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SFCN Inventory Data used for EVER & DRTO submissions under SPAW protocol
SFCN provided coral species, species lists, and vegetation and benthic habitat map summary information to Cliff McCreedy who worked with Everglades National Park and Dry Tortugas National Park to submit proposals to list these parks under the Special Protected Area and Wildlife (SPAW) protocol.
SFCN and FLACO-EMPT along with Sierra Club volunteers plant 844 torchwood (Amyris elemifera) seedlings; the larva host plant for the Endangered Schaus Swallowtail Butterfly (Heraclides aristodemus ponceanus). These 14 volunteers helped to finish this year’s planting of over 2,000 larva host plants. Over 1,536 field hours, much of which have been from volunteers, have been devoted to helping enhance the habitat quality for this Endanger Butterfly in Biscayne National Park.
SFCN and BISC complete RVC 2012 fish monitoring for Biscayne National Park.
SFCN and park divers counted reef fish at over 75 locations as part of the multi-agency reef fish monitoring for the Florida Keys. These data will be included in the regional fish database for 2012 that spans from Palm Beach County to Dry Tortugas with hundreds of sites successfully sampled this year.
SFCN assists EPA with developing a water quality regulatory tool based on coral reef health.
Jeff Miller attended a meeting in Puerto Rico to assist the EPA in defining what a healthy reef is numerically towards the development of a regulatory tool. Ideally, Clean Water Act violations that degrade a coral reef system could trigger a management action to reduce the water quality impact to the associated coral reef system.
The “A Cooperative Multiagency Reef Fish Monitoring Protocol for the U.S. Virgin Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem” protocol was sent out for external peer review. This protocol builds upon and fine tunes the monitoring that has been conducted in the US Virgin Islands for the past 10 years. In May 2012, monitoring at St. Croix (including BUIS and SARI) was implemented using this new approach. Current partners include the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center Division of Protected Resources and Biodiversity, NOAA Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment Biogeography Branch, as well as SFCN, BUIS, and VIIS.
NRCA Highlights: Dale McPherson (SER), Melissa Memory (EVER, DRTO), and Jed Redwine (SFCN) had a meeting focused on the intersection of cultural and natural resources in the parks of southern Florida. Perspectives about how natural and cultural resources can affect ecological restoration processes, soil inventory programs, and park-level resource stewardship strategies were shared.
Schaus Swallowtail Butterfly (Heraclides aristodemus ponceanus) Habitat Enhancement Project in Biscayne National Park has planted 947 torchwood, 445 wildlime and 96 nectar plants for a total of 1,488 plants. Much of the physical labor needed to clear the exotics, prepare the site, hand dig the holes in the coral rock, bring in supplemental soil and mulch, plant the seedlings, and then performed routine maintenance of the seedlings has been accomplished via volunteers. There has been over 1,364 field hours of which 488.5 hrs have been from outside volunteers with the NPS having 851.5 field hours. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has supported this project monetarily through the South Florida Coastal Program. The project is managed by Kevin R. T. Whelan, Ecologist SFCN, Tony Pernas FLACO Exotic Plant Management Team, and Vanessa McDonough, Biscayne National Park.Multi-agency South Florida Reef fish monitoring. Matt Patterson, Mike Feeley, Rob Waara, and Lee Richter, joined eighteen research scientists from NOAA, NPS, Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission, University of Miami, on a 10-day research cruise to Dry Tortugas National Park and surrounding waters, including the Tortugas North Ecological Reserve. This is the second sampling trip this season. This program has been monitoring reef fish populations in the Tortugas since 1999.
Coral Reef Monitoring Cruise. The crew of the M/V Fort Jefferson (Clay & Janie Douglass, John Spade) and the Dry Tortugas National Park staff made the annual South Florida / Caribbean Network’s Dry Tortugas coral monitoring cruise an unbelievable success! In addition to providing a research platform that housed and fed an eight member research team, the support staff filled scuba cylinders around the clock and kept our two research boats fueled and ready to go each day. A visiting scientist from USGS, Mr. Jim Herlan, and a student volunteer from Oberlin College also assisted SFCN scientists on the mission.Over nine days (June, 2012) we sampled our 19 regular coral monitoring sites, surveyed two new areas (Loggerhead Forest and the Northern Boundary Terrace), determined the extent of target reef areas for those survey areas, and randomly selected and installed three monitoring sites in each area. We also collected in-situ temperature data at 20 sites throughout the park. In completing these tasks, researchers logged a total of 123 hours underwater and completed 179 dives. This mission is staged from Key West, is logistically complicated and wouldn’t be possible without the opportunity to work collaboratively with DRTO and the M/V Fort Jefferson.
