Midwest NAFHA Accomplishments this year - looking for info

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jonathan
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Midwest NAFHA Accomplishments this year - looking for info

Post by jonathan » December 16th, 2014, 7:20 pm

I'm going to do a writeup on NAFHA in 2014, and I want to make sure that I have all the info for the Midwest chapter. Here's what I know so far:


Surveys and research assistance

Ben meet with the folks at the Wisconsin DNR to discuss what is to be done in Wisconsin regarding SFD. He also worked with examining and PIT tagging rattlesnakes and other protected snake species with Dr. Josh Kapfer in a project is to evaluate SFD.

I believe Chris was involved with the Minnesota DNR in PIT tagging timbers as part of the SFD project. They were also continuing the long-term mark-recapture project with bullsnakes and plains hog-nosed snakes and collecting samples, and doing telemetry with plains hog-nosed snakes. Was NAFHA actively involved at all?

Ben helped the Wisconsin DNR do some ornate survey work with turtle dogs

Did anyone help out with the Ecoblitz surveys of the Morgan Monroe Back Country Area in September?



Trips

Were their any group outings?



Data

Just over 1,500 NAHERP records were entered for the Midwest Chapter for this year. (the breakdown is Illinois - 318, Indiana - 168, Iowa - 4, Kansas - 327, Michigan - 59, Minnesota - 14, Missouri - 98, Nebraska - 480, North Dakota - 0, Ohio - 21, South Dakota - 21, Wisconsin - 31) That doesn't count publicly closed records or historical records entered from sightings in previous years.

This was quite a dropoff, despite data overall across the nation increasing significantly. Wisconsin, Ohio, Missouri, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Minnesota especially have had huge drop-offs in data. The Midwest traditionally had been one of the stronger data-collecting regions, which was reflected in the very large number of data requests made in the region. I was interested to see that there's been a huge trend away in 2013 and 2014 - any clear explanations?

The Midwest area has traditionally been one of the strongest outposts of herpers in the country, going back long before NAFHA ever existed.


NAHERP data requests involving the Midwest included:

* One from the National Park Service for counties in Minnesota and Wisconsin in order to inventory the herps of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area.

* From the National Forest Service, National Park Service, and US-Canada Binational Program for counties in Michigan in order to inform the lakewide management plan for the Lake Superior Basin.

* From the Michigan Herp Atlas Project for all reptile and amphibian data in the state of Michigan.

* From Dr. Jean-David Moore for all Eastern Redback Salamander records to help determine whether lead-backed morphs of the speies are really linked to warmer climates.


Previous requests have included a US Forest Service request for all data collected during the NAFHA annual meeting in the Shawnee National Forest in Illinois, a request from Northern Illinois University for reptiles in the Great Lakes regions in order to inform a study on the degree to which reptile distributions are associated with climatic variables and project how climate change may change reptile distributions, a request from a Ph.D. candidate at Colorado State University for reptiles in the Great Plains in order to model distributions and identify hot spots of reptile diversity, a request from a graduate student at North Dakota State University for northern leopard frog records in North Dakota for a study of the population diversity of leopard frogs in various habitats, a request from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for a ringneck snake record for their ringneck study, a request from Jeff LeClere for several records in order to update the range maps for certain species, an earlier request by the Michigan Herp Atlas, and a request by the Missouri Herp Atlas in order to fill in gaps for the Missouri distribution of certain species.



Education Events

Psyon and Jason are working with the State Herpetologists of Illinois to create a web site for logging finds and to help with ID'ing herps.



Anyone know about anything else for the chapter this year?

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jonathan
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Re: Midwest NAFHA Accomplishments this year - looking for in

Post by jonathan » December 16th, 2014, 8:11 pm

Sorry for the double-post, but it doesn't look like I can edit or delete the other one. This should be the one to comment on.

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Re: Midwest NAFHA Accomplishments this year - looking for in

Post by ratsnakehaven » December 18th, 2014, 8:02 am

I used to add to the Herp Atlas in MI years ago when I lived there. Maybe the MI folks add records directly this way; but adding to the HERP database is so easy, why not do it this way?

Now that I'm retired in AZ, I only get to MI for a couple weeks a year. However, in the last two years I've added ten records for the Western fox snake from the Upper Peninsula. I did a search and there are exactly ten records for this snake for the state. What's up with that? The fox snake is of special interest for me, so I've been targeting that species inbetween visits with relatives.

I searched the database for the Eastern fox snake also and there are only 27 records total, and only five of those are not from Ontario. This is a shame. I believe the Eastern fox is a protected species in all our U. S. states. It is a species that should be protected, imho, and we should be adding as much info as possible, so that we can protect it where it still exists.

