Graduation Date

Summer 2021

Document Type

Thesis

Program

Master of Science degree with a major in Natural Resources, option Wildlife

Committee Chair Name

Barbara Clucas

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Micaela Szykman Gunther

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Matthew Johnson

Third Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories

Wildlife

Abstract

East Bay Regional Park District designated over 1000 ha of protected wildland-urban interface habitat in the hills of California’s East Bay Area for invasive tree removal to reduce fire risk and restore native habitat over a 10-year period starting in 2016. From June to November 2019, 36 camera traps were deployed using a stratified two-pronged detection approach of surveying recreation and wildlife trails to assess the impact of vegetation management on the spatiotemporal distribution of sympatric carnivore species while accounting for potential impacts of human activity and proximity to development. The sampling effort resulted in 5,191 cumulative trap nights, 2,739 coyote detections, 319 gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) detections, 271 bobcat (Lynx rufus) detections, 133 red fox (Vulpes vulpes) detections, and 4 mountain lion (Puma concolor) detections while recreationists were detected over 13 times more frequently than coyotes, the most detectable carnivore. Nine percent of coyote detections contained individuals with visually identifiable symptoms of parasitic skin disease. Coyote detection probability increased with increasing recreation intensity while their temporal activity was more nocturnal in highly recreated areas. Bobcat detectability conversely decreased with increasing recreation intensity, but recreation didn’t influence either fox species spatially. Only coyote detectability was influenced by development level with coyotes being most detectable in the least developed habitat. Coyotes were less detectable in treatment than control habitat, but this difference was not statistically significant. Coyotes and bobcats were significantly more nocturnal in treatment versus control habitat. Canopy cover was positively correlated with the probability of detecting coyotes, bobcats, and gray foxes, suggesting that reducing canopy cover to the treatment plan’s target of 50% could disturb the activity of these species. Coyotes and bobcats were more detectable and more nocturnal on recreation trails than wildlife trails. Red and gray fox detectability was not influenced by trail type and both species were primarily nocturnal. Bobcat detectability decreased with increased coyote detections, but bobcats overlapped temporally with coyotes significantly more than did red and gray foxes. Temporal activity overlap between recreationists and mangy coyotes on park trails was double that of healthy coyotes. This study seeks to provide land managers with a spatiotemporal activity modeling framework that can be used to develop plans to mitigate human-wildlife conflicts while assessing the efficacy of native habitat restoration.

Citation Style

JWM

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