Multi-agency South Florida Reef fish monitoring. Mr. Rob Waara, Biological Science Technician and Mr. Lee Richter, SCA Marine Ecology Intern, joined twenty-one research scientists from NOAA, NPS, Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission (FWC), University of Miami, Nova Southeastern and other partners on a 10-day NOAA research cruise to Dry Tortugas National Park and surrounding waters, including the Tortugas North Ecological Reserve and the new 46 mi2 no-take reserve within the park, the Research Natural Area. The cruise is part of a program that has been monitoring reef fish populations in the Tortugas since 1999 to assess the success of marine reserves and fishery management strategies in an area recognized as critical to the overall health and sustainability of the South Florida coral reef ecosystem. The multiagency research team completed 794 dives and logged an unbelievable total of 17.75 days underwater from the M/V Spree.
Invasive Exotic Plant Monitoring. Field work for the Corridors of Invasiveness project was completed in June 2012. Surveys for new species and new infestations of exotic plants were done in Everglades National Park (EVER). Early results indicate 2 new exotic species to EVER, including Indigofera suffruiticosa and Ficus microcarpa. Field work was performed by SFCN Botanist Brooke Shamblin, EPMT Technician Shane McKinley, and Florida International University (FIU) intern Beatriz Guimaraes.
Colonial Nesting Bird helicopter monitoring flights continues in BISC with new nesting site investigations conducted in April and then monthly nesting monitoring occurring throughout the season.
NRCA Highlights. Geographic scoping meeting for Natural Resource Condition Assessment: Natural resource managers, science coordinators, land managers, and fire ecologists from Everglades National Park met and identified the set of geographic summary shapefiles that will be used to conduct the EVER Natural Resource Conditions Assessment. There are ~15 possible regional summary approaches available. We identified 5 preferred summaries and defined one additional summary that should be developed, which follows the logical flowpaths of water through Everglades National Park. We agreed that following the flowpaths is the most effective way to connect desired conditions for specific park regions to the causal pathways that are responsible for areas that are experiencing ecological degradation. A meeting summary, agenda, and presentation are available if more information is desired.
SFCN had a teleconference with the exotics team in the South Florida Water Management District, and are taking steps to develop a shared database structure between the Exotics Plant Management Team (EPMT), Everglades National Park (EVER), and Big Cypress National Preserve (BICY). The goal is to share information between South Florida National Parks, the State of Florida agencies that perform exotics treatment, and the NPS’s national exotics management program.
The Restoration Coordination and Verification (RECOVER) Vegetation Map Project factsheet was uploaded onto the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan’s (CERP) website.
SFCN's Multiagency Reef Fish Monitoring Protocol mentioned as FY 2009 Natural Resource Challenge Accomplishment
The South Florida/Caribbean Network’s Multiagency Reef Fish Monitoring Protocol has been mentioned as one of the accomplishments for the Fiscal Year 2009 Natural Resource Challenge. See it here: Rising to the Challenge: Natural Resource Stewardship and Science Program Highlights (726 KB PDF) This booklet highlights the activities and accomplishments from the first decade of the Natural Resource Challenge.
810 species counted at Biscayne BioBlitz
SFCN participated in the huge Biscayne BioBlitz joint NPS/National Geographic 24 hour species inventory of the park by assisting the park with overall project planning, taking charge of the Data Entry Team with assistance from the WASO office, as well as helping lead some of the bird walks, plant walks, and snorkeling trips. The final count of species was 810 species with some data still coming in from scientists. Over 2300 people participated in the event including 200 scientists. Some species had not been inventoried by scientists in the park before such as macroalgae, lichens, and many types of insects and marine invertebrates.