Same goes for the Western fox snake. Let's help protect this species by defining it's territory and adding to the wealth of knowledge about it, so that researchers and gov. agencies can decide how to best protect the animal. Right now the Western fox has abundant habitat and is not threatened as a whole; but someday that territory may shrink, as it is in IL and IN. BTW, I did find my first Western fox in IL this year, a great thrill. Some small pockets of habitat are being protected there. I hope more of us herpers get interested in these kinds of projects and help in anyway we can.

I love fox snakes. Will be heading to the Midwest again in May. Watching these snakes emerging from brumation is a treat worth going back for year after year.

Best holidays, all...

Terry :beer:

Correction: I went back and looked at the Eastern fox records again and saw I made a mistake. OH looks a lot like ON, and there are eight records for OH, six records for MI, for a total of 14 records out of these two states. The remaining 13 are from Ontario. My apologies to the herpers who gave their time to make these records... :)

PS: I used to find fox snakes as a youngin' near Harsen's Island. Anyone find them there still?

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Re: Midwest NAFHA Accomplishments this year - looking for in

Post by muskiemagnet » December 23rd, 2014, 4:29 pm

yes, jonathon is spot on with what i have been doing. i was involved on a minimal basis as time allowed.

i plan to present a proposal to the dnr which will piggy-back on the SFD project. i'd like to learn about den utilization by specific snakes. i believe that they use different dens within their own summer range. we tagged a snake this spring that i am certain i saw the year before at another den(hopeful). this information, along with a rookery project that is in the works, will be helpful in land management for private parcels that i am working with.

i'll certainly keep you all posted as to how this develops in the winter months.

-ben

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Re: Midwest NAFHA Accomplishments this year - looking for in

Post by ratsnakehaven » December 25th, 2014, 7:43 am

Sounds like a great project, Ben.

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Re: Midwest NAFHA Accomplishments this year - looking for in

Post by kayfabe » December 27th, 2014, 3:00 pm

Data drop-off - All of my 2014 data was logged into Herpmapper (268 records total) When I started using it I thought they were backwards compatible, but Herpmapper's implementation may be some cause of drop off. Also I held off on recording most of my finds as I was with groups, unless it was a significant find or I had time to record data without holding up eager herpers.

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Re: Midwest NAFHA Accomplishments this year - looking for in

Post by jonathan » December 28th, 2014, 8:48 am

You can copy all your NAHERP data over to Herpmapper, but you can't copy your Herpmapper data over to NAHERP. So if you want your data to be accessible on both databases, then the only way to do that would be to enter it in NAHERP first and periodically copy it over to Herpmapper. (Which is what I do.)

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Re: Midwest NAFHA Accomplishments this year - looking for in

Post by Trey » December 30th, 2014, 2:14 pm

I was all about the idea of entering Data online for anyone to access. That is until I realized what a poor job Ohio does with conservation of our native reptiles and amphibians. How poorly the contracted personnel are managed, and the means (mostly but not limited to fear mongering, and misinformation) by which they manage to keep their positions and limit competition is also a concern of mine. This unfortunately only further limits the research abilities and conservation efforts of others.

So I have opted to record all of my data privately and share only with a few trusted individuals, which is a shame, because a few records and observations would certainly instill some interest.

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Re: Midwest NAFHA Accomplishments this year - looking for in

Post by jonathan » December 31st, 2014, 4:51 am

Trey - the data entered on NAHERP isn't for "anyone to access". The only person who can look at any of it without your express permission is Don (Psyon), the database administrator, and he's trusted with far more sensitive data than herping spots.

When anyone requests your data, you get to review the request and the CV of the person/entity requesting, ask any questions you have about what will happen with the data after the request, and choose whether or not to release your data to them. The data entered on NAHERP is certainly not "for anyone to access".

It's my view that worse data tends to lead to worse management decisions. We can't improve everything about how management agencies work, but by partnering with them we can have more influence than we would have if we kept them at arm's length. In California, where we've shared data for a number of government management requests at different levels, we've been proactively approached on management questions by the agencies themselves and in some cases our contributions appear to have made a positive difference.

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Re: Midwest NAFHA Accomplishments this year - looking for in

Post by jonathan » January 1st, 2015, 7:41 am

I need to add that one more data request came in for the Midwest during the final weeks.

Several researchers and doing an ecological niche modeling project on skink biogeography and evolutionary processes across Canada, the Midwest, and the Southeast. Their data request included all data on Plestiodon septentrionalis in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Canada.

Yet another example of never knowing what data will be requested next.

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Re: Midwest NAFHA Accomplishments this year - looking for in

Post by jonathan » January 4th, 2015, 4:15 am

On the other threads I updated the original list with corrections, additions, and final numbers, but that doesn't seem to be possible in the Midwest chapter, so I'll just add the final stuff here.

