In the Oregon Conservation Strategy, information needs are identified at various scales:
- Specific ‘Data Gaps’ are indicated for each Strategy Species.
- ‘Data Gap Species’ are documented. These are species where not enough information is known to determine whether they meet the conservation criteria to qualify as Strategy Species.
- General research and monitoring needs are outlined for Strategy Species.
Data Gap Species
The Conservation Strategy identifies 112 Data Gap Species, including 6 amphibians, 9 birds, 12 mammals, 45 fish, and 40 invertebrates. For these species, some basic information, such as distribution and range, habitat associations, and general abundance, is not known, and it is not possible to determine whether they are truly at risk, or should be designated as a Strategy Species. The Oregon Conservation Strategy Data Gap Species list documents species that require more information to determine whether they should be elevated to Strategy Species status.
Invertebrate Species Taxonomic Information
For invertebrates, few specific surveys are typically done each year, and basic information is often lacking. Before making a conservation designation for Strategy Species or Data Gap Species status, more taxonomic information is needed to determine whether a group of invertebrates actually represents a population of one species or is a distinct species. If it is determined to be a distinct species, then more data on range and habitat associations may still be needed to determine conservation status.
During the technical review for the 2016 Strategy update, these invertebrates were determined to lack sufficient taxonomic information before they can be fully designated as a Data Gap Species or a Strategy Species: bald hesperian, basalt juga, Blue Mountains duskysnail, Blue Mountains juga, brown juga, Cascades axetail slug, Columbia duskysnail, Columbia springsnail, Crooked River juga, Deschutes mountainsnail, Deschutes sideband, diminuitive pebblesnail, disc Oregonian, Fall Creek pebblesnail, Hells Canyon mountainsnail, hotspring physa, humped coin, Keene Creek pebblesnail, Klamath taildropper, Lake Albert springsnail, Lake of the Woods pebblesnail, Malheur pebblesnail, Malheur springsnail, Modoc peaclam, Modoc Rim sideband, nerite pebblesnail, northwest hesperian, Oak Springs hesperian, Opal Springs juga, Owyhee hot springsnail, pinhead pebblesnail, purple juga, thinlip tightcoil, three-band juga, toothed pebblesnail, and Tuscan pebblesnail. The same applied to the following species complexes: duskysnails (Colligyrus), jugas (Juga), mountainsnails (Oreohelix), pebblesnails (Fluminicola), and springsnails (Pyrgulopsis).
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General Research and Monitoring needs for Strategy Species
Species Management and Monitoring
- Determine baseline conservation status, estimated population size, and trends for Strategy Species.
- Develop and implement survey and monitoring methodology for species lacking protocols.
- Determine population goals for Strategy Species while accounting for current habitat conditions and potential for habitat restoration in Oregon.
- Develop measurable indicators of high quality habitat. For example, develop a framework for using species and habitat indicators to assess habitat status and trends.
- Determine relationships between population dynamics and habitat dynamics.
- Evaluate effectiveness of providing passage around barriers for fish and wildlife (including amphibians, reptiles, and mammals) to enhance migration or habitat connectivity.
- Improve data collection efforts and methods for all Plant Strategy Species (all plants of conservation concern).
Species Observation Data Management
An initial step to filling Strategy Species Data Gaps is taking advantage of available species observation datasets.
Species observation information collected throughout ODFW should be compiled and managed within centralized databases, and the process to incorporate data should be streamlined and automated as much as possible. This would not only allow surveys and research results to be better incorporated into statewide analyses and programs, but also provide a structure for recording incidental observations of Strategy Species by ODFW field staff.
Incorporating species observation datasets developed and maintained by partner agencies and organizations into ODFW databases and programs is a critical component of understanding species distributions, populations, and ranges. Species observations are a common dataset, frequently collected by government agencies, private contractors, conservation organizations, and public citizens. A concerted effort is involved to communicate with these organizations to understand what is available, and then how best to incorporate the information. The ODFW works closely with the Institute for Natural Resources, ORBIC to access and incorporate their biodiversity database of species occurrences throughout Oregon. This database includes contributions from various state and federal agencies as well as specific monitoring projects, such as the North American Breeding Bird Survey. This database provides an ideal way to incorporate information from multiple agencies, but finding and inputting additional datasets require further effort. Carefully planned citizen science projects can provide more information on species observations with members that are trained in technique and identification protocols, while also providing a way for the public and landowners to contribute species information for use within the Conservation Strategy and other ODFW projects. For additional information, see the Monitoring page.