April ocean temperatures at Virgin Islands National Park similar to April 2005
SFCN reef temperature data loggers showed that water temperatures at monitored reefs in Virgin Islands National Park were higher than the previous 20 years in February and March -- but for nearly the first 3 weeks of April, all 5 data loggers showed a decrease in water temperature, with the resulting April mean being 27.65C. This is just at the warm (upper) edge of our historical range for April and very similar to the April 2005 mean. 2005 was the year of the previous catastrophic coral bleaching/disease event that resulted in losses of 41-79% live stony coral cover at monitored reefs. Of course, we can't predict what this means for the future but SFCN will continue to monitor reef water temperatures and if necessary alert park staff to a potential coral bleaching event.
SFCN assisting in monitoring for Deepwater Horizon oil spill effects in South Florida parks.
SFCN staff are assisting park staff with monitoring planning, sampling design, data management, and baseline monitoring data collection in South Florida parks. SFCN staff have already collected data at De Soto National Memorial and assisted park staff with data collection at Dry Tortugas National Park.
New FIU post-doc with SFCN
Tim Fotinos started in February 2010 as the community ecology post-doctoral research associate for the South Florida Caribbean Inventory and Monitoring Network. This position is funded through cooperation with Florida International University. Tim comes to south Florida from Austin, TX where he has lived for the past 11 years while attending school at Texas State University. He took a short break during that time to work for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as an SCA biology intern at the Attwater’s Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge in Eagle Lake, TX. He is currently finishing his Ph.D. in aquatic resources and plant ecology. His dissertation focuses on the mechanism in which local climate interacts with the structure of the landscape, specifically topography and soil, to generate varying degrees of environmental heterogeneity that is biologically relevant to plants. He then investigated how that heterogeneity contributes to plant species coexistence (i.e. beta diversity). Tim’s research interests are plant community ecology, ecohydrology, ecological modeling, biodiversity, and conservation.
Buck Island and De Soto Vegetation Maps complete, others nearing completion
Vegetation map projects for Buck Island Reef National Monument and De Soto National Memorial were completed. In addition the phase 1 report for “Developing a data-driven classification of South Florida Plant Communities” was completed by Jay Sah, Michael Ross and Susanna Stofella of Florida International University (funded through a cooperative agreement with SFCN) and is now available.
SFCN participates in the Fairchild Challenge 2010 Environmental Immersion Day
On March 23, 2010, SFCN hosted 10 high school students, taking them to Elliott Key and giving them a taste of seagrass monitoring and vegetation plot data collection. All the students said they greatly enjoyed the experience.
SFCN conducted colonial nesting bird survey work in BISC 12/14, 2/18, 3/23, 4/30
Raul Urgelles assisted by other SFCN staff has conducted full census and serial colony surveys for colonial nesting birds in BISC. The protocol will be finalized this year. The SFCN currently is monitoring six colonies which have Great White Herons, Great Blue Herons, White Ibis, Roseate Spoonbills, and Double-Crested Cormorants.
Meetings and conferences
Brian Witcher, Judd Patterson and Rachel Vargas gave presentations at the Inventory and Monitoring Program Data Management Conference. SFCN staff assisted with indicator selection at the Florida Keys and Dry Tortugas workshop as part of the Marine and Estuarine Goal Setting for South Florida(MARES) Project and participated in the Pineland Working Group meeting.
DRTO Coral Monitoring completed
SFCN Scientists made two trips to Dry Tortugas National Park in May and June to conduct annual coral monitoring at the Bird Key and Bird Key North index sites, as well as the 18 extensive sites throughout the park. This is the second year of data collection at the 18 extensive sites.
SFCN completes All-Terrain-Vehicle training at BICY
SFCN staff attended an All-Terrain Vehicle training at Big Cypress National Preserve on June 4 and 11, 2009. Matt Patterson, Kevin Whelan, Andrea Atkinson, Brooke Shamblin, Raul Urgelles, Joaquin Alonso, Jonathan Moser, Judd Patterson, Brian Witcher, and Rick Jacobson successfully completed the ASI ATV RiderCourseSM taught by Big Cypress employee Jill Wilson.
