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Wildlife National Assessment

The CEAP Wildlife Component is an effort to quantify the effects of USDA conservation practices and programs on fish and wildlife in landscapes influenced by agriculture in the United States. Because fish and wildlife are affected by conservation actions taken on a variety of landscapes, elements of the Wildlife Component link to and complement the CEAP Cropland Component, Wetlands Component, Grazing Lands Component, and Watershed Assessments, to the extent possible.

Assessment Principles

  • Work collaboratively with others engaged in relevant assessments
  • Leverage the use of existing data to the extent possible
  • Identify critical data gaps and stimulate action to fill them
  • Base assessment activity on regional priorities

Assessment Elements

The Wildlife Component Work Plan lays out the approach and identifies priorities and specific assessments underway that contribute to the effort. Assessments are targeted to address priorities identified through interaction with the fish and wildlife conservation community at the regional level in cooperation with the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. The work plan also identifies related studies and efforts underway that, while not directly supported by Wildlife Component funding, contribute to meeting the objective of quantifying fish and wildlife benefits of conservation practices.

Map of the CEAP Wildlife Component Regions

CEAP Wildlife Component Regions

Regions employed by the CEAP Wildlife Component roughly align with regional associations of fish and wildlife agencies. Regions overlap because fish and wildlife agencies in many states belong to more than one regional association. Regional associations of fish and wildlife agencies include the Midwest Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, and Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

Literature Reviews

One of the initial efforts of the Wildlife Component was to focus on synthesizing the literature to document what is already known about the effects of conservation practices and programs on fish and wildlife and to identify and prioritize information needs. The Wildlife Society (TWS), in partnership with NRCS and the Farm Service Agency (FSA), led a literature synthesis effort that resulted in the publication of two TWS Technical Reviews, one focused on the effects of conservation programs on fish and wildlife, and the other focused on the effects of specific conservation practices on fish and wildlife resources.

In 2008, the USDA National Agricultural Library produced a 2-volume annotated bibliography, entitled Effects of Agricultural Conservation Practices on Fish and Wildlife, as part of its CEAP bibliography series. This document compiles citations and abstracts for published literature on topics related to fish and wildlife and agricultural conservation activities included in previous CEAP bibliographies, and adds additional citations from items published from 2000-2008.

