Medium indicates the stress is likely to moderately degrade the conservation target over some portion of the target's occurrence at the site; and Low indicates the stress is likely to only slightly impair the conservation target over some portion of the target's occurrence at the site Scope of damage is the geographic scope of impact on the conservation target at the site that can reasonably be expected within 10 years under the current level of a particular stress. Rankings have the same nomenclature as above: Very High indicates the stress is likely to be very widespread or pervasive in its geographic scope, affecting the conservation target throughout the target's occurrence at the site; High indicates the stress is likely to be widespread in its scope, and affect the conservation target at many of its locations at the site; Medium indicates the stress is likely to be localized in its scope, and affect the conservation target at some of the target's locations at the site; and Low indicates the stress is likely to be very localized in its scope, and affect the conservation target at a limited portion of the target's location at the site. Contribution is defined as the expected role of the source, acting alone, to the full expression of a stress (as determined in the stress assessment) under current circumstances (i.e. given the continuation of the existing management/conservation situation). For example, habitat destruction is a stress with sources of this stress including residential development and logging. Residential development makes a stronger contribution to habitat destruction than logging within the GBBL system. The rankings

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55 are again the same: Very High denotes the source is a very large contributor of the particular stress; High denotes the source is a large contributor of the particular stress; Medium denotes the source is a moderate contributor of the particular stress; and Low denotes the source is a low contributor of the particular stress. Irreversibility is a measure of the reversibility of the stress caused by the source of stress. The rankings are again the same: Very High denotes the source produces a stress that is not reversible (i.e. wetlands converted to a shopping center); High denotes the source produces a stress that is reversible, but not practically affordable (i.e. wetland converted to agriculture); Medium denotes the source produces a stress that is reversible with a reasonable commitment of additional resources (i.e. ditching and draining of wetland); and Low denotes the source produces a stress that is easily reversible at relatively low cost (i.e. off-road vehicles trespassing in a wetland). Again, rankings were assigned based on my analyses and opinions, and the opinions of experts associated with the GBBL partnership, and then entered into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet developed by The Nature Conservancy. The rank of each stress (Very High, High, Medium, Low) is a combination of the Severity and Scope rankings for the stress, and is calculated automatically using the matrix listed in Table 3-5. For example, if the Scope of the stress is Very High and the Severity of the stress is Medium the overall rank of the stress is Medium. The rank of each source of stress is a two-step process. A source rank is first (typically) a combination of the Contribution and the Irreversibility rankings for the source. The first-step source rank is calculated automatically from the matrix shown in Table 3-6. For example, if the Irreversibility of the source is Very High and the

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56 Contribution of the source is Medium the overall rank of the stress is High. In the second step, the source rank calculated from the matrix in Table 3-5 is combined with the stress rank calculated from the matrix in Table 3-6. This combination is determined by the matrix listed in Table 3-7. Table 3-8 summarizes the major stresses to the GBBL ecosystem, while Table 3-9 summarizes the sources of those stresses. Numeric values were assigned to ranks (Very Good = 4.0, Good = 3.5, Fair = 2.5, or Poor = 1.0) within each conservation target. The overall threat status for each conservation target was derived by calculating the numeric average of the individual threat ranks (based on the following: Very Good = 4.0 3.75, Good = 3.74 3.0, Fair = 2.99 1.75, or Poor = 1.74 0.0). Individual sources of stress rankings were numerically weighted by individual conservation targets slightly differently (Very High = 1.5, High = 1.0, Medium = 0.2, and Low = 0.03) and then summed to obtain an estimate of the contribution of the threat to the ecosystem-level problem. Four of the six conservation (Longleaf Pine/Wiregrass, Carolina Bays/Isolated Wetlands, Migratory Birds, Hardwood Hammocks) targets rated as having a High threat status and six of the ten sources of stress (incompatible primary home development, fire suppression, conversion for agriculture/silviculture, incompatible commercial development, ordinance disposal site/toxins leeching, incompatible operation of water control structures) ranked as High critical threats to the conservation targets. Habitat alteration in the form of incompatible home and commercial lot development is the biggest threat to the GBBL ecosystem. Incompatible forestry practices (fire suppression, conversion of land to silviculture, tree species planted, etc.) also ranked as large stresses to the long-term stability of the GBBL system.

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57 Conservation Objectives, Strategies, Actions, and Plans The most significant factor that may affect the long-term health of the conservation targets is land managers ability or failure to respond to the critical threats identified by this study. Thus, it is imperative that land managers be able to identify and prioritize conservation objectives. Table 3-10 provides a ranked list of critical broad-level conservation objectives for each of the six GBBL conservation targets. Objectives were also numerically weighted by individual conservation target rankings (Very High is worth 1.5, High is worth 1.0, Medium is worth 0.2, and Low is worth 0.03) and then summed to obtain a priority estimate of conservation objectives. The two biggest priorities for GBBL conservation deal with enhancing or restoring critical habitat and changing current forestry practices (i.e. limit logging and restore fire regimes within natural ranges of variation). A specific, prioritized list of broad-level conservation strategies and actions for each of the six conservation targets is listed in Table 3-11. Table 3-12 presents threat-based monitoring suggestions for each of the six conservation targets. Indicators that can be used to monitor threat-abatement management techniques are included, as well as suggested monitoring methods and frequencies. Discussion Even with well-designed methods, evaluating ecosystem health and sustainability can be difficult. For example, lost or nonexistent records of past land use, species distributions and habitat requirements, etc., can influence estimation of baseline ecosystem processes. This, in turn, may affect the accuracy of forecasting future land use trends and performance of environmental variables, a process tenuous enough due to numerous methological assumptions. In addition, the research design of ecosystem evaluation may be flawed. Some approaches have been based on the presence of select

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58 species at a local scale, while others have discarded analyses of anthropogenic influences. I find results from such methods meaningless. My study utilized a landscape ecology approach advocated by Low (2002). Combining previous research, available GIS data, and input from regional stakeholders, I was able to quantify the past and future threats to GBBL, the potential future health of GBBL, and develop management recommendations. Conservation management strategies in the Grand Bay Banks Lake ecoregion must include habitat restoration to remediate the effects of past and current agricultural (incompatible chemical use; incompatible livestock production methods), silvicultural (fire suppression; incompatible timber harvest), and hydrological (incompatible water control structures) practices, as well as address the current and future threat of urbanization (incompatible commercial and residential development). Conservation easement agreements and the establishment of pubic education programs that convey the uniqueness of the GBBL ecoregion will be key to preserving this important and unique system. The mission of the GBBL council is to develop and implement a dynamic and adaptive stewardship plan for the GBBL ecosystem. The goals of the plan will ensure the long-term viability of native plants and animals, and the integrity of the ecosystem, while providing for compatible human uses (e.g., military training, producing forest commodities, providing recreational opportunities, protecting water quality, and conserving native species and ecosystems) (Georgia Department of Natural Resources et al. 1998). The research and results presented herein are the groundwork upon which a solid management plan will be constructed.

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Table 3-1. Documented species of special concern occurring in the Grand Bay Bay Lakes area. 59 Class Common Name Scientific Name Federal Status a State Status b Natural Heritage Status c Plants Green-fly Orchid Epidendrum conopseum None U G4/S3 Hooded Pitcher Plant Sarracenia minor None U G4/S4 Fish Mud Sunfish Acanthrarchus pomotis None None G5/S3 Golden Topminnow Fundulus chrysotus None None G5/S3 Amphibians Dwarf Siren Pseudobranchus striatus None None G5/S3 Mammals Northern Yellow Bat Lasiurus intermedius None None G4G5/S2S3 Southeastern Myotis Myotis austroriparius None None G3G4/S3 Round-tailed Muskrat Neofiber alleni None T G3/S3 Reptiles American Alligator Alligator mississippiensis T (S/A) None G5/S4 Eastern Indigo Snake Drymarchon corais couperi T T G4T3/S3 Gopher Tortoise Gopherus polyphemus T T G3/S3 Southern Hognose Snake Heterodon simus None None G2/S2 Alligator Snapping Turtle Macroclemys temminckii None T G3G4/S3 Eastern Coral Snake Micrurus fulvius fulvius None None G5T5/S3 Birds Bachman's Sparrow Aimophila aestivalis None R G3/S3 American Bittern Botaurus lentiginosus None None G4/S3? Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea None None G5/S3? SE American Kestrel Falco sparverius paulus None None G5T4/S3 Florida Sandhill Crane Grus canadensis pratensis None None G5T2T3/S1 Greater Sandhill Crane Grus canadensis tabida None None G5T4/S2 WoodStork Mycteria americana E E G4/S2 Southern Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus leucocephalus T E G4/S2 Loggerhead Shrike Lanius ludovicianus migrans None None G4T3Q/S?

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Table 3-1. Continued. a Federal Status E = Endangered A species that may become extinct or disappear from a significant part of its range if not immediately protected T = Threatened A species that may become endangered if not protected S/A = Similarity of Appearance b State Status E = Endangered A species which is in danger of extinction throughout all or part of its range in Georgia T = Threatened A species which is likely to become an endangered species in the foreseeable future throughout all or part of its range in Georgia R = Rare A species which may not be endangered or threatened but which should be protected because of its scarcity U = Unusual A species deserving of special consideration and plants subjected to commercial exploitation c Natural Heritage Status G1 Critically imperiled globally because of extreme rarity (5 or fewer occurrences) G2 Imperiled globally because of rarity (6 to 20 occurrences) G3 Rare and local throughout range or in a special habitat or narrowly endemic (on the order of 21 to 100 occurrences) G4 Apparently secure and of no immediate conservation concern G5 Demonstrably secure globally Q Denotes a taxonomic question either the taxon is not generally recognized as valid, or there is reasonable concern about its validity or identity globally or at the state level S1 Critically imperiled in Georgia because of extreme rarity (5 or fewer occurrences) S2 Imperiled in Georgia because of rarity (6 to 20 occurrences) S3 Rare and uncommon throughout the state or in a special habitat or narrowly endemic (on the order of 21 to 100 occurrences) S4 Apparently secure and of no immediate conservation concern S5 Demonstrably secure in state T Taxonomic subdivision (trinomial, either a subspecies or variety), used in global rank, for example G2T2 ? Denotes questionable rank; best guess given whenever possible 60

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Table 3-2. Summary of and justification for inclusion of conservation targets. Conservation Target Justification for Site Target Selection Nested Species, Communities, or Ecological Systems Wading Birds Half of the worlds wetlands are estimated to have been lost during the 20th century, with more than half having already been destroyed in the United States (TNC 2003). TNC (2001) lists a total of five wading birds that rank as species of special concern at the state or federal level due to such habitat loss. These five species (American Bittern, Florida Sandhill Crane, Greater Sandhill Crane, Little Blue Heron, and Wood Stork) either nest or over-winter (or both) in the Ecological Footprint. Preservation of viable population sizes and structures of these species also encompasses preservation of wetland habitat one of the most imperiled ecotypes in the world. American bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus) Florida sandhill crane (Grus canadensis pratensis) Little blue heron (Egretta cauerula) Longleaf Pine / Wiregrass Longleaf pine ecosystems are among the most threatened in North America. Once covering a reported 36.4 million hectares in the Southeastern United States, less that 1.2 million hectares of longleaf remain today (USFWS 2003). A 97% decline in the longleaf pine/wiregrass ecosystem has occurred in the Coastal Plains of the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas. In southeastern Georgia, the longleaf pine forest declined 36% (to ~93,000 hectares) between 1981 and 1988 (Johnson 1988). Most of this conversion has been from secondor third-growth longleaf pine stands to slash or loblolly pine plantation forestry (USFWS 2003). Analyses of the Ecological Footprint indicate that there has been a 24 35% loss in longleaf pine forest stands since 1977 and perhaps at least a 50% decrease in the ratio of area to perimeter since 1990. With roughly 19% (and rising) of remaining longleaf pine forests affected directly by urban sprawl, it is extremely important to conserve this unique ecosystem. Doing so would also protect the 30-plus plant and animal species associated with longleaf pine ecosystems which are threatened or endangered, including the red-cockaded woodpecker and gopher tortoise (USFWS 2003). Eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couperi) Gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) Bachmans sparrow (Aimophila aestivalis) 61

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Table 3-2. Continued. Conservation Target Justification for Site Target Selection Nested Species, Communities, or Ecological Systems Carolina Bays / Isolated Wetlands The Carolina Bays found on Moody Air Force Base are the largest and most biologically intact Carolina Bays in the region and comprise the bulk of the Grand Bay/Banks Lake wetland complex. Exclusive of the Okefenokee Swamp, this wetland complex of over 5,250 hectares is the largest freshwater lake-swamp system in the Coastal Plain of Georgia (MAFB 2001, Anonymous 2002). The Carolina Bay / Isolated wetland complex supports a wide array of wading birds, reptiles, and amphibians (see nested species box). Hooded pitcher plant (Sarracenia minor) Mud sunfish (Acanthrarchus potomis) Migratory Birds A variety of insectivorous and frugivorous migratory birds are known to use habitat within the GBBL complex, including at least two federal candidate species: the Veery and the Willow Flycatcher and possibly the Black-billed Cuckoo. TNC (2001) has determined that the site is also an important breeding habitat for a number of globally declining neotropical migrant songbirds including Wood Thrush, Red-eyed Vireo, and Hooded Warbler. All of these species are edge sensitive. This is important to note because since 1990, the ratio of area to perimeter has decreased by roughly 56%. Loggerhead shrike (Lanius ludovicianus migrans) Riverine Aquatic Systems Any changes in riverine hydrology and/or, water quality may directly impact the Carolina Bay wetland complex (also listed as a conservation target), the main reason Riverine Aquatic Systems should be considered as a conservation target. The riverine systems flowing through the GBBL complex are exposed to two of the main causes of freshwater biodiversity decline cited by TNC (2003): 1) hydrologic alteration from dams, small impoundments, and diversions, and 2) water quality degradation largely from agriculture. Over the last 100 years, the scope of these threats has increased exponentially. Golden topminnow (Fundulus chrysotus) Mud sunfish (Acanthrarchus potomis) 62

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Table 3-2. Continued. Conservation Target Justification for Site Target Selection Nested Species, Communities, or Ecological Systems Hardwood Hammocks Two of the highest quality hardwood hammocks in Georgia occur on Moody Air Force Base: Dudleys Hammock, a ~50 hectare site in the south-central part of the installation, and Hickory Hammock, a ~11 hectare site located just south of the Grand Bay Weapons Range bomb target (MAFB 2001). Dudleys Hammock, is noted as the most significant (and potentially only) evergreen hammock remaining in the state. Dudleys hammock contains the Spruce Pine and is one of the few locations in Georgia containing the epiphytic Green-Fly Orchid (Epidendrum conopseum) (Anonymous 2002). The diversity of mature hardwood trees and woody shrubs within hardwood hammocks provides an important stopover habitat for insectivorous and frugivorous migratory birds, including at least two federal candidate species: Veery and Willow Flycatcher and possibly the Black-billed Cuckoo. The site is also an important breeding habitat for certain globally declining neotropical migrant songbirds that are edge-sensitive, including Wood Thrush, Red-eyed Vireo, and Hooded Warbler. There is also an historic record of an indigo snake from Dudleys Hammock (TNCGA 2001, MAFB 2001). Green-fly orchid, (Epidendrum conopseum conopseum) American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) Eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couperi) Wood stork (Mycteria americana) 63

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Table 3-3. Summary of sources and methodologies for creation of conservation target GIS maps. Conservation Target Source of GIS Data Layers GIS Data Layers Creation Methodology/Assumptions Wading Birds Georgia Data Clearinghouse, Georgia GAP Project, National Wetlands Inventory, Original Content, South Georgia Regional Development Center Land-use types analyzed included emergent wetlands, forested wetlands, non-forested wetlands, open water, scrub wetlands, and shrub wetlands, with the assumption that these habitats were critical for wading bird feeding, nesting, and other natural history aspects. Longleaf Pine / Wiregrass I Georgia Data Clearinghouse, Georgia GAP Project, Original Content, South Georgia Regional Development Center Because high-quality, forest type-specific data layers do not exist, I analyzed evergreen and mixed forest habitat data. This certainly overestimated the area of longleaf pine forests and interpretation of my results by the reader should reflect that. Longleaf Pine / Wiregrass II The Nature Conservancy, Original Content A second analysis was undertaken using a 1998 TNC large-scale map delineating longleaf pine forests. This, too, overestimates the area of longleaf pine, but to a lesser extent than my first analysis. However, the scale is too large to compare results with data from other years (as with my first analysis) and must stand alone. Carolina Bays / Isolated Wetlands Georgia Data Clearinghouse, Georgia GAP Project, National Wetlands Inventory, Original Content, South Georgia Regional Development Center Land-use types analyzed included forested wetlands, non-forested wetlands, open water, reservoirs, scrub wetlands, and shrub wetlands. Migratory Birds Georgia Data Clearinghouse, Georgia GAP Project, Original Content, South Georgia Regional Development Center Land-use types analyzed included deciduous, evergreen, and mixed forests, with the assumption that these habitats were critical for wading bird feeding, nesting, and other natural history aspects. Migratory wading birds are analyzed within the Wading Bird section. Riverine Aquatic Systems Georgia Data Clearinghouse, Georgia GAP Project, National Wetlands Inventory, Original Content, South Georgia Regional Development Center, United States Census Bureau Land-use types analyzed included rivers and streams. Hardwood Hammocks Georgia Data Clearinghouse, Georgia GAP Project, Original Content, South Georgia Regional Development Center Known hardwood hammocks and forest stands delineated as islands were analyzed. 64

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Table 3-4. Biodiversity health assessment for each of the conservation targets based on three ecological integrity categories (size, condition, and landscape scale context) that determine the viability of each conservation target. Site Conservation Target Size Rank Size Justification Condition Rank Condition Justification Landscape Context Rank Landscape Context Justification Overall Biodiversity Health Score Wading Birds Good Although there have been no recent field studies into population size of the sixteen wading bird species documented to occur in the area, conversations with regional biologists and personal observations indicate that wading birds occur in high numbers and will utilize most of the aquatic habitats available to them. Good New field studies are needed for confirmation, but it appears that wading birds are not succumbing to overwhelming disease, predation, introduced competitors, etc. Many species are known to nest here and it appears that there is normal distribution of age and sex classes. Five of sixteen total wading bird species that have been documented in the area are listed as species of special concern by the federal government, state of Georgia, or natural heritage survey, indicating that the majority of wading bird species using the GBBL habitat are able to maintain a viable population size and structure in the area. Good Because wetlands, rivers, and areas of open water are pervasive throughout the Ecological Footprint, there are sufficient critical areas available for wading bird feeding, nesting, and other natural history aspects. Also, this high level of connectivity is beneficial in the event of localized damage or disturbance, allowing easy opportunities for wading bird dispersal or recolonization. Good 65

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Table 3-4. Continued. Site Conservation Target Size Rank Size Justification Condition Rank Condition Justification Landscape Context Rank Landscape Context Justification Overall Biodiversity Health Score Longleaf Pine / Wiregrass Poor In southeastern Georgia, longleaf pine forests declined 36% (to 93,000 hectares) between 1981 and 1988 (Johnson 1988). Within the Ecological Footprint, my first analysis shows that forests that may contain longleaf pine (mixed and evergreen) have declined by 35% between 1977 and 1998. Due to the nature of the data, I was not able to perform the exact same analysis using a second set of forest data obtained from TNC. However, it does appear that longleaf pine forests may have declined by 29.5% between 1977 and 1998. Fair Much of the site is being maintained through controlled burning, however, longleaf pine forest understory and ground cover are in varying stages of suppression/succession depending upon the uniformity of fire. The area has historically undergone a high degree of fire suppression, the effects of which are still manifest on current longleaf pine stands. 1998 2001 MAFB fire management practices resulted in burning 45 65% of the total possible longleaf pine area. Fires have been suppressed more frequently & to a greater extent on non-Moody lands. Regional fire ecologists are aware of this and in conversation, seem to be committed to rectifying past thoughts and actions on the benefits of fire. Poor Longleaf pine systems are among the most threatened in North America (The Nature Conservancy of Georgia 1998). Once covering 36.4 million hectares in the Southeastern United States, today less than 1.2 million hectares of longleaf remain (United States Fish and Wildlife Service, 2003). A 97% decline in the longleaf pine/wiregrass ecosystem has occurred in the Coastal Plains of NC, SC, GA, FL, AL, LA, and TX. Additionally, landscape-scale fire suppression has had and continues to have a negative impact on longleaf pine ecosystems. Remnant longleaf pine ecosystems are extremely fragmented at the landscape scale (increasing 55% from 1990 to 1998) and often at the scale of individual stands. Poor 66

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Table 3-4. Continued. Site Conservation Target Size Rank Size Justification Condition Rank Condition Justification Landscape Context Rank Landscape Context Justification Overall Biodiversity Health Score Carolina Bays / Isolated Wetlands Good The Carolina Bays found on Moody Air Force Base are the largest and most biologically intact Carolina Bays in the region and comprise the bulk of the Grand Bay/Banks Lake wetland complex (Anonymous 2002, Moody Air Force Base 2001). At a local scale, hydrarch succession appears to be the biggest threat to the size of existent Carolina Bays (sensu Moody Air Force Base 2001). Certain areas (Grand Bay) are also exposed to human / residential development and shoreline encroachment. Fair 72.2% of the 150 meter buffer zone (a distance chosen to be large enough to go beyond federal wetland buffer minimums, but be small enough to capture only the nearest neighbors of the wetlands) surrounding the Carolina Bay ecotype within GBBL is ranked within a low to moderate risk of toxins and contaminants meaning that 27.8% or, over a quarter of land within the 150 meter buffer zone surrounding Carolina Bays is at moderate to high risk of toxins or contaminants. Hydrarch succession due to infrequent fire intervals is occurring over part of the Carolina Bay range -particularly in Grand Bay. MAFB burned only 34 40% of the possible Carolina Bay habitat during 1998 2001. Fair Exclusive of the Okefenokee Swamp, this wetland complex of over 5,250 hectares is the largest freshwater lake-swamp system in the Coastal Plain of Georgia (Moody Air Force Base 2001, The Nature Conservancy of Georgia 2002b). The majority of large Carolina Bays in this region are captured within GBBL Council boundaries. Therefore these bays and the connectivity between them are fairly well protected. In addition, within the Ecological Footprint, ~28% of land within 150 meters of Carolina Bays or Isolated Wetlands is within moderate to high risk of toxins or contaminants, a potential threat to normal water chemistry levels. Fair 67

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Table 3-4. Continued. Site Conservation Target Size Rank Size Justification Condition Rank Condition Justification Landscape Context Rank Landscape Context Justification Overall Biodiversity Health Score Migratory Birds There have been no recent field studies to determine population sizes, extent, or overall general health of the various migratory birds that utilize GBBL areas. It is thought that migratory birds are utilizing a variety of habitats throughout the Ecological Footprint, usually in healthy numbers. Such species include (Moody Air Force Base 2001): the Veery, Willow Flycatcher, possibly Blackbilled Cuckoo, Wood Thrush, Hooded Warbler, Bachmans Sparrow, and Loggerhead Shrike. Good Again, there are no concrete field data on which to base this ranking. It comes solely from conversations with regional biologists as well as incidental observations that a variety of threatened and non-threatened bird species (see Size Justification for examples) are utilizing the Ecological Footprint and are able to maintain a viable population size and structure in the area. Fair Indirect evidence of migratory bird health at the landscape scale comes from GIS analysis of forest change. Roughly 60% of forested area (mixed, evergreen, and deciduous forest types) has been lost from 1977 1998. In addition, forest fragmentation has increased 55% in the Ecological Footprint from 1990 to 1998. Good 68 Good

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Table 3-4. Continued. Site Conservation Target Size Rank Size Justification Condition Rank Condition Justification Landscape Context Rank Landscape Context Justification Overall Biodiversity Health Score Riverine Aquatic Systems Good There is a broad geographic coverage of rivers and streams of varying sizes. Fair Although neighbored in some places by urban or agricultural areas, rivers appear to be in good condition. Within the Ecological Footprint, 80.1% of land lying within 150 meters of riverine areas is at low to moderate risk of toxins and contaminants. Urban development within 150 meters of rivers has not increased dramatically since 1977. Good Around 20% of the area within 150 meters of riverine areas within the Ecological Footprint falls within the moderate to high toxin or contaminant risk category, a potential threat to normal water chemistry levels. Urban development within 150 meters of rivers has not increased dramatically since 1977, reducing the chances of river channelization or diversion. Good 69

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Table 3-4. Continued. Site Conservation Target Size Rank Size Justification Condition Rank Condition Justification Landscape Context Rank Landscape Context Justification Overall Biodiversity Health Score Hardwood Hammocks Poor Few hardwood hammock stands still exist. Yet there is relatively low risk of size reduction for Dudleys and Hickory Hammocks at the present time. Some hunting is allowed in Hickory Hammock, but neither hammock is exposed to heavy human use, or development encroachment. Accidental fire caused by a nearby active EOD range and logging are the greatest potential size threats to Dudleys and Hickory Hammock, respectively (Moody Air Force Base 2001). Good Dudley's Hammock is one of the best examples of a low hammock in Georgia. It is completely isolated by surrounding bayswamp, and much of it has not been significantly disturbed for many years (Moody Air Force Base 2001). Access is limited by locked gates. At present, it receives little use and human impact is minimal (Moody Air Force Base, 2001). By contrast, Hickory Hammock, a remnant hardwood hammock similar in composition to Dudley's Hammock, has apparently burned more frequently and more recently than Dudley's Hammock (Moody Air Force Base 2001). (Moody Air Force Base 2001) suggests that Dudley's and Hickory Hammocks should be protected from wildfire. Poor Very few hardwood hammock stands still exist and there is a low level of connectivity between individual hammocks. In the event of localized disturbance or destruction, it is unlikely that hardwood hammock-dependent species would be able to disperse, migrate, or recolonize other hardwood hammocks. Accidental fire caused by a nearby active EOD range is the greatest potential threat to Dudleys Hammock, while logging (and its associated human disturbance) may pose the greatest potential threat to Hickory Hammock (Moody Air Force Base 2001). Poor Overall Biodiversity Health Fair 70

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Table 3-5. Stress rank = function of (severity and scope), using the matrix below. Severity Very High High Medium Low Very High Very High High Medium Low High High High Medium Low Medium Medium Medium Medium Low Scope Low Low Low Low Low 71

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Table 3-6. Source rank = function of (contribution and irreversibility), using the matrix below. Contribution Very High High Medium Low Very High Very High High High Medium High Very High High Medium Medium Medium High Medium Medium Low Irreversibility Low High Medium Low Low 72

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Table 3-7. Source/stress rank = function of (source and stress), using the matrix below. Source Very High High Medium Low Very High Very High Very High High Medium High High High Medium Low Medium Medium Medium Low Low Stress Low Low Low Low Low 73

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Table 3-8. Major stresses, their severity, and their scope for each of the six GBBL conservation targets. 74 Conservation Target Stresses Severity Scope Wading Birds Habitat destruction or conversion High High Modification of water levels High High Nutrientloading High Medium Alteration of natural fire regimes High High Longleaf Pine / Wiregrass Habitat destruction or conversion Very High High Habitat fragmentation Very High High Alteration of natural fire regimes Medium High Carolina Bays / Isolated Wetlands Alteration of natural fire regimes High High Nutrientloading High High Sedimentation Medium High Modification of water levels High High Habitat destruction or conversion Medium High Migratory Birds Habitat destruction or conversion High High Habitatfragmentation Medium High Alteration of natural fire regimes Medium High Towertrauma Low Low Riverine Aquatic Systems Habitat destruction or conversion High High Nutrientloading Medium High Sedimentation Medium High Modification of water levels Low High Toxins/contamination Medium High Hardwood Hammocks Alteration of natural fire regimes High High Toxins/contaminants Medium Medium

