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Overview of Organized Symposia
The following organized symposia will be offered as part of the technical program at the 78th Midwest Fish & Wildlife Conference.
MONDAY, JANUARY 29 | 1:20 PM – 5:00 PM
(1) Citizen Science: Collaboration with the Public for Natural Resource Research, Management, and Conservation
Co-Organizers: Christine Anhalt-Depies, University of Wisconsin-Madison (Primary Organizer); anhaltdepies@wisc.edu
Susan Frett, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Christina Locke, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Eva Lewandowski, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Overview: Citizen science has expanded the scale and scope of ecological monitoring and research. Members of the public who volunteer their time and skills have contributed millions of observations and data points by monitoring streams, identifying wildlife in trail camera photos, observing backyard bird feeders, and carrying out a great diversity of other tasks. Citizen science is oft purported to have far reaching broader impacts on participant learning and in creating a more inclusive scientific process; volunteers bring knowledge of local ecosystems, new perspectives, and valuable skillsets to partnerships with professional scientists. These benefits of citizen science have drawn increasing attention in an era of tight budgets and limited resources, yet there are many practical challenges associated with implementing and maintaining citizen science programs. The outcomes a program can achieve are highly dependent on a program’s initial design and the management of a program. In this symposium, we bring together project managers and citizen science researchers to discuss the practice of citizen science. We share considerations for protocol design, participant recruitment and training, data management, and evaluating program outcomes. The symposium will provide practical advice for individuals interested in collaborating with the public for natural resource research, management, or conservation.

Theme/Topic: Citizen science
(2) Cooperative Ecosystem Study Units (CESUs): Working Together to Support Informed Public Trust Resource Stewardship
Organizers: Nicole Athearn, National Park Service; nicole_athearn@nps.gov
Erin Williams, National Park Service

Overview: The Midwest Region of the National Park Service hosts three Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Units (CESUs): Great Plains, Great Rivers, and Great Lakes - Northern Forest. Part of a nationwide network of 17 CESUs, the Midwest CESUs bring together federal agencies, tribes, academic institutions, states, and nongovernmental conservation organizations to support research, technical assistance, education, and capacity building across the partnerships. In particular, CESUs provide a facilitated pathway for pairing researchers and educators with managers of national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, and other public lands to provide those managers with information tailored to their decision-making and resource management needs. These collaborations help to improve the quality of both natural and cultural resource management decisions at multiple scales and in an ecosystem context. In addition to helping to connect managers with researchers, CESUs support students and early career researchers in finding relevant and exciting research opportunities in our national parks and other public lands. In this symposium, we will explore several CESU-based projects and their contribution to natural and cultural resource management in our public lands across the Midwest. Research Coordinators will also share information about how to learn more about opportunities in your area’s CESU.

Theme/Topic: Collaborative Partnerships, Actionable Science
(3) CWD Management: Facilitating Agency Collaboration
Organizers: Bob Nack, Big Game Section Chief, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; robert.nack@wisconsin.gov
Tami Ryan, Wildlife Health Section Chief, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Overview: CWD continues to pose a significant threat to wild cervid populations nationally and internationally and this is especially evident in the Midwest. Presentations in this symposium will allow agency staff to share current knowledge of CWD in their state, applied management and surveillance strategies, the challenges they are facing, and any identified solutions. This symposium is a perfect fit to the meeting theme of “strengthening natural resources through collaboration”. As CWD continues to present challenges across the country, collaboration among agencies is critical to increasing our knowledge and management of this disease.

Theme/Topic: CWD Management and Collaboration
(4) Ducks to Dickcissels: Collaboration for the Conservation of Multiple Species in Grasslands
Organizers: Kelly VanBeek (primary organizer), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; kelly_vanbeek@fws.gov
Tyler M. Harms, Iowa Department of Natural Resources; Tyler.Harms@dnr.iowa.gov

Overview: In recent history, avian conservation has focused on four main bird groups: waterfowl, shorebirds, waterbirds (e.g., seabirds, wading birds, and marsh birds), and landbirds (e.g., songbirds). Although each of these groups have different needs related to their respective life histories, these needs are not always mutually exclusive. In the face of many threats, particularly habitat loss, future conservation successes will require collaboration among professionals within each of these bird groups to solve common problems. Identifying and understanding common needs and threats within these different bird groups provides the foundation for building collaborative conservation efforts. One example of a threat common to at least two of the above bird groups is grassland loss across North America and its associated impacts on bird communities. Grassland loss, including loss of grass-based working lands in the Midwest, creates a rallying point for conservationists involved in upland nesting waterfowl and grassland bird management efforts. This symposium aims to bring together professionals from the waterfowl and landbird communities to showcase current grassland conservation planning efforts that incorporate multiple bird species objectives, discuss habitat management opportunities on working lands, and identify future areas of collaboration amongst organizations involved in avian conservation for the benefit of multiple species.