SFCN meets with DESO staff to review vegetation map
Kevin Whelan and Brooke Shamblin reviewed and confirmed the De Soto National Memorial vegetation map with park staff and USGS researchers. USGS will work in the park using the map to help determine mangrove monitoring sites beginning next year.
SFCN visits DRTO working on veg map
Kevin Whelan, Brooke Shamblin, Jonathan Moser, Jose Luciani, and EVER botanist Jimi Sadle visited the Dry Tortugas (DRTO) to conduct annual vegetation sampling on Loggerhead Key and to gather the field data necessary to produce a DRTO vegetation map. The map was created by walking vegetation perimeters with a hand held GPS unit, and those polygons are now being cleaned up to create a final GIS layer for the terrestrial portions of the park outside of the fort.
SFCN gets a visit by regional staff to move forward with FMSS and IT upgrades
Robert Vega and Bill Ellis came down from Atlanta for several days in June to assist the FLACO office with two tasks. Robert reviewed the IT compliance of the FLACO office, made software updates to FLACO computers, and drafted a plan to become more integrated with regional IT WAN. Bill started the process for SFCN to become an ‘official’ alpha in the eyes of the NPS, so that the network could be a stand alone unit in FMSS, PMIS, and other agency databases.
SFCN continues BISC Colonial Nesting Bird monitoring pilot work
The SFCN continues to monitor colonial nesting birds in Biscayne National Park. Raul Urgelles, along with the assistance of other SFCN personnel, conducted aerial surveys of nesting Double-crested Cormorants, Great White Herons, and Great Egrets in July.
SFCN conducts BICY corridors of invasiveness monitoring
Brooke Shamblin has been in charge of creating a protocol for invasive plant early detection monitoring to be conducted in BISC, EVER, and BICY. To date, 5 monitoring trips have been made in EVER and 1 monitoring trip to the Loop Road area of BICY. A couple of early reports have been sent out for review to Hillary Cooley at EVER, Jim Burch at BICY, and Tony Pernas of the EPMT.
SFCN works with NOAA on marine fish community monitoring in St. John
SFCN marine monitoring biologists assisted NOAA biogeography scientists for a two week marine fish assessment in Virgin Islands National Park and Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument. Four long term fish monitoring sites were sampled for the twenty second consecutive year.
SFCN partners with Miami PBS to produce reef fish monitoring documentary
SFCN scientists organized a 10 day fish monitoring cruise from July 20-30 at Dry Tortugas National Park. Twenty six scientists from NPS, NOAA, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, University of Miami, and the Tampa Aquarium, as well as a 3 person PBS film crew made over 900 dives, totaling over 480 hours of bottom time, which equates to roughly 20 person days underwater counting fish. PBS is hoping to develop a 30 minute documentary on the South Florida multi-agency fish monitoring activity as part of their “Changing Seas” program.
SFCN visits SARI to collect data for veg map
Kevin Whelan, Brooke Shamblin, Raul Urgelles and Jonathan Moser spent the week of July 19 visiting 84 training locations for the Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve vegetation map. In addition the SFCN staff established five exotic plant removal efficacy plots.
Andrea Atkinson attends Supervisory Training - Phase 2 in Atlanta
Andrea spent the week of May 4-8, 2009 learning about team building, communication styles under stress, and other useful supervisory skills. She enjoyed Phase 2 and encouraged other supervisor to attend in future classes.
Matt Patterson attends Natural Resource Condition Assessment Pilot Review meeting in Ft. Collins, CO
Matt Patterson joined Jim Long and Joe DeVivo for the SE region to review the pilot Natural Resource Condition Assessment reports for multiple parks, and joined the discussion on how best to move forward the week of May 4th. The WASO program was interested in how the field felt these reports would be useful to park managers, and work towards a more consistent framework that works for small parks and big, old parks and new, ranging from minimal to enormous amounts of data available.
Matt Patterson attends NOAA Atlantic/Caribbean Coral Reef Ecosystem Observation Workshop in
San Juan, PR
Matt was invited to attend a workshop to discuss NOAA mapping and monitoring activities for Florida, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands the week of May 11. The workshop asked the state and territories to identify priority needs for coral reef ecosystem mapping and monitoring, looking for where NOAA could help support priority needs either internally or by providing additional resources to these areas.