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Table 3-9. Summary of the major sources of stress for the six GBBL conservation targets and their overall threat status. Systems and Threats Wading Birds Longleaf Pine / Wiregrass Carolina Bays / Isolated Wetlands Migratory Birds Riverine Aquatic Systems Hardwood Hammocks Critical Threat Rank Total Score Incompatible primary home development Very High High Very High High High High 6.00 Incompatible forestry practices Medium High Medium High Medium Medium 2.60 Fire suppression Medium High Medium High High 2.40 Conversion for agriculture / silviculture High High Medium High 2.20 Incompatible crop production practices Medium High Low Medium 1.23 Incompatible commercial development High High 1.00 Ordinance disposal site / toxins leeching High High 1.00 Incompatible operation of water control structures High High 1.00 Construction of ditches, dikes, and drainage systems Medium Medium Medium 0.40 Incompatible livestock production practices Low Low 0.03 Threat Status for Targets and Site Medium High High High Medium High High 75

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Table 3-10. A prioritized list of critical broad-level conservation objectives for each of the six GBBL conservation targets is presented below. Objectives Across Systems Wading Birds Longleaf Pine / Wiregrass Carolina Bays / Isolated Wetlands Migratory Birds Riverine Aquatic Systems Hardwood Hammocks Strategy Benefit Rank Total Score Enhance or restore critical habitat for species of special concern. Very High High High Very High High High High 7.00 Restore fire regimes within the natural ranges of variation for 100% of the GBBL complex. High Very High Very High Medium Low High High 5.23 Limit logging to minimal selective timber harvest. Low High High High Medium Very High High 4.73 Enhance and restore landscape connectivity between and within ecotypes. Medium Very High High Very High Medium Medium Medium 4.60 Prohibit additional residential, commercial, and agricultural development within 150 meters of wetlands / rivers. Very High -Very High -Very High -Very High 4.5 Identify specific sources of toxins / contaminants and reduce or eliminate emittance. High Low Very High Medium Very High Medium High 4.43 Collaborate with neighboring landowners to promote and establish conservation easements, and to promote habitat protection. High High High Medium High Low High 4.23 Coordinate an effort among Council members to restore natural hydrological regimes across the GBBL area. High -Very High -Very High Medium High 4.20 76

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Table 3-10. Continued. Objectives Across Systems Wading Birds Longleaf Pine / Wiregrass Carolina Bays / Isolated Wetlands Migratory Birds Riverine Aquatic Systems Hardwood Hammocks Strategy Benefit Rank Total Score Prohibit grazing of livestock within 150 meters of wetland / riverine areas. High -High -High -High 3.00 Establish a long-term, annual monitoring program for species of special concern within GBBL boundaries. High --Very High --High 2.50 Prohibit use of motorboats. High -High ---High 2.00 Manage 100% of the forests containing Longleaf Pine to maintain or restore Longleaf Pine as the primary species. -Very High -Low --Low 1.53 Track sources of sediment in order to reduce sedimentation in wetlands. --Medium -High -Low 1.20 Prohibit the construction of additional towers (especially radio, cellular and television towers) in and around the Ecological Footprint area. Medium --Medium --Medium 0.40 Develop and implement a comprehensive management plan for the eradication of invasive species. Medium Low Low Low Low Low Low 0.35 77

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Table 3-11. Overview of conservation strategies and actions for each of the six conservation targets. Conservation Target Conservation Strategies and Actions Wading Birds Maintain wading bird populations at +/two standard errors of their current size (determine through research surveys). Enhance or restore critical habitat for wood storks. Establish a long-term, annual monitoring program for wading birds within the Ecological Footprint. Restore fire regimes within the natural ranges of variation for Carolina Bays and associated forests (return intervals of 7 25 years). Prohibit or minimize the construction of additional towers (especially radio, cellular and television towers) in and around the Ecological Footprint. Reduce the percentage of land within (at least) 150 meters of wetland areas that has a moderate to high risk of toxins and contaminants to less than 20% (currently 27.8%). Longleaf Pine / Wiregrass Restore fire regimes within the natural ranges of variation (return intervals of 1 3 years) over the full extent of areas containing Longleaf Pine to maintain and enhance open longleaf pine stands and groundcover. A fuel reduction burn should be conducted followed by summer burning on a 1-3 year rotation. The timing of these burns should take into consideration the breeding period of the Bachmans Sparrow and include isolated shallow pond wetlands (TNCGA 2001). Restore an area of Longleaf Pine within the Ecological Footprint to its pre-1980 levels, a 36%+ increase over current levels. Limit logging to thinning operations for smaller diameter trees (TNCGA 2001). Manage 100% of the forests containing Longleaf Pine to maintain or restore Longleaf Pine as the primary species (currently 27.8% on MAFB). Restore or enhance connectivity between remnant stands of Longleaf Pine. Hold workshops as well as produce and distribute literature informing landowners of the significance of Longleaf Pine / Wiregrass ecosystems. Carolina Bays / Isolated Wetlands Restore fire regimes within the natural ranges of variation (return intervals of 7 25 years) over the full extent of areas containing Carolina Bays, Isolated Wetlands, and associated forest stands. Remove any fire breaks in existence between uplands and wetlands to eliminate unnatural transitions or disturbance within these ecotones (TNCGA 2001). Reduce the percentage of land within (at least) 150 meters of wetland areas that has a moderate to high risk of toxins and contaminants to less than 20% (currently 27.8%) through land purchases, landuse conversion, and/or reduction of incompatible landuse practices. Restore natural hydrological regimes to maintain historical hydrological connectivity extents between the bays. Prohibit logging with the exception of minimal selective timber harvest (TNCGA 2001) 78

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Table 3-11. Continued. Conservation Target Conservation Strategies and Actions Carolina Bays / Isolated Wetlands (continued) Establish monitoring programs for green-fly orchid, blue maidencane, climbing heath, striped mud turtles, and nesting American bittern (TNCGA 2001). Discontinue dredging, channelization, and mechanized disturbance activities at Cooter Creek (TNCGA 2001). Migratory Birds Maintain current migratory bird populations at +/two standard errors of their current sizes (determine through research surveys). Enhance or restore critical habitat for Bachmans sparrows and loggerhead shrikes (both candidates either for federal listing, globally declining species, or species of special concern). Prohibit or minimize the construction of additional towers (especially radio, cellular and television towers) in and around the Ecological Footprint area to reduce the chance of tower-induced mortality of migratory birds using the area. Restore forested area (~60% loss of forested area mixed, evergreen, and deciduous between 1977 and 1998) such that connectivity between, and heterogeneity in vertical structure existing forest stands is increased. Riverine Aquatic Systems Restore natural hydrology in areas where rivers are dammed and/or have been rechanneled. Reduce the percentage of land within (at least) 150 meters of riverine areas that has a moderate to high risk of toxins and contaminants to less than 15% (currently 19.9%). Prohibit grazing of livestock within (at least) 150 meters of riverine areas. Prohibit additional residential, commercial, and agricultural development within (at least) 150 meters of riverine areas. Hardwood Hammocks Prevent the spread of wildfire from surrounding forests to Dudley's and Hickory Hammocks (other than within the natural ranges of variation: return intervals of less than 7 25 years) by maintaining a sufficiently high water level in the surrounding wetlands (TNCGA 2001). Limit human disturbance of hardwood hammocks (TNCGA 2001) by: Prohibiting expansion or activity on Bemiss field that would negatively impact the wetland buffer surrounding Dudleys Hammock, Allowing access to Dudleys Hammock only for educational and research activities, Prohibiting hunting in Dudleys Hammock and limit hunting in Hickory Hammock (due to risk of fire), and Limiting road maintenance / improvement and transport of material through Dudleys Hammock. Monitor Dudleys Hammock for indigo snakes. 79

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Table 3-12. Recommended monitoring plans for each of the six conservation targets. Conservation Target Biodiversity Health / Threat Abatement Attribute Measured Indicator Methods Timing / Frequency Wading Birds Size Population sizes Point counts for wading birds at random points equally distributed throughout potential wading bird habitat. Quarterly Size Number of species of special concern Review federal, state, and natural heritage lists for species-specific wading bird status. Annually Condition Waterquality Conduct water quality tests placing testing and monitoring emphasis on toxins and contaminants known to be endocrine disruptors. Quarterly Condition Reproductivesuccess Monitor number of breeding pairs and number of fledglings for all species of special concern. Breeding season of each species Condition Abundance and distribution of prey species Sample invertebrate and fish species at random points equality distributed throughout potential wading bird habitat. Annually, prior to the onset of wading bird breeding season Landscape Context Percent known wading bird habitat with fire frequency of 7 25 years Review prescribed burn and wildfire records for the wetland areas within the Ecological Footprint. Annually at the end of the burning season Landscape Context Amount and distribution of landuses surrounding wetland areas GIS analysis of landuse change over time. As new GIS layers become available 80

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Table 3-12. Continued. Conservation Target Biodiversity Health / Threat Abatement Attribute Measured Indicator Methods Timing / Frequency Longleaf Pine / Wiregrass Size Percent of total forested area containing Longleaf Pine having Longleaf Pine as the primary species Ground-truth Longleaf Pine distribution and abundance maps. Review forestry and silviculture inventory records. Every three years Condition Abundance of Longleaf Pine in each age class Monitor age-class composition in all stands containing Longleaf Pine. Every three years Condition Percent of forested areas containing Longleaf Pine that have a fire return interval of 1 3 years Review prescribed burn and wildfire records for the Ecological Footprint areas containing Longleaf Pine. Annually at the end of the burning season Condition Presence of competitive / invasive species and disease within Longleaf Pine stands Line-transect surveys of all forested areas containing Longleaf Pine. Annually Landscape Context Amount and distribution of landuses surrounding forests containing Longleaf Pine GIS analysis of landuse change over time. As new GIS layers become available Landscape Context Connectivity Utilize landscape ecology metrics to calculate the connectivity of Longleaf Pine stands throughout the Ecological Footprint. One time for use in planning Longleaf Pine restoration areas 81

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Table 3-12. Continued. Conservation Target Biodiversity Health / Threat Abatement Attribute Measured Indicator Methods Timing / Frequency Carolina Bays / Isolated Wetlands Size Total hectares undergoing hydrarch succession Delineation of historical wetland boundaries using remote sensing images and comparing the historical wetland extents with current wetland extents. Delineation comparison one time with annual calculation of hydrarch succession area following the burn season. Condition Invasivespecies Conduct surveys for invasive species throughout the Ecological Footprints Carolina Bay / Isolated Wetland areas, recording the number and distribution of invasives. Quarterly and opportunistically Condition Waterquality Conduct water quality tests placing testing and monitoring emphasis on toxins and contaminants known to be endocrine disruptors. Quarterly Landscape Context Amount and distribution of surrounding landuses GIS analysis of landuse change over time As new GIS layers become available Landscape Context Percent target area with a 7 25 year fire return interval Review prescribed burn and wildfire records for the wetland areas within the Ecological Footprint. Annually at the end of the burning season 82

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Table 3-12. Continued. Conservation Target Biodiversity Health / Threat Abatement Attribute Measured Indicator Methods Timing / Frequency Carolina Bays / Isolated Wetlands (continued) Landscape Context Presence and abundance of water control structures Operate water control structures to mimic historical hydrological connectivity among the Ecological Footprints Carolina Bay / Isolated Wetland areas. Eliminate water control structures that disrupt historical hydrological connectivity among the Ecological Footprints Carolina Bays / Isolated Wetlands. Always Migratory Birds Size Population sizes Randomly distributed point counts for migratory birds throughout potential migratory bird habitat. Annually during the fall migration Size Number of species of special concern Review federal, state, and natural heritage lists for species-specific migratory bird status. Annually Condition Vertical heterogeneity Develop an index of vertical heterogeneity (high heterogeneity equals high bird diversity) for forest stands and select random plots within migratory bird habitat to rate according to this index. Annual characterization of forest stands once index is developed Condition Reproductivesuccess Monitor number of breeding pairs and number of fledglings for all species of special concern. Breeding season of each species 83

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Table 3-12. Continued. Conservation Target Biodiversity Health / Threat Abatement Attribute Measured Indicator Methods Timing / Frequency Migratory Birds (continued) Landscape Context Forest fragmentation Calculate area via perimeter ratios from GIS forest coverage data or perform field measurements on forest areas and perimeters. Every three years Landscape Context Percent forested area within historical fire return intervals Review prescribed burn and wildfire records for the wetland areas within the Ecological Footprint. Annually at the end of the burning season Riverine Aquatic Systems Size Total length of river Analyze updated GIS hydrological data for changes in total length of river within the Ecological Footprint. As new GIS layers become available Condition Waterquality Conduct water quality tests placing testing and monitoring emphasis on toxins and contaminants known to be endocrine disruptors. Quarterly Condition Sedimentationloads Collect sediment sample from rivers adjacent to areas believed to contain major sources of sediment run-off (near agricultural and silvicultural activites). Quarterly 84

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Table 3-12. Continued. Conservation Target Biodiversity Health / Threat Abatement Attribute Measured Indicator Methods Timing / Frequency Riverine Aquatic Systems (continued) Landscape Context Presence and abundance of water control structures Operate water control structures to mimic historical hydrological connectivity among riverine areas. Eliminate water control structures that disrupt historical hydrological connectivity. Always Landscape Context Amount and distribution of surrounding landuses GIS analysis of landuse change over time. As new GIS layers become available Hardwood Hammocks Size Total area of Dudleys and Hickory Hammock Calculate total area from most recent GIS data. As new GIS layers become available Condition Presence of indigo snake, green-fly orchid, climbing heath, and needle palm Conduct line-transect surveys for these species in Dudleys and Hickory Hammocks. Annually Condition Human use and road construction / improvement Monitor hammocks for frequency of human use, road construction and/or improvement, and associated signs of impact. Mitigate negative ecological impacts from such activities. Bi-annually, before and after hunting season Landscape Context Water depth in Cooters Creek Maintain sufficient depth to prevent wildfire from reaching Dudleys Hammock Throughout fire season 85

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86 Ecological FootprintGeorgiaTri-County Area:BerrienLanierLowndes Ecological FootprintGeorgiaTri-County Area:BerrienLanierLowndes Figure 3-1. The Ecological Footprint within the Tri-County area, Georgia.

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87 Carolina Bays / Isolated WetlandsRiverine Aquatic SystemsWading BirdsMigratory BirdsLongleaf Pine /WiregrassIHardwood Hammocks Longleaf Pine /WiregrassII Carolina Bays / Isolated WetlandsRiverine Aquatic SystemsWading BirdsMigratory BirdsLongleaf Pine /WiregrassIHardwood Hammocks Longleaf Pine /WiregrassII Figure 3-2. Distribution of conservation targets within the Ecological Footprint.

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CHAPTER 4 SURVEYS OF WILDLIFE PROFESSIONALS AND PRACTICAL CONCLUSIONS Introduction Particularly high numbers of species at risk occur on installations in the southeast United States (NatureServe 2004). As with all other lands, DOD properties are subject to United States laws and regulations regarding species and land management. Though committed to preserving wildlife when possible, the first priority of DOD land managers is to maintain areas suitable for military use (for example, training exercises). Given this potential conflict of interest, it is imperative that their ecological managers choose the optimal method of developing management recommendations and plans for their sites. As part of my graduate work, I assessed ecological conditions at Camp Blanding Training Site (CBTS) in Starke, Florida and the Grand Bay Bay Lakes area near Valdosta, Georgia using two different methodologies (summarized in Chapters 2 and 3, respectively). One method, the Species At Risk Program advocated a species-by species technique, while the other, Conservation By Design, utilized an ecosystem-level approach. Though the methodologies differ, the goals of each include healthier species and ecosystems. The United States Geological Survey (USGS), Biological Resources Division (BRD), first initiated the Species At Risk (SAR) program in 1995. The SAR program was created to identify and report on deficiencies in biological knowledge of species status, in an effort to stabilize at-risk species and to minimize further listings. Additionally, it assists Federal, State and private land and resource managers in their 88

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89 decisions regarding the protection of sensitive species and their habitats. CBTS developed an initial Integrated Natural Resources Plan (INRMP) in 1998, a requirement of all DOD lands as per the Sikes Act of 1960 (King 1998, PROACT 2000). Part of the INRMP calls for outside monitoring and surveillance to assist with the creation and update of management plans. The Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit (FCFWRU) was contracted to conduct a multi-species SAR study at and managed by CBTS from February 2000 August 2001 to assess their environmental inventory. Another style of conservation management involves investigation of landscape-scale suites of species or areas of land. One goal of The Nature Conservancy is to conserve areas to guarantee survival of all species and communities, not just those in peril. These functional conservation areas are defined within ecoregions. Threats to the areas are identified and a management plan is then developed. Cumulatively, this process is called Conservation By Design (CBD). Again, as part of my work, the CBD program was chosen for use in assessing a multi-use area in southern Georgia. Moody Air Force Base (MAFB), too, has an INRMP, but chose a different approach to the ecological management of a shared (MAFB, Grand Bay Wildlife Management Area, Bay Lakes National Wildlife Refuge) natural area, the Grand Bay Bay Lakes (GBBL) region (MAFB 2001). The FCFWRU was contracted to conduct a CBD analysis of the area. Again, this landscape ecology approach advocated by Low (2002) combines a thorough ecoregional need assessment (where to work and on what) prior to the development of an adaptive management plan. Thus, the approach to saving the plant, animal, and natural community diversity is through protection of areas each needs to survive (Hoctor 2003, Low 2002). Combining previous research, available GIS

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90 data, and input from regional stakeholders, we were able to quantify the past and future threats to GBBL, the potential future health of GBBL, and develop management recommendations. As designed, CBD is divided into four basic parts, each element further divided. The (sub)sections are: Setting Conservation Priorities (identifying conservation targets, gathering information on conservation targets, setting goals for conservation targets, assessing the viability (health) of each conservation target, assembling real estate portfolios of areas needed for preservation of conservation targets), developing conservation priorities (identification of the systems involved with the conservation targets, determining the stresses to the systems and conservation targets, identifying and ranking the sources of the sources, finding strategies to reduce or eliminate threats, assessing progress in reducing threats), taking action (buying/managing ecologically important areas, negotiating management agreements without holding title to the land, training partners for management, educating local residents about the importance of biodiversity, working with industry to reduce environmental impacts, helping governmental agencies work together), and measuring success (regular evaluation of key ecological factors (such as size, condition, and landscape context) of conservation targets, regular measurement of threat levels to conservation targets) (Low 2002). Using this strategy allows the development and implementation of a dynamic and adaptive stewardship plan for the GBBL ecosystem. Though their methodologies differ, the goals of each of the ideologies listed above include healthier species and ecosystems. Rather than compile a list of my own observations about each program, I surveyed from TNC and the USGS who had

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91 experience with their respective conservation programs. By seeking the opinions of others familiar with each research design, I hoped to better interpret each program with less of a personal bias to my own experiences. However, not every organization decided to accept my request. Methods Rather than solely compiling a list of my own observations about each program, I created a survey intended for professionals from TNC and the USGS (Table 4-1) who had experience with their respective conservation programs. The survey contained 35 questions, and was worded with official TNC (15 questions) and USGS (20 questions) terminology from published explanations of their programs and intentions for starting the programs (Low 2002, TNC 2004, USGS 2004). In an effort to obtain a list of professionals who were familiar with SAR and CBD, I then contacted each agency and spoke with representatives who were in charge of their respective data repositories. The USGS supplied me with 117 names of biologists who had worked with the SAR program, as well as their project names and their last known contact information. In an attempt to find current contact email addresses, I subsequently went through the master contact list by calling, emailing, and speaking with former coworkers. Of the original 117 names, 90 could be found and were included in my survey list. Each of these 90 people was contacted to ask if they would like to be a part of my survey when it was available; none refused. Despite numerous requests, TNC administration declined to participate in the USGS SAR/TNC CBD survey. As planned, TNC scientists who received CBD funding would have been able to rate the effectiveness of the CBD program using published TNC and SAR criteria. TNC administration cited survey fatigue as the reason for opting out

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92 of the survey process. TNC has administered several internal surveys over the last few years in an effort to improve its CBD program. However, no results of those surveys were offered in lieu of the administration of my survey. Thus, no direct comparisons can be made between the two programs by the professionals working at each organization. The anonymous survey was available on the World-Wide Web for ten days, with reminder emails sent out at the beginning, middle, and towards the end of the survey period. Respondents could answer as many or few questions as they wished. At the end of the 10-day survey period, 34 USGS professionals had taken the survey (29.0% of all possible SAR award recipients, 37.8% of recipients whose information I was able to find). The non-responses to my survey may reduce the effective sample size and introduce bias into my analyses (Edwards et al. 2002). Although there are no absolutes in survey research, 25% 35% is considered an acceptable response rate for mail surveys, and my response rate of 37.8% is higher than the mean email response rate for 5 of 10 years summarized in one study (Sheehan 2001, Yun and Trumbo 2000). All responses were examined descriptively. Additionally, questions with two possible responses (i.e. yes or no) were analyzed statistically using the t-test, measuring expected versus actual values of responses. Questions with three or more possible responses were analyzed statistically using 2 tests of expected versus actual values f responses. Results The SAR program rated very highly on half of the questions using USGS criteria (Table 4-1). SAR projects were able to focus on Category 2 species, obtain heretofore-unknown information on the species, and use that information to make regional management decisions. Most respondents believe that these results and plans would not have been possible without SAR funding (n = 28, 84.8%). However, respondents were

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93 mixed as to whether or not the decisions made based on their results were timely (n = 14, 46.7%) or prudent (n = 16, 55.2%), less than half (n = 14, 43.8%) had their work translate into federal management decisions, and most SAR projects have not resulted in ESA listings (n = 5, 16.1%) or de-listings (n = 7, 23.3%). The SAR program did not fare as well using CDB criteria (Table 4-1), perhaps due in part to USGS employee lack of familiarity of TNC terminology. The SAR program corresponded well with the setting priorities section of the CBD (n = 23, 76.7%). Respondents also said that the SAR facilitated governmental cooperation, which allows better allocation of resources. However, they note that the SAR is not set up well to measure the success of their work (n = 20, 71.4%). Finally, USGS employees were asked to rate the overall effectiveness of the SAR program and to note any comments not addressed by the survey. They appreciated that they could work on species that were not yet in peril, but were dismayed at the small funding amounts and the short time period (18 months) in which to complete the research. They considered the SAR program to be above average, but to be truly effective, it needed to increase funding and revamp some of the goals. Unfortunately, in 2002, the SAR program was discontinued and absorbed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Science Support program. While still species-based, the species eligible for study under the Science Support program are determined each year by the USFWS based on their needs under the ESA. Again, due to the lack of participation by TNC, no direct comparisons can be made between the two programs by the professionals working at each organization. Discussion and Recommendations Though two of the younger scientific disciplines, conservation biology and conservation ecology have made great advancements in the last 40 years, such as island

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94 biogeography theory, debate over reserve designs (Single Large Or Several Small), raising the alarm against habitat destruction and fragmentation, identifying the need for corridors between natural areas, and progress in the world of genetics (Ehrlich 1986, Fisher 1930, MacArthur and Wilson 1967, Noss 1987, Simberloff and Cox 1987, Soul and Simberloff 1986). As part of a natural growth within all disciplines, (e.g., physiology, systematics, conservation biology), mistakes have been made, too (Meffe and Carrol 1994). The idea of food chains were replaced by food webs, climax vegetation communities by unpredetermined succession, single scale by multiple scales, and so on. The pattern was identical: scientists from each discipline initially perceive the world in one dimension, but over time and with further research, the complexities of the world began to reveal themselves. Early conservation focused on individual species (or habitats), a flawed approach with good intentions. Of course, there are some keystone species where a species management approach would be warranted. Gopher tortoises are associated with dry uplands and their burrows are home to over 350 commensal species (Jackson and Milstrey 1989). Management for gopher tortoises would protect vast tracts of lands and numerous associated species. Wild pigs (Sus spp.) are an example where management against a species would have far-reaching conservation value. However, these examples are exceptions to the rule. The SAR program was set up to focus on species with a chance of endangerment but which there is insufficient information regarding their status (abundance, distribution, and habitat relationships) and therefore no scientific basis to act either to list, de-list or take positive management actions (called a Category 2 species). However, the choice of

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95 the SAR program and the management of this project may have not been the ideal mixture to achieve the goals envisioned at the outset of the project. First, of the species determined to be included in the survey by CBTS administrators and land managers, only four lacked enough basic information not to be listed by State or Federal governments, or both, and all but one species conservation ranking was not anticipated to change in the near future. Thus, as most species may not have been classified as Category 2, there is an indication of misapplication of SAR funding and resources. Second, there was no inherent ranking process within SAR to help choose which species to study. That is left to be done within each individual project, if it is done at all. Third, results obtained were challenged by CBTS personnel. Despite the discovery of increased species distributions, corrected (from previous surveys) population results, and better elucidation of habitat relationships, CBTS may have been more concerned with the potential impact to their typical land utilization. Unfortunately, the SAR program is not set up to fund long-term monitoring which would help to confirm or refute initial findings. Fourth, some management recommendations based on results from this survey seem to be similar to those from past surveys. The SAR program is not set up to assist or ensure that recommendations to protect biodiversity will actually be enabled. By removing themselves from the process (other than initial and final meetings), land owners and managers may have no vested interest in any results or recommendations. Finally, it is questionable how effective a species-by-species management approach can be over large areas such as CBTS. Managing ecosystems is preferable to managing individual species for several reasons. Managing ecosystems will actually encompass many species, not just those in

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96 trouble. Not only does this help any resident species in danger, it may also prevent future listings of currently stable species. Managing ecosystems will save time and money for these same reasons. Finally, managing ecosystems addresses the main proximate cause of species listings and environmental degradation: habitat alteration and destruction. However, ecosystem management must be done correctly and is not the end-all conservation measure. The CBD approach appears to prevent many of the problems associated with the SAR program. By committing early to joint stakeholder meetings and discussions, all parties are able to communicate their needs, desires, and reaction to potential outcomes, which increases the chances of active participation at the end of the initial program run. By getting a vested interest from all parties, there is less likelihood that the final results will be brushed aside. The CBD program is also inherently geared for long-term management. Should conditions change after initial recommendations, regular evaluations, and measurement allow for corresponding adaptive changes to management plans. Another strength of the CBD program is the amassment and synthesis of previous literature and data available about conservation targets. Management plans are improved by including these results. Conversely, one potential drawback to this program could be the reliance on past results. Not having the ability to determine current conditions may impact the effectiveness of initial management plans. Finally, many associated species (both stable or rare) will benefit by the use of ecosystems as conservation targets. The Nature Conservancys Conservation By Design is currently perhaps the best approach to ecosystem management. The three greatest strengths of CBD are the involvement of regional stakeholders, continual long-term monitoring, and adaptive

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97 management. Their methodology would be improved if they could better integrate the SAR programs ability to provide direct, initial surveys. However, both ecosystem and species approaches are directed towards solutions of the proximate causes of decline. Ultimately, conservationists will have to forego any concept of scale and focus their efforts on conservation education. Due to the minimization or removal of most sources of damage before they are a problem, long-term, wide-scale changes in human behavior will ultimately be the greatest and cheapest method of conservation management.

