DEVELOPING AN EFFICIENT, ACOUSTICS-BASED SPOTTED OWL SURVEY PROTOCOL TO ENHANCE THE PACE AND SCALE OF FOREST RESTORATION
|Anu Kramer; University of Wisconsin - Madison; firstname.lastname@example.org; Dana Reid, Gavin Jones, Kevin Kelly, Sheila Whitmore, William Berigan, Lauren Hoyle, Patricia Manly, Sarah Sawyer, Stefan Kahl, Holger Klinck, Connor Wood, M. Zach Peery|
The California spotted owl is an old-forest species of conservation concern in the Sierra Nevada, where concern for owl population viability can constrain forest restoration projects intended to reduce large, severe wildfires and drought-related tree mortality. Thus, spotted owl surveys are typically conducted as part of the planning stage of forest restoration projects with a goal of achieving a 0.95 probability of detecting owls at occupied territories. Doing so, however, requires extensive and potentially hazardous nighttime surveys and typically takes two years to complete. We leveraged advances in passive acoustic survey technologies in order to potentially expedite project-level surveys for spotted owls and minimize nocturnal work. We achieved a 0.95 detection probability with passive acoustic surveys conducted over a four-week period in a single season on two study areas, with follow-up dawn/dusk surveys successfully finding occupied territories. To further improve the efficiency of spotted owl occupancy surveys, we also developed a tool to identify and prioritize areas for acoustic surveys. We will describe the habitat modeling used to build this tool and demonstrate the tool’s capabilities and potential uses to achieve an increased pace and scale of forest restoration without adversely affecting owls.