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BASIS # 23029U309

Title Estimating Integrity of Amphibian and Breeding Bird Communities in Montgomery County, Maryland

Project Description The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Montgomery County, MD, has been charged with assessing the condition of environmental resources in the county, in order to evaluate the effectiveness of current resource protection programs. For a countywide assessment of stream conditions, DEP sampled communities of fish and aquatic invertebrates, and developed indexes of biological integrity (IBIs) that were used to characterize stream resource conditions and to identify sub-watersheds that are priorities for protection or restoration efforts. They would like to similarly assess the condition of habitats in the county for amphibians and breeding birds, and have requested assistance from PWRC in the design and conduct of surveys of amphibian and breeding birds, and in development of IBIs for these taxa. A Bird Community Index, developed to indicate ecological condition of the Mid-Atlantic Highlands (OConnell et al. 2000, U.S. EPA 2000), provides a model for birds, but the approach needs modification to be applicable in a highly fragmented urbanizing landscape and to account for differences in species detection probabilities. Surveys will be designed so that estimators of species richness (Boulinier et al. 1998), relative species richness (Nichols et al. 1998), and proportion of area occupied (J.D. Nichols, unpubl.) can be applied to develop estimators of biotic community integrity.

Keywords amphibians, biotic community integrity, birds, landscape, modeling, status, urbanization

Principal Investigator Deanna Dawson, USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center:

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