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Table 4-1. Questionnaire administered to USGS personnel affiliated with SAR projects (34 total respondents). Questions/Answers n Percent DF, Pr > t or 2 2 1. Did your SAR project(s) help to gain information on the status of plant and/or animal species that may have been declining? ( = 0.85) 0.2292 Yes 31 93.9 No 2 6.1 2. If YES, how well-suited was the SAR program to gaining information on the status of plant and/or animal species that may have been declining? (one=highest rating; 5=lowest rating) (42%, 42%, 6%, 5%, 5%) 4, 17.7576 0.0005 1 10 32.3 2 13 41.9 3 8 25.8 4 0 0.0 5 0 0.0 3. Did your SAR project(s) help to gain information on the habitat needs of plant and/or animal species that may have been declining? ( = 0.85) 0.0390 Yes 23 69.7 No 10 30.3 4. If YES, how well-suited was the SAR program to gaining information on the habitat needs of plant and/or animal species that may have been declining? (one=highest rating; 5=lowest rating) (42%, 42%, 6%, 5%, 5%) 4, 56.0816 <0.0001 1 4 17.4 2 10 43.5 3 9 39.1 4 0 0.0 5 0 0.0 98

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Table 4-1. Continued. 99 Questions/Answers n Percent DF, Pr > t or 2 2 5. Were the species studied within your SAR project(s) in critical need of oversight? ( = 0.85) 0.9881 Yes 27 87.1 No 4 12.9 6. Have there been prudent conservation decisions (for your study species) made based on the findings from your SAR project(s)? ( = 0.85) <0.0001 Yes 16 55.2 No 13 44.8 7. Have there been timely conservation decisions (for your study species) made based on the findings from your SAR project(s)? ( = 0.85) <0.0001 Yes 14 46.7 No 16 53.3 8. Have findings from your SAR project(s) been used to prevent unnecessary Endangered Species Act listings? ( = 0.85) <0.0001 Yes 7 23.3 No 23 76.7 9. Have findings from your SAR project(s) been used to towards necessary Endangered Species Act listings? ( = 0.85) <0.0001 Yes 5 16.1 No 26 83.9 10. Would you consider the findings made during your SAR project(s) pivotal? ( = 0.85) 0.0079 Yes 20 64.5 No 11 35.5

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Table 4-1. Continued. 100 Questions/Answers n Percent DF, Pr > t or 2 2 11. Could you have obtained the results from your SAR project(s) without SAR funding? ( = 0.15) 1.0000 Yes 5 15.2 No 28 84.8 12. Have findings from your SAR project(s) been used to make any state management decisions? ( = 0.85) 0.0826 Yes 23 71.9 No 9 28.1 13. Have findings from your SAR project(s) been used to make any federal management decisions? ( = 0.85) <0.0001 Yes 14 43.8 No 18 56.2 14. Prior to your SAR project(s), were there insufficient scientific data available on the species studied to justify conservation actions or inactions? ( = 0.85) 0.8710 Yes 29 87.9 No 4 12.1 15. Have findings from your SAR project(s) helped protect the nation's biodiversity? ( = 0.85) 0.6913 Yes 26 81.3 No 6 18.7 16. Have findings from your SAR project(s) helped fill critical gaps in our biological knowledge? ( = 0.85) 0.5442 Yes 29 90.6 No 3 9.4

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Table 4-1. Continued. 101 Questions/Answers n Percent DF, Pr > t or 2 2 17. What is your opinion on the effectiveness of the SAR program? (one=highest rating; 5=lowest rating) (42%, 42%, 6%, 5%, 5%) 4, 37.5483 <0.0001 1 6 18.2 2 15 45.5 3 11 33.3 4 1 3.0 5 0 0.0 18. What is your overall opinion of the SAR program? (one=highest rating; 5=lowest rating) (42%, 42%, 6%, 5%, 5%) 4, 34.9654 <0.0001 1 10 30.3 2 10 30.3 3 11 33.3 4 2 6.1 5 0 0.0 21. Were your investigations during your SAR project(s) conducted at a local or landscape scale? ( = 0.15) 0.0104 Local 11 34.4 Landscape 21 65.6 22. Did you find your SAR project(s) was(were) conducted at an appropriate scale to provide information as per SAR goals? ( = 0.85) 0.0640 Yes 32 97.0 No 1 3.0 23. Were you able to successfully Set Priorities within your SAR project(s)? ( = 0.85) 0.3052 Yes 23 76.7 No 7 23.3

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Table 4-1. Continued. 102 Questions/Answers n Percent DF, Pr > t or 2 2 24. If YES, as part of Setting Priorities, have your SAR project(s) been able to Identify Conservation Targets, Gather Information, Set Goals, Assess Viability, and Assemble Portfolios? ( = 0.85) 0.5119 Yes 18 85.7 No 3 14.3 25. When it is not possible to complete all 5 steps, which of the 5 steps is most often left out? (20%, 20%, 20%, 20%, 20%) 4, 18.0000 0.0012 Identify Conservation Targets 0 0.0 Gather Information 0 0.0 Set Goals 0 0.0 Assess Viability 2 66.7 Assemble Portfolios 1 33.3 26. Have you been able to successfully Develop Strategies within your SAR project(s)? ( = 0.85) <0.0001 Yes 12 42.9 No 16 57.1 27. If YES, as part of Developing Strategies, have you been able to investigate Systems, Stresses, Sources, Strategies, and Success within your SAR project(s)? ( = 0.85) <0.0001 Yes 7 58.3 No 5 41.7

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Table 4-1. Continued. 103 Questions/Answers n Percent DF, Pr > t or 2 2 28. When it is not possible to investigate all five steps, which of the five steps is most often left out? (20%, 20%, 20%, 20%, 20%) 4, 5.2857 0.2592 Systems 0 0.0 Stresses 1 50.0 Sources 0 0.0 Strategies 0 0.0 Success 1 50.0 29. Have you been able to successfully Take Action for your SAR project(s)? ( = 0.85) 0.0016 Yes 18 60.0 No 12 40.0 30. If YES, what is the most common outcome of your SAR project(s)? (17%, 17%, 17%, 17%, 16%, 16%) 5, 22.5915 0.0004 Buying and managing ecologically important areas 1 5.6 Negotiating agreements to manage areas without holding title to them, through partnerships or conservation easements 4 22.2 Offering training to partner organizations and government agencies that manage land 1 5.6 Educating people who live in ecologically sensitive areas about the importance of biodiversity and helping them to live in better harmony with the natural environment 1 5.6 Working with resource-based industries to alter their business practices to have less environmental impact 0 0.0 Helping government agencies work together and better allocate public resources toward conservation 11 61.0

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Table 4-1. Continued. 104 Questions/Answers n Percent DF, Pr > t or 2 2 31. Have you been able to successfully Measure Success of your SAR project(s)? ( = 0.85) <0.0001 Yes 8 28.6 No 20 71.4 32. If YES, as part of Measuring Success, have you been able to measure threat levels and biodiversity health within your SAR project(s)? ( = 0.85) <0.0001 Yes 3 37.5 No 5 62.5 33. When it is not possible to complete both parts of Measuring Success, which of the 2 steps is most often left out? ( = 0.50) 0.0636 Measuring threat levels 0 0.0 Measuring biodiversity health 5 100.0 34. Have you been able to successfully Repeat these four Processes (Setting Priorities, Developing Strategies, Taking Action, Measuring Success) as part of your SAR project(s)? (85%, 5%, 5%, 5%) 3, 164.1440 <0.0001 Yes for all four divisions for most SAR projects 0 0.0 Yes for most of the four divisions for most SAR projects 5 20.0 Yes for some of the four divisions for most SAR projects 11 44.0 No for all divisions for most SAR projects 9 36.0 35. If you are able to Repeat these Processes, but not complete all four divisions (the middle two options from Question 34), which division is most often left out? (25%, 25%, 25%, 25%) 3, 16.1429 0.0011 Setting Priorities 0 0.0 Developing Strategies 0 0.0 Taking Action 4 28.6 Measuring Success 10 71.4

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APPENDIX SUMMARIES OF SELECTED SPECIES AT CAMP BLANDING TRAINING SITE General Taxa: Plant (Monocot) Name: Pteroglossaspis ecristata, Giant Orchid Taxonomy: Order Orchidales, Family Orchidaceae Conservation Status: USA: Management Concern, FL: Threatened CBTS Survey Status: Focal Species Historical FL Distribution: Populations have been found in the following counties: Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Brevard, Citrus, Clay, Collier, Columbia, Dade, Desoto, Dixie, Duval, Hardee, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lafayette, Lake, Levy, Manatee, Marion, Martin, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Santa Rosa, Sarasota, Seminole, Suwannee, Taylor, Volusia, Wakulla. At one time this plant had a distribution from North Carolina through Cuba. However, in Florida, they have not been seen in many of the originally mapped areas for several decades (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001). Confirmed CBTS Locations Prior To This Survey: Yes Confirmed CBTS Locations During This Survey: Yes Morphology: The giant orchid has a long (30 170cm) naked stalk with 5 30 flowers on the top 10 15cm (Radford et al. 1968). The basal leaves overlap and measure about 1 3.5cm wide by 17 70cm long (Long and Lakela 1971). Field descriptions describe this large perennial herb as having very conspicuous flowers with a 10 15mm prominent central lobe and colored with a maroon center outlined in green. The sepals and petal are yellow to yellow-green and curved. The fruit is a 1 2cm long ovoid capsule (Radford et al. 1968). The flowers are present July through September, and the fruits from September to November (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001). Habitat: Sandhill, pine flatwoods and rocklands, and scrub can all be suitable habitat for the giant orchid (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001). Management Notes/Suggestions: It seems fairly clear that Pteroglossaspis ecristata needs active management in order to survive most sites (Nature Conservancy 1997). However, much is not known about the giant orchid. Management needs and procedures are speculative without more research. The greatest threats to this flower are the destruction of its habitat and lack of fire, which results in shady, competitive conditions (Nature Conservancy 1997). Prescribed fire would help control competition from woody species and keep areas open for fuller sun exposure (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001). Besides burning, restricting access to giant orchid habitat from foot or vehicle traffic may help protect the species (Nature 105

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106 Conservancy 1997). A majority of the range for this species occurs in or near the cantonement area. Demarcation of known locations with signs, flagging, or other devices may help protect this species. Any further surveys for range increase or contraction should be conducted during the months when flowers are present. General Taxa: Plant (Monocot) Name: Sphenostigma coelestina, Bartrams Ixia Taxonomy: Order Liliales, Family Iridaceae Conservation Status: USA: None, FL: Endangered CBTS Survey Status: Focal Species Historical FL Distribution: Populations have been found in the following counties: Baker, Bradford, Clay, Duval, Putnam, St. Johns. Confirmed CBTS Locations Prior To This Survey: Yes Confirmed CBTS Locations During This Survey: Yes Morphology: This perennial herb has a flower 6.4cm across with three bright yellow stamens and elongated anthers, and with six large, blue-violet petals. The style is purple with three jagged stigma lobes. The stem is slender and is approximately 20.3 40.6cm tall. The basal leaves are grass-like and short, the stem leaves are less than 8.9cm long and scatted on the stem. This plant also produces a small fruit resembling a green capsule. Habitat: Bartrams Ixia is most successful in wet to mesic flatwoods. Management Notes/Suggestions: Only a few populations are presently known to exist on CBTS and this already limited range of this plant at CBTS may be shrinking according to recent surveys. Any further surveys for these rare flowers should be conducted during the flowering months of April through May, sometimes into June. Individual flowers open for one solitary morning, and they are considered nearly invisible at any other time. For rare species with patchy locational data, the IUCN recommends instituting a total buffer instead of smaller buffers around each location. We recommend strict avoidance of mowing activities within its range from March through June. Demarcation of the current range with signs, flagging, or other devices may help prevent areas from being accidentally mowed or trampled. Prescribed fires every few years are recommended to mimic natural conditions for this species. All non-CBTS information for this species was taken from Florida Natural Areas Inventory (2001). General Taxa: Plant (Dicot) Name: Rudbeckia nitida, St. Johns Susan Taxonomy: Order Asterales, Family Asteraceae

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107 Conservation Status: USA: None, FL: Endangered CBTS Survey Status: Focal Species Historical FL Distribution: Populations have been found in the following counties: Bay, Clay, Gulf, Marion, Manatee, St. Johns. Confirmed CBTS Locations Prior To This Survey: Yes Confirmed CBTS Locations During This Survey: Yes Morphology: St. Johns Susans have yellow, drooping ray flowers surrounding a brown, conical disk. A single erect ribbed stem supports the flower head. Most of the leaves are basal, have a toothed characteristic, and range from 10.2 50.8cm in length with an approximate width of 2.5 7.6cm. The ray flowers are 3.2 5.1cm long. The disk flower is elongated and 1.9 3.8cm in length. Habitat: St. Johns Susans can be found in wet or mesic pine flatwoods, bogs, savannas, slopes of seepage, and roadside ditches. Management Notes/Suggestions: The best survey times for this species are during flowering periods: May through July and September through October. Extremely rare, there are only thirteen known populations of this plant in Florida. For rare species with patchy locational data, the IUCN recommends instituting a total buffer instead of smaller buffers around each location. For example, buffers have been set around the known discontinuous locations along State Route 16 and State Route 21. However, if soil, drainage, or mowing protocols are different than those within the buffers, it is unlikely the species will be able to thrive or expand its range. We also recommend strict avoidance of mowing activities during the May through September flowering/growing seasons. Demarcation of the current range with signs, flagging, or other devices may help prevent areas from being accidentally mowed or trampled. Prescribed fires every few years would knock back some of the neighboring vegetation to allow better light access for St. Johns Susans. This would especially benefit the new locations which appeared to have access only to patchy sunlight. Keeping the hydrology of the land areas unaltered has also been noted to be beneficial to this species. All non-CBTS information for this species was taken from Florida Natural Areas Inventory (2001). General Taxa: Insect Name: Cordulegaster sayi, Says Spiketail Dragonfly Taxonomy: Order Odonata, Family Cordulegastridae Conservation Status: USA: None, FL: None CBTS Survey Status: Incidental Species Historical FL Distribution: Populations have been found in eight total localities from the following counties: Alachua, Clay, Columbia, Liberty, Santa Rosa. Confirmed CBTS Locations Prior To This Survey: Yes

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108 Confirmed CBTS Locations During This Survey: No Positive Identification (to genus only) Morphology: Says spiketail dragonfly is large (reaching lengths of 60 69cm; Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001) and brightly colored. The thorax striped with yellow, magenta, and white bands, the abdomen is black with yellow bands, and the eyes are greenish, meeting at the top of the head (Dunkle 1994; Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001). Larvae (naiads) are conspicuously hairy and easy to identify (Stehr 1987). Diet: Insectivorous Reproduction: Adults can be seen in flight from February through April and the larval stage may last more than one year (Randall and Poss 2001). Much is still to be learned about the breeding habits and life stages of the Says spiketail dragonfly. Habitat: They can be found in habitats ranging from silt-bottom seepage streams in hardwood forests to open woodlands and clearings (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001). Management Notes/Suggestions: Habitat loss is the primary cause of this dragonflys decline. Randall and Poss (2001) believe that further loss of hardwood forest habitat and associated water areas will lead to extinction. Additional research on the behavior and breeding locations will be beneficial for long-term survival (Dunkle 1994). Protection (including limiting pesticide use) of seepage streams and surrounding uplands is also warranted (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001). Any future surveys should sample for larvae due to their potential year-round presence, easy identification, and decreased chance of mortality or injury during the sampling process. Additional surveys can use our final modeling map to ease and facilitate sampling. General Taxa: Amphibian Name: Ambystoma cingulatum, Flatwoods Salamander Taxonomy: Order Caudata, Family Ambystomatidae Conservation Status: USA: Threatened, FL: Species of Special Concern CBTS Survey Status: Incidental Species Historical FL Distribution: Populations have been found in the following counties: Alachua, Baker, Bay, Bradford, Calhoun, Columbia, Duval, Escambia, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Nassau, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Union, Walton, Washington, Wakulla. Confirmed CBTS Locations Prior To This Survey: No Confirmed CBTS Locations During This Survey: No Morphology: The flatwoods salamander is black with a silverish fishnet pattern on the dorsum. The stomach is speckled. It can be distinguished from Plethodontid (lungless) salamanders by its size (up to 11.5cm), thick tail, and the lack of a nasolabial groove. The aquatic larvae possess a dorsal tail fin and tan stripes on the back, and can reach lengths up to 7.5cm (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001).

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109 Diet: They feed mostly on invertebrates, opportunistically on suitably small vertebrates. Reproduction: During October to December, flatwoods salamanders move frequently overland to ponds to breed (Palis 1997). Data suggests a home range of 1500m 2 (Ashton 1992). Migrations are known to easily cover 1.7km, and in 1970, Means (1972) discovered a record migration event of 4.3km. Habitat: Pine flatwoods with longleaf (Pinus palustris) communities, wiregrass (Aristida beyrichiana) ground cover, and scattered wetlands, is the optimal habitat for healthy population numbers (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001). Management Notes/Suggestions: No flatwoods salamanders have ever been recorded at CBTS. Current drought conditions make that fact unlikely to change in the near future. Managing breeding and refugia habitats (as with the striped newt) may help any undiscovered populations on base. This species is believed to have undergone a range-wide population decline as a result of habitat conversion and road deaths during migration movements (Bury et al. 1980; Means et al. 1996; Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001). Protection of native pine flatwoods while allowing growing-season fires is paramount to preservation of the species. It is also important to minimize new road construction and associated habitat fragmentation. More research effort should be given to the species to help better secure its existence in the future. General Taxa: Amphibian Name: Notophthalmus perstriatus, Striped Newt Taxonomy: Order Caudata, Family Salamandridae Conservation Status: USA: None, FL: None CBTS Survey Status: Focal Species Historical FL Distribution: Populations have been found in the following counties: Alachua, Citrus, Clay, Columbia, Dixie, Duval, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Hernando, Lake, Leon, Marion, Nassau, Orange, Putnam, Seminole, St. Johns, Sumter, Wakulla. Confirmed CBTS Locations Prior To This Survey: Yes Confirmed CBTS Locations During This Survey: No Morphology: Each life stage of this species has its own identifiable characteristics. Full-grown adults are slender and small (61 99mm), greenish-brown, rough-skinned, and have notable red lines running down each side of the back (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001). No other newt or salamander in Florida has a continuous red stripe along each side (Bartlett and Bartlett 1999). The larvae are aquatic, brown, and have conspicuous gills. Juvenile terrestrial efts have the two distinguishable red stripes (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001). Diet: Striped newts will feed opportunistically on a wide variety of species (Christman and Franz 1973), most of which are invertebrates.

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110 Reproduction: Little is known about the behaviors associated with this species, including the particular aspects of its reproductive biology (Bartlett and Bartlett 1999). Adults may be found from October to March, and larvae and paedomorphic adults may be found from March until December in suitable, persisting bodies of water (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001). If terrestrial conditions are unfavorable, the striped newt has been known to skip over the eft stage in the life cycle (Bartlett and Bartlett 1999). Adults have been found over 700 meters away from breeding ponds in upland habitats (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001). Habitat: Xeric upland communities, mostly sandhill or scrub, and occasionally in pine flatwoods is the optimal habitat for healthy population numbers (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001). Management Notes/Suggestions: Recent records show that the some of the previously listed population locations in Florida may no longer be inhabited by this species (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001). The striped newt has suffered a drastic decline in population numbers as a result of habitat disturbance and destruction. Drought appears to be the driving force behind the lack of striped newts found at CBTS. Striped newts may live up to fifteen years of age (Gill 1985) and although drought may affect population numbers, older adults may be able to survive until mesic conditions return (Dodd 1993). It is important to identify both the breeding ponds used by this species as well as the upland habitat refugia. Intense, multiyear sampling (Dodd 1993) for identification (and later, protection) of habitats combined with periodic prescribed fires are recommended for the continued viability of this species. Additionally, it is best to avoid stocking ponds with predatory fish species (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001). General Taxa: Amphibian Name: Rana capito, Gopher Frog Taxonomy: Order Anura, Family Ranidae Conservation Status: USA: None, FL: Species of Special Concern CBTS Survey Status: Incidental Species Historical FL Distribution: Populations have been found in all counties except Dade and Monroe. Confirmed CBTS Locations Prior To This Survey: Yes Confirmed CBTS Locations During This Survey: Yes Morphology: The gopher frog can weigh from 47 151g (adult male to gravid female) and reach up to 112mm in snout-vent length (Palis 1998). The skin of the gopher frog varies from smooth to warty in texture and creamy-white to gray or brown in color (Nature Conservancy 1997). The dorsum and sides are patterned with irregularly shaped dark blotches, and the venter is light in color (Nature Conservancy 1997). A noted characteristic of the species is the raised dorsolateral folds lying along the sides of the frogs back behind the eyes (Nature Conservancy 1997). The ridge is usually bronze-colored (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001).

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111 Diet: Their diet mostly consists of invertebrates, but frogs (including their own species) have also been noted as prey (Bartlett and Bartlett 1999). Reproduction: Breeding occurs mainly in seasonally flooded, ephemeral ponds, but can also take place in permanent water (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001). Positive identification of larval gopher frogs is considered difficult on account of their close resemblance to those of the southern leopard frog (Rana sphenocephala), however, fresh hatchlings can be distinguished on the basis of size (Palis 1998). Survivorship of gopher frogs from eggs through metamorphosis has been estimated at 4.91% (Richter 1998). Males have been observed to engage in combat, presumably for access to preferred breeding spots (Doody et al. 1995). Habitat: Preferred gopher frog habitat includes dry sandhill and scrub uplands with nearby, isolated water areas (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001). Management Notes/Suggestions: Gopher frog populations are extremely sensitive to rainfall changes and anthropogenic alteration of their habitat (Bailey 1991; Godley 1992; Greenberg 2001). Drought appears to be the driving force behind the lack of gopher frogs found at CBTS. Local and statewide preservation of the species is directly linked with the ability to preserve existing habitat and restore what has been degraded (Nature Conservancy 1997). Proactive management should include occasionally allowing fires to burn through dry wetland basins and uplands, managing the uplands for gopher tortoises (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001), minimizing the disturbance to these uplands, and keeping ephemeral to semi-permanent wetlands predatory fish-free (Nature Conservancy 1997). General Taxa: Reptile Name: Crotalus adamanteus, Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake Taxonomy: Order Squamata, Family Viperidae Conservation Status: USA: None, FL: None CBTS Survey Status: Incidental Species Historical FL Distribution: Populations have been found in all counties. Confirmed CBTS Locations Prior To This Survey: Yes Confirmed CBTS Locations During This Survey: Yes Morphology: As its common name indicates, the eastern diamondback rattlesnake has a dark brown to black diamond pattern running dorsally the length of the body. The head is triangular and possesses a sensory pit between each nostril and eye. The most recognizable characteristic is the rattle present at the end of the tail. Venom is used strictly for food capture and defense; eastern diamondbacks, as with all rattlesnakes, are NOT aggressive, especially if left alone. Diet: Vertebrate animals of suitable size comprise the diet of this species. Reproduction: 7 21 live young are born from July to October. The mean size at birth is 30.6 38.1cm (Conant and Collins 1991).

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112 Habitat: The diamondback inhabits a broad range of habitats, but is most commonly associated with areas with pines and saw palmetto (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001). Activity is correlated with warm weather from spring to fall, and they generally spend the winter underground. They are commonly found in gopher tortoise burrows. Management Notes/Suggestions: As with many species, habitat destruction and fragmentation pose the biggest threat to survival. Conservation is also becoming more urgent due to the large number killed out of fear, curio and leather trade, general lack of education, and morbid amusement (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001). Preservation and management of large scale wooded tracts of land, as well as making a dedicated effort to educate people about the ecological value of the diamondback are the two greatest needs for long-term viability of this species (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001). On CBTS, management for gopher tortoise populations will have an immediate effect on eastern diamondback rattlesnake populations (see gopher tortoise species summary for full recommendations). Periodic prescribed fires will keep areas open for the tortoise (which provides refugia for the snake). Additional impacts could be made through the education of people using the base (via signs, public demonstrations, etc.). General Taxa: Reptile Name: Drymarchon corais couperi, Eastern Indigo Snake Taxonomy: Order Squamata, Family Colubridae Conservation Status: USA: Threatened, FL: Threatened CBTS Survey Status: Focal Species Historical FL Distribution: Populations have been found in all counties. Confirmed CBTS Locations Prior To This Survey: Yes Confirmed CBTS Locations During This Survey: Yes Morphology: The eastern indigo snake is a large (152-213cm; Conant and Collins 1991), stout, bluish black serpent. They are non-venomous, yet defense mechanisms (including flattening its neck, hissing, and vibrating its tail) may be intimidating due to the size of the snake. However, indigo snakes rarely bite (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001). Diet: Food species include vertebrates of suitable size (including venomous snake species). Eastern indigo snakes are particularly beneficial to man due to their capacity to control populations of mice, rats, other vermin, and rattlesnakes (Wolfshuhl and Phillips 1982). Reproduction: They lay 5 12 eggs between May and June (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001). Hatchlings emerge about three months later, averaging 30.5cm in size. Habitat: Eastern indigo snakes utilize a broad range of habitats including scrub, sandhill, wet prairie, and mangrove swamp. The indigo has a large homerange and requires exceptionally large tracts of land to survive (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001). Its

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113 far-ranging travels may cover 50 100ha during spring and summer (Cox and Kautz 2000). Management Notes/Suggestions: Habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation are major threats to this species survival. Other threats include road and highway mortality, collection for the pet trade, and intentional/incidental molestation (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001). Protection efforts of the eastern indigo snake need to focus on the preservation of large tracts of land, generally at least 2,500 ha (Moler 1992). The area must have appropriate natural habitat and road fragmentation should be minimized (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001). Management for gopher tortoises is recommended as their associated burrows offer the indigo underground refugia (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001). Stumping should also be avoided for this reason for it causes and immediate drastic reduction in den availability (Simons 1990). Education is also a powerful tool against the unwarranted disturbing and killing of these snakes. The current educational signs near hunting and fishing entrances are a helpful component in the educational process. Also, as eastern indigo snakes often spend part of the year near stream drainages or other wet areas, conservation and management of these areas is advised. General Taxa: Reptile Name: Gopherus polyphemus, Gopher Tortoise Taxonomy: Order Testudines, Family Testudinidae Conservation Status: USA: Threatened in western Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, FL: Species of Special Concern CBTS Survey Status: Focal Species Historical FL Distribution: Populations have been found in all counties. Confirmed CBTS Locations Prior To This Survey: Yes Confirmed CBTS Locations During This Survey: Yes Morphology: The gopher tortoise is a medium-sized, long-lived, terrestrial turtle. Its carapace length reaches up to 38cm and is brown in color; the plastron is lighter and yellowish (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001). A gopher tortoise can not completely withdraw into its shell; the elephantine limbs are still visible when retracted. Shell morphology can closely approximate the sex and age of the tortoise. Females become sexually mature at a carapace length of about 23 cm (body size, rather than age, seems to determine sexual maturity) (Mushinsky et al. 1994). The male tortoises are slightly smaller at maturity and generally do not grow as large in body size as the female. Sexually mature males have a depression in the posterior, central portion of the plastron facilitating the mounting of a female for copulation (Mushinsky et al. 1994). Well defined growth rings occur on the plastral scutes in both sexes, but can be highly misleading when aging a tortoise (Mushinsky et al. 1994).