Theme/Topic: grasslands, birds, collaboration
(5) Managing Fish Habitat and Fisheries Affected by Habitat in Inland Glacial Lakes
Organizers: Joe Nohner, Research Bioligist, Michigan Department of Natural Resources; nohnerj@michigan.gov
Kevin Wehrly, Michigan Department of Natural Resources; WehrlyK@michigan.gov

Overview: Inland lakes provide ecologically and economically important fisheries resources, which rely on quality habitats that allow fish populations to thrive. Fish habitats are characterized by biological, physical, and chemical aspects of the water body, and fish use these habitats to survive, grow, and reproduce. Because fish population dynamics are affected by fish habitats, fisheries managers must analyze fish habitats to make decisions on fishery regulations, fish stocking, and fish habitat management. This fish habitat information is critical to achieving current and future fisheries management objectives as habitats are changed by humans. While research has been conducted on many fisheries issues related to habitat, dissemination of this research to managers can be incomplete and management practices involving fish habitat vary among individual managers, lake types, and jurisdictional boundaries. Therefore, a need exists for a collaborative review of the existing literature and synthesis of options and recommendations that can be implemented by fisheries managers. From permitting vegetation removal at the scale of one residential property to climate change adaptation at the whole-state scale, this symposium identifies fishery and fish habitat management issues confronting fisheries managers and provides recommendations for management action in Midwest inland lakes.

Theme/Topic: Fisheries management, habitat management, inland lakes
TUESDAY, JANUARY 30 | 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
(6) Advances and Challenges in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation and Management
Organizers: Jennifer Moore, Assistant Professor, Grand Valley State University, Allendale MI; moorejen@gvsu.edu
Sarah Baker, Illinois Natural History Survey, Champaign IL

Overview: Reptiles and amphibians face unique challenges to their persistence in the anthropogenically-altered habitats of the Midwest. Additionally, the unique life history characteristics of threatened and endangered reptiles and amphibians can hinder recovery efforts. Conservation and management of reptiles and amphibians is an inherently collaborative process, requiring cooperation between land managers and scientists from multiple institutions and disciplines. This symposium seeks to highlight the ongoing research into these topics in the Midwest region. The objectives of this symposium are to disseminate research pertaining to amphibian and reptile management practices, ecology, and disease issues in the Midwest and provide a platform for fostering future collaborations to better conserve these organisms.

Theme/Topic: reptiles and amphibians, conservation, ecology
(7) Development, Validation, and Application of Standardized Population Assessments in Inland Waters
Organizers: Jeremy Pritt, Fisheries Biologist, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife; jeremy.pritt@dnr.state.oh.us
Joseph D. Conroy, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife
Stephen M. Tyszko, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife
Jeff D. Koch, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism

Overview: Fisheries agencies routinely conduct population assessments to monitor sport fish populations and make management decisions. Recent emphasis has been placed on standardized sampling protocols to ensure data quality and allow powerful comparisons of fish populations through time and across locations. However, methodology for developing standardized protocols and examples of validated standard protocols are lacking. Consequently, the amount of variability in catch of target species, and the factors influencing this variability, are generally unknown, potentially leading to inefficient sampling, low-quality data, and ultimately less certain management decisions. In this symposium, we provide a platform for fisheries managers and researchers to share methodology for development and validation of population assessments conducted in inland lakes, reservoirs, rivers, and streams. In addition, we welcome presentations that provide examples of applying standardized population data to make management decisions. By developing and improving standardized sampling protocols, fisheries managers and researchers will be better able to use data to inform decisions and compare data collected by different agencies.

Theme/Topic: Standardized sampling, fisheries management, method validation
(8) Waterbird Use and Monitoring of Wetland Protection, Restoration and Enhancement Projects
Organizer: Jacob Straub, Kennedy Grohne Chair in Waterfowl and Wetlands Conservation, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point; jstraub@uwsp.edu

Overview: In the past two decades, wildlife conservation partners have invested hundreds of millions of dollars into the protection, restoration, and enhancement of wetland habitat through a combination of delivery programs. These programs are delivered by numerous partners on federal, state and private lands which represents a relevant nexus to the theme of this years Midwest Fish and Wildlife conference: “Strengthening Natural Resources Through Collaboration”. In particular, the North American Wetlands Conservation Act has funded > 2,644 projects totaling $1.4 billion in grants at the national level. More than 5,600 partners have contributed another $3 billion in matching funds to affect 33.4 million acres of wildlife habitat. There is a renewed interest among wildlife conservation partners to evaluate biological performance (including use by waterbirds) of past management actions in an effort to improve habitat delivery in future projects. Waterbirds, such as waterfowl, shorebirds, wading birds and other wildlife, benefit from these habitat projects but to what extent has largely been unexplored. We seek proposals that evaluate monitoring efforts, use and overall ecology of waterbirds as they relate to wetland protection, restoration and enhancement projects in the Midwest Region. The proposals can be case studies of individual projects or long-term monitoring projects.

