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Wilderness Fire Resource Advisor Training Fish and Wildlife Concerns in Wilderness WFRP Sara Eckhardt WFRP-Mark Ball WFRP Ken Gebhardt, Forest Fishery Biologist Superior National Forest Duluth, Minnesota
Fish and Wildlife Concerns Related toFire In Wilderness Lesson Organization… • Lesson Objectives and Organization • Fish and Wildlife Law and Policy Related to Fire Management in Wilderness. • Potential Effects of Wildfire to Fish and Wildlife. • Potential Effects of Fire Suppression to Fish and Wildlife. Noel Fletch
Fish and Wildlife ConcernsIn Wilderness Lesson Organization Continued…… • Strategies and guidelines for protection of fish and wildlife for use in fire planning and suppression. activities. • Information resources for IC Team planning meetings. • Guidelines for use at briefings and inclusion in the IAP. • Pre-planning and off-season preparation for the WRA role. • Information to gather • Contacts needed. Ray Rivera
Fish and Wildlife ConcernsIn Wilderness Presentation Objectives: • Understand the basics of law and policy for protection of fish and wildlife resources in wilderness. • Understand the potential effects of fire and fire suppression on fish and wildlife in wilderness. • Provide examples of strategies and guidelines for protection of fish and wildlife for use in fire planning, management, and suppression. Nick Schmal Photo – Nick Schmal
Fish and Wildlife Law and Policy Related to Fire Management • Wilderness Act • Endangered Species Act • National Forest Management Act • Agency Policies - Forest Service Manual Direction. • - Policies and Guidelines for Fish and • Wildlife Management in Wilderness • and primitive areas. • - Forest and Wilderness Management Plans Mary Shedd Photo Courtesy: Nick Schmal
Wilderness Act and Policy For Fish and Wildlife Management Wilderness Resource (def): defined in section 2c of the Wilderness Act , as an area “untrammeled by man” where natural ecological processes operate freely and the area is “affected primarily by the forces of nature” Barbara Jordon (Policy and Guidelines for Fish and Wildlife Management in National Forest And Bureau of Land Management Wilderness 2006)
Endangered Species ActConsiderations in Wilderness • The conservation and recovery of threatened and endangered species and their habitat is a high priority (i.e. Bald Eagle and Canada lynx). • Provide protection for known populations and aid recovery in areas of previous habituation, of federally listed threatened or endangered species and their habitats. • ESA regulations require identification and evaluation of effects to threatened, endangered, and proposed species of all Federal agency programs and activities. Noel Fletch Ray Rivera Mary Shedd
Endangered Species Act Section 7 Consultation with USFWS and NMFS • Emergency consultation with the USFWS or NMFS is required to identify potential effects from fire or fire suppression activities to threatened and endangered fish and wildlife. • USFS typically provides known occurrence, fire location, and potential effects to populations and habitat. • USFWS and NMFS determines if emergency consultation is necessary. • Consultation occurswith the local fish and wildlife biologist. Chad Hood Don Virgovic Chad Hood Dave Bickford
Where Does Forest Plan Direction For Wilderness Wildlife Management Come From? Forest Service Manual 2323.3 • Provide an environment where the forces of natural selection and survival rather than human actions determine which and what numbers of wildlife species will exist. • Protect wildlife and fish indigenous to the area from human caused conditions that could lead to Federal listing as threatened or endangered. • Provide protection for known populations and aid recovery in areas of previous habituation, of federally listed threatened or endangered species and their habitats. Mary Shedd
Forest Plan Wilderness Management Direction For Wildlife Management SNF BWCAW Forest Plan Management Direction • Wildlife habitat composition will be the result of natural ecological processes such as fire, wind, insects, etc.. • Objectives for management of wildlife are normally compatible with the wilderness objectives…wilderness values take precedence. • Conservation and recovery of threatened and endangered species and their habitat, with methods compatible with wilderness values is a high priority (i.e. Bald Eagle and Canada lynx). • Forest Plan standards will be implemented where applicable for conservation and management of sensitive species and species of concern. Superior National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan 2004
Interagency Policy For Fish and Wildlife Management in Wilderness USFS, BLM, and the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies • The National Wilderness Preservation System will be managed to ensure that ecological succession, including fire and infestation of insects, operate as freely as possible with only minimal influence by humans. • Fish and wildlife management activities will emphasize the conservation of natural processes, to the greatest extent possible. • Management activities will be guided by the principle of doing only the minimum necessary to conserve and, if necessary, to enhance fish and wildlife resources, and to manage the area as wilderness. (Policies and Guidelines for Fish and Wildlife Management in National Forest and Bureau of Land Management Wilderness 2006)
Enough Wilderness Law and Policy! Lets talk about effects to fish and wildlife from wildfire and fire suppression activities Mary Shedd
General Effects to Fish and WildlifeFrom Wildfire and Fire Suppression Nick Schmal Mark Ball Ray Rivera
Fire Effects to Watersheds, Fisheries and Aquatic Habitat • Effects depend on weather, topography • and fuel conditions. • Greater effects to streams and wetlands than lakes. • High severity fires affect vegetation, soil structure, and erosion potential.
