The Annual NMFWA Training Workshop: Sustaining Resource Diversity and Maintaining Mission Readiness

Dr. Kurt Preston, Program Manager for Resource Conservation and Resiliency, recently traveled to Spokane, Washington for the  National Military Fish and Wildlife Association’s (NMFWA) 2017 DoD Natural Resources Annual Training Workshop. This annual training workshop, held in conjunction with the 82nd North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference, provides military resource conservation professionals a venue to exchange new advances and cost saving best practices. NMFWA works to enhance awareness of natural resource conservation requirements in order to provide for both long term sustainability of resource diversity and the successful accomplishment of the military training mission on public lands administered by the DoD.

Dr. Preston chaired the SERDP and ESTCP session at the NMFWA and opened the session with a 15-minute orientation to the two programs. Session presenters included the following current and past investigators from the Program:

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Habitat restoration using randomized block experiments (Dr. Crone, Tufts University)

Dr. Daniel McGarvey from the Virginia Commonwealth University is leading an effort to understand how biotic communities may respond to a range of environmental disturbances ( RC-2506). Predicting how these disturbances may affect the overall stability of biotic communities is of particular interest and is shifting the historical emphasis on species-level dynamics to a new focus on species’ interconnections within large, complex communities.

Dr. Elizabeth Crone from Tufts University is leading two projects focused on threatened and endangered butterflies ( RC-2119 and RC-2700). Through a combination of field studies and state-of-the-art quantitative models, three species of butterflies are used as a model system to rigorously investigate the source-sink dynamics of species being managed on military lands. Historical data and experimental manipulations are then combined to determine how non-stationary environments and shifting interactions affect population viability of at-risk species.

Dr. Lisette Waits from the University of Idaho recently completed an ESTCP project in which it was demonstrated how noninvasive genetic sampling could be combined with capture-recapture modeling to evaluate the status of species of conservation concern. The Final Report is available for this effort on the project webpage.

Dr. Joshua Lawler from the University of Washington recently completed a SERDP project focused on developing an understanding of the relative importance of the factors that influence source-sink dynamics in general. The implications of source-sink dynamics for the management of an endangered species, the black-capped vireo, was also explored.

In addition to the SERDP and ESTCP session, workshop highlights included an in depth overview of the ASD (ESOH) conservation programs and numerous working group meetings. All agree that the NMFWA  Workshop provides a critical opportunity for Department of Defense professionals to build capabilities that support mission and training requirements networks.  Next year’s meeting will be held in Norfolk, Virginia and it is already on the calendar!

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