Theme/Topic: Evaluating wetland projects through waterbird use and monitoring
TUESDAY, JANUARY 30 | 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM
(9) Back to the Future: Fish and Wildlife Research in an Era of Rapid Change
Organizer: Olivia Ledee, Deputy Director, Department of Interior, Northeast Climate Science Center; oledee@usgs.gov

Overview: For more than two decades, there have been considerable advances to understand the impacts of land use change, invasive species, and climate change on fish and wildlife populations. Remote sensing and GIS have become universal tools to detect and analyze change in ecosystems. Methods to assess populations— from sampling design to statistical models— have increased in complexity and diversity. Greater investments in human dimensions research have yielded major changes in decision-making and collaboration in natural resource management. Yet, as researchers and managers, are we prepared for what the future holds? This symposium will build on historic advances in fish and wildlife research techniques to identify innovative methods to detect, forecast, and prepare for changes in fish and wildlife populations. The symposium will also highlight the importance of novel partnerships to meet the unprecedented challenges to fish and wildlife conservation and management.

Theme/Topic: Techniques, Climate Change, Human Dimensions
(10) Collaborating for Fisheries Management: Opportunities and Challenges from Interactions of Local Lake Organizations with State Agencies
Organizers: Chris, Solomon, Associate Scientist, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies; solomonc@caryinstitute.org
Eric Olson, University of Wisconsin - Extension, Lakes Program
Dr. Stuart Jones, University of Notre Dame

Overview: Collaborative management of fishery resources is an emerging strategy for addressing the challenges of increased workloads and limited budgets among agencies. Lake associations, fishing clubs, and similar local institutions are increasingly being brought in to collaborative management efforts, and are often involved in shoreline habitat management, water quality, invasive species, and fish stocking. While theory suggests their inclusion should improve governance of fisheries resources, in practice it is not yet clear what makes collaborations with lake organizations succeed or fail. Spatial dynamics of anglers across the landscape, differences in technical expertise and institutional capacity, levels of investment, and a host of other factors may help determine whether collaborative management works for individual lakes or at the landscape scale. In this symposium, we will gather speakers with diverse perspectives on the challenges and opportunities facing practitioners working at this frontier of fisheries management.

Theme/Topic: fisheries management; resource governance
TUESDAY, JANUARY 30 | 1:20 PM – 5:00 PM
(11) Two Worlds, One Goal: Importance of Fisheries and Toxicology Collaboration
Organizers: Les Warren, University of Idaho; lwarren@stcloudstate.edu
Lina Wang, Minnesota State University- Mankato

Overview: Over the past few years, the fisheries and aquatic toxicology fields have been merging over the topic of contaminants of emerging concern (CEC). The number of CECs detected in the ecosystem has increased over the past few years due to advancements in technology. Numerous single exposure and mixture exposures have been done, finding changes in physiological and behavioral changes in fishes exposed to CECs. Due to the composition and structure of CECs, many are estrogenic, leading to increased vitellogenin concentrations, alter fish reproduction, and cause intersex in fishes sometimes leading to whole population collapses. However, the degree of impact on fish feminization depends highly on the fish species. Studies have found intersex in bass without any adverse effects on the population, while intersex in fathead minnows cause population collapses. Thus, collaboration between fisheries managers and aquatic toxicologists would greatly improve the knowledge and capabilities of both fields to understand how CEC affects fish populations. In order to do this, fisheries managers and aquatic toxicologists must bridge this gap in knowledge by learning about each other’s fields and the benefits of collaboration.

Theme/Topic: Aquatic Toxicology
(12) Coordinating Successful Wildlife Disease Responses
Organizers: Barb Bodenstein – USGS National Wildlife Health Center; bbodenstein@usgs.gov
Michelle Carstensen – MN DNR; michelle.carstensen@state.mn.us
Lindsey Long – WI DNR; lindsey.long@wisconsin.gov
Tami Ryan – WI DNR; tamara.ryan@wisconsin.gov
Kelly Straka – MI DNR; StrakaK1@michigan.gov