Potential Effects From Wildfire to Streams And Aquatic Organisms • Effects to Watersheds and Stream Channels • Increased stream flows • Decreased channel stability • Increased fine sediments • Changes water chemistry/stream temperatures • Increased nutrients. • Loss of riparian habitat and cover • Effects to Aquatic Organisms • Direct and indirect mortality • Displacement • Loss of aquatic habitat • Loss of connectivity • Overall productivity!!!!! Dan Kenny Nick Schmal
Watershed Effects and Response From High Severity Wildfire Effects • Loss of soil organic layer • Loss of soil and root structure. • Loss of all vegetation. • Decreased water infiltration into soils. Response: • High rainfall intensity • High to moderate slopes • Mass erosion • Debris flows • Transport of eroded materials to streams.
Effects To A Stream Channel From Wildfire Nick Schmal • Impacts to a stream channels and habitat: • Introduction of fine sediments, debris, and nutrients. • Stream channel becomes unstable. • Deterioration of riffle and pool habitats. • Loss of spawning, rearing, and wintering habitat. • Loss of stream shading • Increased stream temperatures
Effects to Terrestrial Wildlife and Habitat From Fire Fire photo – Nick Schmal. Wildlife photos – Mary Shedd
General Effects to Terrestrial Wildlife and Habitat From Fire • Direct and indirect mortality. • Disturbance and displacement • Changes to vegetation and habitats • Improved habitat for some wildlife species • Short term of early successional growth • Long term benefits to other species Barbara Jordon Doreen Sumerline
Potential Wildfire Effects to Bald Eagle, Canada Lynx, and Gray Wolf • Disturbance and displacement • Potential mortality of young animals. • Bald eagle nests may be at risk. • Positive benefits to prey populations and habitat (snowshoe hare, deer, and moose). Mary Shedd Mary Shedd Mary Shedd
Potential Effects to Wildlife From Fire Suppression Activities Photo – Nick Schmall Dan Kenney Mary Shedd Mark Ball Mary Shedd
General Effects to Fisheries and Aquatics From Wildfire Suppression in Wilderness • Water withdrawal • Use of retardants and foams (rare) • Fire line construction • Potential Some soil compaction. • Effects of fire ignitions • Exotic species. Photos courtesy of Nick Schmal
Water Withdrawals From Lakes and Streams • Stream dewatering • Fish removal (straining) • Aquatic nuisance species transferals Slide Courtesy of Nick Schmal
Retardant and Foam Use May be toxic to fish and other aquatic organisms Dependent on type: Liquid versus Powder formulations Only used in Wilderness following preset conditions and in emergency situations. Slide and photos originally provided by Nick Schmal.
Introduction Aquatic Invasive Species as a Result of Fire Suppression in Wilderness Rusty Crayfish Potential Ways to Spread Invasive Species • Firefighter water use and hose line deployment. • Helicopter bucket dipping from lakes and streams. • Helicopter drafting hose – pulls up mud • Water drops reported to be black • Long distance movement of water • Between watersheds and within watersheds Spiny Water Flea MN SeaGrant Jason Butcher
General Effects to Terrestrial Wildlife From Fire Suppression Activities in Wilderness Michael Jackson • Firefighter or aircraft disturbance/displacement • Disturbance of breeding, nesting, and denning sites. • Potential mortality from hand or aircraft ignited fires. • Effects to habitat from hand line construction. • In BWCAW blow down area, suppression activities may actually benefit movement of large mammals (i.e. moose).
Strategies and Guidelines For Protection of Fish and Wildlife in Wilderness Salmon Sensitive Mussels Bald Eagle Noel Fletch Chad Hood Brad Fink Chad Hood • First Strategy for the WFRA If A Wilderness Fire Occurs and you are the designated WFRA what do you need to help guide ICT planning efforts to protect fish and wildlife? • First, determine who is the appropriate wildlife or fisheries staff to consult!.
Strategies and Guidelines For Protection of Fish and Wildlife in Wilderness Questions the WFRA should ask the local fish and wildlife biologists • What species and habitats are of concern? • Where do they occur in relation to the fire or suppression activities? • Could they potentially be affected by wildfire or suppression activities?. • What policies or direction exists? • What is best approach in a wilderness environment?
Strategies and Guidelines For Protection of Fish and Wildlife in Wilderness WFRA General Information Documents • Fireline Handbook • Minimum Impact Strategies and Techniques (MIST) • Wildland Fire Situation Analysis (WFSA) • Understanding and a copy of the ICS • Delegation of Authority • Fire Plan • Fire Briefing Packet • Wilderness Act (Ref) • Endangered Species Act (Ref) • Forest Plan • Wilderness Management Plan
Strategies and Guidelines For Protection of Fish and Wildlife in Wilderness Other Useful Information Sources • Instructions for Reporting and Managing Fires in Anadromous Drainages (Handout) • Guidelines for Aerial Delivery of Retardant or Foam Near Waterways (Handout) • Wildland Fire Chemical Products Toxicity and Environmental Issues and Concerns (Handout) • Endangered Species Act Consultation Guidelines (Handout) Ray Rivera Dan Kinney Mary Shedd
Mary Shedd Mary Shedd The End Dan Kinney Fire photo – Nick Schmal. Wildlife photos – Mary Shedd