Matt Patterson assists with State of Florida Wildlife Targeted Grants Program Proposal ranking and review
Matt Patterson was asked to help review and rank state wildlife grant proposals focused on coral reef science. Ten proposals were reviewed and the state hopes to fund several in the coming months.
Brooke Shamblin and Kevin Whelan assess accuracy of the St. John Vegetation Map
Brooke and Kevin evaluated the accuracy of the vegetation map for St. John the week of May 4, 2009. They visited 70 locations all over the island, with the assistance of Andy Davis, St. John based SFCN biological technician. They hope to continue this assessment later this year and/or next spring.
Raul Urgelles and Kevin Whelan attend electrofishing class in Texas
Raul and Kevin joined 20 biologists from across the country in San Antonio, Texas for a three day electrofishing course taught by Dr. Jim Reynolds the week of May 18. They learned about principles of electrofishing, proper fishing methodology and safety, as well as how to quantify fishing effort.
Ben Ruttenberg presents at the 1st International Marine Conservation Congress at George Mason University
Ben Ruttenberg presented a talk titled “Monitoring coral reef ecosystems in U.S. National Parks in Florida and the Caribbean: critical information for ecosystem-based management” over Memorial Day weekend at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. NPS was a co-sponsor of this first ever event that had close to 1,000 participants.
SFCN Blue Carded divers complete annual 8 hour refresher course
Matt Patterson, Ben Ruttenberg, Rob Waara, and Andy Estep completed their annual SCUBA diving refresher course at Biscayne National Park under the direct scrutiny of Shelby Moneysmith, BISC Dive Safety Officer. Jeff Miller and Andy Davis also passed in St. John. All completed with flying colors, mostly black and blue.
Brooke Shamblin assesses southern Everglades pilot South Florida Water Management District vegetation map
Brooke with the assistance of Keith Bradley from the Institute of Regional Conservation visited 88 accuracy assessment points by helicopter April 28-29, 2009 to evaluate a preliminary effort by the district to map complicated vegetation communities in Southern Everglades. They anticipate a few more days to complete this 210 point assessment.
Lindsay Jones, Lionfish hunter starts 1 year SCA Conservation Internship with SFCN and BISC
Ms. Lindsay Jones began on Tuesday, May 26, 2009 to assist the SFCN marine monitoring team as a designated Lionfish searcher while the network scientists conduct coral and fish monitoring in South Florida parks. If an observation of the invasive Indopacific lionfish is reported in one of the parks, Lindsay will assist park RM staff with search and removal of this new invasive that hasn’t been documented within park waters, yet.
Team DOI participates in the Miami Corporate 5K run
Members of South Florida USGS, Everglades National Park, Biscayne National Park, and the FLACO office ran on April 30 in downtown Miami to raise funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and other charities. All that participated had a great time.
SFCN hosts South Florida Annual Reef Fish Monitoring Training 4/3/09
Representatives from four South Florida agencies (National Park Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and the University of Miami) participated in a day-long training session for the annual reef fish monitoring program in South Florida. Led by the National Park Service and postdoctoral fellow Marilyn Brandt, these agencies contributed to a protocol document that is to be used for coordinated monitoring efforts of reef fish populations throughout the entire Florida Keys Reef Tract.
SFCN participates in DRTO bird monitoring 4/8-4/12
Judd Patterson assisted Sonny Bass in Dry Tortugas April 8-12, 2009 with sooty tern monitoring as well as monitoring of magnificent frigatebrids, boobies, brown noddys, brown pelicans, and migrating songbirds.
SFCN works to relocate vegetation plots in Biscayne National Park
Brooke Shamblin and other SFCN staff have relocated 18 of 32 long term vegetation plots. Most of these vegetation plots were originally installed by Brooke Shamblin in 1996. The purpose of the monitoring was to document Coastal Hardwood Hammocks forest composition and structure of the islands of Biscayne National Park.
