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Rare Species Surveys and Assessments at NJARNG Facilities

Laurel Klein
Stockton University Environmental Internship Program
Advisors: John Hallagan and Tait Chirenje

ABSTRACT SPECIES SURVEYS MISSION


Stockton University’s Environmental Internship Program (SUEIP) was tasked to write a formal report as part
Bat surveys followed the 2015 and 2016 USFWS Range-wide ©Phil Swanson

of an Integrated Natural Resource Management Plan (INRMP) by the The New Jersey Department of Military
Indiana Bat Summer Survey Guidelines (USFWS Guidelines)
and Veterans Affairs Environmental Management Bureau (NJ DMAVA EMB). This report addresses federal
to identify Indiana bat (MYSO [Myotis sodalis]) (FE and SE),
and state regulations pertaining to protected wildlife species that could impact operations at 21 New Jersey BAT
Northern long-eared bat (MYSE [Myotis septentrionalis]) (FT)
Army National Guard (NJARNG) installations. New Jersey “Rare Species” listings describe species that
and the Tricolored bat [PESU (Perimyotis subflavus]) (federal
are endangered, threatened or present as candidates for listing by the USFWS. From 2014 through 2016, NJ
candidate species) presence at NJARNG facilities.
DMAVA EMB, in conjunction with Rowan University, conducted rare species planning level surveys (PLS), ©Indiana State University

which included Phase I habitat assessments and limited Phase II presence/absence surveys for selected rare
mammals and birds. SUEIP organized, analyzed, interpreted survey data and developed maps and figures in Five game cameras (Wildlife Innovations Model Crush 8) were
ArcMap to portray the habitats present at each installation. Site narratives represented the habitat deployed at each of the selected sites. The cameras were motion
availability, historical land use dating back to 1930, and any documented species occurrences on and/or BOBCAT sensitive with infrared triggers, capable of taking both day and
adjacent to each site. Historical land use at each NJARNG site was determined to be significantly different night pictures, and programed for the most sensitive trigger
from 2015 land use data. Recogniser settings for rare species that may occur on and/or adjacent to each settings.
NJARNG site were developed for three species of rare mammals and 12 species of rare birds, although other
species were included in the survey. The PLS serves as the most recent five-year review and update of the The data generated from the ecological systems assessment was
1998 statewide PLS program to ensure that NJARNG maintains compliance with federal and state regulations. reviewed to determine if suitable bird habitat for target bird
BIRD species existed on any of the sites. If suitable habitat existed at a
particular site, surveys for rare birds were accomplished from
© Janis Stone © Corey Hayes
both passive and active methods.

Limited visual searches for rare plant species were conducted at


PLANT some facilities. Surveys generally took place during flowering
periods when they were most likely to be identified.
© Guy Anglin © David G. Smith © K. Chayka
ACOUSTIC ANALYSIS
MOLLUSK, Field surveys for mollusks, amphibians, and reptiles were not
AMPHIBIAN conducted as part of this survey effort, however data was
AND analyzed to determine if suitable habitat existed on site for any Wildlife Acoustics SM3 and SM3Bat digital recorders were deployed in suitable habitat for various bat
© Alex Lamoreaux © Maury J. Heiman © BioImages Vanderbilt DwCA REPTILE of these species. and bird species.
The SM3’s are equipped with two integrated omnidirectional SMM-A1 acoustic microphones while
The term "rare species" or “listed species” is used in this report to the SM3Bat’s utilized one omnidirectional external SMM-A1 acoustic microphone.
Bird Recordings: Approximately 3 hours before sunset until 3 hours after sunset and 3 hours before
FACILITY SURVEYS / NARRATIVES
collectively refer to various plants and animals that are protected by PHASE I HABITAT ASSESSMENTS sunrise and 3 hours after sunrise.
law or warrant special management concern.
Bat Recordings: Approximately 1 hour before sunset and stop 1 hour after sunrise

The recordings were later analyzed using custom developed recognizers in Wildlife Acoustic’s Song
Facility surveys involved active and passive methods of determining onsite potential rare species. Site Specific GIS Figures were used to determine species which may occur onsite at
Active techniques included traditional area bird surveys and walking the site to look for rare plants Scope software
each of the selected NJARNG facilities. Site GIS figures determine the locations of
while passive techniques involved deploying game cameras and digital audio and ultrasonic
recording devices to capture images and calls of rare species. Depending on the site location and
sampling points, the age of the onsite forests, the region the site resides and any
history, different levels of active and passive techniques were used to determine potential on-site species. potential rare bird sightings within a 5 mile radius. The Example Provided highlights
GIS figures 1-4 conducted for the Morristown Armory.
© Biotope