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114 Diet: Gopher tortoises are primarily opportunistic herbivores. However, they have been observed to eat meat from the carcasses of dead animals. Reproduction: Gopher tortoises will nest once from May through June, depositing a mean of 5 9 eggs (up to 12). Incubation takes about three months. Hatchlings are about 50mm in size at time of emergence from the eggs. Habitat: Gopher tortoises are typically found in dry upland habitats including sandhills, scrub, xeric oak hammock, and dry pine flatwoods (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001). Commonly the gopher tortoise will also use disturbed habitats like pastures, road shoulders (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001), and airfields to excavate their burrows. Reaching a mean of 4.5m in length (Diemer 1989), burrows serve as a refuge from harsh elements of the environment and protection from fires. More than 300 other species of vertebrates and invertebrates have been recorded as commensally sharing these burrows (Hansen 1963; Jackson and Milstrey 1989; Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001). Management Notes/Suggestions: There is considerable concern about the declining abundance of the gopher tortoise. Much of the tortoises preferred habitat has been lost or degraded due to agriculture, forestry, mining and urban development. Poor habitat management is also a serious threat. As habitats become overgrown (often due to fire suppression), tortoises leave in search of better forage area. Recent discovery of upper respiratory tract disease (URTD, Mycoplasma spp) is a new and ill-understood threat to existing and future populations (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001). We recommend habitat management designed to reduce canopy and thin ground cover, such as prescribed burning and removal of tree rows, to maintain healthy gopher tortoise population numbers (Cox et al. 1987). Natural and prescribed fires reduce woody understory cover, reduce surface litter, and increase biomass and diversity of herbaceous species (Myers and Ewel 1990). Recent drought conditions have hindered scheduled prescribed fires. Some areas with previously reported high numbers of tortoises are now covered in pine needles and other litter, or crowded thick with saw palmetto (Serenoa repens). Gopher tortoises are highly mobile and may be able to simply move until more suitable habitat is found. High densities of gopher tortoise burrows within landing zones, road aprons, and other maintained environments might attest to this fact. As conditions improve and fires return, gopher tortoises should recolonize previously inhabited areas. Additionally, due to changing climactic conditions, vegetative response, the mobility of this species, and the previously noted uncertainties in population trends, CBTS should continue to resurvey for locations and boundaries of major gopher tortoise subpopulations. Comparison of the current information with subsequent surveys the methodologies prescribed in this study will provide more accurate demographic analyses. These surveys should also include testing for URTD prevalence. Tortoises targeted for on-base relocation due to future construction projects should also be tested for URTD. These efforts will allows managers to better know which tortoises are safe to release, and into which areas, in an effort to prevent contamination of healthy tortoise populations. General Taxa: Bird Name: Aphelocoma coerulescens, Florida Scrub Jay

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115 Taxonomy: Order Passeriformes, Family Corvidae Conservation Status: USA: Threatened, FL: Threatened CBTS Survey Status: Focal Species Historical FL Distribution: Populations have been found in the following counties: Brevard, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Collier, Desoto, Flagler, Glades, Hardee, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lake, Lee, Levy, Manatee, Marion, Martin, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Lucie, Sumter, Volusia. Confirmed CBTS Locations Prior To This Survey: Yes Confirmed CBTS Locations During This Survey: Yes Morphology: The Florida scrub jay appears similar to the Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata), but can be distinguished by the lack of crest on its head. Also, the wings and tail of the Florida scrub jay are solid blue with no white markings. Adult Florida scrub jays are approximately 28 30cm in size. Diet: The Florida scrub jays have a diverse diet, consisting of insects, arthropods, small vertebrate prey, and acorns. Florida scrub jays are territorial and their permanently defended territories contain all the resources necessary for their survival (Woolfenden and Fitzpatrick 1990). Reproduction: A monogamous breeding pair will occupy a territory and (usually) remain together until one individual dies. A typical territorial group consists of two to eight adults and zero to five juveniles (Woolfenden and Fitzpatrick 1990). They have a well-developed cooperative breeding system including the breeding pair and many resident nonbreeding offspring from previous years, called helpers (Woolfenden and Fitzpatrick 1990). Scrub jays build their nests low to mid height in dense shrubs. (Fitzpatrick et al. 1991). Clutch size is typically three or four eggs, and as a cooperative breeder, nest failure almost always occurs through predation (Fitzpatrick et al. 1991). Habitat: As their common name implies, Florida scrub jays prefer scrub habitat (Cox 1987). These communities are characterized by a single layer of evergreen shrubs that occur in dense thickets, less than three meters in height, and interspersed with bare sand. These open areas are used by jays for foraging and storing acorns (Cox 1984). The scrub jays usually avoid forests, prairies, and marshes (Sprunt 1954). Management Notes/Suggestions: The decline of Floridas scrub jay has been substantial, although the extent is not precisely known (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1990). Of the historic locations reported in the literature, scrub jays have disappeared from 40 percent of the areas, and their numbers have severely declined in the remaining areas. Cox (1987) estimated that the number of jays had declined by 50 percent in the past 100 years. This estimate is based on the amount of scrub habitat that has been destroyed or rendered unsuitable for jays. Due to this habitat destruction, the scrub jay is now restricted to small, isolated patches of scrub habitat (Woolfenden 1978; Woolfenden and Fitzpatrick 1996). With the exception of one rediscovered population that may be persistent near the south-central edge of the impact zone, the birds observed at new sites at CBTS are likely

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116 transient, based on habitat type and quality, lack of detectable nests, and other factors. If new individuals are encountered consistently in the same areas, protection signs should be erected (as with the "Kingsley Scrub" population) to keep traffic and disturbances to a minimum. Resident birds should be captured and banded to aid in identification of individuals, help determine future residency, and as a tool to gather information on habitat usage. Scrub habitat should be maintained and improved through prescribed fires, some of which burn through completely leaving open areas (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001). With reports of the West Nile Virus (to which birds of the Family Corvidae are particularly susceptible) recently being identified in Florida, it is advisable to eliminate potential man-made mosquito breeding sites (e.g., old tires and equipment) whenever and wherever possible. General Taxa: Mammal Name: Neofiber alleni, Round-tailed Muskrat Taxonomy: Order Rodentia, Family Cricetidae Conservation Status: USA: None, FL: None CBTS Survey Status: Focal Species Historical FL Distribution: Populations have been found in all counties except: Bay, Calhoun, Citrus, Dixie, Escambia, Franklin, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Gulf, Hernando, Holmes, Jackson, Levy, Liberty, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Walton, Washington. Confirmed CBTS Locations Prior To This Survey: No Confirmed CBTS Locations During This Survey: No Morphology: The round-tailed muskrat is a moderately large rodent. Weights have been recorded up to 357g and up to 381mm in total length (tail length up to 168mm) (Humphrey 1992). The fur is brown with a progressively lighter base moving from the dorsal side to the ventral side (Birkenholz 1972). As indicated by its name, this species can be distinguished from other muskrats by its round tail (others will be flattened). Diet: Primarily an herbivore, the main food sources are roots and stems of aquatic and semiaquatic vegetation. The genera Leersia and Sagittaris (Birkenholtz 1963) are listed as major food sources of this species. Both grasses are present at CBTS according to the Known Plant List at CBTS maintained by P. Hall (Range Control). Reproduction: Reproductive potential is relatively low (Humphrey 1992). Low reproductive rates make the overall population number more susceptible to impact from other stresses like predation. Periods of reproduction are affected by environmental conditions, like the development of plentiful emergent cover, and vary from year to year (Birkenholz 1962). It can be concluded that improving habitat conditions can increase progeny numbers. Habitat: Round-tailed muskrats prefer freshwater marshes and weedy lake/stream edges (Lefebvre 1982), but they will also live in agricultural fields. It builds nests and feeding platforms from marsh vegetation (Lefebvre 1982).

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117 Management Notes/Suggestions: Population levels of round-tailed muskrats fluctuate greatly (Porter 1953). A survey of Paynes Prairie during a drought in 1961 estimated the population crashed from several thousand to a few individuals within a 2-month period (Humphrey 1992). Population trends seem to be directly correlated with water-level and changes in environmental conditions (Humphrey 1992). The enormous loss of Floridas original wetlands has contributed as the main cause of round-tailed muskrat population depletion (Mitsch and Gosselink 1986). The lack of aut-ecological studies of these species precludes any understanding of their true role in ecosystem functions. Therefore, no measures have been historically taken to specifically conserve the round-tailed muskrat (Humphrey 1992). Although not as well known as some other species at risk, preservation of wetland habitats would undoubtedly benefit the species. Secondarily, any training in the lakes, ponds, etc. should minimize their activities near dense grass stands near the waters edge. General Taxa: Mammal Name: Sciurus niger shermani, Shermans Fox Squirrel Taxonomy: Order Rodentia, Family Sciuridae Conservation Status: USA: None, FL: Species of Special Concern CBTS Survey Status: Focal Species Historical FL Distribution: Populations have been found in all counties except: Bay, Broward, Calhoun, Collier, Dade, Escambia, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Hendry, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Monroe, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Wakulla, Walton, Washington. Confirmed CBTS Locations Prior To This Survey: Yes Confirmed CBTS Locations During This Survey: Yes Morphology: The Shermans fox squirrel is by far the largest of the three subspecies of fox squirrel found in Florida. Adults weigh 900 1200g and measure 600 700mm in total length. Although body color is variable, the head is typically black, and along with the size of this species, is a good characteristic for field identification. Diet: The primary diet is oak acorns and pine seeds (Moore 1957). Reproduction: Depending on food supply, female Shermans fox squirrels may produce two litters of one to five young per year. The winter-spring and summer-fall (Moore 1953; Weigl et al. 1989) mating seasons are generally the only times the solitary Shermans fox squirrel interact with each other (Humphrey 1992). At this time, several males exhibiting competitive behaviors can be observed in pursuit of a female (Humphrey 1992). Habitat: The squirrels primary habitat consists of mature fire-maintained communities of longleaf pine (Pinus palustris), turkey oak (Quercus laevis), sandhill, and flatwood areas (Humphrey 1992). An open understory and a bare or nearly bare forest floor are key features in the structure of the fox squirrels habitats (Wood 1987). Other crucial

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118 necessities involved in maintaining adequate supplies of food and nesting materials include the age, size, and diversity of tree species present in an area (Weigl et al. 1989). Gopher tortoise and Red-Cockaded Woodpecker (Picoides borealis) presence may also benefit the Shermans fox squirrel by providing protective cover and tree cavity den space. They have been observed seeking refuge in gopher tortoise burrows when being pursued (Moore 1957). Home range size is approximately 40ha for males and 20ha for females (Kantola and Humphrey 1990). Management Notes/Suggestions: Declining population numbers are correlated with preferred habitat loss. Habitat preservation, reclamation of poorly managed areas, and periodic fires are the most needed conservation actions to preserve this species (Humphrey 1992; Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001).

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126 Root-Bernstein, R.S. 1997. Honey, Mud, Maggots, and Other Medical Marvels: The Science Behind Folk Remedies and Old Wives' Tales. Houghton Mifflin, Boston, MA. Seigel, R.A., J.W. Gibbons, and T.K. Lynch. 1995. Temporal changes in reptile populations: Effects of a severe drought on aquatic snakes. Herpetologica 51:424-434. Sheehan, K. 2001. E-mail survey response rates: A review. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 6(2). Simberloff, D. and J. Cox. 1987. Consequences and costs of conservation corridors. Conservation Biology 1:63-71. Simons, R.W. 1990. Impacts of stumping on indigo snakes. Gainesville Herpetological Society Newsletter 6(7): March 1. Excerpted from the Jan. 1990 issue of Florida Fish and Wildlife. Sprunt, A., 1954. Florida Bird Life. Coward-McCann, New York, NY. Stehr, F.W. 1987. Immature Insects, Volume 1. Kendal/Hunt Publishing Co. Dubuque, IA. Tangley, L. 1997. How many species are there? U.S. News and World Report, August 18. United States Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratory. 1997. Installation Summaries from the 1996 Survey of Threatened and Endangered Species on Army Lands. USACERL Technical Report 98/19, Washington, DC, December. United States Census Bureau. 2003. Official website (http://www.census.gov/). Last accessed September 1, 2004. United States Fish and Wildlife Service. 1990. Florida Scrub Jay Recovery Plan. USFWS, Atlanta, GA. United States Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region. 2003. Official Longleaf Pine Ecosystem website (http://southeast.fws.gov/partners/pfwpine.html). Last accessed September 1, 2004. United States General Accounting Office. 1988. Endangered Species: Management Improvements Could Enhance Recovery Program. US General Accounting Office, Washington, DC. United States Geological Survey. 2004. Official USGS SAR Outreach website (http://biology.usgs.gov/outreach/sar1.htm). Last accessed September 1, 2004.

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127 United States Soil Conservation Service. 1980. 26 Ecological Communities of Florida. U.S. Department of Agriculture Press, Washington, DC. Van Buskirk, J. 1988. Interactive effects of dragonfly predation in experimental pond communities. Ecology 69:857-867. Westfall, M.J., JR. and W. Mauffray. 1994. Report of the Dragonfly, Cordulegaster sayi (Selys), a C2 Candidate for Endangered Species Status, in the Possum Branch of the Hogtown Drainage System, and the Potential Devastation of the Largest Known Breeding Area by a Proposed City of Gainesville Flood Control Project. International Odonate Research Institute, Gainesville, FL. Weigl, P.D., M.A. Steele, L.J. Sherman, and J.C. Ha. 1989. The ecology of the fox squirrel (Sciurus niger) in North Carolina: Implications for survival in the Southeast. Bulletin of the Tall Timbers Research Station. Wolfshuhl, K. and J. Phillips. 1982. The indigo rattlesnake killer. Progressive Farmer, June. Wood, A. 1987. The southern fox squirrel at Brookgreen Gardens. Brookgreen Journal. Woolfenden, G.E. 1978. Threatened Florida Scrub Jay. Pp. 45-47, in H.W. Kale, II (Ed.). Rare and Endangered Biota of Florida, Volume 2: Birds. University Presses of Florida, Gainesville, FL. Woolfenden, G.E. and Fitzpatrick, J.W. 1990. Florida Scrub Jays: A synopsis after 18 years of study. Pp. 240-266, in P.B. Stacey and W.D. Koenig (Eds.). Cooperative Breeding in Birds: Long-Term Studies of Ecology and Behavior. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England. Woolfenden, G.E. and Fitzpatrick, J.W. 1996. Florida Scrub-Jay: Aphelocoma coerulescens. American Ornithologists' Union, Philadelphia, PA. Yun, G.W. and C.W. Trumbo. 2000. Comparative response to a survey executed by post, e-mail, & web form. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 6(1).

PAGE 139

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Christopher James Gregory was born in 1970 in Sacramento, California, USA. He attended Cosumnes River College from 1989 1991, earning an Associate of Arts degree in general education, University of California at Davis from 1991 1996, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in wildlife, fisheries, and conservation biology (with minors in German and geographical information systems), and the University of Florida from 2000 2004, earning a Master of Science degree in wildlife ecology and conservation. He cannot stand people referring to themselves in the third person (a.k.a. narrative form) and has written this section under extreme protest. 128


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IMPLEMENTATION AND COMPARISON OF TWO ECOSYSTEM HEALTH
ASSESSMENT METHODS: SPECIES AT RISK IN FLORIDA (CAMP BLENDING
TRAINING SITE) AND CONSERVATION BY DESIGN IN GEORGIA (GRAND
BAY BAY LAKES AREA)















By

CHRISTOPHER JAMES GREGORY


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF SCIENCE

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2004

































Copyright 2004

by

Christopher James Gregory

































This thesis is dedicated to those people unlucky enough never to have, deservedly or not,
been mentioned within a dedication page. Congratulations, now you have.















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I thank my advisor, Dr. Ray Carthy, and my graduate committee, L. Richard Franz

and Dr. Leonard Pearlstine, for their guidance with this project. In particular, Dr.

Carthy's counseling on perseverance was invaluable.

I thank Dr. Nat Frazer and Dr. H. Franklin Percival for their aid throughout my

time here at the University of Florida.

I thank everyone who helped me in the field and the lab: Amr Abdelrahman, Janell

Brush, Jennifer Donze, Linda Gregory, Angela Gruschke, Edna Losada, Lisa Ojanen,

Joann Tiersma, and LeAnn White.

I thank Damian Borrelli, Barbara Fesler, Debra Hatfield, Laura Hayes, Wayne

Hyde, Monica Lindberg, Caprice McRae, and Delores Tilman for providing clerical,

computer, and departmental assistance at the University of Florida.

I thank Kim Lutz from The Nature Conservancy for the opportunity to work with

the Legacy project as part of my thesis.

I thank Joan Berish and Dan Hipes, past members of my graduate committee, for

their advice and suggestions on an earlier, altogether different version of my thesis.

I thank my undergraduate mentors (Dr. Tim Caro, Dr. Robert Kimsey, and Dr. H.

Brad Shaffer) from the University of California at Davis for introducing me to research,

science, and wildlife.

I thank the staff of the Dixon field office (Mike Casazza, Dr. Joe Fleskes, Mike

Miller, Bill Perry, and Dr. Glenn Wylie) of the United States Geological Survey









(Biological Resources Division, Western Ecological Research Center), for hiring me after

each round of university, as well as giving me the opportunity to learn about so many

different aspects of science and research while working with them.

Most importantly, I thank my family and friends for their unconditional support

throughout this phase of my life.
















TABLE OF CONTENTS

page

A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S ................................................................................................. iv

LIST OF TABLES .................................................... ....... .. .............. viii

LIST OF FIGURES ......... ......................... ...... ........ ............ ix

A B STR A C T ................................................. ..................................... .. x

CHAPTER

1 A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF RECENT CONSERVATION ISSUES IN THE USA..... 1

In tro d u ctio n .................................................................................. 1
R research O bjectiv es.......... ................................................................... ......... .... .3
Stu dy Sites ......................................................................... . 4

2 THE UNITED STATES GEOLOGICAL SURVEY'S SPECIES AT RISK
P R O G R A M ...................................... .................................. .......... ..... 7

In tro d u ctio n ....................................................................................................... .... 7
M materials A nd M methods .............................................................. .......................... 9
Data Collection, Analysis, Mapping and Storage .............................................9
Study Species Selection ........... ............................................ ........ ..............10
Plant Surveys ...................................................................... ........... 11
In sect Su rv ey s............................................................................. ............... 12
A m phibian Survey s ......................... .. ..................... .. ..... .......... 14
R eptile Su rv ey s.................................................................................... ..... 14
B ird Surveys .................................. ................................ ......... 16
M am m al Su rv ey s............ ... .................................................. .. ...... .... .. ... 16
C lim ate ...............................................................1 7
G general O observations ........................ .... ................ .......... .. .......... ..17
R e su lts ................................. .......................................................1 8
P la n ts .............................................................................1 8
Insects ...................................................................................... ... ..................... 19
A m phibians ............................................. 20
Reptiles .................... ...... ..................... 21
B ird s ................................................................2 3
M am m als ....................................................... 2 3









C lim ate ...............................................................2 4
G general O observations .................................................. .............................. 25
D isc u ssio n .............................................................................................................. 2 6

3 THE NATURE CONSERVANCY'S CONSERVATION BY
D E SIG N PR O G R A M ........................................................................... ..............48

Introduction ................................................................................................. ....... 48
M ethods A nd R esults........... ................................................................. .... ........ .. 50
Site B boundary and Size ...................... ..... .......... ..........................................50
Conservation Target Selection and Boundary Delineation ..............................51
B iodiversity H health A ssessm ent................................... ..................................... 51
T h reats A n aly sis ........................................... .. ............ ................ 53
Conservation Objectives, Strategies, Actions, and Plans.................. ............57
D isc u ssio n .................................................... ................... ................ 5 7

4 SURVEYS OF WILDLIFE PROFESSIONALS AND PRACTICAL
C O N C L U SIO N S ..................... .... .......................... .. .... ........ .......... .......... 88

In tro d u ctio n ............................................ ... .. ................... ................ 8 8
M eth o d s .............................................................................. 9 1
R e su lts............................. ..... ................................................................................. 9 2
D discussion And Recom m endations ........................................ ......................... 93

APPENDIX: SUMMARIES OF SELECTED SPECIES AT CAMP BLENDING
TR A IN IN G SITE ............................................... ............................. 105

L IST O F R E FE R E N C E S ......................................................................... ................... 119

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ............................................................. ..................128
















LIST OF TABLES


Table page

2-1. Species chosen for SAR study at CBTS, 2000 to 2001.......................... .........29

2-2. Target species at CB TS. ................................................ ............................... 31

2-3. Summary of 1994 and 2001 surveys of gopher tortoise population size at CBTS...32

2-4. Clim ate data at CBTS. ...... ........................... ..........................................33

2-5. Camp Blanding Training Site usage October 1999 June 2001...........................34

3-1. Documented species of special concern occurring in the Grand Bay Bay Lakes
area ................................................................................. 59

3-2. Summary of and justification for inclusion of conservation targets......................61

3-3. Summary of sources and methodologies for creation of conservation target GIS
m ap s ............................................................................... 6 4

3-4. Biodiversity health assessment for each of the conservation targets......................65

3-5. Stress rank............................................................................................ ........ 7 1

3-6. Source rank. ...........................................................................72

3-7. Source/stress rank. .................................................. .... ........ .. ......73

3-8. Major stresses, their severity, and their scope for each of the six GBBL
conservation targets ....................... .. ........................ ......... ........... 74

3-9. Summary of the major sources of stress for the six GBBL conservation targets
and their overall threat status. ............................................................................ 75

3-10. A prioritized list of critical broad-level conservation objectives for each of
the six GBBL conservation targets ........................................ ....... ............... 76

3-12. Recommended monitoring plans for each of the six conservation targets .............80

4-1. Questionnaire administered to USGS personnel affiliated with SAR projects .......98
















LIST OF FIGURES


Figure page

2-1. Camp Blanding Training Site within Clay County, Florida ..................................35

2-2. Camp Blanding Training Site (CBTS) ........................................ ............... 36

2-3. Location of Say's spiketail dragonfly searches and habitat traps..........................37

2-4 H habitat types at C B T S ..................................................................... ...................38

2-5. Amphibian breeding ponds at Camp Blanding Training Site................................39

2-6. Gopher tortoise sub-populations as delineated by Hipes and Jackson (1996) and
captures from this survey ............................................................. .....................40

2-7. Plant species of concern surveyed at CBTS ................................. .................41

2-8. Model of suitable habitat for Say's spiketail dragonfly ........................................42

2-9. Captures of other species of concern at CBTS ............................... ............... .43

2-10. Gopher tortoise burrows (and their conditions)............... .... .................44

2-11. Florida scrub jay sightings at CB TS................................. ........................ .......... 45

2-12. Mean rainfall, high, low, and overall temperatures at CBTS for all years of data
availability (1953-2001), years of all major surveys (1994-2001), and years of this
survey (2000-2001) ..................... .... ............ ................. .... ....... 46

2-13. Distribution of total captures and sightings at CBTS ...........................................47

3-1. The Ecological Footprint within the Tri-County area, Georgia ............................86

3-2. Distribution of conservation targets within the Ecological Footprint ......................87















Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science

IMPLEMENTATION AND COMPARISON OF TWO ECOSYSTEM HEALTH
ASSESSMENT METHODS: SPECIES AT RISK IN FLORIDA (CAMP BLENDING
TRAINING SITE) AND CONSERVATION BY DESIGN IN GEORGIA (GRAND
BAY BAY LAKES AREA)

By

Christopher James Gregory

December 2004

Chair: Raymond R. Carthy
Major Department: Wildlife Ecology and Conservation

The Southeast United States (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi,

North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee) contains a variety of unique species and

ecosystems that are in jeopardy. There are well-documented historical and current records

of accelerated environmental change induced by humans. The effectiveness of any

potential solution will be influenced by several factors, including the location and past

use of the affected area. Solutions may also vary in their approach. One method is to

investigate species on a case-by-case basis, and then develop individual management

plans. Another approach to conservation management involves investigation of

landscape-scale suites of species or areas of land. Though Americans may negatively

impact the world in which they live, they are also concerned with finding solutions to

their conservation problems.









In an era of reduced time and money devoted to conservation efforts, higher costs

of labor, and uncertain responses to management recommendations, ecological stewards

benefit when opting for the soundest conservation strategy available. Thus, there must

also be an evaluation of the various methods of ecological health assessment, something

that has not been looked at in depth before now. I summarize methods developed by a

United States governmental agency and by a nongovernmental agency in Chapter 1.

Though their methodologies differ, the goals of each of the assessed ideologies, as well as

others not presented here, include healthier species and ecosystems. Chapter 2

summarizes information from an ecological survey of a military base in north-central

Florida that I undertook using methods developed by a United States governmental

agency. Chapter 3 includes similar results from a survey that I carried out at a nearby area

in south-central Georgia utilizing methods advocated by a nongovernmental agency.

Finally, Chapter 4 presents the opinions of professionals from both agencies about the

efficacy of their individual programs from a web-based survey that I designed and

undertook. I also discuss the recommendations I have towards management and

assessment of ecosystem health.














CHAPTER 1
A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF RECENT CONSERVATION ISSUES IN THE USA

Introduction

The southeastern United States (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi,

North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee) contains a variety of unique species (e.g.,

alligator, gopher tortoise, red-cockaded woodpecker, and striped newt) and ecosystems

(e.g., coastal marsh and longleaf pine forest), yet is similar to the rest of America in that

the existence of many of its taxa and areas are in jeopardy. The causes and problems of

these threats, too, are consistent throughout the country. The lack of fire affects the

ability of heat-adapted trees to reproduce and repopulate forests, habitat alteration

increases patchiness of natural areas that can speed up the proliferation of invasive

species, and pollution can lead to birth defects, stunted growth rates, and even death.

Individually, or in some combination, these and other problems have already lead to

declines in the health of species, population sizes of species, habitat quality, and habitat

availability. There are also historical records of accelerated environmental change

induced by humans. People are associated with the extinction of megafauna and the

alteration of parts of the Middle East from forest to desert (Meffe and Carroll 1994).

Despite the relatively new field of conservation biology, conservation problems are not

recent phenomena.

Conservation solutions, or even the acknowledgement of the need for conservation,

are more recent in origin. In the United States (US), conservation initiatives such as the

Lacey Act, the proliferative creation of state and national parks, and the Endangered









Species Act, were all established in the 20th century. Surveys of Americans show they

have a high regard for the environment and support conservation measures. Ninety-one

percent of Americans stated that wilderness should be preserved, 57% said that the

environment should be protected at any cost, 61% believe that not enough national forests

are being protected, 61% think that economic issues should not take precedence over

environmental issues, and even after September 11, 2001, 55% said that environment and

pollution issues were important for the federal government to address (Los Angeles

Times poll April 2001, New York Times/CBS News poll June 2001, Gallop poll March

2001, Ivan Moore research poll May 2001, IPSOS-Reid poll October-November 2001).

Though Americans may negatively impact the world in which they live, they are also

concerned with finding solutions to their conservation problems.

The effectiveness of any potential solution will be influenced by several factors,

including the location and past use of the affected area. A remote area with limited access

and use may be more simply managed than an area subject to greater and more varieties

of use. Military bases are one such type of heavily trafficked, multi-use areas. The United

States Department of Defense (DOD) currently manages over 25 million acres of land

and is the third-largest federal land management department in the US (DENIX 2004,

Leslie et al. 1996). Over 500 species at risk (rare, threatened, endangered, or at risk of

being listed as such) are reported from DOD installations, and at least 30% of the military

bases that comprise the DOD's land holdings contain multiple species at risk and parts of

unique ecosystems (DENIX 2004, USACERL 1997). Particularly high numbers of

species at risk occur on installations in the southeast United States (NatureServe 2004).









As with all other lands, DOD properties are subject to United States laws and regulations

regarding species and land management.

Solutions may also vary in their approach. One method is to investigate species on

a case-by-case basis, and then develop individual management plans. An example of this

is the Species At Risk (SAR) program, started in 1995 by the United States Geological

Survey (USGS), Biological Resources Division (BRD). The SAR program was created in

part to identify and report on deficiencies in biological knowledge of species status in an

effort to stabilize at risk species and to minimize further listings. Additionally, it assists

Federal, State and private land and resource managers in their decisions regarding the

protection of sensitive species and their habitats. Another approach to conservation

management involves investigation of landscape-scale suites of species or areas of land.

One non-governmental agency, The Nature Conservancy, has a goal to conserve areas to

guarantee survival of all species and communities, not just those in peril. These

functional conservation areas are defined within ecoregions. Threats to the areas are

identified and a management plan is then developed. Cumulatively, this process is called

Conservation By Design (CBD).

Research Objectives

As there is little to no record in literature comparing methodological assessments of

ecosystem health, I established the following objectives for my research:

* Undertake an ecosystem health assessment of a multi-use area using the United
States Geological Survey's Species At Risk program. What are the results?

