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Bald Eagle Wildlife Study Using Geographical Information Systems. Project Proposal.

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bald eagle wildlife study using geographical information systems
Bald Eagle Wildlife Study Using

Geographical Information Systems

project proposal
Project Proposal

The State of Florida is looking for an area to set up increased protection for the bald eagle\'s habitat.  I was tasked by the State of Florida to help identify an ideal location to set up this preserve.  They would also like to know some of the manmade factors that could affect the survival of the species. The final decision will be made by the Conservation Board of Florida. After creating multiple maps showing the spatial relationship between bald eagle nests and factors that may affect the environment around those nests I have come up with two possible locations for a preserve. Of these two locations I recommend the selection of the area labeled Potential Area Two.

http://www.nhptv.org/NATUREWORKS/baldeagle.htm

bald eagles
Bald Eagles
  • Bald eagles were named the National Symbol of the United States in 1782
  • At the time their population was estimated between 25,000 to 75,000 in the lower 48 States (Huerta)
  • Bald eagles feed primarily on fish
  • Bald eagles are monogamous and lay 1 to 3 eggs a year
  • With the introduction of the pesticide DDT to the environment, the population of the bald eagle dramatically declined to 420 breeding pairs by 1963
  • DDT banned
  • In 1973 they were listed as endangered by the Endangered Species Act
  • In the 30 years since the bald eagle’s numbers have grown to 4,450.
  • Florida has the second highest number of bald eagle breeding pairsin the lower 48
  • Bald eagles remain threatened
slide4

Distribution of Bald Eagle Breeding Pairs in the United States

Data taken from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and added to United States shapefile.

<http://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/issues/BaldEagle/baldeaglepopmapfinal.pdf>

goals
Goals
  • Locate an area in Florida to focus the project on
  • use GIS to map out bald eagle nests
  • use different man made and natural variables near bald eagle nests to select potential locations for increased protection
  • Major roads, rivers and lakes, solid waste facilities and major cities
slide6

Bald Eagle Nest Shapefile

Florida County Shapefile

Downloaded from:

Florida Geographic Data Library

Downloaded from:

US Census GIS Data

Select by attribute only those nests that were active in 2006

Spatially join the Bald Eagle layer to the county layer

Spatial Join

Summarize the attribute table of the new shapefile using the FIPS column

Use graduated colors choropleth map to show the distribution of bald eagle nests per county.

Join attributes from the summarized table to the original county layer

Symbology

analysis of choropleth map
Analysis of Choropleth Map
  • From the choropleth map I decided to select nine counties for a larger scale analysis of the bald eagle
  • Polk county had the greatest number of active eagle nests in 2006
  • I selected Polk county and the following other counties for analysis: Volusia, Seminole, Orange, Lake, Alachua, Marion, Polk, Osceola
slide10

Bald Eagle Nest Shapefile

Selected Area Shapefile

Use ToolBox to merge the counties to create a single large polygon .

Use the selected area shapefile to clip the bald eagle nest data by location

Selected Area Merged Polygon

Clip

New Shapefile created of just those nests located inside the selected area.

perform the same clip operation to
Perform the same clip operation to
  • Florida Major Roads
  • Florida Rivers and Lakes
  • Florida Solid Waste Facilities
  • Florida Major Cities
slide13

Bald Eagle Nest Clip

Florida Major Roads

Selected Area

Use buffers to clip the bald eagle nest that intersect the roads buffer

Create buffers around the Major Roads

CLIP

slide14

Buffers around Roads

scale 1:2,000,000 meters

slide15

Buffers around Roads

Scale 1:400,000 meters

roads bald eagle nest
Roads & Bald Eagle Nest
  • Total Number of Bald Eagle Nests in Selected Area 578
  • Put buffers around the roads to show how close the birds nests are. Use select by location to find out the number of nests inside the buffer.
  • 200 meter buffer: how many nests are within that buffer: 56
  • 400 meter buffer: how many within this buffer: 118
  • 800 meter buffer: how many within this buffer: 233
  • 1600 meter buffer: how many in this buffer: 358
slide17

Bald Eagle Nest Clip

Solid Waste

Selected Area

Use buffers to clip the bald eagle nest that intersect the solid waste buffer

Create buffers around the Solid Waste Facilities

CLIP

solid waste facilities bald eagle nest
Solid Waste Facilities & Bald Eagle Nest
  • Total Number of Bald Eagle Nests in Selected Area 578
  • Put buffers around the solid waste facilities to show how close the birds nests are. Use select by location to find out the number of nests inside the buffer.
  • How many nests are within 200 meters: zero
  • How many nests are within 400 meters: 1
  • How many nests are within 800 meters: 3
  • How many nests are within 1600 meters: 10
  • How many nests are within 3200 meters: 50
  • How many nests are within 6400 meters: 145
slide21

Bald Eagle Nest Clip

Rivers & Lakes

Selected Area

Use buffers to clip the bald eagle nest that intersect the rivers and lakes buffer

Create buffers around the Rivers and Lakes

CLIP

slide23

Buffers around Rivers & Lakes

Scale 1:400,000 meters

rivers lakes bald eagle nest
Rivers & Lakes & Bald Eagle Nest
  • Total Number of Bald Eagle Nests in Selected Area 578
  • Put buffers around the rivers and lakes to show how close the birds nests are. Use select by location to find out the number of nests inside the buffer.
  • How many nests are within 200 meters: 31
  • How many nests are within 400 meters: 53
  • How many nests are within 800 meters: 107
  • How many nests are within 1600 meters: 182
  • How many nests are within 3200 meters: 265
  • How many nests are within 6400 meters: 346
slide25

Bald Eagle Nest Clip

Major Florida Cities

Selected Area

Use buffers to clip the bald eagle nest that intersect the city buffer

Create buffers around the Cities

CLIP

major cities bald eagle nest
Major Cities & Bald Eagle Nest
  • Total Number of Bald Eagle Nests in Selected Area 578
  • Put buffers around the cities to show how close the birds nests are. Use select by location to find out the number of nests inside the buffer.
  • How many nests are within 200 meters: zero
  • How many nests are within 400 meters: zero
  • How many nests are within 800 meters: zero
  • How many nests are within 1600 meters: 9
  • How many nests are within 3200 meters: 31
  • How many nests are within 6400 meters: 112
final map
Final Map
  • For a final map I added buffers from each of the variables to the map
  • Chose the buffer based on what the average number of nest within the buffers was
  • The buffer closest to the average was chosen
  • Selected the bald eagle nests that did not intersect any of the buffers
slide31

Potential Sites for Extra Protection of Bald Eagles

Potential Area 1

Scale 1:275,000

Potential Area 2

Scale 1:275,000

conclusion
Conclusion

The two possible areas for increase protection that I chose were chosen because they both had a large number of bird nests, were located near water supplies and were not intersecting any of the buffers that were created around the man made variables.

Of the two areas I would suggest the second over the first because there is a larger area of land without major roads. It also appears from the raster data that there are more areas of water.

future research suggestions
Future Research Suggestions
  • Study the selected areas at a larger scale
  • Study the selected areas with more variables
  • Add a habitat shapefile to find out what trees the bald eagles like to nest in
  • Study the possible future land use in the area
  • Add building shapefiles to a larger scale study
  • Add non major roads
  • Add information on bald eagle mortality events
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