Figure Site 1 – Site Map with Site Level Northern Long Eared Bat Call
Features

Figure one depicts site level features for the


Morristown Armory. Features include the
installation boundary of the armory, the land
RESULTS
description or designations of the armory, the
locations of acoustic recorders for birds and
bats, forest transect lines, and any potential
wetlands, streams or vernal ponds. By knowing Rare Species Locations:
land use available on each site, we were able to Data was collected for the Rare Species Survey from 2014 - 2018. Results of the
determine whether or not suitable habitat survey concluded proximate location of species based on available habitat for 21
existed
Figurefor
Siteprotected species.
2 – Comparison of 1930, 1954 and 2015 Army National Guard sites in New Jersey.
aerial photography at the Morristown Armory
Figure two depicts the change in land use over an 85
Bordentown Armory 24 August 2016
year time frame from 1930- 2015. Aerial photographs

Recommendations for Further Action:


Location of round 2 SMZC 64
Photograph B are used to determine the range of forested acres in
Picatinny FMS 20 May 2014 each of the three selected years. Forest age is another
Forest Transect
Figure Site 2 – Comparison of 1930, 1954
factor when regarding species habitat, by determining
Once rare species location assumptions were made, based on proximity to
old-growth or new-growth forests within each site,
and 2015 Aerial Photography
suitable habitat, recommendations for management programs to limit the
assumptions can be made regarding the habitat
available within the area.

degradation of valuable habitat was suggested. Recommendations included; to


Figure two depicts the change in land use over
implement zoning for wetland protection, to install no timber-clearing zones, to
an 85 year time frame from 1930 - 2015.
Scanned 1930 and 1954 aerial photographs were limit discharging into streams and to recommend future projects to be
georeferenced to show the location of the conducted based on limitations from our study. Future project suggestions
current property boundaries. Aerial included; vernal pond assessment surveys, continuation of visual bird and bat
photographs are used to determine the range of surveys, visual plant and amphibian surveys and Songscope software
forested acres in each of the three selected years. reconfigurement to analyze additional bat and bird calls.
Determining the age of forests within each site
can allow for assumptions to be made regarding

RESOURCES AND
the habitat available within the area.

STATEWIDE SURVEY EFFORT


Figure Site 3 – NJDEP Landscape Project ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
DataBT

21 NJARNG facilities were surveyed across the state of NJ for the 2019 Rare USEFUL RESOURCES:
Figure three depicts the species-based habitat
Species Project Report. NJARNG facilities host a wide variety of habitats, from rankings within distinct regions across New
coastal marsh habitat, to pineland forests, to dense deciduous forests, some of which Jersey. Species- based habitat regions determine ➔ NJ DEP Natural Heritage Database
are home to Federally and/or State protected species. the locations of species based on their priority
listed designations; (1) Habitat Specific ➔ USFWS Information for Planning and Consultation (iPAC) Letters
Requirements, (2) Special Concern, (3) State ➔ Wildlife Specialists LLC.
Threatened, (4) State Endangered, (5) Federally
Listed. Data to compile listings was provided by ➔ eBird- The Cornell Lab of Ornithology
the NJDEP Landscape Project.
➔ NJ DEP Landscape Data Landscape Project (Version 3.1) Data

Figure Site 4 – Cornell University’s eBird


Federal and State Listed Sightings
SPECIAL THANKS TO:

Figure four depicts the locations of priority bird ★ NJ Department of Military and Veterans Affairs EMB
species within a 5 mile radius of the site.
Features include a 5 mile radius around the site
(blue), a 1 mile radius around the site (black), an ★ Rowan University Collaborative Environmental Internship Program
installation boundary (red) and documented
rare bird sightings with labels (blue). Data used
○ Faculty, Staff, and Interns
to compile listings were provided by the Cornell
Lab of Ornithology.
★ Stockton University Collaborative Environmental Internship Program
○ Faculty, Staff, and Interns