* Undertake an ecosystem health assessment of a multi-use area using The Nature
Conservancy's Conservation By Design program. What are the results?

* Compare and evaluate these two methods of ecosystem health assessment based on
results from two sites (Camp Blanding Training Site, Florida and Grand Bay Bay









Lakes area, Georgia). Does each methodology provide the same level of protection,
with the same level of effort?

* Survey USGS and TNC professionals who have used either of the programs (SAR
and CBD) to evaluate their opinions of program effectiveness. Do professionals
believe that each program meets its own criteria of success as defined at the
inception of each program?

* Make recommendations to improve the management and assessment of ecosystem
health.

Study Sites

As part of my work, the SAR program was chosen for use in assessing Camp

Blanding Training Site's environmental inventory and health. The Camp Blanding

Training Site (CBTS) is a -29,500 hectare military installation owned by the State of

Florida and managed by the Florida Army National Guard (FLARNG) in northeastern

(Clay County) Florida. Much of the training conducted at Camp Blanding deals with light

infantry exercises, but the base is also used for federal and state emergency logistical

support, public recreation and hunting, non-military education and training, silviculture,

mining, and professional entertainment purposes. CBTS contains 14 natural community

types (see Hipes and Jackson 1996 and King 1998 for reviews), each impacted to various

degrees by the past land stewardship. The status of the more than 2000 species of flora

and fauna accounted for at CBTS are likewise affected.

Again, as part of my work, the CBD program was chosen for use in assessing the

health and potential of a multi-use area in southern Georgia. The Grand Bay Banks

Lake area (GBBL) comprises the second-largest freshwater wetland system in Georgia.

This -42,500 hectare site is located at the easternmost edge of the South Atlantic Coastal

Plain ecoregion within the Suwannee River Basin, and lies within the Tifton Upland

District of the East Gulf Coastal Plain Section of Georgia (TNCGA 2002a). Bordered by









the Withlacoochee River on the west and the Alapaha River on the east, the Grand Bay -

Banks Lake ecoregion is characterized by flat to sloping plateaus separated by shallow

river valleys, broad wetland depressions, and karst topography. The north and

northwestern boundaries of the area form the base of the Pelham Escarpment that rises as

much as 61 meters above the Dougherty Plain. Notable landscape features in the area

include Carolina Bays, limesinks, creek swamps, open-water shallow lakes, ponds,

flatwoods, and an elevated hammock (Dudley's Hammock). Besides the three globally

rare (G3, Natural Heritage status) animal species that are found in the area, the site also

supports a total of 23 species tracked by the Georgia Natural Heritage program (Moody

Air Force Base 2001, TNCGA 2002a).

Though their methodologies differ, the goals of each of the ideologies listed above,

as well as others not presented here (such as Conservation International's priority-setting

hierarchy), include healthier species and ecosystems. However, in times of reduced time

and money devoted to conservation efforts, higher costs of labor, and uncertain responses

to management recommendations, ecological stewards benefit when opting for the

soundest conservation strategy available. Thus, there must also be an evaluation of the

various methods of ecological health assessment, something that has not been looked at

in depth before now. Chapter 2 summarizes information from an ecological survey of a

military base in north-central Florida that I undertook using methods developed by a

United States governmental agency. Chapter 3 includes similar results from a survey that

I carried out at a nearby area in south-central Georgia utilizing methods advocated by a

nongovernmental agency. Finally, Chapter 4 presents the opinions of professionals from

both agencies about the efficacy of their individual programs from a web-based survey






6


that I designed and undertook. I also discuss the recommendations I have toward

management and assessment of ecosystem health.














CHAPTER 2
THE UNITED STATES GEOLOGICAL SURVEY'S SPECIES AT RISK PROGRAM

Introduction

Integrated management has become an increasingly important protocol for natural

resource managers to balance the needs of property owners, local community interests,

state and federal laws, and environmental processes. However, many challenges can

confound its successful implementation. Examples of potential problems include aberrant

climatological events, incorrect methodology, loss of data, social bias for and against

specific taxa, technological limitations, funding issues, and the scale at which

environmental planners collect data, set management priorities, and judge their success.

Consistently well-gathered, long-term data are important to minimize data

misinterpretation due to the effects mentioned above. One of the largest uses of integrated

natural resource management and planning is on United States military installations,

necessitated in part due to Department of Defense program mandates (King 1998).

The Camp Blanding Training Site (CBTS; Figs. 2-1 and 2-2) is a 29,542 hectare

military installation owned by the State of Florida and managed by the Florida Army

National Guard (FLARNG) in northeastern (Clay County) Florida. Much of the training

conducted at Camp Blanding deals with light infantry exercises, but the base is also used

for federal and state emergency logistical support, public recreation and hunting, non-

military education and training, silviculture, mining, and professional entertainment

purposes. Centered between Jacksonville to the northeast, Gainesville to the southwest,

and Live Oak to the northwest, CBTS lies within an important ecological and









transportation linkage of the southeast United States (Hipes and Jackson 1996, King

1998). Its westernmost edge is contained within the Trail Ridge, part of a series of

sandhill ridges which begin in southern Florida and most likely formed during the

Pleistocene (King 1998, Meyers and Ewel 1990, Opdyke et al. 1984). Typical features

include pine-wiregrass communities and oak scrubland. Although most of CBTS consists

of well drained soils, there are poorly to moderately-poor drained soil areas, which are

often able to hold water and contain significant organic nutrients (Long and Catlett 1996).

Cypress swamps and mesic hardwood hammocks are two of the notable landscape

features in these areas. CBTS contains 14 natural community types (see Hipes and

Jackson 1996 and King 1998 for reviews), each impacted to various degrees by the past

land stewardship. The status of the more than 2000 species of flora and fauna accounted

for at CBTS are likewise affected.

In an effort to maximize the sustainability of each of these species at Camp

Blanding without jeopardizing the quality and quantity of military training, an Integrated

Natural Resources Management Plan (INRMP) has been developed. Part of the INRMP

calls for outside monitoring and surveillance. The first, large-scale baseline surveys were

conducted in 1994 by the Florida Natural Areas Inventory (Hipes and Jackson 1996).

Several smaller surveys were undertaken in the following years (Franz 2000, Hipes et al.

1998, Minno and Minno 2000). The Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit

at the University of Florida was contracted to conduct a larger-scale Species At Risk

(SAR) study at CBTS from February 2000 through August 2001. The SAR program was

started in 1995 by the United States Geological Survey (USGS), Biological Resources

Division (BRD), in part to identify and report on deficiencies in biological knowledge of









species status in an effort to stabilize at risk species and to minimize further listings, as

well as to assist Federal, State and private land and resource managers in their decisions

regarding the protection of sensitive species and their habitats. This study was

constrained to CBTS property, although future regional surveys to elicit the relationship

between CBTS populations and external populations and habitats will be important to a

fuller understanding of management issues.

Management plans for species may be ineffective without continual feedback and

the flexibility for change. Such information provides an opportunity to manage

proactively and increase resource stewardship. In this paper I summarize the results of

my surveys of 19 SAR species found on CBTS. I also compare the results of my study

with those of past surveys, identify possible sources of error, and discuss the significance

to environmental managers of any differences.

Materials and Methods

Data Collection, Analysis, Mapping and Storage

A number of different survey methods were used to study species

presence/absence, population levels, habitat associations, and vulnerability. Detailed

methods used are listed below for each focal species. All sightings and captures were

georeferenced (coordinate system: Universal Transverse Mercator, Zone 17; units:

meters; datum: North American Datum of 1927; spheroid: Clarke 1866) with a Global

Positioning System (Trimble GeoExplorer IV, hereafter referred to as GPS) and recorded

on field data sheets. Digital photographs were taken to document field conditions as well

as species captures and sightings. All animals were released at the site of capture.

Weather data (temperature, rainfall, cloud cover, wind speed) were recorded and

compared with historical climate data obtained from Gainesville, Florida (Alachua









County), the nearest locale with uninterrupted (October 1953 to May 2001) climate

records. Field data were transferred to a Microsoft Access 97 database for permanent

storage. Location data were projected using ArcView, version 3.2a.

Study Species Selection

Included with the original CBTS SAR proposal was a list of twenty-five SAR

species identified at Camp Blanding. Our first goal was to ensure that the list was

complete. CBTS Range Control provided a list of all species known to occur (historically

or currently) or which have the potential to occur at Camp Blanding. The most current (in

1999) conservation status was recorded for each species and compared to the list

maintained by CBTS. Information was compiled from the following sources: United

States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Florida Natural Areas Inventory (FNAI),

CBTS, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and

Flora (CITES), Florida Committee on Rare and Endangered Plants and Animals

(FCREPA), Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWCC), and the Florida

Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS). Incorporating this

information increased the original 25 species to 119 species.

The resources of this project did not allow for the effective study of the 119

species. A working list was created by culling out some species from the full list. The

following criteria were used for this task:

* A numerical rank (0-5) was assigned to each conservation status for each species.
Higher values corresponded to poorer status.

* A numerical rank (0-1) was assigned to each species based on whether the species
had strong obligate habitat requirements. Strong habitat requirements were given a
value of 1, and little to no habitat requirements were given a value of 0.









* A numerical rank (0-1) was assigned to each species based on its potential to
provide habitat for other species. High potential was given a value of 1, and little to
no potential was given a value of 0.

The numerical ranks were then summed for each species, and we observed that the latter

two ranking criteria had the least effect on the overall final rankings. Species were then

excluded from consideration if they were occasional migrants, never previously recorded

at Camp Blanding, or had a higher relative positive conservation standing.

A meeting between all parties involved with this project was held at Camp

Blanding on January 18t, 2000. Comments were solicited for all species still present on

the modified study list. Based upon this discussion and other research after the

completion of the meeting, two final lists were completed: a list of focal species (those

species to be actively surveyed) and a list of incidental species (those species whose

presence, numbers, locations, etc. were to be recorded on an opportunistic basis while

searching for focal species). Both focal and incidental species are presented in Table 2-1.

Species summaries are presented in the appendix.

Bat surveys were subcontracted to Fly By Night, Inc., a bat research organization

based in Osteen, FL, under the CBTS SAR program. At the January 18t, 2000 meeting,

the SAR list was discussed as it pertains to bats and it was decided that no Florida bats

should be excluded from the survey effort. Biologically, we know very little about most

bats, including 'common' species. However, special attention was paid to big-eared bats

(Corynorhinus) and the southeastern myotis (Myotis austroriparius), since they are on the

original USFWS/FWCC list of SAR species identified at CBTS.

Plant Surveys

Giant Orchid (Pteroglossaspis ecristata (Fern.) Rolfe), St. John's Susan

(Rudbeckia nitida Nutt.), Bartram's Ixia (Sphenostigma coelestinum (Bartr.)









Goldblatt & Henrich) During the flowering periods for these species, I conducted

walking and driving visual searches for individuals of these species in previously

recorded areas (KBN Engineering and Applied Sciences, Inc. 1996) and new regions in

an effort to record variation from past documented ranges. Incidental sightings were

recorded throughout the year, although survey effort was decreased outside of the

flowering periods.

Insect Surveys

Say's Spiketail Dragonfly (Cordulegaster sayi Selys) Based on extensive

surveys for this species in past years (Minno and Minno 2000) and the suggestion of the

CBTS environmental personnel, I planned only to model potential habitat for this species,

using information on point location data and complete habitat descriptions for larvae and

adults (Dunkle 1994, Minno and Minno 2000, Westfall and Mauffray 1994). However,

some sampling was carried out actively and incidentally. While seining for amphibians,

captured larval dragonflies were examined in an effort to determine species. Also, sites

previously surveyed (Minno and Minno 2000, pers. comm., M. Minno, Gainesville, FL)

for Say's spiketail dragonfly were re-examined (Fig. 2-3).

Modeling included use of data obtained from habitat maps and Digital Elevation

Models (DEMs) of CBTS, natural history information on the species, and historic point

locations at CBTS. Natural history notes on this species were taken from published

literature (Dunkle 1994, Westfall and Mauffray 1994). Thirty meter DEMs were

downloaded from the USGS Earth Resources Observation Systems Data Center in Sioux

Falls, South Dakota. The CBTS Environmental Center provided hard-copy point data

from previous Say's spiketail dragonfly surveys. Due to non-availability of previous









digital land classifications collected by the CBTS Environmental Center, I created new

digital habitat maps of CBTS.

I used land cover mapped for the USGS Florida Gap Analysis Program (Pearlstine

et al. 2000) from the classification of 1993 and 1994 Landsat Thematic Mapper satellite

imagery at a spatial resolution of 30 m (Fig. 2-4). Bands 2, 3, 4, and 5 of the imagery and

a Tassel Cap transformation (Crist and Cicone 1984) were used in an iterative

unsupervised clustering algorithm. Labeling of the spectral clusters with vegetation

associations followed The Nature Conservancy/United Nations Educational, Scientific,

and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Southeastern Region classification scheme

(Nature Conservancy 1998). This hierarchical, ecologically based classification scheme

delineates plant associations in the southeast United States. The UNESCO classification

scheme is the basis for the National Vegetation Classification Standard adopted by the

Federal Geographic Data Committee. The basic assumptions and definitions for this

classification system have been described by Jennings (1993). The basis for aggregation

of the scheme for Gap analysis is presented in Pearlstine et al. (1999). Labeling in the

Camp Blanding area was assisted with auxiliary information from St. Johns River Water

Management District land use/land cover maps, National Wetlands Inventory maps,

county level soils maps, vegetation surveys, and photo interpreted points from low

altitude aerial digital photography.

CBTS land cover created in Erdas Imagine was transferred to a grid-based

modeling software package (MFWorks) to facilitate modeling tasks. Land covers that

provided suitable habitat for foraging and reproduction for Say's spiketail dragonfly were

identified and entered into the MFWorks program. Using map algebra and ground









truthing, unsuitable areas were subtracted from the entire CBTS map to give a final

approximation of where Say's spiketail dragonfly may potentially be found.

Amphibian Surveys

Flatwoods Salamander (Ambystoma cingulatum Cope), Striped Newt

(Notophthalmusperstriatus Bishop), Gopher Frog (Rana capitol LeConte) Breeding

ponds identified as being surveyed in past studies (Hipes and Jackson 1996) were

surveyed biannually (at a minimum) with the use of dip-nets. One pond was surrounded

by drift-fencing and buried pitfall traps in order to monitor incoming and outgoing

species. Ponds not previously surveyed in past studies were sampled opportunistically. In

addition, all ponds (Fig. 2-5) were sampled at night in an effort to catch and observe

anurans engaged in breeding behaviors. Additionally, I opportunistically attempted to

locate frogs heard calling. I also searched for amphibians by overturning logs, raking

through debris, setting funnel traps overnight, and video-scoping gopher tortoise burrows.

Reptile Surveys

Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus Baird & Girard),

Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon corals couperi Holbrook) Funnel traps were set

in suitable habitats, near areas of sightings from previous surveys (Hipes and Jackson

1996, Hipes et al. 1998), and in locations where snakes were observed but not readily

able to be captured by hand (i.e., underground, spotted using a video-scope). Special

surveys were made during warm periods of cold weather months when indigo snakes

might have been basking at the front of and/or in transit to gopher tortoise burrows.

Incidental snake surveys and observations were also made while surveying for other

species.









Gopher Tortoise (Gopheruspolyphemus Daudin) Tortoises were observed

opportunistically throughout CBTS. When caught, individuals were permanently and

uniquely marked using a numbering system devised by Cagle (1939). Size, weight,

gender, ectoparasite load, and upper respiratory tract disease (URTD) symptoms were

recorded for most tortoises.

Efforts were made to estimate total population size based on sampling of twenty-

one gopher tortoise subpopulations (Fig. 2-6) delineated by Hipes and Jackson (1996).

Total area was calculated in ArcView for each subpopulation. A C++ program used to

generate random transects was written using standard random number library functions.

The program returns a user-selected number of random values without replacement and

within a user-selected range. Two people walked random transects ten meters wide until a

minimum of ten percent of the entire subpopulation area had been surveyed.

Gopher tortoise subpopulation counts were estimated as follows, using methods

taken from Auffenberg and Franz (1982). Every gopher tortoise burrow encountered

within the transect area was assigned a usage value: active (burrow opening clear of

debris and soil of burrow apron recently disturbed), inactive (burrow opening relatively

maintained and soil of burrow apron undisturbed), or abandoned (burrow opening closed

or covered with debris and soil of burrow apron undisturbed). Special burrow camera

equipment (Ed Wester, Southern Ecosystems Research, Alabama) was used to scope the

burrows and record any tortoise or commensal species found. Tortoises captured outside

their burrows were processed as described above. Measuring and camera equipment were

washed with alcohol after each use to prevent potential disease transfer. For each

subpopulation, the number of active + inactive burrows was divided by the area surveyed









(hectares) to calculate burrow density. This number was multiplied by the total hectares

of the subpopulation, then multiplied by 0.614 (first described by Auffenberg and Franz

(1982), this correction factor is an estimate of the number of tortoises using all active and

inactive burrows) to obtain the estimated population size.

Bird Surveys

Florida Scrub Jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens Bosc) Taped Florida scrub jay

calls (obtained from James Garrison, Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission, CBTS

Wildlife Management Area) were played for two minutes at a minimum of every 250 m

while walking transects during gopher tortoise burrow surveys, while surveying for other

plants and animals, and while actively surveying for this species.

Mammal Surveys

Round-tailed Muskrat (Neofiber alleni True) Major bodies of water, swamps,

and marshes identified from USGS 1:24000, 7.5 minute quadrangle map sheets, and

CBTS aerial photographs were surveyed biannually for muskrat presence (e.g., feeding

platforms, scat, and foot tracks). Opportunistic searches of smaller bodies of water were

also conducted.

.heri ini 's Fox Squirrel (Sciurus niger shermani Moore) Observations were noted

for this species using three main survey methods: incidentally while searching for other

species or driving, while walking transects in conjunction with gopher tortoise surveys,

and through random surveys throughout CBTS.

Eastern Red Bat (Lasiurus borealis Muller), Seminole Bat (Lasiurus seminolus

Rhoads), Southeastern Myotis (Myotis austroriparius Rhoads), Evening Bat

(Nycticeius humeralis Rafinesque), Eastern pipistrelle (Pipistrellus subflavus F.

Cuvier), Brazilian Free-tailed Bat (Tadarida brasiliensis I. Geoffroy) Surveys were









undertaken for roosting and active bats. Roost surveys involved visually searching

buildings (both occupied and unoccupied), military structures, bridges, culverts, and tree

cavities for the presence of bats, or evidence of bat activity (e.g., staining, guano

accumulation, odor, or an accumulation of insect body segments). Mobile and stationary

surveys of active bats were performed using the Anabat bat detector system (Titley

Electronics) to monitor bat activity. A laptop computer running Anabat software was

used to record echolocation events for analysis. Mist nets were set at or near sites where

bat activity was confirmed during roost or Anabat surveys. Configurations of three or

more nets (6, 9, and 12 meter) were set near or over water using both single and stacked

sets (Kunz 1988). To reduce the number of bats chewing through nets or becoming

overly entangled, mist nets were checked at intervals of ten minutes or less. Captured bats

were held in cloth bags and hung on the mist net poles in an attempt to attract additional

bats.

Climate

Historical climate data were obtained for CBTS from Gainesville (Alachua

County), Florida, the nearest locale with complete climate records. Monthly rainfall (cm)

and monthly maximum, minimum, and mean temperature (Celsius degrees) data were

recorded from October 1953 to May 2001.

General Observations

Although CBTS habitats were surveyed on foot and vehicle, five habitat types were

chosen for long-term monitoring of small SAR: Hardwood Hammock, Depression Marsh,

Sandhill, Riverine, and Sand Pine. Determination of the five habitats chosen for long-

term surveys, as well as all habitats delineated on survey forms, came from four main

sources: Ecosystems of Florida (Myers and Ewel 1990), 26 Ecological Communities of









Florida (U.S. Soil Conservation Service 1980), Guide to the Natural Communities of

Florida (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 1990), and my habitat interpretation from

ground truth surveys. Definitions of these habitats are as follows:

* Depression Marsh "Depression Marsh is characterized as a shallow, usually
rounded depression in sand substrate with herbaceous vegetation often in
concentric bands." (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 1990)

* Hardwood Hammock "Hardwood hammock forests are characterized as well-
developed closed canopy forests of upland hardwoods on steep slopes, bluffs, and
ravines. The combination of densely shaded slopes and cool, moist microclimate
produces conditions that are conducive for the growth of many species." (Florida
Natural Areas Inventory 1990)

* Riverine Perennial or intermittent seasonal watercourses (Florida Natural Areas
Inventory 1990) and nearby, associated habitats.

* Sand Pine Dense forests composed primarily of mature sand pines.

* Sandhill "Sandhills are characterized as a forest of widely spaced pine trees with
a sparse understory of deciduous oaks and a fairly dense ground cover of grasses
and herbs on rolling hills of sand. The most typical associations are dominated by
longleaf pine, turkey oak, and wiregrass." (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 1990)

Using recommendations from CBTS environmental and range control personnel

about optimal habitat locations and potential military conflicts, it was determined that the

Hardwood Hammock traps would be combined with the Riverine traps. Trap locations

were chosen and 30.5 m of construction silt fencing was installed within each habitat

(Fig. 2-3). Five funnel traps were set on each side of the fence (ten total) and checked at

least once every two days. Trap lines and traps were georeferenced with a GPS. Funnel

traps were also used without fence lines opportunistically throughout the base.

Results

Plants

St. John's Susan At least 3 new localities as well as a slightly wider range of

previously known locations of this species (KBM Engineering and Applied Sciences, Inc.









1998) were found (Table 2-2, Fig. 2-7). Some of the new locations contained only one

plant. It is possible that the extension of this species range was facilitated by vehicular or

mower traffic.

Bartram's Ixia We found similar locations as did past surveys, but less than the

survey presented in the CBTS INRMP (KBM Engineering and Applied Sciences, Inc.

1998). No new locations were recorded (Table 2-2, Fig. 2-7). Causation (e.g., survey

error, environmental change, or road construction) of this potential range contraction

could not be determined.

Giant Orchid We found only one of the locations observed during previous

surveys and no new locations were positively recorded (Table 2-2, Fig. 2-7). One

potential new sighting was found, although identification was questionable. It is doubtful

this was a giant orchid. Again, the cause of site reductions could not be determined.

Insects

Say's Spiketail Dragonfly No Say's spiketail dragonflies were found (Table 2-

2). An adult from the genus Cordulegaster was observed flying near a pond on the

northern half of CBTS, at a location different from those of a previous survey (Minno and

Minno 2000). Due to its protected status and delicate body condition, I did not wish to

risk potential injury to the individual during capture, so positive (species-level)

identification was not possible. The Say's spiketail dragonfly model's (Fig. 2-8)

predictions closely match with known Say's spiketail dragonfly locations. It also

identified other locations with the same or similar characteristics that are potential sites

for Say's spiketail dragonfly sightings.









Amphibians

Flatwoods salamander, striped newt: Unlike past surveys (Hipes and Jackson

1996, Hipes et al. 1998), no salamander species were found at CBTS during the survey

period (Table 2-2). The absence of observed salamanders was likely due to drought

conditions. Most breeding ponds were dry and the lack of consistent rain may have

precluded behavioral stimulus to seek breeding ponds. Many of the ponds containing

water had seemingly healthy numbers of dragonfly larvae, which can be predators of

amphibian eggs (Calwell et al. 1980, Van Buskirk 1988). As salamanders are a relatively

long-lived species, it is likely that emigrant adult salamanders could return with

consistent rains.

Gopher frog: Gopher frogs were found in several locations at CBTS (Table 2-2,

Fig. 2-9). All but one were associated with gopher tortoise burrows. Egg masses and

larval gopher frogs were found at one breeding pond (consistent with past surveys),

approximately one kilometer from a site where two adults were found. Fewer gopher

frogs were found than in previous surveys (Hipes and Jackson 1996, Hipes et al. 1998),

especially in ponds. Again, this is presumably due to drought conditions.

Gopher frogs (and amphibians in general) at CBTS seemed to be highly impacted

by the drought. Most breeding ponds were dry and the lack of consistent rain may have

prevented behavioral stimulus to seek out these ponds. The single breeding pond with

gopher frog eggs/larvae dried up at least twice during our survey period. Most larvae

(gopher frog and other amphibian species) were quickly eaten by birds and raccoons as

the water dropped to low levels. The rest presumably died due to heat and oxygen factors

associated with shallow water. Frog eggs and larvae are known diet items of many larval

dragonfly species. Many of the ponds containing water had seemingly healthy numbers









of dragonfly larvae. In stressed environments, this may also be an important factor for

local survival of this species.

Reptiles

Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake, Eastern Indigo Snake: Three eastern

diamondback rattlesnakes and 3 eastern indigo snakes were observed or caught, and one

additional animal of each species was found as roadkills during my survey period (Table

2-2, Fig. 2-9). These amounts and locations are consistent with past surveys (Hipes and

Jackson 1996, Hipes et al. 1998). No animals were caught using funnel traps. Although it

is unknown how well surveyed hunters can identify rattlesnakes at the species level,

anecdotal information from hunters interviewed throughout the base indicate that CBTS

has an extremely high prevalence of eastern diamondback rattlesnakes. While these views

may or may not be true (perhaps motivated by a fearful respect by the hunters), I found

pygmy rattlesnakes (Sistrurus miliarius) to be more common during my surveys.

Gopher tortoise: Tortoises were found 11.5% (n = 3) of the time in sandhill

habitat, 42.3% in forests (n = 11), 26.9% in grasslands (n = 7), and 19.2% on roads (n =

5) (Fig. 2-6). Burrows were found in sandhill habitat 41.1% of the time (n = 171), 34.4%

in forests (n = 143), 22.4% in grasslands (n = 93), and 2.1% in other habitats (n = 9).

Active burrows accounted for 42.3% of my totals (n = 176), inactive 22.4% (n = 93), and

abandoned 35.3% (n = 147) (Fig. 2-10). Tick count of captured tortoises (n = 26) was

generally low (< 3). Twelve captured tortoises (46.2%) were examined for signs Upper

Respiratory Tract Disease (URTD). Six exhibited no signs (clear eyes and nose, no

cloudiness or runniness), 3 had slight symptoms, 2 exhibited moderate signs of infection,

and one tortoise had advanced symptoms of URTD (eyes very cloudy, nose extremely









runny). Additionally, the tortoise exhibiting extreme signs of infection also was

parasitized by the most number of ticks of all tortoises caught. As there have been no

previous URTD studies at CBTS, I cannot compare my results with previous surveys.

Results from each subpopulation are listed in Table 2-3. It is critical to note that the

methodology used in the Hipes and Jackson (1996) CBTS surveys may have

overestimated the population size for a variety of reasons. For example, the impact area

(central portion of CBTS used for firing and testing large-caliber artillery) was included

in their calculations although they were unable to survey these sites because of the risk of

encountering unexploded ordinance. It also appears that tabular subpopulation data in

Hipes and Jackson (1996) have not been multiplied by the correction factor of 0.614 as

mentioned in their text, skewing results upward of 40%. Finally, due to the use of more

precise computers/GIS in my methodology, absolute comparisons between the last two

surveys may not be valid.

Examined with those caveats in mind, the (corrected) raw data from the last two

major surveys suggest a decline in the gopher tortoise population on CBTS (from 6,512

in 1994 to 1,594 in 2001), which is consistent with the preliminary results from other

researchers working on public lands (including Goldhead Branch State Park, adjacent to

CBTS) in Florida (pers. comm., H. Mushinsky, Tampa, FL). Causality for these declines

has yet to be determined, and whether gopher tortoises have moved or died during the

time between surveys is unknown. Although both surveys were similar in methodology, it

may be that the two surveys were not similar enough and any results are not comparable.