Besides that one last new data request that came in (see above post), here are the final and complete data numbers for all data that was entered in the Midwest in 2014:

There were 1,600 data entries made in the Midwest this year, bringing the total in the database for the Midwest up to 19,587. The breakdown for the year was Illinois 382, Indiana 188, Iowa 4, Kansas 327, Michigan 85, Minnesota 14, Nebraska 484, North Dakota 0, Ohio 23, South Dakota 24, Wisconsin 69.


And here are the total database numbers for those states:

Illinois 4935, Indiana 5018, Iowa 1363, Kansas 2687, Michigan 1177, Minnesota 649, Nebraska 1363, North Dakota 235, Ohio 421, South Dakota 93, Wisconsin 1646


The summary for NAFHA's 2014 events across the nation is now posted at Everything that Happened with NAFHA in 2014.

If you want more details for other chapter, go to the individual sub-forums.

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Re: Midwest NAFHA Accomplishments this year - looking for in

Post by jonathan » January 4th, 2015, 4:17 am

Dang it - I forgot Missouri. 103 this year, 3340 total.

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Re: Midwest NAFHA Accomplishments this year - looking for in

Post by jason folt » January 4th, 2015, 9:27 am

I keep my own database for MI and OH, which I have been doing for long before NAFHA. I tend to share this with the state officials directly. I think you are probably seeing a drop off as many other MI herpers are inputing their data directly in the MI herp atlas which is also online. It's a pain in the ass to input things to two places...

Terry - in regards to fox snakes. I spend a significant amount of time looking for easterns every year, often with very little to show for it. I tend to target some of the harder places to look for them. I haven't made it to the UP in the 7 years I have lived here, but will surely target westerns if I do. I would be interested in speaking with you regarding harsens area offline. I go there every year, usually earlier in the spring and haven't seen a fox yet. I know they are there though.

Jason

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Re: Midwest NAFHA Accomplishments this year - looking for in

Post by jason folt » January 4th, 2015, 9:29 am

Trey - I can understand your concerns. I would argue the NAFHA or herpmapper databases are a wonderful way to still input your data and control who has access to it. It is still all under your control? That being said, I know I don't put my MI or OH data up, so I guess I am a bit of a hypocrite.

Jason

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Re: Midwest NAFHA Accomplishments this year - looking for in

Post by jonathan » January 4th, 2015, 9:55 am

jason folt wrote:Trey - I can understand your concerns. I would argue the NAFHA or herpmapper databases are a wonderful way to still input your data and control who has access to it. It is still all under your control? That being said, I know I don't put my MI or OH data up, so I guess I am a bit of a hypocrite.
You're right Jason, with the NAHERP database (it's not run by NAFHA anymore), you continue to have complete control of your data and who has access to it. You can chose to "donate" the data to the database and give up control, but that's just an option.


jason folt wrote:I keep my own database for MI and OH, which I have been doing for long before NAFHA. I tend to share this with the state officials directly. I think you are probably seeing a drop off as many other MI herpers are inputing their data directly in the MI herp atlas which is also online. It's a pain in the ass to input things to two places...
Oh, I certainly agree. I once went through the work of donating a lot of sensitive records to California F&G, but the form they requested was a pain, and I ended up telling them just to request the NAHERP records if they wanted any more from me.

Anyone who wants to donate to MI Herp Atlas can do it through NAHERP, since MI Herp Atlas is one of our data requesters, so the data will still go to them. I advocate doing all the data in one place if possible, and I like the idea of promoting NAHERP because I believe that not only fulfills the primary purpose of getting our data in the right hands, but also has a secondary purpose of showing a public face and therefore encouraging a lot more people to enter their data, and a tertiary purpose of building better relations between herpers and management.

When I donated my data to Cal F&G, that was just a private transaction that didn't build to anything else - they didn't even know who I was or my motives behind giving data - whereas I see NAHERP promotion as having multiplying positive repercussions for getting herpers more involved in conservation and management bodies more trusting and willing to partner with herpers.

All that being said, I'm not going to criticize someone for donating data, no matter where they give it! The fact that Herp Atlases have suddenly taken off in several states is very cool, and I love that people are helping out. I just like the idea of building momentum and community by making one big effort together. Hopefully there will one day be a Herp Atlas in every state...and every single one of them will requisition NAHERP data as part of their efforts.

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Re: Midwest NAFHA Accomplishments this year - looking for in

Post by NickAsher » January 11th, 2015, 7:14 pm

I did the bioblitz in Morgan Monroe SF.

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Re: Midwest NAFHA Accomplishments this year - looking for in

Post by NickAsher » January 14th, 2015, 7:26 pm

The Indiana Forest Alliance will be doing more Bioblitz this year. Please contact me and I will get you in contact with the right people if you are interested.

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