Assessments conducted through CEAP wildlife component partnerships.
Project Lead Year Practice Type(s)
Addressed and Region
Wildlife Focus Assessment Topic Status
The Wildlife Society 2004 All / National All Literature synthesis of documented effects of conservation programs and practices on fish and wildlife Program-based synthesis complete 11/2005, Practice-based synthesis complete 9/2007
NatureServe 2005 All practice types, with emphasis on pasture and hay planting / Midwest At-risk terrestrial and aquatic species Using NatureServe information to assess conservation practice effects on at-risk species: Missouri Pilot Final report (PDF; 3.2 MB) complete 2/2007, science note (PDF; 0.2 MB) released 6/2007
University of Northern Colorado 2005 Conservation cover, Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) enrollments / Midwest, South, East Grassland nesting birds Grassland bird response to CRP-related land use changes: Using National Resources Inventory (NRI) and Breeding Bird Survey data to assess landscape-level bird response Final report complete 2/2007,  conservation insight (PDF; 0.2 MB) released 1/2009
University of Missouri 2006 Wetland restoration, Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) enrollments / Midwest Wetland birds, amphibians Assessing wildlife habitat value on restored wetlands in Missouri through analysis of WRP ecological monitoring data Interim report complete 9/2007,  conservation insight (PDF; 1.0 MB) released 2/2008, final report (PDF; 2.5 MB) released 5/2009, amphibian report (PDF; 3.1 MB) released 11/2010, amphibian conservation insight (PDF; 0.9 MB) released 12/2012
Playa Lakes Joint Venture (BCR19) 2006 Conservation cover, wetland restoration, CRP & WRP / Great Plains Grassland dependent birds, wetland birds Estimated contributions of CRP and WRP habitats toward conservation goals of priority grassland and wetland birds in the Mixed-grass Prairie region Final reports complete: CRP-12/2007 (PDF; 1.5 MB), WRP-6/2008 (PDF; 1.2 MB), CRP conservation insight (PDF; 0.4 MB) released 7/2008, WRP conservation insight (PDF; 0.4 MB) released 9/2008
Mississippi State University 2006 Upland buffers / Southeast, Midwest Northern bobwhite, songbirds National Evaluation of Wildlife Benefits of CRP practice CP33 (Habitat Buffers for Upland Birds) Interim reports complete 12/2006, 2006 report (PDF; 2.0 MB), released 2/2007, 2007 report (PDF; 3.1 MB) released 5/2009, final report (PDF; 3.1 MB) released 10/2009, conservation insight (PDF; 0.6 MB) released 1/2010
University of Massachusetts-Amherst 2006 Early successional habitats / Northeast Scrub-shrub birds Assessing the Benefits of Conservation Practices for Scrub-shrub Birds in New England Literature review (PDF; 4.5 MB) complete 9/2007, conservation insight (PDF; 0.5 MB) released 1/2012
The Nature Conservancy 2007, 2008, 2011 Soil and water practices applied to cropland / Upper Midwest Freshwater aquatic biota Integration of cropland component water quality output with aquatic biota data and models to make inference on the effects of practices on Midwestern stream ecosystems. Phase I final report (PDF; 6.8 MB) released 4/2012, Phase 2 final Report (PDF; 3.9 MB) released 3/2013, Western Lake Erie Basin Partnership
Missouri Resource Assessment Partnership at the University of Missouri 2007 Upland, riparian, and in-stream practices / Midwest Freshwater aquatic biota Use of Aquatic GAP species predicted distributions and practice application data to assess practice effects on aquatic biota in the Missouri River Basin Multi-year effort, final report (PDF; 7.3 MB) received 9/2012
University of Nebraska-Lincoln 2007 Conservation cover, CRP enrollments / Midwest Northern bobwhite, ring-necked pheasant Use of rural mail carrier wildlife surveys to assess benefits of Farm Bill programs in the Great Plains Final report received 1/2010, conservation insight in development
Pennsylvania State University 2007 Fish passage, dam removal / Northeast Freshwater aquatics Evaluating biological effects of dam removal on streams in Pennsylvania Final report (PDF; 0.2 MB) received 4/2011
USGS National Wetlands Research Center 2007 Wetland restoration / West Waterfowl, shorebirds Use of Doppler weather radar to determine bird use of WRP restored wetlands in California Final report (PDF; 3.4 MB) released 11/2010, conservation insight (PDF; 2.3 MB) released 4/2012
American Bird Conservancy, Intermountain West Joint Venture 2008 Conservation cover (CRP), wetland restoration (WRP), prescribed grazing / West Prairie grouse, land birds, waterfowl Assessing priority bird response to WRP in SONEC and upland practices in the Great Basin Great Basin Report (PDF; 6.2 MB) received 8/2013, SONEC Conservation Insight (PDF; 1.0 MB) released 12/2013
Ducks Unlimited 2008 Wetland restoration (WRP), Conservation cover (CRP) / Midwest Mallards Assessing the contribution of WRP and CRP enrollments to mallard migration habitats in the Mississippi and Central Flyways Pilot effort initiated in 2008, Four-year full implementation phase planned beginning in 2010
Playa Lakes Joint Venture (BCR18) 2008 Conservation cover (CRP), rangeland practices (EQIP) restoration / Great Plains Grassland dependent birds Estimated contributions of CRP and EQIP enrollments toward conservation goals of priority grassland birds in the Short-grass Prairie region (BCR18) Final report (PDF; 5.3 MB) released 7/2009, conservation insight (PDF; 1.1 MB) released 1/2010, climate change report (PDF; 3.2 MB) released 3/2011, climate change conservation insight released 12/2012 (PDF; 1.1 MB)
USGS Upper Midwest Environmental Science Center 2008 Wetland restoration (WRP), Conservation cover (CRP) / Midwest Amphibians, wetland birds Assessing WRP and CRP contributions to amphibian and wetland bird conservation in Iowa Project initiated in Iowa, broader Midwest assessment planned beginning in 2009, results expect 12/2012
Oregon NRCS (Wood River Special Emphasis Watershed) 2008 Prescribed grazing, stream restoration / West Aquatic biota Assessing effects of prescribed grazing and stream restoration on aquatic biota in the Wood River watershed (Klamath), Oregon Final report (PDF; 2.8 MB) released 1/2010