The population estimate from the current, potentially drought-influenced survey should









be considered the baseline for CBTS. Future surveys can then determine the true extent,

if any, of the decline in numbers of gopher tortoises at CBTS.

Birds

Florida scrub jay: Recent surveys have shown Florida scrub jays to be

consistently present in the "Kingsley Scrub" in small numbers (2 5) (pers. comm., P.

Hall, Starke, FL). At various times throughout the survey period, I have found 2-6 Florida

scrub jays in this area. I have additionally found 7 new sighting locations containing this

species (Fig. 2-11) (Table 2-2), including one on the northern half of the base. Only the

Kingsley Scrub population was found in true scrub habitat. The other colonies were

found in forests, including one located in thick forest near a water seepage. Individuals

sighted there were observed constantly flying up and down to the water. These

individuals may be the same birds (or their descendants) previously observed residing

nearby within the impact area (pers. comm., J. Garrison, Starke, FL).

Each of the 8 areas was subsequently resurveyed several times. Scrub jays were not

seen or heard again in four locations, heard but not seen in two locations, and seen and

heard in two locations. However, during one survey, no Florida scrub jays were observed

or heard in any of the locations, including the original Kingsley Scrub. Thus, absence to

response of taped calls should not be construed as absence of Florida scrub jays.

Mammals

Round-tailed muskrat: No round-tailed muskrats were observed during my

surveys (Table 2-2). Though this species has never been seen on CBTS, two potential

sites were recorded. During a winter 2000 survey of Magnolia Lake, a potential nest site

was observed. No animals were ever found. A second site was reported in 2000 by

Richard Franz (2000) in an interim report to CBTS. While surveying ponds for flatwoods









salamanders, potential grass cuttings were found floating in one pond. Again, no

individuals were ever seen on CBTS.

Sherman's fox squirrel: Thirteen Sherman's fox squirrels were observed

throughout the base (Table 2-2, Fig. 2-9), roughly one-third of the number encountered

during past surveys (Hipes and Jackson 1996). No threats (e.g., road-kill) were noticed

during the survey period to explain this apparent decrease in numbers. They were seen

30.1% of the time on roads (n = 3), 30.1% in sandhill habitat (n = 3), 30.1% within

forests (n = 3), and 9.7% in grasslands (n = 1). Half of all sightings occurred during the

winter months, perhaps because of easier visibility through winter-thinned vegetation.

Eastern Red Bat, Seminole Bat, Southeastern Myotis, Evening Bat, Eastern

pipistrelle, Brazilian Free-tailed Bat: Four species were observed roosting in

13 locations: Southeastern Myotis (n > 38), Evening Bat (n > 114), Eastern Pipistrelle

(n=2), and the Brazilian Free-tailed Bat (n > 117). Analysis of 10.75 h of recorded bat

echolocation indicates 773 passes, 76 buzzes, and 39 social vocalizations. Mist nets

captured four species: Eastern Red Bat (n = 2), Seminole Bat (n = 4), Southeastern

Myotis (n = 5), and the Eastern Pipistrelle (n = 1). Bats were not included in previous

studies, so these data can be used as baseline data for future surveys.

Climate

During the survey period, Florida experienced a drought brought on by the 1998 La

Nifia weather event. Having enormous ecological and economic effects throughout the

state, 2000 was the driest year on record (Department of Environmental Protection 2001).

The event affected CBTS, as the water table dropped dramatically and left most

ephemeral ponds dry. Many larger lakes and ponds were drawn down noticeably.









Temperatures were more stable (Table 2-4). Mean high temperatures were slightly

higher and mean low temperatures were slightly lower than historic means (Fig. 2-12).

Although current overall temperature means were near historic levels, these slight

differences may exacerbate stresses individual animals undergo due to drought, habitat

conversion, incompatible land use practices, or other impacts.

General Observations

All funnel traps caught a number of different invertebrates and small vertebrates

that were not pertinent to the study (e.g., wasps, spiders, anoles, and skinks). Traps and

fence lines incurred damage during the survey period. Examples of this include wood

posts being eaten by termites, posts being shot, broken, uprooted, and stolen during

hunting seasons and training exercises (some found later being used for unknown

purposes at other locations on CBTS), and traps torn open by predators. Trap success was

generally low but enabled me to capture of some species not seen during my other

surveys (Table 2-2), including five species not yet recorded at CBTS: Oak Toad (Bufo

quercicus Holbrook), Eastern Narrowmouth Toad (Gastrophryne carolinensis Holbrook),

Florida Worm Lizard (Rhineurafloridana Baird), Loggerhead Musk Turtle (.Sici un,,heti i

minor minor Agassiz), and Florida Brown Snake (Storeria dekayi victa Holbrook).

Surveys and trapping throughout the base enabled me to capture two gopher frogs and

one Florida mouse (Podomysfloridanus Chapman) associated with gopher tortoise

burrows, as well as document many new locations of the Hooded Pitcher Plant

(Sarracenia minor Walter), state-listed as threatened in Florida and unusual in Georgia.

All captures and sightings are shown in Fig. 2-13.









Discussion

The determination by land stewards that existing integrated ecological management

plans are fundamentally sound will depend on how relevant data are collected and

analyzed. For example, the Camp Blanding INRMP might be viewed as a success due to

the fact I were able to document the persistence of 11 species at risk, expansion of 3

ranges, and confirmed records of 11 other species never before seen at CBTS. However,

3 species of risk previously documented at CBTS could not be located during this study,

ranges of at least 3 species had contracted, and there were noticeably fewer individuals

caught of at least 5 other species. Due to ecological complexity and aberrant climatic

events, direct causality of declines cannot be determined.

One potential stress noted during my surveys was human influence on CBTS

ecological processes. Almost 29% of Camp Blanding's -29,500 hectares can be

classified as sub-optimal to most native wildlife (e.g., logged forests, disturbed, mined,

and/or located in the impact area) (King 1998, my analyses). An additional 17% is slated

to be clear-cut within the next 25 years for future pine plantations (Long and Catlett

1996). Pursuing revenue from forest harvest and other uses ranks higher in importance

than enhancing the quality of forest habitat for wildlife (Long and Catlett 1996). Wildlife

sustainability is strained not only by the loss of habitat, but also by the ensuing landscape

fragmentation.

However, inferring human-source causality without adequate data is unwise

(Pechmann et al. 1991, Seigel et al. 1995). During the course of my surveys, Florida

experienced the worst drought on record. The water table dropped dramatically leaving

most ponds dry, and many larger lakes and ponds drawn down noticeably. At the very









least, this greatly impacted the ecology of amphibians on CBTS. The single breeding

pond I found containing gopher frog eggs and larvae dried up at least twice during my

survey period, leading to unsuccessful breeding events. This additional pressure may also

be an important factor for the local survival of this species in an environment already

feeling the effects from a variety of stresses. As Dodd (1993) summarized, there may be

three effects from severe drought: local amphibian populations may become extirpated,

they may be long-lived and hardy enough to survive harsh climate events within refugia,

or they may attempt to migrate to areas with better, wetter conditions. That is, if such

areas exist, yet another case for a regional network of conservation lands. But without

regular, long-term sampling effort efforts, researchers may miss species or genera (such

as certain amphibians) whose behavioral cues require specific climactic events for

emergence. Thus, irregular sampling may lead to a reduced, incorrect conclusion as to the

total biodiversity of an area.

The drought has influenced CBTS environmental management, too. Paul Catlett

(pers. comm., Starke, FL) and other fire scientists have noted that environmental

conditions have reduced the amount of days per year in which conditions were safe to

burn, causing multi-year setbacks in the CBTS burn schedule. This lack of fire appears to

be having an effect on some areas in CBTS. Habitats are being altered through unchecked

succession. As nesting habitats are lost or degraded, and important food species (e.g.,

wire grass, Aristida beyrichiana Trin. & Rupr.) are crowded or shaded out, vertebrate

species compositions are altered as well. Finally, Range Facilities Management Support

System data obtained from CBTS Range Control show that about two thirds of all

training activities on CBTS took place within a small buffer zone around the impact area









(presumably firing into the impact area) or in areas with discrete modified habitats (e.g.,

the cantonment area, landing zones, pistol/rifle ranges) (Table 2-5). This is another

argument against the idea of human impact as the causation of species declines I

witnessed.

Camp Blanding occupies an important place as part of an ecological corridor

between southern Georgia and central Florida. Sound management of this heavily utilized

landscape is crucial to maintain viable populations of species at risk as well as to prevent

future listings. Merely possessing an integrated approach to management should not

justify inconsistent sampling events and feedback to land stewards. At a minimum,

regional landscape studies should be a component of all INRMPs. No single study can

possibly assess the health of an ecosystem. Well-gathered, well-analyzed, long-term data

are necessary to maximize the positive goals of any integrated natural resources plan.

Further effort to standardize methodologies (both in the field and with the storage and

availability of data), gather baseline data (on- and off-base), and initiate long-term,

landscape-scale studies, as well as eliminate (or minimize) incompatible land

management practices, will enhance the good intentions of CBTS personnel and help

sustain CBTS habitats for future plant, animal, and human use.












Table 2-1.


Species chosen for SAR study at CBTS, 2000 2001. Focal species were those for which we actively surveyed. Incidental
ps ecies were noted opportunistically s


Focal or Federal State Natural
Class Inci al Common Name Scientific Name Statusa tatusb Herie Status
_______Incidental Status StatusHeritage Status
Plants Focal St. John's Susan Rudbeckia nitida None E G2/S2
Focal Bartram's Ixia Sphenostigma None E G2/S2
coelestinum
Focal Giant Orchid Pteroglossapsis ecristata MC T G2/S2
Insects Incidental Say's Spiketailed Dragonfly Cordulegaster sayi None None G2/S 1S2
Amphibians Focal Striped Newt Notophthalmus None None G2G3/S2S3
perstriatus
Incidental Flatwoods Salamander Ambystoma cingulatum T SSC G2G3/S2S3
Incidental Gopher Frog Rana capitol None SSC G3G4/S3
Reptiles Focal Eastern Indigo Snake Drymarchon coras T T G4T3/S3
_________couperi
Focal Gopher Tortoise Gopherus polyphemus T T G3/S3
Incidental Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake Crotalus adamanteus None None G4/S3
Incidental All Other Snakes N/A N/A N/A N/A
Birds Focal Florida Scrub Jay Aphelocoma coerulescens T T G3/S3
Mammals Focal Round-tailed Muskrat Neofiber alleni None T G3/S3
Focal Sherman's Fox Squirrel Sciurus niger shermani None SSC G5T3/S3
Focal Eastern Red Bat Lasiurus borealis None None None
Focal Seminole Bat Lasiurus seminolus None None None
Focal Southeastern Myotis Myotis austroriparius None None G3G4/S3
Focal Evening Bat Nycticeius humeralis None None None
Focal Eastern Pipistrelle Pipistrellus subflavus None None None
Focal Brazilian Free-tailed Bat Tadarida brasiliensis None None None













Table 2-1. Continued.
aFederal Status T = Threatened A species that may become endangered if not protected
MC = Management
Concern

bState Status E = Endangered A species which is in danger of extinction throughout all or part of its range in Florida
T = Threatened A species which is likely to become an endangered species in the foreseeable future throughout all
or part of its range in Florida
SSC = Species of A species facing a moderate risk of extinction throughout all or part of its range in Florida
Special Concern

cNatural Heritage G1 Critically imperiled globally because of extreme rarity (5 or fewer occurrences)
Status
G2 Imperiled globally because of rarity (6 to 20 occurrences)
G3 Rare and local throughout range or in a special habitat or narrowly endemic (on the order of 21 to
100 occurrences)
G4 Apparently secure and of no immediate conservation concern
G5 Demonstrably secure globally
S1 Critically imperiled in Florida because of extreme rarity (5 or fewer occurrences)
S2 Imperiled in Florida because of rarity (6 to 20 occurrences)
S3 Rare and uncommon throughout the state or in a special habitat or narrowly endemic (on the order
of 21 to 100 occurrences)
S4 Apparently secure and of no immediate conservation concern
S5 Demonstrably secure in state
T Taxonomic subdivision (trinomial, either a subspecies or variety), used in global rank, for
example "G2T2"
















Table 2-2. Target species at CBTS. Status comes from FNAI (2004): E, endangered; MC, management concern; N, not listed; SSC,
species of special concern; T, threatened.
Taxa Species Previous Surveys Number, Sites, or Ranges This Study Number, Sites, or Ranges
Taxa Species Previous Surveys This Study
Observed Observed
Plants Pteroglossaspis ecristata (Giant Orchid) ++ largest range found
Rudbeckia nitida (St. John's Susan) + ++ largest range found
Sphenostigma coelestinum (Bartram's Ixia) ++ largest range found +
Insects Cordulegaster sayi (Say's Spiketail Dragonfly) + 1 1 potential sighting
Salamanders Ambystoma cingulatum (Flatwoods Salamander)
Notophthalmus perstriatus (Striped Newt) ++ 10 sites; 7 sites
Anurans Rana capitol (Gopher Frog) ++ 52 sites; 11 sites + 7 sites
Turtles Gopherus polyphemus (Gopher Tortoise) ++ 10,607 (estimate) + 1,594 (estimate)
Snakes Crotalus adamanteus (Diamondback Rattlesnake) + 3 + 4
Drymarchon corals couperi (Eastern Indigo Snake) + 3; 3 + 4
Birds Aphelocoma coerulescens (Florida Scrub Jay) + 0; 2 (1 site) ++ 35-39 (8 sites)
Mammals allen (Round-tailed Muskrat)
Sciurus niger shermanm (Sherman's Fox Squirrel) ++ 42 + 14
Lasiurus boreals (Eastern Red Bat) + 2 (2 sites)
Lasiurus semmnolus (Seminole Bat) + 4 (2 sites)
Myotis austrorparius (Southeastern Myotis) + >44 (14 sites)
Nycticeus humerahs (Evening Bat) + >114 (4 sites)
Pipistrellus (Eastern Pipistrelle) + 3 (3 sites)
Tadarida brasiliensis (Brazilian Free-tailed Bat) + >117 (5 sites)
Non-target Species of Note Sarracenma minor (Hooded Pitcher Plant) ++ largest range found
Bufo quercicus (Oak Toad) + several dozen (3 sites)
Gastrophryne carohnensis (Eastern Narrowmouth Toad) + 1
_(Florida Worm Lizard) + 1
Sternotherus minor minor (Loggerhead Musk Turtle) + 1
Storeria dekayi victa (Florida Brown Snake) _+ 1
_Podomys flordanus (Florida Mouse) ++ 29 + 1











Table 2-3. Summary of 1994 (Hipes and Jackson 1996) and 2001 (this study) surveys of gopher tortoise population size
e veiled the 1 994 population estimate i )


at CBTS. I


1994 2001
S Total Hectares Population Total Hectares Population
Subpopulation Tota Burrow/Hectare Poulation Total Hectares Burrow/Hectare Population
(% surveyed1) BurrEstimate (% surveyed) Estimate
1 71.0 (10.0) 2.40 170 204.7 (10.2) 0.38 49
2 118.4 (10.0) 1.98 235 207.9 (10.1) 0.14 19
3 151.8 (10.0) 1.27 194 284.5 (10.0) 1.48 258
4 20(10.0) 1.10 22 126.7 (11.7) 0.47 37
5 38.8 (10.0) 0.93 36 29.8 (10.9) 0.00 0
6 61.9(10.0) 1.96 121 83.3 (10.1) 0.59 31
7 124.7 (10.0) 1.86 233 151.6 (10.9) 0.12 12
8 40.8 (10.0) 1.18 48 51.9 (10.5) 0.00 0
9 287.3 (10.0) 0.93 267 212.7 (10.0) 0.38 50
10 183.7 (10.0) 3.72 683 263.8 (10.0) 0.42 68
11 79.6 (10.0) 1.86 148 106.1 (11.6) 1.30 85
12 40.8 (10.0) 2.23 91 52.0 (10.0) 1.92 62
13 118 (10.0) 3.06 361 121.5 (10.6) 0.47 35
14 18.2 (10.0) 2.40 44 7.1 (14.5) 0.98 5
15 4.1 (10.0) 1.96 8 6.6 (34.0) 0.89 4
16 16.7 (10.0) 2.40 40 54.4 (11.4) 2.25 76
17 9.4 (10.0) 2.43 23 13.4 (11.5) 0.00 0
18 70.2 (10.0) 2.05 144 61.9 (10.5) 0.31 12
19 1122.3 (10.0) 1.91 2144 331.9 (10.1) 0.12 25
20 3469.4 (10.0) 1.45 5031 2218.4 (10.1) 0.49 666
21 489.8 (10.0) 1.15 564 474.9 (10.0) 0.38 110
Total, Mean 6536.9 (10.0) 1.62 10,607 5064.3 (10.3) 0.52 1,594
1Hipes and Jackson (1996) report surveying at least 10% of each subpopulation. Data they present indicate that 10% was used as an estimate of area surveyed for
analysis.













Table 2-4. Climate data at CBTS.
January February March April May June July August September October November December
Mean Rainfall (cm) 9.1 9.6 10.5 7.4 9.2 16.4 17.2 19.5 13.5 6.6 5.5 7.4
Mean Temperature (OC) 13.0 14.5 17.4 20.5 24.0 26.5 27.4 27.3 26.1 21.8 17.6 14.1
Maximum Temperature (C) 19.9 21.7 24.6 27.9 31.0 32.6 33.2 33.1 31.7 28.1 24.4 20.9
Minimum Temperature (OC) 6.2 7.4 10.1 13.1 17.0 20.4 21.6 21.6 20.4 15.5 10.9 7.3


















Table 2-5. Camp Blanding Training Site usage October 1999 June 2001.
AREA Oct- Nov- Dec- Jan- Feb- Mar- Apr- May- Jun- Jul- Aug- Sep- Oct- Nov- Dec- Jan- Feb- Mar- Apr- May- Jun- Total
99 99 99 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 01 01 01 01 01 01
Buffer 1960 925 1347 5437 3580 3940 2937 6159 1698 2419 1690 3529 2907 1015 1982 4563 3237 3709 1173 4105 5178 63490
Cantonement 2020 30 7 134 34 127 2 71 116 254 50 106 378 70 10 637 31 61 526 500 2009 7173
Castellanos 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 60 876 280 1216
N-1 0 0 0 0 0 0 201 0 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 121 4 0 148 876 841 2197
N-10 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 840 840
N-2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 148 876 840 1864
N-3 0 0 0 128 0 0 28 0 0 118 75 0 0 0 0 142 0 44 50 0 840 1425
N-4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 8 0 148 0 1540 1706
N-5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0 148 0 840 998
N-6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 840 840
N-7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 858 858
N-8 166 0 0 392 109 86 325 1277 14 373 1043 248 10 0 150 657 162 16 407 555 958 6948
N-9 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 840 840
R-1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 14 0 14
R-2 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 8
R-3 503 588 45 622 398 527 1518 143 184 0 235 689 639 0 204 85 190 1038 129 516 817 9070
S-1 0 14 0 0 0 61 538 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 81 0 0 0 26 855 1575
S-10 0 0 0 0 14 50 12 0 37 0 0 15 0 80 0 0 0 0 28 537 1260 2033
S-11 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0 15 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 876 840 1735
S-12 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 54 0 0 876 840 1770
S-13 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 840 840
S-2 0 0 0 0 20 71 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 840 931
S-3 0 0 0 120 14 144 323 0 10 56 0 248 30 0 0 0 0 0 50 759 1260 3014
S-4 0 0 0 0 178 17 172 0 0 45 0 91 0 0 0 176 318 0 0 68 1179 2244
S-5 0 40 0 0 20 71 556 1034 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 108 2054 3883
S-6 0 0 0 0 0 67 551 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 40 0 840 1498
S-7 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 840 848
S-8 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 17 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 840 857
S-9 414 0 0 0 107 60 266 105 105 0 0 74 57 9 0 0 52 32 27 13 840 2161
T-1 353 45 0 0 0 0 21 0 60 0 0 81 0 80 0 0 0 10 97 220 389 1356
T-10 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 17 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 420 437
T-3 74 0 0 30 46 47 592 141 5 0 0 82 0 0 0 0 108 14 0 200 747 2086
T-4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 68 0 0 0 389 457
T-7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 17 0 0 0 0 121 84 0 550 240 420 1432
T-8 204 199 543 376 211 143 0 82 82 58 122 449 413 263 827 712 383 153 992 501 1533 8246
T-9 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 9 5 0 0 0 0 0 104 0 0 0 0 0 420 541
Total 5704 1841 1942 7239 4731 5411 8042 9021 2347 3323 3281 5612 4434 1517 3277 7299 4703 5077 4721 12742 35167 137.431


















































Figure 2-1. Camp Blanding Training Site within Clay County, Florida











































/\Streams
- Lakes
SRoads
Impact Area
Mined Area


0 2 4Km


Figure 2-2. Camp Blanding Training Site













































0 2 4Km


Dragonfly
Habitat Traps
Streams
Lakes
Roads
Impact Area
S Mined Area


Figure 2-3. Location of Say's spiketail dragonfly searches, as well as habitat traps




































































0 2 4Km


CBTS Habitats
Dry Shrubland
Freshwater Marsh/Wet Prairie
Inland Water
Low Herbaceous/Pasture
Non-Vegetated
Row and Tree Crops
Upland Coniferous Forest
Upland Hardwood Forest
Upland Mixed Forest
Urban/Developed
Wet Shrubland
Wetland Hardwood Forest
Wetland Mixed Forest
Woodland/Savannah


Figure 2-4. Habitat types at CBTS











































Breeding Ponds
Streams
Lakes
Roads
Im pact Area
0 2 4 Mined Area
0 2 4Km


Figure 2-5. Amphibian breeding ponds at Camp Blanding Training Site










































Captures
Streams
Lakes
f Roads
Impact Area
| Mined Area
Subpopulations


0 2 4Km


Figure 2-6. Gopher tortoise sub-populations as delineated by Hipes and Jackson (1996)
and captures from this survey. The sections of subpopulations 19 and 20
falling within the impact area could not be surveyed due to CBTS regulations.
These areas were excluded from analyses.


















































M/ Bartram's Ixia
Giant Orchid
SHooded Pitcher Plant
SSt. John's Susan
St. John's Susan
Streams
Lakes
Roads
0 2 4Km Impact Area
-Mined Area


Figure 2-7 Plant species of concern surveyed at CBTS



























Habitat Stream Buffers


Slope



.

# 40 A -
4 ^ I
*^ ->
S. .?*
p^


Hydric Soils


Final Model:
purple = wetland
bright Lreen = low
herbaceous/pasture
olive green =
woodland/savanna


Figure 2-8. Model of suitable habitat for Say's spiketail dragonfly. Final habitats include low herbaceous/pasture, wetland hardwood
forest, and woodland/savanna.


SDE A


Final Model





43

































































0 2 4Km


Figure 2-9. Captures of other species of concern at CBTS


Gopher Frog
Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake
* Indigo Snake
* Sherman's Fox Squirrel
Streams
Lakes
Roads
Impact Area
Mined Area












































Burrow Condition
Active
Inactive
e Abandoned
Streams
Lakes
SRoads
Impact Area
| |Mined Area
0 2 4Km M Subpopulations



Figure 2-10. Gopher tortoise burrows (and their conditions) encountered during line
transect surveys of CBTS.












































Scrub Jay Sightings
SStreams
Lakes
Roads
Impact Area
Mined Area
0 2 4Km


Figure 2-11. Florida scrub jay sightings at CBTS













Mean rainfall and mean temperatures at CBTS for all years of data availability (1953-2001),
years of all major surveys (1994-2001), and years of this survey (1999-2001)


Mean Temperature 1953 2001 ..... Mean Temperature 1994 2001 Mean Temperature 1999 2001
Mean Rainfall 1953 2001 -Mean Rainfall 1994 2001 Mean Rainfall 1999 2001

Mean high and low temperatures at CBTS for all years of data availability (1953-2001), years
of all major surveys (1994-2001), and years of this survey (1999-2001)


Mean High Temperatures 1953 2001 -- Mean High Temperatures 1994 2001 Mean High Temperatures 1999 2001
Mean Low Temperatures 1953 2001 -- Mean Low Temperatures 1994 2001 Mean Low Temperatures 1999 2001


Figure 2-12. Mean rainfall, high, low, and overall temperatures at CBTS for all years of
data availability (1953-2001), years of all major surveys (1994-2001), and
years of this survey (2000-2001).

















































[ Impact Area
SMined Area
0 2 4Km


Figure 2-13. Distribution of total captures and sightings during the SAR survey of CBTS.














CHAPTER 3
THE NATURE CONSERVANCY'S CONSERVATION BY DESIGN PROGRAM

Introduction

The Grand Bay Banks Lake area (GBBL), Georgia, contains a number of unique

ecological systems (e.g., Carolina Bays (including three of the largest in the southeastern

United States), LongleafPine/Wiregrass), communities (i.e. Dudley's Hammock one of

the only evergreen hammocks remaining in Georgia's Coastal Plain), and globally

imperiled species (e.g., Bachman's sparrow, Aimophila aestivalis, gopher tortoise

Gopheruspolyphemus, and the round-tailed muskrat, Neofiber alleni) (Moody Air Force

Base 2001, The Nature Conservancy of Georgia 2002a). GBBL falls within the political

boundaries of Berrien, Lanier, and Lowndes counties (herein referred to as the "Tri-

County Area"), Georgia. Overall, the human population of the Tri-County Area has

increased 33% since 1980 (United States Census Bureau 2003). More proximally, there

are roughly 10-15 large (200+ hectares) landowners in the Grand Bay Bay Lakes area

and hundreds of smaller landowners scattered throughout the site. Analyzing historic land

use data, estimates indicate that within ten years, agricultural and silvicultural practices

will decline by 26%, while urban areas increase by over 110%. Therefore, the biggest

threat to the integrity of the GBBL system appears to be human encroachment and

associated habitat conversion and destruction. However, approximately 15% of the

northern portion of the site is publicly owned by Moody Air Force Base, Grand Bay

Wildlife Management Area, and Banks Lake National Wildlife Refuge. Management for

natural areas in this portion of the site provides some buffer against future urbanization.









GBBL comprises the second-largest freshwater wetland system in Georgia. This

-42,500 hectare site is located at the easternmost edge of the South Atlantic Coastal Plain

ecoregion within the Suwannee River Basin, and lies within the Tifton Upland District of

the East Gulf Coastal Plain Section of Georgia (The Nature Conservancy of Georgia

2002a). Bordered by the Withlacoochee River on the west and the Alapaha River on the

east, the Grand Bay Banks Lake ecoregion is characterized by flat to sloping plateaus

separated by shallow river valleys, broad wetland depressions, and karst topography. In

general, soils on uplands in this region were formed in deep sedimentary sands and clays

(Moody Air Force Base 2001). Pleistocene-Pliocene sand and gravels include, in part,

Sunderland, Coharie, and Brandywine formations (Cooke 1939). Alluvial soils near

streams and tributaries generally originated from material eroded from the uplands

(Moody Air Force Base 2001). Elevation in the area is approximately 61 meters above

sea level (Anonymous 2002). The north and northwestern boundaries of the area form the

base of the Pelham Escarpment that rises as much as 61 meters above the Dougherty

Plain. Notable landscape features in the area include Carolina Bays, limesinks, creek

swamps, open-water shallow lakes, ponds, flatwoods, and an elevated hammock

(Dudley's Hammock). Besides the three globally rare (G3, Natural Heritage status)

animal species that are found in the area, the site also supports a total of 23 species

tracked by the Georgia Natural Heritage program (Table 3-1; Moody Air Force Base

2001, The Nature Conservancy of Georgia 2002a).