Overview: Response to disease outbreaks in wildlife requires dedicated personnel, resources and often multi-disciplinary partnerships of state, federal and tribal entities including: wildlife and land management professionals, wildlife researchers, and animal health professionals. Presentations in this symposium will feature work that has effectively applied a multi-disciplinary, multi-agency, approach to develop an understanding of the ecology and epidemiology of a wildlife disease, and has used that information to aid in the development of tools and techniques for wildlife professionals striving to manage the disease in free-ranging wildlife. Through this symposium, we hope to foster a greater collaboration across agencies and disciplines, highlight the potential success coordinated wildlife disease investigations, feature the state-of-the art research in wildlife disease ecology and management, and increase overall awareness of the importance and impact of disease on wildlife and their habitats.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 31 | 8:00 AM – 10:00 AM
(13) Extension and Outreach for Anglers and Hunters: Challenges, Innovation and Collaboration
Organizers: Mitchell Zischke, Fishery Scientist, Purdue University; mzischke@purdue.edu
Jarred Brooke, Purdue University
Titus Seilheimer, Wisconsin Sea Grant

Overview: Fishing and hunting opportunities are diverse throughout the Midwest U.S. and occur on both public and private lands. The extension needs of anglers and hunters are also diverse, ranging from information on how to harvest, clean, and cook fish and game species, to understanding ecosystem changes and participating in sustainable wildlife management. Furthermore, anglers and hunters serve as important sources of data that is utilized by natural resource professionals. The management of natural resources and their long-term sustainability relies on effective engagement of resource users such as anglers and hunters. Extension and outreach programs vary by state and region, typically responding to localized needs and issues. However, some issues (e.g. invasive species) span state boundaries; and effective extension tools and programming are often analogous across regions and taxa, despite local issues or target groups. As such, collaboration among agencies may promote timely, consistent and scientifically accurate engagement with stakeholders. The proposed symposium will bring together extension specialists, biologists and managers from throughout the Midwest to discuss extension and outreach for anglers and hunters. The symposium will provide examples of current extension programming to highlight challenges and successes, examine innovative methods and tools, and discuss opportunities for collaborative extension throughout the Midwest.

Theme/Topic: Fishing, Hunting, Engagement
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 31 | 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM
(14) Managing Aquatic Invasive Species Through Collaboration
Organizers: Nathaniel Lederman, Illinois Natural History Survey; nathan.lederman@illinois.gov
Seth A. Love- Illinois Natural History Survey, Illinois River Biological Station Yorkville substation
Rebekah L. Anderson- Illinois Natural History Survey, Illinois River Biological Station Yorkville substation
Jason A. DeBoer- Illinois Natural History Survey, Illinois River Biological Station
Andrew F. Casper- Illinois Natural History Survey, Illinois River Biological Station
Kevin S. Irons- Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Aquaculture and Aquatic Nuisance Species Program

Overview: Expansion of nonindigenous species (invasive species) outside their native range is recognized as a major threat to ecological integrity and biological diversity of the world. Therefore, managing and preventing the expansion of invasive species is a fundamental objective of many managing bodies and interest groups. The management of invasive species, however, can be difficult as they typically do not reside within standard geopolitical boundaries thus requiring a collaborative approach among multiple stakeholders. Collaboration among stakeholders can be challenging, but can also foster information exchange, provide mutual learning opportunities and mobilize shared resources allowing for more effective and efficient management strategies and prevention techniques to be developed and utilized. Our proposed symposium will provide a venue for aquatic invasive species researchers, managers, and educators from local, state, and national agencies to share and discuss insight gained from collaboratively managing and controlling invasive species.

Theme/Topic: Collaborative aquatic invasive species management
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 31 | 10:40 AM – 12:00 PM
(15) Community-based Research and Restoration in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin
Organizers: Julia Robson, Milwaukee County Parks; julia.robson@milwaukeecountywi.gov
August Marie Ball, Community Engagement & Volunteer Services, Milwaukee County Parks

Overview: It is projected that by 2050 approximately 66% of the world’s population will live in urban areas (United Nations). Urban wildlife and habitat conservation amidst expanding human populations and diverse cultural value systems is a challenge for resource managers of the present and future on a global scale. Citizen, or, community science programs have proven to be a valuable tool in creating collaborative partnerships between conservation organizations and the communities that they serve. The focus of this symposia will be on the development, outcomes, and identified needs for improvement for the future of community-based restoration and research initiatives in urban natural areas. This symposia will present case studies of successful community-based research and restoration projects in Milwaukee County, an ecologically and culturally diverse urban area. Presentations will cover methods for successfully developing community partnerships and programs as well as how to sustain them long-term. We also aim to spark conversation and review of potential shortfalls in community-based research and restoration programs, from cultural engagement to data integrity, and how we begin to address them.

Theme/Topic: citizen-based monitoring, restoration programs, urban natural resource management
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