2009-2010 Furbearer Winter Track Survey

Kawishiwi Ranger District

OBJECTIVE/PURPOSE OF PROJECT:

Monitoring the distribution and abundance of carnivores can be important for documenting the effects of harvest, habitat change, and environmental variability on these populations. In winter, tracks of carnivores are readily observable following snowfall. Starting in 1991, the Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources initiated a carnivore snow track survey in the northern portion of the State. The survey’s primary objective is to use a harvest-independent method to monitor distribution and population trends of fisher (Martes pennanti) and marten (Martes americana), 2 species for which no other survey data was available. Because sign of other carnivores is readily detectable in snow, participants also record tracks for other selected species to develop population indices.

METHODS OR TECHNIQUES USED:

Currently there are 59 snow tracking routes distributed across northern Minnesota. Each route is 10 miles long and follows secondary roads and trails. Each route is surveyed once following a fresh snow typically from December through mid-February. Track counts of other designated species are recorded as per the methods described in the attached “Furbearer Winter Track Survey Summary, 2009” from the Minnesota DNR. We established a new Winter Track Survey route on the LaCroix RD this past year in addition to our route on the Kawishiwi RD added the previous year to augment the existing established routes. Additional routes have been surveyed on the Superior National Forest in the past, but due to limitations in manpower and funding have not been surveyed in the recent past.

REALIZED/EXPECTED RESULTS:

Our surveys were conducted on February 9th and 10th of 2010 under ideal tracking conditions. We detected 6 of the 10 species delineated on the MN DNR’ s datasheet including fisher, marten, and lynx. Survey results were forwarded on to the MN DNR wildlife research group for their use in developing population indices on a State-wide basis (see attached report). Our results were used locally to augment our Canada lynx survey and monitoring project.

CONTACT PERSON AND PHONE #:

Tim Catton, Biological Science Technician, Kawishiwi Ranger District, Superior National Forest, Ely, MN. (218) 365-7637. tcatton@fs.fed.us

LINKS TO SITES:


AGREEMENT TYPE(S):

Participating

PRIMARY PARTNER LIST:

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

PHOTOGRAPHS:

Conducting winter track survey

 

Figure 1: Conducting winter track survey

THIS PROJECT ALSO BENEFITED:

TES

DESCRIPTION OF BENEFITS TO OTHER PROGRAM(S):

Detection of Canada lynx during the winter track survey augments our lynx survey and monitoring project. Population indices for wildlife species developed from this survey are published annually by the Minnesota DNR (see attached) and are used by a wide variety of publics and may be used internally during project level analyses.

ATTACHMENTS:

2009 MN DNR Winter track summary (2009 MNDNR winter track report.pdf)
2009 MN DNR Winter track summary (2009 MNDNR winter track report.pdf)


 





https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/superior/landmanagement/resourcemanagement/?cid=stelprdb5209123