SFCN attends Data Management Conference April 20-24
Brian Witcher and Judd Patterson attended the I&M Data Manager’s Conference in Tucson, AZ. SFCN presented 2 talks during Wednesday’s Digital Data Collection session that was facilitated by Brian. On the Monday prior to the conference Brian attended the Project Management training that was offered by the national I&M office. Based on technical assistance received from the Ft. Collins office during the week SFCN has begun migrating the Coral Monitoring database to SQL Server.
A decade of reef monitoring at BUIS
10 years is a long time as SFCN completed the 10th year of annual monitoring of benthic communities at BUIS Western Spur and Groove site, and eight years at the S. Fore Reef site. In collaboration with the BUIS staff, monitoring of coral reef community cover, sea urchins, coral disease, and species diversity was conducted. Additionally water temperature data loggers were collected, with data downloads and re-deployment of the loggers for another year. The divers were treated to a visit by a dolphin during the S. Fore Reef monitoring. During the trip to BUIS, while 10 miles north of BUIS, Andy Davis and Jeff Miller encountered a pod of 15-20 shortfin pilot whales. Video is available by contacting William_J_Miller@nps.gov.
Partnering with NOAA to ground-truth benthic map of St. John
SFCN partnered with NOAA in supporting the ground truthing of the shallow water benthic habitat map of St. John (VIIS/VICR) and attended a workshop to evaluate the map product as a first step in the accuracy assessment.
Completion of coral monitoring video methods comparison
SFCN scientist, Andy Davis burned out an eyeball doing a ton of point count video analysis. During 2008, SFCN was conducting a side-by-side methods comparison between standard digital video and high definition video in the coral reef monitoring protocol. This effort more then doubled the amount of video analysis required in a year, increasing the number of points identified from 40,000 per year, to over 110,000 last year. Andy is using an old Brazilian remedy and a full recovery is expected. (OK, we are joking about any injury to Andy, but we are being truthful about the methods comparison.)
Jose “Tito” Luciani graduated cum laude from Florida International University with a 3.5 GPA, Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies. Tito is working with the community ecology team as the FY09 Resource Management Intern (ReMI) through cooperative agreement with FIU. Tito begins full time work in May.
Tiara Thanawastien began working part time with SFCN scanning 1979 aerial photography from EVER and BICY to be used for vegetation change detection in the future. Tiara is a FIU Senior in the Environmental Studies program.
Lindsay Jones was selected for the Student Conservation Association South Florida Lionfish eradication intern. Lindsay will start at BISC in May getting trained to become a blue carded SCUBA diver and MOCC certified. Once she competes the training, she will transition to the SFCN marine monitoring team, assisting them with fieldwork being on the lookout for invasive lionfish.
SFCN attends George Wright Society meeting
SFCN staff attended the GWS conference March 2-6 with Matt Patterson, Jeff Miller, Andy Davis, Ben Ruttenberg, and Kevin Whelan giving talks and an additional 8 posters being presented. The I & M program combined its annual meeting with the conference to save travel costs, and it provided the opportunity for many fruitful side meetings and networking opportunities.
SFCN works with BUIS and NOAA for Fish Blitz
SFCN scientist, Andy Estep participated in the NOAA biannual fish survey and habitat characterization at BUIS from March 8-14, 2009. The two weeks, 100+ site evaluation was made challenging by 20+mph winds, but the group persevered to conduct the most field work the weather (and safety) allowed
SFCN participates in the Fairchild Challenge Environmental Immersion Day
On March 31, 2009, SFCN hosted 10 high school students, giving them a taste of SFCN’s marine work and helping them experience vegetation plot data collection, using GPS units, and conducting basic data entry and analysis. All the students said they greatly enjoyed the experience.
SFCN completes BISC Benthic Habitat map Accuracy Assessment 2/22/09
SFCN staff completed the accuracy assessment of the new draft benthic habitat map for the offshore portion of Biscayne National Park. SFCN staff visited 283 sites and evaluated habitats in situ using remotely operated video camera surveys, snorkeler surveys, and SCUBA surveys. The draft map performed well, with a 85.7% acceptable accuracy when classifying habitats into broad categories (33.2% of points had a 100% match). SFCN will use this map in the coming months to expand the coral reef monitoring program and improve the reef fish monitoring program inside Biscayne National Park.
