Date of Graduation

Spring 5-19-2017

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Management (MSEM)


College of Arts and Sciences


Environmental Management

First Advisor

John Callaway


Many riparian restoration projects in the western United States have not implemented monitoring plans. This lack of wildlife monitoring has resulted in a loss riparian ecosystem services and missed opportunities to conserve them. Data collected from wildlife monitoring assists researchers, policymakers, and stakeholders in efficiently allocating time and resources to improve the effectiveness of resource management. This paper discusses the level of feasibility and practicality as a sum of the benefits, limitations, and financial costs for each of the following mammal and avian monitoring methods: wildlife camera trapping, GPS devices, mark-recapture, fecal DNA surveying, circular plot point counts, mist-net transects and bird-banding, transect counts, and nest monitoring. The main objectives of wildlife monitoring include gaining data in species presence, absence and distribution, relative population abundance, and factors that influence population trends and dynamics. Wildlife camera trapping is the most ideal method to assess mammal species presence, absence, and distribution. Fecal DNA surveying is the most suitable method for quantifying relative mammal population abundance for latrine species and mark-recapture is the most suitable for non-latrine species. GPS devices in the form of radio-transmitting implants are the ideal method for assessing factors influencing population dynamics for newly born and juvenile mammals, whereas radio collars are suitable for assessing factors influencing population trends and dynamics for adult mammal individuals. For avian monitoring, circular plot point counts are the most suitable method to assess bird species presence, absence, distribution, and relative population abundance and nest monitoring is the most feasible method for assessing factors that influence avian population trends and dynamics. Ultimately, successful wildlife monitoring is based off of factors such as monitoring objectives, target species, and the resources available.