Concurrent Session: Wetland wildlife
9:30 AM - 10:30 AM Thu
Co-author: Tony Kuchma, Oneida Nation
Title: Habitat restoration and bird monitoring on the Oneida Nation
Abstract: Since the early 2000s, the Oneida Nation has restored nearly 3,000 acres of agricultural lands to native wetlands, grasslands, prairies, and forest, land that provides important habitat for wildlife and helps reduce watershed runoff. To evaluate restoration success at three critical sites, the Oneida Nation partnered with the Northeastern Wisconsin Audubon Society, Audubon Great Lakes, and UW-Green Bay to launch a successful bird monitoring program. The deep, collaborative partnership involves nearly 30 volunteers who conducted standardized bird surveys in grassland and open marsh habitats during the breeding season and fall migration of 2021. During the 2021 field surveys, >100 species of birds were documented at these restoration sites, including several uncommon to rare species (e.g., Henslow’s sparrow). This partnership also serves as a cultural exchange in which a valued member of the Oneida Nation has educated those involved with bird monitoring on Oneida culture, history, and language. We will provide an overview of the project and restoration work, summarize the 2021 breeding and migratory bird data, and describe how the grassland breeding bird community varies across Oneida’s prescribed burn units using a preliminary nonmetric multidimensional scaling analysis. Finally, we will share how these data are informing land management decisions (e.g., water level manipulation, mowing, prescribed burns) on Oneida’s restored lands. Over the coming years, we plan to engage a larger community of birdwatchers, expand Oneida cultural exchange, analyze more data, and collect data at new and existing restoration sites both to inform Oneida’s land management decisions and support the establishment of Oneida as an Important Bird Area.
Bio: Erin Giese is the Senior Research Specialist at UW-Green Bay and President of Northeastern Wisconsin Audubon. Over the past decade, she has been involved in research, conservation, education, and monitoring in the Great Lakes region.