In 1998, a voluntary, cooperative stewardship council comprised of the Georgia

Department of Natural Resources (Wildlife Resources Division), Moody Air Force Base,

the Nature Conservancy (Georgia Field Office), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service









(Banks Lake National Wildlife Refuge), was established to develop a management plan

for GBBL that could ensure integrity of the ecosystem and long-term viability of native

flora and fauna, in the context of compatible human use (The Nature Conservancy of

Georgia 2002b). To make progress on protecting this significant ecosystem, the

partnership has identified six ecoregional conservation targets within the Grand Bay -

Banks Lake system: Carolina Bays, Hardwood Hammocks, Longleaf Pine/Wiregrass,

Migratory Birds, Riverine Aquatic Systems, and Wading Birds (The Nature Conservancy

of Georgia 2002b). Here I present results from my work in 2002 2003, in which I

assessed the ecological stresses and sources of stress that impact each of the six

conservation targets, and put forth a plan for future conservation management and system

monitoring.

Methods and Results

Site Boundary and Size

Using GIS data layers I analyzed the impact of human activities on each of the six

ecoregional conservation targets. My first objective was to establish a functional

ecological area of interest for my spatial analyses. My goal was to capture an area large

enough to encompass the ecological structure, composition, and function of all

conservation targets. Current GBBL public-ownership boundaries were used as a starting

point. Based on home range and daily movement data for threatened, rare, and

endangered species known to use or inhabit the GBBL ecoregion, an eight-kilometer

buffer was established around the GBBL jurisdictional boundary. I then took into

consideration the presence of ecologically significant hydrological and terrestrial features

lying outside of the buffered area. The buffer was modified to include various isolated

wetlands, the main tributaries of the Alapaha and Withlacoochee Rivers, and complete









forest stands. The resultant ecological area of interest (hereafter referred to as the

"Ecological Footprint") is -75,000 hectares in size (Fig. 3-1).

Conservation Target Selection and Boundary Delineation

Working together, the GBBL partnership initially identified seven ecoregional

conservation targets for potential study: Carolina Bays, Hardwood Hammocks,

Limesinks, Longleaf Pine/Wiregrass, Migratory Birds, Riverine Aquatic Systems, and

Wading Birds (The Nature Conservancy of Georgia 2002b). After further, in-depth

research into each of these targets, it was decided that Limesinks contained too small of

an area, were used too much in a potentially unsustainable manner, were too urbanized,

and were too far away from the core GBBL site for further, immediate conservation

analysis and efforts, and were thus removed from the study. Justifications for

conservation target selection, as well as representative species at risk nested within each

conservation target, are listed in Table 3-2. The ecological health of each of the

remaining six conservation targets chosen by the GBBL partnership is considered to be

crucial to maintaining the integrity of the GBBL ecosystem. Based on land use

requirements, a GIS layer over the geographic extent of the Ecological Footprint was

created for each of the conservation targets (Fig. 3-2). Table 3-3 summarizes the

methodologies and sources of data used to create GIS data layers for each conservation

target.

Biodiversity Health Assessment

A biodiversity health assessment was performed for each of the conservation

targets based on three ecological integrity categories: size, condition, and landscape

context. The explanations of each ecological integrity category are modified from (Low

2002):









Size is a measure of the area or abundance of the conservation target's occurrence.

For ecological systems and communities, size is simply a measure of patch size or

geographic coverage. For animal and plant species, size takes into account the area of

occupancy and number of individuals. Another aspect of size is the minimum dynamic

area, or the area needed to ensure survival or re-establishment of a target after natural

disturbance. Examples of dimensions used to determine minimum dynamic area are

species home ranges and the geographical extent of historical natural disturbances.

Condition is an integrated measure of the composition, structure, and biotic

interactions that characterize the occurrence of the conservation target. This includes

factors such as reproduction, age structure, biological composition (e.g., presence of

native versus exotic species and presence of characteristic patch types for ecological

systems), structure (e.g., canopy, understory, and groundcover in a forested community,

and spatial distribution and juxtaposition of patch types or seral stages in an ecological

system), and biotic interactions (e.g., levels of competition, predation, and disease).

Landscape context is an integrated measure of two factors: the dominant

environmental regimes and processes that establish and maintain the target occurrence,

and connectivity. Dominant environmental regimes and processes include herbivory,

hydrology (surface and groundwater), water chemistry, geomorphic processes, climatic

regimes (temperature and precipitation), fire regimes, and many kinds of natural

disturbance. Connectivity includes such factors as species targets having access to

habitats and resources needed for life cycle completion, fragmentation of ecological

communities and system, and the ability of any target to respond to environmental change

through dispersal, migration, or re-colonization.









A ranking (Very Good, Good, Fair, or Poor) was assigned for each ecological

integrity category based on my analyses and opinions, and the opinions of experts

associated with the GBBL partnership. Rankings were entered into a Microsoft Excel

spreadsheet (developed by The Nature Conservancy) using numeric values assigned to

each rank (Very Good = 4.0, Good = 3.5, Fair = 2.5, or Poor = 1.0). The overall viability

rank for each conservation target was derived by calculating the numeric average of the

ecological integrity ranks (based on the following: Very Good = 4.0 3.75, Good = 3.74 -

3.0, Fair = 2.99 1.75, or Poor = 1.74 0.0). The overall viability score for the site was

derived by calculating the average of the final conservation target scores (based on the

same numeric distribution listed above). Rankings and their justifications, as well as an

overall biodiversity health score for each conservation target are presented in Table 3-4.

There were no Very Good rankings assigned. The overall biodiversity health ranking for

the Ecological Footprint is Fair.

Threats Analysis

An integral part of assessing biodiversity health is recognizing the stresses (e.g.,

herbivory, disease, and pollution) on a particular conservation target, as well as the

sources of the stresses (e.g., deer, insects, and automobiles). Stresses are judged on the

severity and scope of their damage, while the sources of stresses are ranked by their

contribution and irreversibility. Explanations of each of these are modified from (Low,

2002):

Severity of damage is the level of damage to the conservation target that can

reasonably be expected within 10 years under current circumstances (i.e. given the

continuation of the existing management/conservation situation) of a particular stress.

Rankings are assigned as either Very High, High, Medium, or Low, using the following









criteria: Very High indicates the stress is likely to destroy or eliminate the conservation

target over some portion of the target's occurrence at the site; High indicates the stress is

likely to seriously degrade the conservation target over some portion of the target's

occurrence at the site; Medium indicates the stress is likely to moderately degrade the

conservation target over some portion of the target's occurrence at the site; and Low

indicates the stress is likely to only slightly impair the conservation target over some

portion of the target's occurrence at the site

Scope of damage is the geographic scope of impact on the conservation target at

the site that can reasonably be expected within 10 years under the current level of a

particular stress. Rankings have the same nomenclature as above: Very High indicates the

stress is likely to be very widespread or pervasive in its geographic scope, affecting the

conservation target throughout the target's occurrence at the site; High indicates the stress

is likely to be widespread in its scope, and affect the conservation target at many of its

locations at the site; Medium indicates the stress is likely to be localized in its scope, and

affect the conservation target at some of the target's locations at the site; and Low

indicates the stress is likely to be very localized in its scope, and affect the conservation

target at a limited portion of the target's location at the site.

Contribution is defined as the expected role of the source, acting alone, to the full

expression of a stress (as determined in the stress assessment) under current

circumstances (i.e. given the continuation of the existing management/conservation

situation). For example, habitat destruction is a stress with sources of this stress including

residential development and logging. Residential development makes a stronger

contribution to habitat destruction than logging within the GBBL system. The rankings









are again the same: Very High denotes the source is a very large contributor of the

particular stress; High denotes the source is a large contributor of the particular stress;

Medium denotes the source is a moderate contributor of the particular stress; and Low

denotes the source is a low contributor of the particular stress.

Irreversibility is a measure of the reversibility of the stress caused by the source of

stress. The rankings are again the same: Very High denotes the source produces a stress

that is not reversible (i.e. wetlands converted to a shopping center); High denotes the

source produces a stress that is reversible, but not practically affordable (i.e. wetland

converted to agriculture); Medium denotes the source produces a stress that is reversible

with a reasonable commitment of additional resources (i.e. ditching and draining of

wetland); and Low denotes the source produces a stress that is easily reversible at

relatively low cost (i.e. off-road vehicles trespassing in a wetland).

Again, rankings were assigned based on my analyses and opinions, and the

opinions of experts associated with the GBBL partnership, and then entered into a

Microsoft Excel spreadsheet developed by The Nature Conservancy. The rank of each

stress (Very High, High, Medium, Low) is a combination of the Severity and Scope

rankings for the stress, and is calculated automatically using the matrix listed in Table 3-

5. For example, if the Scope of the stress is Very High and the Severity of the stress is

Medium the overall rank of the stress is Medium.

The rank of each source of stress is a two-step process. A source rank is first

(typically) a combination of the Contribution and the Irreversibility rankings for the

source. The first-step source rank is calculated automatically from the matrix shown in

Table 3-6. For example, if the Irreversibility of the source is Very High and the









Contribution of the source is Medium the overall rank of the stress is High. In the second

step, the source rank calculated from the matrix in Table 3-5 is combined with the stress

rank calculated from the matrix in Table 3-6. This combination is determined by the

matrix listed in Table 3-7. Table 3-8 summarizes the major stresses to the GBBL

ecosystem, while Table 3-9 summarizes the sources of those stresses.

Numeric values were assigned to ranks (Very Good = 4.0, Good = 3.5, Fair = 2.5,

or Poor = 1.0) within each conservation target. The overall threat status for each

conservation target was derived by calculating the numeric average of the individual

threat ranks (based on the following: Very Good = 4.0 3.75, Good = 3.74 3.0, Fair =

2.99 1.75, or Poor = 1.74 0.0). Individual sources of stress rankings were numerically

weighted by individual conservation targets slightly differently (Very High = 1.5, High =

1.0, Medium = 0.2, and Low = 0.03) and then summed to obtain an estimate of the

contribution of the threat to the ecosystem-level problem. Four of the six conservation

(Longleaf Pine/Wiregrass, Carolina Bays/Isolated Wetlands, Migratory Birds, Hardwood

Hammocks) targets rated as having a High threat status and six of the ten sources of

stress (incompatible primary home development, fire suppression, conversion for

agriculture/silviculture, incompatible commercial development, ordinance disposal

site/toxins leeching, incompatible operation of water control structures) ranked as High

critical threats to the conservation targets. Habitat alteration in the form of incompatible

home and commercial lot development is the biggest threat to the GBBL ecosystem.

Incompatible forestry practices (fire suppression, conversion of land to silviculture, tree

species planted, etc.) also ranked as large stresses to the long-term stability of the GBBL

system.









Conservation Objectives, Strategies, Actions, and Plans

The most significant factor that may affect the long-term health of the conservation

targets is land managers' ability or failure to respond to the critical threats identified by

this study. Thus, it is imperative that land managers be able to identify and prioritize

conservation objectives. Table 3-10 provides a ranked list of critical broad-level

conservation objectives for each of the six GBBL conservation targets. Objectives were

also numerically weighted by individual conservation target rankings (Very High is

worth 1.5, High is worth 1.0, Medium is worth 0.2, and Low is worth 0.03) and then

summed to obtain a priority estimate of conservation objectives. The two biggest

priorities for GBBL conservation deal with enhancing or restoring critical habitat and

changing current forestry practices (i.e. limit logging and restore fire regimes within

natural ranges of variation). A specific, prioritized list of broad-level conservation

strategies and actions for each of the six conservation targets is listed in Table 3-11.

Table 3-12 presents threat-based monitoring suggestions for each of the six conservation

targets. Indicators that can be used to monitor threat-abatement management techniques

are included, as well as suggested monitoring methods and frequencies.

Discussion

Even with well-designed methods, evaluating ecosystem health and sustainability

can be difficult. For example, lost or nonexistent records of past land use, species

distributions and habitat requirements, etc., can influence estimation of baseline

ecosystem processes. This, in turn, may affect the accuracy of forecasting future land use

trends and performance of environmental variables, a process tenuous enough due to

numerous methological assumptions. In addition, the research design of ecosystem

evaluation may be flawed. Some approaches have been based on the presence of select









species at a local scale, while others have discarded analyses of anthropogenic influences.

I find results from such methods meaningless.

My study utilized a landscape ecology approach advocated by Low (2002).

Combining previous research, available GIS data, and input from regional stakeholders, I

was able to quantify the past and future threats to GBBL, the potential future health of

GBBL, and develop management recommendations. Conservation management strategies

in the Grand Bay Banks Lake ecoregion must include habitat restoration to remediate

the effects of past and current agricultural (incompatible chemical use; incompatible

livestock production methods), silvicultural (fire suppression; incompatible timber

harvest), and hydrological (incompatible water control structures) practices, as well as

address the current and future threat of urbanization (incompatible commercial and

residential development). Conservation easement agreements and the establishment of

pubic education programs that convey the uniqueness of the GBBL ecoregion will be key

to preserving this important and unique system.

The mission of the GBBL council is to develop and implement a dynamic and

adaptive stewardship plan for the GBBL ecosystem. The goals of the plan will ensure the

long-term viability of native plants and animals, and the integrity of the ecosystem, while

providing for compatible human uses (e.g., military training, producing forest

commodities, providing recreational opportunities, protecting water quality, and

conserving native species and ecosystems) (Georgia Department of Natural Resources et

al. 1998). The research and results presented herein are the groundwork upon which a

solid management plan will be constructed.












Table 3-1. Documented species of special concern occurring in the Grand Bay Bay Lakes area.
Class Common Name Scientific Name Federal Statusa State Statusb Natural Heritage
Status
Plants Green-fly Orchid Epidendrum conopseum None U G4/S3
Hooded Pitcher Plant Sarracenia minor None U G4/S4
Fish Mud Sunfish Acanthrarchus pomotis None None G5/S3
Golden Topminnow Fundulus chrysotus None None G5/S3
Amphibians Dwarf Siren Pseudobranchus striatus None None G5/S3
Mammals Northern Yellow Bat Lasiurus intermedius None None G4G5/S2S3
Southeastern Myotis Myotis austroriparius None None G3G4/S3
Round-tailed Muskrat Neofiber alleni None T G3/S3
Reptiles American Alligator Alligator mississippiensis T (S/A) None G5/S4
Eastern Indigo Snake Drymarchon corais couperi T T G4T3/S3
Gopher Tortoise Gopherus polyphemus T T G3/S3
Southern Hognose Snake Heterodon simus None None G2/S2
Alligator Snapping Turtle Macroclemys temminckii None T G3G4/S3
Eastern Coral Snake Micrurusfulviusfulvius None None G5T5/S3
Birds Bachman's Sparrow Aimophila aestivalis None R G3/S3
American Bittern Botaurus lentiginosus None None G4/S3?
Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea None None G5/S3?
SE American Kestrel Falco sparverius paulus None None G5T4/S3
Florida Sandhill Crane Grus canadensis pratensis None None G5T2T3/S1
Greater Sandhill Crane Grus canadensis tabida None None G5T4/S2
Wood Stork Mycteria americana E E G4/S2
Southern Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus T E G4/S2
Southern Bald Eagle 7ec hT E G4/S2
__________leucocephalus
S Loggerhead Shrike Lanius ludovicianus migrans None None G4T3Q/S?













Table 3-1. Continued.
aFederal Status E = Endangered A species that may become extinct or disappear from a significant part of its range if not
immediately protected
T = Threatened A species that may become endangered if not protected
S/A = Similarity of
Appearance

bState Status E = Endangered A species which is in danger of extinction throughout all or part of its range in Georgia
T = Threatened A species which is likely to become an endangered species in the foreseeable future throughout all
or part of its range in Georgia
R = Rare A species which may not be endangered or threatened but which should be protected because of its
scarcity
U = Unusual A species deserving of special consideration and plants subjected to commercial exploitation

cNatural Heritage G1 Critically imperiled globally because of extreme rarity (5 or fewer occurrences)
Status
G2 Imperiled globally because of rarity (6 to 20 occurrences)
G3 Rare and local throughout range or in a special habitat or narrowly endemic (on the order of 21 to
100 occurrences)
G4 Apparently secure and of no immediate conservation concern
G5 Demonstrably secure globally
Q Denotes a taxonomic question either the taxon is not generally recognized as valid, or there is
reasonable concern about its validity or identity globally or at the state level
S1 Critically imperiled in Georgia because of extreme rarity (5 or fewer occurrences)
S2 Imperiled in Georgia because of rarity (6 to 20 occurrences)
S3 Rare and uncommon throughout the state or in a special habitat or narrowly endemic (on the order
of 21 to 100 occurrences)
S4 Apparently secure and of no immediate conservation concern
S5 Demonstrably secure in state
T Taxonomic subdivision (trinomial, either a subspecies or variety), used in global rank, for example
"G2T2"
? Denotes questionable rank; best guess given whenever possible












Table 3-2. Summary of and justification for inclusion of conservation targets.
Conservation Justification for Site Target Selection Nested Species, Communities,
Justification for Site Target Selection
Target or Ecological Systems
Half of the world's wetlands are estimated to have been lost during the 20th American bittern (Botaurus
century, with more than half having already been destroyed in the United States lentiginosus)
(TNC 2003). TNC (2001) lists a total of five wading birds that rank as species of
special concern at the state or federal level due to such habitat loss. These five Florida sandhill crane (Grus
Wading Birds species (American Bittern, Florida Sandhill Crane, Greater Sandhill Crane, Little canadensis pratensis)
Blue Heron, and Wood Stork) either nest or over-winter (or both) in the
Ecological Footprint. Preservation of viable population sizes and structures of Little blue heron (Egretta
these species also encompasses preservation of wetland habitat one of the most cauerula)
imperiled ecotypes in the world.
Longleaf pine ecosystems are among the most threatened in North America. Once
covering a reported 36.4 million hectares in the Southeastern United States, less
that 1.2 million hectares of longleaf remain today (USFWS 2003). A 97% decline
in the longleaf pine/wiregrass ecosystem has occurred in the Coastal Plains of the
Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas. In southeastern
Eastern indigo snake
Georgia, the longleaf pine forest declined 36% (to -93,000 hectares) between .
(Drymarchon corals couperi)
1981 and 1988 (Johnson 1988). Most of this conversion has been from second- or
Longleaf Pine / third-growth longleaf pine stands to slash or loblolly pine plantation forestry Gopher tortoise (Gopherus
Longleaf Pine / Gopher tortoise (Gopherus
(USFWS 2003).
Wiregrass (USFWS 2003). polyphemus)
Analyses of the Ecological Footprint indicate that there has been a 24 -
35% loss in longleaf pine forest stands since 1977 and perhaps at least a 50%
1Bachman's sparrow
decrease in the ratio of area to perimeter since 1990. With roughly 19% (and
rising) of remaining longleaf pine forests affected directly by urban sprawl, it is (Aimophila aestiva
extremely important to conserve this unique ecosystem. Doing so would also
protect the 30-plus plant and animal species associated with longleaf pine
ecosystems which are threatened or endangered, including the red-cockaded
woodpecker and gopher tortoise (USFWS 2003).












Table 3-2. Continued.
Conservation Justification for Site Target Selection Nested Species, Communities,
Justification for Site Target Selection
Target or Ecological Systems
The Carolina Bays found on Moody Air Force Base are the largest and most Hooded pitcher plant
S. nA1Hooded pitcher plant
biologically intact Carolina Bays in the region and comprise the bulk of the (a
Ca a Bs Grand Bay/Banks Lake wetland complex. Exclusive of the Okefenokee Swamp,
Isolated Welands this wetland complex of over 5,250 hectares is the largest freshwater lake-swamp Mud sunfish (Acanthrarchus
Isolated Wetlands .M suish (Acanrarchus
system in the Coastal Plain of Georgia (MAFB 2001, Anonymous 2002). The
Carolina Bay / Isolated wetland complex supports a wide array of wading birds, potomis)
reptiles, and amphibians (see nested species box).
A variety of insectivorous and frugivorous migratory birds are known to use habitat
within the GBBL complex, including at least two federal candidate species: the
Veery and the Willow Flycatcher and possibly the Black-billed Cuckoo. TNC
(2001) has determined that the site is also an important breeding habitat for a Loggerhead shrike (Lanius
Migratory Birds number of globally declining neotropical migrant songbirds including Wood ludovicianus migrans)
Thrush, Red-eyed Vireo, and Hooded Warbler. All of these species are edge
sensitive. This is important to note because since 1990, the ratio of area to
perimeter has decreased by roughly 56%.
Any changes in riverine hydrology and/or, water quality may directly impact the
Carolina Bay wetland complex (also listed as a conservation target), the main Goln tw
Golden topminnow (Fundulus
reason Riverine Aquatic Systems should be considered as a conservation target. chr
chrysotus)
Riverine Aquatic The riverine systems flowing through the GBBL complex are exposed to
Systems two of the main causes of freshwater biodiversity decline cited by TNC (2003): 1) Mud s h
Mud sunfish (Acanthrarchus
hydrologic alteration from dams, small impoundments, and diversions, and 2) i
water quality degradation largely from agriculture. Over the last 100 years, the potomis)
scope of these threats has increased exponentially.












Table 3-2. Continued.
Conservation Justification for Site Target Selection Nested Species, Communities,
Target or Ecological SystemsTarget Selection
Target or Ecological Systems


Two of the highest quality hardwood hammocks in Georgia occur on Moody Air
Force Base: Dudley's Hammock, a -50 hectare site in the south-central part of
the installation, and Hickory Hammock, a 11 hectare site located just south of
the Grand Bay Weapons Range bomb target (MAFB 2001).
Dudley's Hammock, is noted as the most significant (and potentially
only) evergreen hammock remaining in the state. Dudley's hammock contains the
Spruce Pine and is one of the few locations in Georgia containing the epiphytic
Green-Fly Orchid (Epidendrum conopseum) (Anonymous 2002).
The diversity of mature hardwood trees and woody shrubs within hardwood
hammocks provides an important stopover habitat for insectivorous and frugivorous
migratory birds, including at least two federal candidate species: Veery and Willow
Flycatcher and possibly the Black-billed Cuckoo. The site is also an important
breeding habitat for certain globally declining neotropical migrant songbirds that are
edge-sensitive, including Wood Thrush, Red-eyed Vireo, and Hooded Warbler.
There is also an historic record of an indigo snake from Dudley's Hammock
(TNCGA 2001, MAFB 2001).


Green-fly orchid, (Epidendrum
conopseum conopseum)

American alligator (Alligator
mississippiensis)

Eastern indigo snake
(Drymarchon corals couperi)

Wood stork (Mycteria
americana)


Hardwood
Hammocks













Table 3-3. Summary of sources and methodologies for creation of conservation target GIS maps.
Conservation
n Source of GIS Data Layers GIS Data Layers Creation Methodology/Assumptions
Target
Georgia Data Clearinghouse, Georgia Land-use types analyzed included emergent wetlands, forested wetlands,
W GAP Project, National Wetlands non-forested wetlands, open water, scrub wetlands, and shrub wetlands,
Wading Birds
Inventory, Original Content, South with the assumption that these habitats were critical for wading bird
Georgia Regional Development Center feeding, nesting, and other natural history aspects.
.Ge a Da Ce, G a Because high-quality, forest type-specific data layers do not exist, I
Georgia Data Clearinghouse, Georgia
Longleaf Pine / GAP Project, iginalo South analyzed evergreen and mixed forest habitat data. This certainly
.. GAP Project, Original Content, South
Wiregrass I Georgia regional D o ent Cntr overestimated the area of longleaf pine forests and interpretation of my
Georgia Regional Development Center
results by the reader should reflect that.
A second analysis was undertaken using a 1998 TNC large-scale map
Lo af Pe The N e C, O l delineating longleaf pine forests. This, too, overestimates the area of
Longleaf Pine / The Nature Conservancy, Original .
gaf n Con longleaf pine, but to a lesser extent than my first analysis. However, the
Wiregrass II Content .
scale is too large to compare results with data from other years (as with my
first analysis) and must stand alone.
C a Bs / Georgia Data Clearinghouse, Georgia
GAP Project, National Wetlands Land-use types analyzed included forested wetlands, non-forested
Isolated
Isolated Inventory, Original Content, South wetlands, open water, reservoirs, scrub wetlands, and shrub wetlands.
Wetland Georgia Regional Development Center
SiLand-use types analyzed included deciduous, evergreen, and mixed forests,
Georgia Data Clearinghouse, Georgia
Mig r Birs GAP P ct, riginaContent, Souh with the assumption that these habitats were critical for wading bird
Migratory Birds GAP Project, Original Content, South
Georgia Re l Dt C r feeding, nesting, and other natural history aspects. Migratory wading birds
Georgia Regional Development Center .
are analyzed within the Wading Bird section.
Georgia Data Clearinghouse, Georgia
Ri e A c GAP Project, National Wetlands
Riverine Aquatic
Inventory, Original Content, South Land-use types analyzed included rivers and streams.
s Georgia Regional Development Center,
United States Census Bureau
Georgia Data Clearinghouse, Georgia .
Hardwood Georgia Data Clearinghouse, Georgia Known hardwood hammocks and forest stands delineated as islands were
GAP Project, Original Content, South
Hammocks Regional Develo ent Center analyzed.
Georgia Regional Development Center













Table 3-4. Biodiversity health assessment for each of the conservation targets based on three ecological integrity categories (size,
condition, and landscape scale context) that determine the viability of each conservation target.
Site Landscape Overall
Site Size S. Condition Landscape Landscape Context Overa
Conservation Size Justification Condition Justification Context scaonBiodiversity
Rank Rank Justification
Target ______________________________________Rank ________Health Score


Although there
have been no recent
field studies into
population size of
the sixteen wading
bird species
documented to
occur in the area,
conversations with
regional biologists
and personal
observations
indicate that
wading birds occur
in high numbers
and will utilize
most of the aquatic
habitats available
to them.


New field studies are
needed for confirmation,
but it appears that wading
birds are not succumbing to
overwhelming disease,
predation, introduced
competitors, etc. Many
species are known to nest
here and it appears that
there is normal distribution
of age and sex classes. Five
of sixteen total wading bird
species that have been
documented in the area are
listed as species of special
concern by the federal
government, state of
Georgia, or natural heritage
survey, indicating that the
majority of wading bird
species using the GBBL
habitat are able to maintain
a viable population size and
structure in the area.


Good


Because wetlands, rivers,
and areas of open water are
pervasive throughout the
Ecological Footprint, there
are sufficient critical areas
available for wading bird
feeding, nesting, and other
natural history aspects.
Also, this high level of
connectivity is beneficial in
the event of localized
damage or disturbance,
allowing easy opportunities
for wading bird dispersal or
recolonization.


Good


Wading
Birds


Good


Good














Table 3-4. Continued.
Site Landscape Overall
St Size Condition Landscape Context O.
Conservation Size Justification Condition Justification Context e C Biodiversity
ank RRank Justification
Target Rank Health Score


Longleaf Pine
/ Wiregrass


In southeastern
Georgia, longleaf
pine forests declined
36% (to 93,000
hectares) between
1981 and 1988
(Johnson 1988).
Within the Ecological
Footprint, my first
analysis shows that
forests that may
contain longleaf pine
(mixed and
evergreen) have
declined by 35%
between 1977 and
1998. Due to the
nature of the data, I
was not able to
perform the exact
same analysis using a
second set of forest
data obtained from
TNC. However, it
does appear that
longleaf pine forests
may have declined by
29.5% between 1977
and 1998


Much of the site is being
maintained through controlled
burning, however, longleaf
pine forest understory and
ground cover are in varying
stages of
suppression/succession
depending upon the
uniformity of fire.
The area has historically
undergone a high degree of
fire suppression, the effects of
which are still manifest on
current longleaf pine stands.
1998 2001 MAFB fire
management practices resulted
in burning 45 65% of the
total possible longleaf pine
area.
Fires have been suppressed
more frequently & to a greater
extent on non-Moody lands.
Regional fire ecologists are
aware of this and in
conversation, seem to be
committed to rectifying past
thoughts and actions on the
benefits of fire.