SFCN begins colonial nesting bird survey work in BISC 1/29, 2/13, 3/26
Raul Urgelles assisted by other SFCN staff has conducted full census and serial colony surveys for colonial nesting birds in BISC. The SFCN currently is monitoring five colonies which have Great White Heron, Great Blue Heron, and Double-Crested Cormorants.
SFCN meets with WASO Vegetation Mapping staff to discuss progress
February 17-20, 2009 SFCN received a visit from the Karl Brown and Chris Lea of the USGS-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program while they were attending another meeting. Brooke Shamblin took Karl for a helicopter tour of vegetation mapping issues in Everglades National Park, Big Cypress National Preserve, and Biscayne National Park. Jay Sah of Florida International University gave a presentation on the testing of the South Florida Vegetation Classification herbaceous communities with data from multiple south Florida researchers. Ted Schall (SFWMD) gave a presentation on the SFWMD vegetation mapping program. SFCN then discussed the status of current mapping projects and future funding needs with Karl Brown and Chris Lea and gained a better understanding of the USGS-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program’s status and expectations.
SFCN attends GIS incident management training
Judd Patterson attended GIS incident management training on Feb. 23-27, 2009 in Orlando Florida.
SFCN hosts Science and Technical Committee Meeting (12/16) and Board of Directors Meeting (1/6)
SFCN presented, discussed and received approval for its annual report and proposed work plan during both meetings and presented draft fact sheets on coral resources and key resource summary tables which were well-received and useful comments provided. Jeff Cross provided an overview of WRD Ocean and Coastal Resource Branch upcoming issues and Larry West and Mark Lewis provide and overview IMAC issues at the Board of Directors meeting. Hard copies of the newly printed SFCN Vital Signs Monitoring Plan were distributed at the meetings.
Florida Bay Conference
Matt Patterson and Ben Ruttenberg attended the Florida Bay Conference and presented a poster on the benthic mapping efforts in Biscayne National Park and Dry Tortugas National Park.
Pilot sampling of periphyton in Big Cypress National Preserve
Kevin Whelan, Brook Shamblin, Raul Urgelles and Tony Pernas collected periphyton samples in 6 basins in Big Cypress. Samples will be sent to Michigan State University for analysis of community composition and variability among samples with different water management regimes.
SFCN and EPMT work together
Kevin Whelan and Rachel Vargas assisted Tony Pernas in Biscayne National Park with exotic Mexican red-bellied squirrel removal. Tony had previously assisted SFCN with periphyton sampling. The exchange allowed SFCN to take advantage of Tony’s tremendous field expertise in Big Cypress and provided Tony assistance.
SFCN GPS Training
In order to gear up for the 2009 field season the Data management branch hosted a network GPS Training. Judd Patterson focused on use of the Garmin 60CSX units for both navigation and data collection.
SFCN Continues BISC Benthic Habitat map accuracy assessments
Ben Ruttenberg, Rob Waara, Andy Estep, and Marilyn Brandt have completed 115 assessment points in the offshore waters of Biscayne National Park. Since Jeff Cross was in town for the Board of Directors meeting he was able to participate and observe first hand the methods being employed by SFCN.
SFCN conducts training points and assessment of vegetation map for BUIS and SARI Jan. 11- Jan. 16
Kevin R. T. Whelan, Brooke Shamblin, Jonathan Moser, Raul Urgelles, and Steve Wathen visited over 60 vegetation assessment points in BUIS and SARI. These training points will be used to properly photointerpret the new BUIS and SARI Vegetation maps being created by the SFCN.
SFCN participates in NETN 3 year startup review
Matt Patterson was on the review panel for the Northeast Temperate Network 3-year startup review in January 26-29, 2009.
SFCN conducts BISC vegetation map Accuracy Assessment Jan. 22
Kevin R. T. Whelan and Brooke Shamblin conducted helicopter visits to 390 accuracy assessment points in BISC. This work allowed the SFCN to assess the accuracy of the 2008 Biscayne National Park Vegetation Map. The map’s overall accuracy was assessed to be 83% (326 of 390 points correct) with a lower 90% confidence level of 80.5% accuracy.