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Presenter Information

Anna Yost

Location

SURC Room 137B

Start Date

15-5-2014

End Date

15-5-2014

Keywords

GIS, Habitat suitability model, Elk management

Abstract

The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) would like to adjust the distribution of elk on the landscape in the North Cascades to reduce negative impacts to private property while maintaining a healthy population of elk. Elk management goals can be achieved through a combination of practices, such as forage enhancement that encourage elk in tolerated areas, and fencing, hazing, and/or hunting of elk in areas of low tolerance. This project focused on mapping elk habitat suitability across the 8,000 km2 North Cascades elk management area and then identifying potential areas of high elk tolerance which would be suitable for forage enhancement. GIS tools were leveraged to evaluate elk home ranges using Kernel Density Estimation, classify key landscape vegetation parameters using satellite imagery, calibrate a custom elk habitat suitability model, and evaluate the landscape for potential elk forage enhancement locations. Outputs from the GIS analysis were communicated to WDFW and the Elk Forage Enhancement Working Group, a collaborative multiple stakeholder committee who evaluates the predicted elk habitat suitability within the context of various resource management constraints. Landscape scale elk resource management issues were quantified using GIS tools, and the realities of land ownership, land use limitations, seasonal variability, and the dynamic nature of elk herds were all considered in order to produce final recommendations for elk forage enhancement in the North Cascades.

For her work on this project, Anna Yost was nominated for the SOURCE 2014 Scholar of the Year Award.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Hickey, Bob

Additional Mentoring Department

Geography

Additional Mentoring Department

Biology

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May 15th, 8:50 AM May 15th, 9:10 AM

Modeling Elk Habitat Suitability in the North Cascades

SURC Room 137B

The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) would like to adjust the distribution of elk on the landscape in the North Cascades to reduce negative impacts to private property while maintaining a healthy population of elk. Elk management goals can be achieved through a combination of practices, such as forage enhancement that encourage elk in tolerated areas, and fencing, hazing, and/or hunting of elk in areas of low tolerance. This project focused on mapping elk habitat suitability across the 8,000 km2 North Cascades elk management area and then identifying potential areas of high elk tolerance which would be suitable for forage enhancement. GIS tools were leveraged to evaluate elk home ranges using Kernel Density Estimation, classify key landscape vegetation parameters using satellite imagery, calibrate a custom elk habitat suitability model, and evaluate the landscape for potential elk forage enhancement locations. Outputs from the GIS analysis were communicated to WDFW and the Elk Forage Enhancement Working Group, a collaborative multiple stakeholder committee who evaluates the predicted elk habitat suitability within the context of various resource management constraints. Landscape scale elk resource management issues were quantified using GIS tools, and the realities of land ownership, land use limitations, seasonal variability, and the dynamic nature of elk herds were all considered in order to produce final recommendations for elk forage enhancement in the North Cascades.

For her work on this project, Anna Yost was nominated for the SOURCE 2014 Scholar of the Year Award.