Utah State University 2008 Fish passage, stream restoration / West Freshwater aquatic biota (flannelmouth and bluehead sucker, roundtail chub) Use of stream and fish monitoring data to assess the effects of NRCS stream restoration practices on priority fish species in the San Rafael River, Utah Final report (PDF; 7.6 MB) received 3/2011
Montana NRCS, Blackfoot Challenge 2008 Fish passage, stream restoration / West Aquatic biota (bull trout, west slope cutthroat trout) Use of archived aquatic monitoring data to assess effects of NRCS stream restoration practices on stream biota in Montana Final report received 7/2010, conservation insight (PDF; 0.6 MB) released 4/2011
University of Maryland 2008 Conservation cover (CRP) / East Northern bobwhite, grassland birds Assessing local and landscape factors associated with quail and grassland bird use of CRP enrollments in eastern Maryland and Delaware Final report (PDF; 0.2 MB) received 12/2010, conservation insight (PDF; 1.4 MB) released 1/2012
Purdue University 2008 Wetland restoration / Midwest Swamp sparrow Assessing bird population recruitment in WRP wetlands in Wisconsin Project to complete previously initiated study. Final report (PDF; 1.0 MB) complete 5/2009
Virginia Tech 2008 Conservation cover / East Insects, grassland birds, small mammals Assessing wildlife response to grassland management for biofuels production Final report (PDF; 4.7 MB) received 9/2010
USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center 2009 Conservation cover (CRP) / Midwest Grassland birds Assessing landscape scale grassland bird population effects of CRP land use and management in the Upper Midwest Final report received 10/2010, conservation insight in development
Michigan State University 2009 Soil and water practices applied to cropland Freshwater aquatic biota Linking SWAT model components with stream fish data to assess effects of agricultural conservation practices on aquatic biota (linked with TNC project) Final reports: 040302 (Wolf/Fox Rivers) (PDF; 1.6 MB), 040303 (Lake Michigan) (PDF; 1.1 MB), 040500 (Grand Basin) (PDF; 2.3 MB), 040801 (Lake Huron) (PDF; 1.5 MB), 040802 (Saginaw Bay) (PDF; 1.9 MB), 040900 (Detroit Basin) (PDF; 1.2 MB), 070700 (Wisconsin River) (PDF; 1.5 MB), 070900 (Rock River) (PDF; 1.3 MB) all received 12/2010
University of Tennessee-Knoxville 2009 Conservation cover, buffer practices / Sourtheast, Midwest Grassland and shrub-scrub birds Assessing landscape scale effects of CRP and other USDA programs on bird populations in the Central Hardwoods Bird Conservation Region Results due 12/2013
University of Montana 2010 Prescribed grazing, brush management, upland wildlife management / West Sage-grouse Assessing field and landscape scale effects of NRCS practices on sage-grouse in focal areas of the NRCS Sage-grouse Initiative Multi-year effort initiated in 2010, fence collision conservation insight (PDF; 0.6 MB) released 11/2012, Preliminary Findings (PDF; 2.7 MB) released 9/2014
Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory 2010 Riparian fencing, prescribed grazing, conservation cover / West Prairie grouse, grassland birds Assessing field and landscape scale effects of NRCS grassland practices on priority birds Final report (PDF; 0.7 MB) received 3/2012
University of Delaware (in collaboration with USGS-NWRC) 2011 Wetland management, shallow-water management / Southeast Shorebirds, waterfowl Assessing waterbird use of Migratory Bird Habitat Initiative in LA and MS Final report (PDF; 1.5 MB) received 4/2013, conservation insight in development
USGS - National Wetland Research Center (in collaboration with UD) 2011 Wetland management, shallow-water management / Southeast Shorebirds, waterfowl Assessing waterbird use of Migratory Bird Habitat Initiative in LA and MS Final report (PDF; 3.3 MB) received 8/2013
Playa Lakes Joint Venture 2011 Conservation cover, upland wildlife management / Central Lesser prairie-chicken Develop decision support and science tools for NRCS Lesser Prairie-chicken Initiative implementation Final report (PDF; 0.1 MB) received 6/2013; conservation insight (PDF; 0.8 MB) released 5/2014
Oregon State University 2012 Prescribed grazing/burning, upland wildlife management / Central Lesser prairie-chicken Assessing lesser prairie-chicken response to NRCS Lesser Prairie-chicken Initiative practices in KS, OK, TX, NM, and CO Multi-year effort initiated in 2012
University of New Hampshire 2012 Upland wildlife management, early successional habitat / Northeast New England cottontail Assessing New England cottontail response to conservation practices in association with Working Lands for Wildlife in New England Multi-year effort initiated in 2012
Indiana University of Pennsylvania 2012 Upland wildlife management, rare and declining habitat restoration / East Golden-winged warbler, associated early successional species Assess field and landscape scale effects of NRCS practices on golden-winged warbler habitat and populations Multi-year effort initiated in 2012
The Nature Conservancy, Agricultural Research Service, The Ohio State University 2012; 2013 All practice types, with emphasis on cropland conservation practices / Central Stream aquatic biota Integrate biological endpoints to CEAP cropland modeling in the Western Lake Erie Basin Multi-year effort initiated in 2012
University of Massachusetts 2013 Upland wildlife management, early successional habitat / Northeast Native bees, shrubland birds Document use and develop guidelines for pollinators and shrubland birds in forest openings Results due in 2015
Mississippi State University 2013 Wetland management, shallow-water management / Southeast Shorebirds, waterfowl Assessing waterbird use of Migratory Bird Habitat Initiative - Phase 2 of AWCC 2010 project Results due in 2015
New Mexico State University 2013 Prescribed grazing, brush management, upland wildlife management / West General biodiversity, scaled quail Assess practice effects with biodiversity metrics in the Southwest Results due in 2015

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