Poor


Longleaf pine systems are
among the most threatened in
North America (The Nature
Conservancy of Georgia
1998). Once covering 36.4
million hectares in the
Southeastern United States,
today less than 1.2 million
hectares of longleaf remain
(United States Fish and
Wildlife Service, 2003). A
97% decline in the longleaf
pine/wiregrass ecosystem has
occurred in the Coastal Plains
of NC, SC, GA, FL, AL, LA,
and TX. Additionally,
landscape-scale fire
suppression has had and
continues to have a negative
impact on longleaf pine
ecosystems. Remnant longleaf
pine ecosystems are extremely
fragmented at the landscape
scale (increasing 55% from
1990 to 1998) and often at the
scale of individual stands.


Poor


Poor


Fair













Table 3-4. Continued.
Site Landscape Overall
St Size Condition Landscape Context O.
Conservation Size Justification Condition Justification Context e C Biodiversity
ank RRank Justification
Target Rank Health Score


The Carolina Bays
found on Moody
Air Force Base are
the largest and
most biologically
intact Carolina
Bays in the region
and comprise the
bulk of the Grand
Bay/Banks Lake
wetland complex
(Anonymous 2002,
Moody Air Force
Base 2001). At a
local scale,
hydrarch
succession appears
to be the biggest
threat to the size of
existent Carolina
Bays (sensu Moody
Air Force Base
2001). Certain
areas (Grand Bay)
are also exposed to
human / residential
development and
shoreline
encroachment.


72.2% of the 150 meter
buffer zone (a distance
chosen to be large enough
to go beyond federal
wetland buffer minimums,
but be small enough to
capture only the nearest
neighbors of the wetlands)
surrounding the Carolina
Bay ecotype within GBBL
is ranked within a low to
moderate risk of toxins and
contaminants meaning
that 27.8% or, over a
quarter of land within the
150 meter buffer zone
surrounding Carolina Bays
is at moderate to high risk
of toxins or contaminants.
Hydrarch succession due to
infrequent fire intervals is
occurring over part of the
Carolina Bay range -
particularly in Grand Bay.
MAFB burned only 34 -
40% of the possible
Carolina Bay habitat during
1998-2001.


Exclusive of the
Okefenokee Swamp, this
wetland complex of over
5,250 hectares is the largest
freshwater lake-swamp
system in the Coastal Plain
of Georgia (Moody Air
Force Base 2001, The
Nature Conservancy of
Georgia 2002b). The
majority of large Carolina
Bays in this region are
captured within GBBL
Council boundaries.
Therefore these bays and
the connectivity between
them are fairly well
protected. In addition,
within the Ecological
Footprint, -28% of land
within 150 meters of
Carolina Bays or Isolated
Wetlands is within
moderate to high risk of
toxins or contaminants, a
potential threat to normal
water chemistry levels.


Fair


Carolina
Bays /
Isolated
Wetlands


Good


Fair













Table 3-4. Continued.
Site Landscape Overall
St Size Condition Landscape Context O.
Conservation Size Justification Condition Justification Context e C Biodiversity
ank RRank Justification
Target Rank Health Score


There have been no
recent field studies
to determine
population sizes,
extent, or overall
general health of
the various
migratory birds that
utilize GBBL areas.
It is thought that
migratory birds are
utilizing a variety
of habitats
throughout the
Ecological
Footprint, usually
in healthy numbers.
Such species
include (Moody
Air Force Base
2001): the Veery,
Willow Flycatcher,
possibly Black-
billed Cuckoo,
Wood Thrush,
Hooded Warbler,
Bachman's
Sparrow, and
Loggerhead Shrike.


Good


Again, there are no
concrete field data on
which to base this ranking.
It comes solely from
conversations with regional
biologists as well as
incidental observations that
a variety of threatened and
non-threatened bird species
(see Size Justification for
examples) are utilizing the
Ecological Footprint and
are able to maintain a
viable population size and
structure in the area.


Indirect evidence of
migratory bird health at the
landscape scale comes from
GIS analysis of forest
change. Roughly 60% of
forested area (mixed,
evergreen, and deciduous
forest types) has been lost
from 1977 1998. In
addition, forest
fragmentation has increased
55% in the Ecological
Footprint from 1990 to
1998.


Good


Migratory
Birds


Good













Table 3-4. Continued.
Site Landscape Overall
St Size Condition Landscape Context O.
Conservation Size Justification Condition Justification Context e C Biodiversity
ank RRank Justification
Target Rank Health Score


There is a broad
geographic
coverage of rivers
and streams of
varying sizes.


Although neighbored in
some places by urban or
agricultural areas, rivers
appear to be in good
condition. Within the
Ecological Footprint,
80.1% of land lying within
150 meters of riverine areas
is at low to moderate risk
of toxins and contaminants.
Urban development within
150 meters of rivers has not
increased dramatically
since 1977.


Good


Around 20% of the area
within 150 meters of
riverine areas within the
Ecological Footprint falls
within the moderate to high
toxin or contaminant risk
category, a potential threat
to normal water chemistry
levels. Urban development
within 150 meters of rivers
has not increased
dramatically since 1977,
reducing the chances of
river channelization or
diversion.


Good


Riverine
Aquatic
Systems


Good














Table 3-4. Continued.
Site Landscape Overall
St Size Condition Landscape Context O.
Conservation Size Justification Condition Justification Context e C Biodiversity
ank RRank Justification
Target Rank Health Score


Few hardwood
hammock stands still
exist. Yet there is
relatively low risk of
size reduction for
Dudley's and
Hickory Hammocks
at the present time.
Some hunting is
allowed in Hickory
Hammock, but
neither hammock is
exposed to heavy
human use, or
development
encroachment.
Accidental fire
caused by a nearby
active EOD range
and logging are the
greatest potential size
threats to Dudley's
and Hickory
Hammock,
respectively (Moody
Air Force Base
2001).


Dudley's Hammock is one of
the best examples of a low
hammock in Georgia. It is
completely isolated by
surrounding bayswamp, and
much of it has not been
significantly disturbed for
many years (Moody Air Force
Base 2001). Access is limited
by locked gates. At present, it
receives little use and human
impact is minimal (Moody Air
Force Base, 2001). By
contrast, Hickory Hammock, a
remnant hardwood hammock
similar in composition to
Dudley's Hammock, has
apparently burned more
frequently and more recently
than Dudley's Hammock
(Moody Air Force Base
2001). (Moody Air Force
Base 2001) suggests that
Dudley's and Hickory
Hammocks should be
protected from wildfire.


Poor


Very few hardwood hammock
stands still exist and there is a
low level of connectivity
between individual
hammocks. In the event of
localized disturbance or
destruction, it is unlikely that
hardwood hammock-
dependent species would be
able to disperse, migrate, or
recolonize other hardwood
hammocks. Accidental fire
caused by a nearby active
EOD range is the greatest
potential threat to Dudley's
Hammock, while logging (and
its associated human
disturbance) may pose the
greatest potential threat to
Hickory Hammock (Moody
Air Force Base 2001).


Poor


Fair


Poor


Good


Hardwood
Hammocks


Overall
Biodiversity
Health












Table 3-5. Stress rank = function of (severity and scope), using the matrix below.
Severity
Very High High Medium Low
Very High Very High High Medium Low
High High High Medium Low
Medium Medium Medium Medium Low
Low Low Low Low Low












Table 3-6. Source rank = function of (contribution and irreversibility), using the matrix below.
Contribution
Very High High Medium Low
Very High Very High High High Medium
Irrev y High Very High High Medium Medium
Irreversibility
Medium High Medium Medium Low
Low High Medium Low Low












Table 3-7.


Source/stress rank = function of (source and stress), using the matrix below.


Source
Very High High Medium Low
Very High Very High Very High High Medium
Stress High High High Medium Low
Medium Medium Medium Low Low
Low Low Low Low Low












Table 3-8. Major stresses, their severity, and their scope for each of the six GBBL conservation targets.
Conservation Target Stresses Severity Scope
Wading Birds Habitat destruction or conversion High High
Modification of water levels High High
Nutrient loading High Medium
Alteration of natural fire regimes High High
Longleaf Pine / Wiregrass Habitat destruction or conversion Very High High
Habitat fragmentation Very High High
Alteration of natural fire regimes Medium High
Carolina Bays / Isolated Wetlands Alteration of natural fire regimes High High
Nutrient loading High High
Sedimentation Medium High
Modification of water levels High High
Habitat destruction or conversion Medium High
Migratory Birds Habitat destruction or conversion High High
Habitat fragmentation Medium High
Alteration of natural fire regimes Medium High
Tower trauma Low Low
Riverine Aquatic Systems Habitat destruction or conversion High High
Nutrient loading Medium High
Sedimentation Medium High
Modification of water levels Low High
Toxins/contamination Medium High
Hardwood Hammocks Alteration of natural fire regimes High High
Toxins/contaminants Medium Medium













Table 3-9. Summary of the major sources of stress for the six GBBL conservation targets and their overall threat status.
Carolina
Longleaf Riverine a Critical To
STh Wading Pine / Bays / Migratory i Hardwood Thre Total
Systems and Threats Birds Pine / IBirds Aquatic hreat
Birds Wiregras Isolated Birds Rn Hammocks Score
Wiregrass Systems Rank
Wetlands
Incompatible primary Very h Very High High High 6.00
home development High HighHigh High High
Incompatible forestry
parties Medium High Medium High Medium Medium 2.60
practices
Fire suppression Medium High Medium High High 2.40
Conversion for agriculture High High Medium Hih 2.20
/ silviculture
Incompatible crop
IncompatiMedium High Low Medium 1.23
production practices Medium Hh
Incompatible commercial H Hih
High High 1.00
development
Ordinance disposal site /
S- High High 1.00
toxins leeching
Incompatible operation of High High 1.00
High High 1.00
water control structures
Construction of ditches,
dikes, and drainage Medium Medium Medium 0.40
systems
Incompatible livestock Low Low 0.03
-- Low Low 0.03
production practices
Threat Status for Targets
Threat Stas for Targets Medium High High High Medium High High
and Site













Table 3-10. A prioritized list of critical broad-level conservation objectives for each of the six GBBL conservation targets is presented
below.
Wading Longleaf Carolina Bays Migrat Riveine Strategy
,.,. ..Wading Migratory Hardwood Total
Objectives Across Systems rd Pine / / Isolated Birds Aquatic Benefit Score
Birds Birds Hammocks Score
Wiregrass Wetlands Systems Rank
Enhance or restore critical habitat Very Hh Hh V H H H H 7.
c scia c ig High High Very High High High High 7.00
for species of special concern. High
Restore fire regimes within the
natural ranges of variation for High Very High Very High Medium Low High High 5.23
100% of the GBBL complex.
Limit logging to minimal .
Limit login to minimal Low High High High Medium Very High High 4.73
selective timber harvest.
Enhance and restore landscape
connectivity between and within Medium Very High High Very High Medium Medium Medium 4.60
ecotypes.
Prohibit additional residential,
commercial, and agricultural Very
.. Very High -- Very High -- Very High 4.5
development within 150 meters of High
wetlands / rivers.
Identify specific sources of toxins
/ contaminants and reduce or High Low Very High Medium Very High Medium High 4.43
eliminate emittance.
Collaborate with neighboring
landowners to promote and .
landowners to promote and High High High Medium High Low High 4.23
establish conservation easements,
and to promote habitat protection.
Coordinate an effort among
Council members to restore
tural hdrolo regmes High -- Very High -- Very High Medium High 4.20
natural hydrological regimes
across the GBBL area.













Table 3-10. Continued.
Carolina
Longleaf Ca a Riverine Strategy
Wading ine / Bays / Migratory Aquatic Hardwood Benefit Total
Objectives Across Systems .Pine/ Aquatic Benefit
Objectives Across Systems Birds Wire Isolated Birds Hammocks Score
Wiregrass Wetlands Systems Rank
Wetlands
Prohibit grazing of livestock within
150 meters of wetland / riverine High High High High 3.00
areas.
Establish a long-term, annual
monitoring program for species of Vy Hh Hh
High -- -- Very High -- -- High 2.50
special concern within GBBL
boundaries.
Prohibit use of motorboats. High -- High -- -- -- High 2.00
Manage 100% of the forests
containing Longleaf Pine to VeryHigh Low Low 1.53
maintain or restore Longleaf Pine as
the primary species.
Track sources of sediment in order
to reduce sedimentation in Medium High Low 1.20
wetlands.
Prohibit the construction of
additional towers (especially radio,
cellular and television towers) in Medium Medium -- Medium 0.40
and around the Ecological Footprint
area.
Develop and implement a
comprehensive management plan for Medium Low Low Low Low Low Low 0.35
the eradication of invasive species.













Table 3-11. Overview of conservation strategies and actions for each of the six conservation targets.
Conservation Target Conservation Strategies and Actions
Wading Birds Maintain wading bird populations at +/- two standard errors of their current size (determine through research surveys).
Enhance or restore critical habitat for wood storks.
Establish a long-term, annual monitoring program for wading birds within the Ecological Footprint.
Restore fire regimes within the natural ranges of variation for Carolina Bays and associated forests (return intervals of 7 -
25 years).
Prohibit or minimize the construction of additional towers (especially radio, cellular and television towers) in and around
the Ecological Footprint.
Reduce the percentage of land within (at least) 150 meters of wetland areas that has a moderate to high risk of toxins and
contaminants to less than 20% (currently 27.8%).
Restore fire regimes within the natural ranges of variation (return intervals of 1 3 years) over the full extent of areas
Longleaf Pine / containing Longleaf Pine to maintain and enhance open longleafpine stands and groundcover. A fuel reduction bum should
Wiregrass be conducted followed by summer burning on a 1-3 year rotation. The timing of these bums should take into consideration
the breeding period of the Bachman's Sparrow and include isolated shallow pond wetlands (TNCGA 2001).
Restore an area of Longleaf Pine within the Ecological Footprint to its pre-1980 levels, a 36%+ increase over current
levels.
Limit logging to thinning operations for smaller diameter trees (TNCGA 2001).
Manage 100% of the forests containing Longleaf Pine to maintain or restore Longleaf Pine as the primary species
(currently 27.8% on MAFB).
Restore or enhance connectivity between remnant stands of Longleaf Pine.
Hold workshops as well as produce and distribute literature informing landowners of the significance of Longleaf Pine /
Wiregrass ecosystems.
Carolina Bays / Restore fire regimes within the natural ranges of variation (return intervals of 7 25 years) over the full extent of areas
Isolated Wetlands containing Carolina Bays, Isolated Wetlands, and associated forest stands.
Remove any fire breaks in existence between uplands and wetlands to eliminate unnatural transitions or disturbance
within these ecotones (TNCGA 2001).
Reduce the percentage of land within (at least) 150 meters of wetland areas that has a moderate to high risk of toxins and
contaminants to less than 20% (currently 27.8%) through land purchases, landuse conversion, and/or reduction of
incompatible landuse practices.
Restore natural hydrological regimes to maintain historical hydrological connectivity extents between the bays.
Prohibit logging with the exception of minimal selective timber harvest (TNCGA 2001)













Table 3-11. Continued.
Conservation Target Conservation Strategies and Actions
Carolina Bays /
Isolated Wetlands Establish monitoring programs for green-fly orchid, blue maidencane, climbing heath, striped mud turtles, and nesting
isolated Wetlands American bittern (TNCGA 2001).
(continued)
Discontinue dredging, channelization, and mechanized disturbance activities at Cooter Creek (TNCGA 2001).
Maintain current migratory bird populations at +/- two standard errors of their current sizes (determine through research
Migratory Birds
surveys).
Enhance or restore critical habitat for Bachman's sparrows and loggerhead shrikes (both candidates either for federal
listing, globally declining species, or species of special concern).
Prohibit or minimize the construction of additional towers (especially radio, cellular and television towers) in and around
the Ecological Footprint area to reduce the chance of tower-induced mortality of migratory birds using the area.
Restore forested area (-60% loss of forested area mixed, evergreen, and deciduous between 1977 and 1998) such that
connectivity between, and heterogeneity in vertical structure existing forest stands is increased.
Riverine Aquatic Restore natural hydrology in areas where rivers are dammed and/or have been rechanneled.
Systems
Reduce the percentage of land within (at least) 150 meters of riverine areas that has a moderate to high risk of toxins and
contaminants to less than 15% (currently 19.9%).
Prohibit grazing of livestock within (at least) 150 meters of riverine areas.
Prohibit additional residential, commercial, and agricultural development within (at least) 150 meters of riverine areas.
Prevent the spread of wildfire from surrounding forests to Dudley's and Hickory Hammocks (other than within the natural
Hardwood Hammocks ranges of variation: return intervals of less than 7 25 years) by maintaining a sufficiently high water level in the
surrounding wetlands (TNCGA 2001).
Limit human disturbance of hardwood hammocks (TNCGA 2001) by:
Prohibiting expansion or activity on Bemiss field that would negatively impact the wetland buffer surrounding Dudley's
Hammock,
Allowing access to Dudley's Hammock only for educational and research activities,
Prohibiting hunting in Dudley's Hammock and limit hunting in Hickory Hammock (due to risk of fire), and
Limiting road maintenance / improvement and transport of material through Dudley's Hammock.
Monitor Dudley's Hammock for indigo snakes.












Table 3-12. Recommended monitoring plans for each of the six conservation targets.
Cn Biodiversity Health /
etThreat Abatement Indicator Methods Timing / Frequency
Target Attribute Measured
Point counts for wading birds at
S. _random points equally distributed u
Wading Birds Size Population sizes random points equally distributed Quarterly
throughout potential wading bird
habitat.
Size Number of species of special Review federal, state, and natural
concern heritage lists for species-specific A
,. Annually
wading bird status.
Conduct water quality tests
placing testing and monitoring
Condition Water quality emphasis on toxins and
contaminants known to be Quarterly
endocrine disruptors.
Monitor number of breeding pairs Breeding season of
Breeding season of
Condition Reproductive success and number of fledglings for all
each species
species of special concern.
Sample invertebrate and fish Annually, prior to
Co n Abundance and distribution species at random points equality the onset of wading
Condition
of prey species distributed throughout potential bird breeding
wading bird habitat. season
> iReview prescribed burn and
Percent known wading bird Review prescribed burn and Annually at the end
wildfire records for the wetland
Landscape Context habitat with fire frequency of .wilie r s fr the wet of the burning
7 25 yeaareas within the Ecological
7 25 years Footprintseason
Footprint.
Amount and distribution of
Am t ad dn of GIS analysis of landuse change As new GIS layers
Landscape Context landuses surrounding over time become available
wetlaover time. become availableareas
wetland areas












Table 3-12. Continued.
Cn Biodiversity Health /
etThreat Abatement Indicator Methods Timing / Frequency
Target Attribute Measured
Percent of total forested area Ground-truth Longleaf Pine
Longleaf Pine / containing Longleaf Pine distribution and abundance maps.
Size Every three years
Wiregrass having Longleaf Pine as the Review forestry and silviculture
primary species inventory records.
S Monitor age-class composition in
oAbundance of Longleaf Pine
Condition Abundance l all stands containing Longleaf Every three years
in each age class Pine.
Pine.
Percent of forested areas Review prescribed burn and Annually at the end
Condition containing Longleaf Pine wildfire records for the Ecological of the burning
that have a fire return Footprint areas containing
interval of 1 3 years LongleafPine. se
Presence of competitive / Line-transect surveys of all
Condition invasive species and disease forested areas containing Longleaf Annually
within Longleaf Pine stands Pine.
Amount and distribution of
Amount and dn of GIS analysis of landuse change As new GIS layers
Landscape Context landuses surrounding forests over time. become available
over time. become available
containing Longleaf Pine
Utilize landscape ecology metrics One time for use in
to calculate the connectivity of planning Longleaf
Landscape Context Connectivity P ,, .
Longleaf Pine stands throughout Pine restoration
the Ecological Footprint. areas












Table 3-12. Continued.
Cn Biodiversity Health /
etThreat Abatement Indicator Methods Timing / Frequency
Target Attribute Measured
Delineation
Delineation of historical wetland comparison one
C a Tol h s u oin boundaries using remote sensing time with annual
Carolina Bays / c. Total hectares undergoing ,
Isolated Wetla Size h images and comparing the calculation of
Isolated Wetlands hydrarch succession
historical wetland extents with hydrarch succession
current wetland extents. area following the
burn season.
Conduct surveys for invasive
species throughout the Ecological
Footprint's Carolina Bay / Isolated Quarterly and
Condition Invasive species
Wetland areas, recording the opportunistically
number and distribution of
invasives.
Conduct water quality tests
placing testing and monitoring
Condition Water quality emphasis on toxins and Quarterly
contaminants known to be
endocrine disruptors.
Amount and distribution of GIS analysis of landuse change As new GIS layers
Landscape Context .
surrounding landuses over time become available
Review prescribed burn and Annually at the end
S. 7Annually at the end
Landscape Context Percent target area with a 7 wildfire records for the wetland of the burning
Landscape Context of the burning
25 year fire return interval areas within the Ecological
Footrin season
Footprint.












Table 3-12. Continued.
Cn Biodiversity Health /
etThreat Abatement Indicator Methods Timing / Frequency
Target Attribute Measured
Operate water control structures to
mimic historical hydrological
connectivity among the Ecological
C Footprint's Carolina Bay / Isolated
Carol Bs / Presence and abundance of Wetland areas. Eliminate water
Isolated Wetlands Landscape Context water control structures control structures that disruptAlways
(continued)
historical hydrological
connectivity among the Ecological
Footprint's Carolina Bays /
Isolated Wetlands.
Randomly distributed point counts Annually during the
Migratory Birds Size Population sizes for migratory birds throughout fall
S. fall migration
potential migratory bird habitat.
Number of species of special Review federal, state, and natural
Size concern heritage lists for species-specific Annually
migratory bird status.
Develop an index of vertical
heterogeneity (high heterogeneity Annual
Condition V l hy equals high bird diversity) for characterization of
forest stands and select random forest stands once
plots within migratory bird habitat index is developed
to rate according to this index.
Monitor number of breeding pairs Breeding season of
Condition ,Breeding season of
Condition Reproductive success and number of fledglings for all
specieeach species
species of special concern.












Table 3-12. Continued.
Cn Biodiversity Health /
etThreat Abatement Indicator Methods Timing / Frequency
Target Attribute Measured
Calculate area via perimeter ratios
Migratory Birds from GIS forest coverage data or
itoy Bids Landscape Context Forest fragmentationfrm frest er or Every three years
(continued) perform field measurements on
forest areas and perimeters.
Review prescribed burn and
Percent forested area within wildfire records for the wetland Annually at the end
Landscape Context historical fire return intervals areas within the Ecologicalburning
Footprint. season
Analyze updated GIS hydrological
Riverine Aquatic Size Total length of river data for changes in total length of As new GIS layers
Size Total length of river ,i 11
Systems river within the Ecological become available
Footprint.
Conduct water quality tests
placing testing and monitoring
Condition Water quality emphasis on toxins and Quarterly
contaminants known to be
endocrine disruptors.
Collect sediment sample from
rivers adjacent to areas believed to
Condition Sedimentation loads contain major sources of sediment Quarterly
run-off (near agricultural and
silvicultural activities .












Table 3-12. Continued.
Cn Biodiversity Health /
etThreat Abatement Indicator Methods Timing / Frequency
Target Attribute Measured
Operate water control structures to
.R e A c mimic historical hydrological
Riverine Aquatic
Systems Landscape Context Presence and abundance of connectivity among riverine areas. Always
(continued) water control structures Eliminate water control structures
that disrupt historical hydrological
connectivity.
Amount and distribution of GIS analysis of landuse change As new GIS layers
Landscape Context .
surrounding landuses over time. become available
Hardwood Size Total area of Dudley's and Calculate total area from most As new GIS layers
Hammocks Hickory Hammock recent GIS data. become available
Presence of indigo snake, Conduct line-transect surveys for
Condition green-fly orchid, climbing these species in Dudley's and Annually
heath, and needle palm Hickory Hammocks.
Monitor hammocks for frequency
of human use, road construction B, be
TTma A A Aa i Bi-annually, before
Condition Human use and road and/or improvement, and and after hu
construction / improvement associated signs of impact. ana
season
Mitigate negative ecological
impacts from such activities.
7 Maintain sufficient depth to
Water depth in Cooter's Throughout fire
Landscape Context Creek prevent wildfire from reaching season
Creek Dudley's Hammock













Tri-County Area:
Berrien
Lanier
Lowndes


Ecological Footprint


Figure 3-1. The Ecological Footprint within the Tri-County area, Georgia.


Georgia

I


i, i






































V


Migratory Burds


- I4t I I. h -,! I1! .mvI


L~QneaffPin // Wwme I


Lmgaef vPme // Wrarass IIU


U U~mPBa~~lp~da


Figure 3-2. Distribution of conservation targets within the Ecological Footprint.


1 ,- -. 'I-F. -.














CHAPTER 4
SURVEYS OF WILDLIFE PROFESSIONALS AND PRACTICAL CONCLUSIONS

Introduction

Particularly high numbers of species at risk occur on installations in the southeast

United States (NatureServe 2004). As with all other lands, DOD properties are subject to

United States laws and regulations regarding species and land management. Though

committed to preserving wildlife when possible, the first priority of DOD land managers

is to maintain areas suitable for military use (for example, training exercises). Given this

potential conflict of interest, it is imperative that their ecological managers choose the

optimal method of developing management recommendations and plans for their sites. As

part of my graduate work, I assessed ecological conditions at Camp Blanding Training

Site (CBTS) in Starke, Florida and the Grand Bay Bay Lakes area near Valdosta,

Georgia using two different methodologies (summarized in Chapters 2 and 3,

respectively).

One method, the Species At Risk Program advocated a species-by species

technique, while the other, Conservation By Design, utilized an ecosystem-level

approach. Though the methodologies differ, the goals of each include healthier species

and ecosystems. The United States Geological Survey (USGS), Biological Resources

Division (BRD), first initiated the Species At Risk (SAR) program in 1995. The SAR

program was created to identify and report on deficiencies in biological knowledge of

species status, in an effort to stabilize at-risk species and to minimize further listings.

Additionally, it assists Federal, State and private land and resource managers in their









decisions regarding the protection of sensitive species and their habitats. CBTS

developed an initial Integrated Natural Resources Plan (INRMP) in 1998, a requirement

of all DOD lands as per the Sikes Act of 1960 (King 1998, PROACT 2000). Part of the

INRMP calls for outside monitoring and surveillance to assist with the creation and

update of management plans. The Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit

(FCFWRU) was contracted to conduct a multi-species SAR study at and managed by

CBTS from February 2000 August 2001 to assess their environmental inventory.

Another style of conservation management involves investigation of landscape-

scale suites of species or areas of land. One goal of The Nature Conservancy is to

conserve areas to guarantee survival of all species and communities, not just those in

peril. These functional conservation areas are defined within ecoregions. Threats to the

areas are identified and a management plan is then developed. Cumulatively, this process

is called Conservation By Design (CBD). Again, as part of my work, the CBD program

was chosen for use in assessing a multi-use area in southern Georgia.

Moody Air Force Base (MAFB), too, has an INRMP, but chose a different

approach to the ecological management of a shared (MAFB, Grand Bay Wildlife

Management Area, Bay Lakes National Wildlife Refuge) natural area, the Grand Bay -

Bay Lakes (GBBL) region (MAFB 2001). The FCFWRU was contracted to conduct a

CBD analysis of the area. Again, this landscape ecology approach advocated by Low

(2002) combines a thorough ecoregional need assessment (where to work and on what)

prior to the development of an adaptive management plan. Thus, the approach to saving

the plant, animal, and natural community diversity is through protection of areas each

needs to survive (Hoctor 2003, Low 2002). Combining previous research, available GIS